“Vamp, isn’t for vampire, it’s because he’s bisexual.”
On Friday, June 26 2015, the United States Supreme Court ruled that states cannot ban same-sex marriages. With this in mind, we at Biya Byte wanted to celebrate by highlighting some of the more notable LGBT characters in video games.
Vamp - Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
We’d write something informative here but Snake sums it up pretty well so watch the video!
Birdo - Super Mario Bros. 2
Birdo’s often cited as the first transgender video game character ever. Based on the instruction manual from Super Mario Brothers 2, the character “thinks he’s a girl and he spits eggs from his mouth. He’d rather be called Birdetta.” Nintendo has since removed any hints of this but given the fact that people still talk about it, we’re counting Birdo on this list.
Eagle - Street Fighter Series
The game designers first introduced Eagle as a computer-controlled fighter in the original Street Fighter. When he returned as a playable character in Capcom Vs. SNK 2, he was redesigned as a tribute to Queen lead singer, Freddy Mercury. Fans have speculated that his appearance and quotes such as “The show must go on” draw parallels to the Mercury and that the two may have homosexuality in common.
Bioware has a long history of LGBT characters in their Dragon Age series. We won’t list them all here but The Iron Bull (bisexual) from Dragon Age: Inquisition is one of the most memorable. Fun Fact: The Iron Bull was voiced by Freddie Prinze Jr.
MASSIVE SPOILERS BELOW
Incase you didn't read the big bold letters that say spoilers, we're letting you know right now, that there will be spoilers below!
Ready? Still with us?
Again we don't want to spoil these games, but it just happens that the next couple of games were some of the biggest in the last couple of years.
Okay, here we go!
The last of Us
One of the central characters in Naughty Dog’s PlayStation masterpiece, The Last of Us, Ellie is revealed to have strong feelings towards her friend, Riley. These feelings are explored in the game’s story DLC, Left Behind. And if there were any doubts, here’s a quote from The Last of Us director, Neil Druckmann.
"We’ve already told this platonic love story between Joel and Ellie and we’ve told the story of the friendship of these two girls in the comic book… It felt like we wanted another dimension to it and since we already had these discussions of who Ellie is it seemed pretty natural to say, or at least ask the question, “What if these two girls were more than friends? What if they were attracted to each other? What if there was more to it?”
In some ways it felt like it could become more tragic because we see this high contrast: This is the happiest Ellie has ever been when they’re dancing in the department store and juxtaposed with this is a very sad but hopeful moment in the present where we see Ellie going forward past that point.”
Remember, there’s a spoiler warning up there somewhere in red letters. There will be spoilers for this game, in about, now!
In The Fullbright Company's Gone Home, the player takes control of Kaitlin, a young woman who has finally come home after a year abroad. The house is completely empty when Kaitlin arrives and it’s up to the player to piece together what happened through newspaper clippings, cassette tapes and the like. Eventually, the player comes across notebooks and notes written by Samantha, Kaitlin’s sister.
Samantha writes about Lonnie, a friend from school. Through small bits of information, the game illustrates the growing relationship between Lonnie and Samantha, and the two have a secret romance. Samantha’s parents disapprove of the relationship and tries to talk her out of the behavior. All of this happens as Lonnie is weeks away from shipping out to join the army. The night before Lonnie has to leave, she spends a night with Samantha. Samantha finds Lonnie gone the next morning. As Kaitlin, the player finally discovers that Lonnie called Samantha one last time.
And that’s where we’ll stop the spoilers. Gone Home is a phenomenal game and its storytelling alone is a testament to what games can do for culture.
Let us know if you can think of some more LGBT characters in video games!
Billy is the co-founder and producer of Biya Byte. And at the time of this writing, he's also a little inebriated. Follow his recovery and tweet him @BillyByte.