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Gaming in Color Documentary Now Available in Pay-What-You-Want Format

by William Schwartz

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Gaming in Color came to life thanks to a Kickstarter campaign. Now, the documentary exploring LGBT culture within both the gaming community and games themselves has been released. With a suggested price of $15 and a minimum of $1, which actually has its own selection, you can gain access to the full-length documentary in both streaming and digital download formats. The two minute-long trailer talks about the importance of gaming being a way for gay youth to feel comfortable in a role if they themselves aren’t comfortable in their own skin, and how important it is for gay characters to be written well and be fully fleshed-out.

That last point brings about an interesting issue because so few characters period are actually written like that. Naughty Dog has easily the best track record of that over the past decade, with Rockstar’s past few GTA entries at least attempting to craft compelling characters. Still, The Last of Us featured a lot of well-written characters and one of them was strongly implied to be either gay or bisexual. When Joel and Ellie meet Bill, he and Joel are portrayed as being on less than friendly terms. To the game’s credit, this isn’t due to Bill being gay – he and Joel just have issues. Bill also has absolutely no stereotypically gay qualities. During your missions with him, his “partner Frank” is never talked about romantically and it can be inferred that they’re simply partners in surviving the world of the infected. You only find out that he’s gay after you’re done with his section of the adventure. Ellie finds a magazine that gives you an idea of his sexuality, and Joel never comments on it. It’s clear that he accepts Bill and holds him in high regard. To Naughty Dog’s credit, they never even had a little joke with Bill hitting on him or anything – Bill is simply a compelling character who happens to be gay.

Gaming in Color examines the use of gay characters in open-choice games like Mass Effect and the polarizing reception of them at the time. While Youtube comments may not be the best citation of an actual opinion, they are if nothing else representative of culture as a whole in a small way. The double-standard of a lesbian relationship being okay in ME while a gay one is wrong is cited verbatim, and just one of the topics explored that makes any money you choose to spend on the documentary well-spent. While you can choose to pay only $1, it’s definitely better to spend a bit more if you can spare it.

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