You can't say "Gamer" without saying "gay". It says so right there. I think if you're playing games in a heterosexual way you're probably doing it wrong.
You’re probably heard of the dragon age controversy on the street. Some dude on a forum whinged about characters being bisexual; the game’s developers laid the smack-down; everyone lolled. End of story.
Or is it?
See, while I disagree with the dude, I also took issue with the developer. However, it may not be what you’re thinking of. You see, firstly, the dragon age writer claims these characters are bisexual (in fact, all of these characters are bisexual). The thing is, unless these characters are hitting on other men and women during the course of the game, or out-and-out say they’re bisexual, there’s no reason for them to actually be bisexual. You see, there’s nothing written anywhere that says that if you play through the game multiple times that the characters need to be consistent with previous playthroughs. If Bob the elf was a heterosexual in a previous playthrough, the current Bob can be a homosexual and that isn’t inconsistent.
The second thing that out and out pissed me off was his rather blunt admission that having these characters be bisexual is a way of saving money. Put differently, it doesn’t matter if the story makes sense at all, we’re just shoving it down the gullet because frankly, we had to write it and the least you could do is consume it. Which sounds ridiculous. Do you want the player to care about the story or not? You don’t see Stephen Spielberg come out and say "Yeah I know Germany didn’t have any Gremlins but it made budgetary sense to use them for Shindler’s List?" No he does not. Because it’s a fucking retarded reason.
The other thing is, how does this heterosexual white male even know another character is bisexual? Is he hitting on him? Is he doing it constantly? Would that kind of behaviour put the bisexual character in hot water in, say, a modern workplace? I mean it’s not like this heterosexual gamer is giving the gay elf any ideas.
If we look at dating sims as a point of comparison, you’ll have a benign, non-sexual chat with some girl (or perhaps guy). Something like “Do you like books?”, and you might answer “err yeah”, then three hours later you’ll realise that was the wrong answer if you want to pursue a romantic relationship with this girl/guy. The game will friggin score you on every bloody reply, and unless you answer correctly for everything you’re not going to hit the win condition.
Despite the fact that dating sims are stupid and not fun, they at least make some measure of sense. So what the hell is dragon age 2 doing? Literally everyone in the game wants to have sex with you at the drop of a hat, and no one has any trouble making it perfectly clear to you. I haven’t even played the game but I can say this with some confidence — because I know how these things work. Add to this the stupid dialog system and the fact that it seems no matter what you choose the same thing happens anyway, all nuance is lost. All the characters seem vulgar and hell-bent on having sex with you. If this was a dating sim the white heterosexual gamer would never even have known some character is bisexual. As it is he’s thinking of filing a lawsuit against a gay elf.
This plays right into the whole equality of it:
The very best we can do is give everyone a little bit of choice, and thatâ€™s what we tried here.
Wait what? Isn’t this supposed to be... a story? With characters? Maybe I missed that. Romance isn’t some sort of buffet table. I can’t walk up to some dude in the street and call him out for being a homophobe because he’s not hitting on me, as if I have some right to be hit on by every guy and girl, free to “romance” any one of them I choose.
In conclusion, the gamer is a dick, but the game obviously has its flaws as well. The player’s lack of agency with the excuse of “budget” is well clear. In an atmosphere like this the characters' actions belie what they’re really providing for the gamer: prostitution.