Video games reflect themes and skills found in boys’ styles of play as children, and any introduction of qualities that are different from that (especially if tagged as feminine) are cast out as inferior “casual” games.
While this game is categorized as a Boy Love (BL) or yaoi game, these are ultimately under the otome genre, which are games aimed specifically at heterosexual women.
I’m often asked why I have to drag identity labels into gaming discussions. Why does it matter that I’m a multi-racial, polysexual, possibly polyamorous, able-bodied transgender woman? Must I trumpet this everywhere I go?
Dating sims defy a lot of logic. Describing them to someone who’s never heard of them would paint them as a game aimed for girls; relationship focused, sappy, a social simulator.
Ah, dating a minor. Your student even! The beauty and tragedy of visual novels is the chance to engage in relationships you wouldn’t have considered, or don’t have access to.
We all know someone like Derek, that guy who effortlessly has the world revolve around him and gets what he wants. Even though he was just event triggers and art on my screen, I still felt a little intimidated by him.
Because pornography typically has straight male consumption in mind, its politics leak into games by highlighting how they look at women and other men in porn. We would have to look to pornography made for women and gay men and apply how the camera looks at the performers for a holistic approach to sexualizing characters.
Topics about social minorities in video games typically manifest in the relationship humans have with other sentient characters of their world or universe.
So let this be an ode to Naoto, as he deserves a critical analysis, but also my questioning of and challenge to Atlus about their representation of transgender characters.
As a sort of closing thoughts on my time with Bastion, I’m curious as to how I can further my agenda of promoting diversity in games, or seeing how games are an artifact of a culture’s stance on diversity.