Long before SCOTUS legalized gay marriage in the US, our online history shows that video games actually had the foresight of introducing similar relationships and gay characters into their games from as far back as the ?80s.
Some were introduced merely as interesting characters that add color to our beloved video games such as the canon-ball shooting Birdo in Super Mario 2. In the Japanese manual of the game, Birdo was introduced as a boy who wants to be recognized as a girl, and be named Birdetta.
Although Birdo?s gender was finally acknowledged by Nintendo as female in Mario Tennis, we will always remember him/her as the flamboyant ally of our favorite video game brothers.
Undoubtedly, some of the most unforgettable video games originated in Japan, and their Japanese origin is perhaps a big influence in the gender orientation of most of its characters. As the nation has high regard for females, and see violence against women as a concept to frown upon, some of the video games produced by more liberal counterparts had to present some characters as transgenders to justify what very well be perceived as women in fighting scenes.
One example is the character Poison in the games Final Fight by Capcom. Obviously female in form and voice, the scantily-clad character is actually perceived as a hermaphrodite or a person having both female and male genitalia, so the game producer can technically pass off her fighting scenes as man vs man.
Zangief, Street Fighter?s bikini-clad, hair full of chest fighter, has also long been perceived as a homosexual. The reference however is quite dubious, as it was made along with Japan?s image of a homosexual man to be large and hairy, although many would argue that Zangief was a straight character.
The more obvious choice perhaps is the bouncer-turned-fighter Eagle, which most fans perceivde as gay because of his extravagant expressions when fighting, and whose character is said to be an homage to Freddie Mercury of the band, Queen.
Female character Juri Han on the other hand, is said to be a lesbian in the more recent Super Street Fighter IV, as the character is known to be a compulsive flirt when it comes to fighting with other women characters like Chun Li.
If we are to be honest about it, homosexuality among men is perceived in most make-believe world as a sign of weakness, having adopted a more female persona, or that the character was conceptualized for its comedic value (case in point: Birdo).
More modern video games however put much power on some of its gay characters. In GTA IV?s Ballad of Gay Tony for example, Tony was recognised?for his influence and clout in the underworld scene of Liberty City.
In the fighting game, World Heroes, one of the main characters, Rasputin, is considered to be gay, thanks to his winning pose reference which looks like he?s doing Marilyn Monroe?s famous sewer-blown upskirt scene.
Same sex relationships
Yannick Lejacq of Australia?s kotaku.com.au has created a rather detailed account of some of the most notable gay marriages in video games.
Although most would feel more associated with The Sims 2?s lesbian ceremony in 2009, other games have already shown gay marriage scenes such as Fable in 2004.
Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3 has featured some prominent bisexual relationships as well, but it was Fallout 2 in 1998 that pretty much changed the landscape of gay marriage in ?90s video games (women can actually marry other women, and?regard their vows with much regard).
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim by Bethesda also featured a gay union in 2011, while Final Fantasy XIV: A Real Reborn made headlines last year for joining its first virtual gay pride parade.
Now the point of the article is this: Gay references in these video games have little to do with your sexuality (unless of course, you?re Patricia Hernandez of Rock, Paper, Shotgun). Whether you are straight or in a gay relationship, you will play these games because they are great, and they are entertaining. These games have given us a gift ? a chance to further test the boundaries of RPG, and to see a world without the limitations of judgment, hate, and our own personal prejudices.