“The Rise of the Gaymer!!”
By Jason Jarvis
There is a subculture in our wonderful community that I want to talk about. A subculture that doesn’t always get the representation it deserves. A subculture that has been a true pioneer of change and early adoption. A subculture that has been an engine of creativity. They are the Gaymers.
Gay Gamers, or Gaymers, are a huge part of our LGBTQ+ world. They often get overlooked by the mainstream ideology of how the average gamer looks. A quick Google of the term Gaymer will bring up a number of dedicated community platforms for people who love the idea of being transported into a digital fantasy world. There has even been a gaming convention dedicated to the world of the Gaymer. And now dedicated magazines are serving the Gayming community, bringing a much-needed resource and content channel to the audience.
There is an ongoing conversation parallel to this, about LGBTQ+ representation in video games. Increasing numbers of video game developers are putting Queer stories in their games. Queer representation in the games industry is now coming becoming a part of gaming culture.
The Pride season is a perfect starting point for publishers looking to show support and connect further with LGBTQ+ people around the world. How amazing would it be to have a float in the Pride parade with some of the leading gaming brands standing shoulder to shoulder with the Queer community and showing full support and solidarity?!
This would be a powerful statement and step forward for the Gayming industry. I know it would mean a lot to the people who may feel ignored by the wider gaming community.
My own journey with the gaming world started when I was 11. I was given a Game Boy for my birthday by my parents. Instantly I was hooked! My first games were Tetris and Super Mario Land. You couldn’t take that Game Boy out of my hands for love nor money. As I got older my love of the gaming world only got stronger. In my lifetime I have owned a Nintendo 64, Play Station 2, Dreamcast, a Nintendo GameCube, Play Station 3, Nintendo Wii and a Play Station 4.
The most exciting games for me are always action-adventure, platform or fighting games. There’s nothing better than being transported into a fantasy world full of creativity and imagination, or digitally taken someone on with some killer flighting moves.
I’ve played a lot of games over the years and so I’m going to talk about the top five games that were instrumental in turning me into a Card-carrying Gaymer.
Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time
From the off, I was totally captivated by the magic of its storytelling and design. It was the first game that I felt a true sense of accomplishment when playing. Quite simply, a masterpiece of creativity and to this day is the best game I have ever played!
Super Mario 64
This was the first game that blew my mind as a kid. We look at 3D graphics now with a feeling of “meh.” But back then… the jump from 16-bit sprites to fully-fledged 3D worlds where you could move forward and backwards, jump and accelerate?! It felt like we had finally jumped into the future! I was obsessed with this game. We only had one TV in the house at the time so I could only play it in the early hours before my sisters were up and complaining that I was hogging the TV.
Resident Evil: Code Veronica
I am not a fan of horror movies, so I still don’t understand how I came to love this game so much, but I do. There was something so imaginative about the story, it was the first game where I felt empathy for the characters.
Super Mario World (SMW)
This was the first game I completed to the very end and loved every single minute of it. As you can tell from this list I am clearly a Nintendo fanboy. There is something so magical about the Mario series and SMW is one of the very best games. It still holds up today as a masterclass in high-level design and entertaining gaming.
Marvel vs Capcom 2
Many nights in my early twenties involved ordering pizza, getting the drinks in and switching on Marvel Vs Capcom. I would say this game defined those years of my life. My friends would all come round and we would have our set of players that we would stick to no matter how many times you lost. I had so much fun and laughter with this game. I feel nostalgic thinking about how much this game influenced my early adulthood and the friendships it helped me to build.
I chose this subject to talk about as I believe there are so many nuances to our beautiful LGBTQ+ family. The gaming world is becoming increasingly aware of its connection to Queer culture and I am excited to see how this newfound sense of acceptance develops into the future.