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Video Game Developer Asks GLAAD to Include Games in its Media Awards

Following last week’s controversy over Nintendo’s exclusion of same-sex relationships in its upcoming 3DS game Tomodachi Life, and GLAAD’s accusation that Nintendo were sending a...

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May 12, 2014 :: 10:40 AM

Following last week’s controversy over Nintendo’s exclusion of same-sex relationships in its upcoming 3DS game Tomodachi Life, and GLAAD’s accusation that Nintendo were sending a “hurtful message,” a video game developer has asked why GLAAD don’t include games as a category in their annual media awards.

Justin Amirkhani of Vagabond Dog, the makers of Always Sometimes Monsters, asked, “Wouldn’t it be great to honor and recognize outstanding examples in video games who strive for inclusion, rather than weigh in on this issue in a public manner for negative reasons instead of positive ones?”

The GLAAD Media Awards recognize 39 winners across mediums such as film, television, newspapers and comic books, but not video games. The awards are intended to “recognize and honor media for their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and the issues that affect their lives.”

Amirkhani highlighted the fact that a number of video games, both small independent titles and large budget, mainstream releases, have depicted LGBT people and issues in an inclusive way in recent years. He also noted the additional technical challenges that face LGBT inclusion in games due to their interactive nature:

“Speaking as a developer who has built a game from the ground up with this sort of freedom in mind, allow me to clarify that the sorts of options GLAAD wants to see in games do not come easily. We are not the first to include these choices, there are countless other games that have gone unrecognized for their inclusion over the years. Games that have sold millions upon millions of copies.”

GLAAD’s statement on Nintendo last week acknowledged the positive steps taken by some games, notably Electronic Arts’ The Sims series, which allows same-sex marriages. GLAAD’s spokesperson Wilson Cruz noted that “many other mainstream and massively popular video games have followed [Electronic Arts’] lead since.”

Nintendo have since released a statementapologizing, and promising that if they make a sequel to Tomodachi Life then they will strive to make sure that it “is more inclusive, and better represents all players.”

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