Creating Positive Queer Characters in Video Games

Abstract:

Too often heterosexual cisgendered game creators claim they don’t understand what makes one queer character a positive portrayal and what makes one a negative one. I thought that I could make one of those flowcharts that break down concepts that might seem simple to some people, but remaining fairly occult to others (i.e. Like that Is What I just Said Sexist? Flowchart that seems glaringly obvious to me.) After beginning to build it, I realized that my experience limited my ability to speak for everyone within the queer community so I hatched the idea of doing this as a workshop where people from a variety of experience could participate. After a brief introduction, workshop participants will break out into groups with index cards, yarn, and scotch tape to create their own flowcharts or elaborations on the existing one. If some participants want to break into affinity groups to focus on issues surrounding specific parts of the queer community, like trans-folk, People of Color, or a group that wants to focus on both the positive and negative uses of queer stereotypes, that will be encouraged. The goal of the activity is to not only produce a guide for hetero/cis creators, but to also provide a space for queer creators to reflect on what does constitute positive character development and what does not.

 

Bio:

Michael Wilde is an independent videogame designer and developer. He worked as a developer on the astounding commercial failure Space Bunnies Must Die! for Pulse Entertainment and on too many web-based casual games to count at NBC.com, as well as making several soulless advergames for companies like ARCO and the NFL. He now teaches mobile game design and development at Highline College outside of Seattle while designing artist games that further his gay agenda.