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Everything you might have missed from Eurogamer's Pride Week 2023

More stories celebrating the intersection of LGBTQ+ culture and gaming.

Hello! All this week, Eurogamer has been marking Pride with another series of features celebrating the intersection of queer culture and gaming. As ever, it's been both a privilege and pleasure to have so many wonderful writers share their enthusiasm, stories, and visions of a hopeful future throughout the week - and you'll find a complete round-up of this year's features, conveniently assembled for your leisurely perusal, below.

Once again, a massive thank you to our stellar contributors (in order of appearance): James Croft, Ozzy Smith, Ed Nightingale, Sharang Biswas, Eli Cugini, Gareth Damian Martin, Alex Meehan, Ebonix, Nikatine, Lottie Lynn, Llaura McGee, Eve Golden Woods, Wren Brier, Deere, August Aiden Black, and Dr Lloyd (Meadhbh) Houston. Additional thanks go to Christian Donlan for his ever-invaluable behind-the-scenes assistance, and to Malaika Hardy-Fraser for this year's wonderful Pride Week artwork and logo.

We hope you've enjoyed this, Eurogamer's fourth annual Pride Week, and we will, of course, continue celebrating the achievements of, and highlighting the issues affecting, the LGBTQ+ community in gaming throughout the year. We'll be back with another week of Pride celebrations in 2024, and if you've missed out on Eurogamer's previous Pride Week festivities, you can catch up here, here, and here. Until next time!

How a new generation of drag artists is breaking limits and queering video games

Image credit: Matti Scicluna/Eurogamer

James Croft launched this year's Pride Week celebrations in fabulous fashion on Monday, delving into the subversive world of gender-bending Kratos, hot Piranha Plants, and more, as he explored how a new generation of drag performers is combining its art and a deep love of video games to reimagine what a bolder, queerer future for gaming could be.

"All these drag artists have found that audiences love their video-game-inspired looks, and it's easy to understand why: all four performers share an infectious love of games and gaming culture. These are not dilettantes, playing off the popularity of video games to score quick internet points. Rather, they are connoisseurs, who adore both drag and games, and who have found a way to bring their passions together. After all, to queer a character, you have to know that character well. As Mary O'Kart puts it, "Knowing games well is the most important thing. I can't have a name like Mary O'Kart and be shit at the game...or not know the references."

[ Read the full article here ]

If Found... and pushing back on shame

Image credit: Dreamfeel/Eurogamer

On Tuesday, Ozzy Smith revisited developer Dreamfeel's acclaimed visual novel If Found..., taking a closer look at its themes of self-erasure in a world where members of the LGBTQ+ community are so often used to "checking" themselves and their queerness in public.

"That [feeling of "checking" yourself is] best thought of as the tension between who people expect us to be and who we really are... or who we're trying to become. Imagined futures are projected onto our bodies like film reels, blurring the skin that lies beneath. That tension feels a lot like shame. But, while video games usually have all the subtlety of a sledgehammer busting through a wall, they're occasionally a great place to explore queer topics, letting us role-play as whoever we want to be or explore those unique experiences in unique ways."

[ Read the full article here ]

Final Fantasy 16's LGBTQ+ representation proves the series is modernising

Image credit: Square Enix/Eurogamer

On Wednesday, Eurogamer's own Ed Nightingale, a life-long Final Fantasy fan, wrote about the thrill of finally feeling seen by his favourite franchise as its latest instalment takes a few bold steps toward more inclusive representation... all starting with a kiss.

"It's all too rare to see LGBTQ+ representation in high profile AAA games. But to see it here, in a Final Fantasy game too, was such a moment of joy for me....They kiss, a tender moment among the bloodshed as they both consider what's at stake. And then they move on. It's authentic, normalised. It's not sexual, but simply two characters sharing intimacy."

[ Read the full article here ]

Artsy Porn & Sexy Larps: Games, Bodies, & Queer Rights

Image credit: Vespéral/Eurogamer

Next up, Sharang Biswas took us on a whirlwind tour of bodily pleasures, exploring the perhaps surprising connection between pornography and analogue gaming - and highlighting the creators designing in the spaces between intimacy and play.

"If the realm of bodily immersion cedes some of its territory to the genre of pornography, the rest must lie firmly under the authority of analogue games. Boardgames, card games, playground games, tabletop roleplaying games, and larps — these forms engage the physicality of participants in ways no other art forms can... Pornography and roleplaying, in some ways, are bound by similar logics. Both situate stories in bodies. Even if I refrain from active self-pleasuring, the erotic delight I derive from a spicy movie is only possible because I have some sense of what it feels like in my body... Roleplaying games, for all their fantastical premises and arithmetic-loving rulesets, are only fun because we have a bodily experience of the world."

[ Read the full article here ]

Danganronpa and the surprising joys of clumsy queer representation

Image credit: Spike Chunsoft/Eurogamer

And on Friday, Eli Cugini returned for another Pride Week to celebrate the clumsier side of LGBTQ+ representation, with a particular eye on the Danganronpa series. Sure, games can miss the mark by some considerable margin in their efforts at inclusive representation, but sometimes, even in these instances, there's a strange, raw beauty to be found within.

"I think a lot about the ways in which queerness has always been seen as fascinating and powerful by some non-queer people, even as it has also been seen as scary and threatening. The Danganronpa developers don't have the right words or won't use them, they're not very connected to potential queer players, and accordingly, they make mistakes and draw on harmful stereotypes at times. But they also have a raw interest in the power and beauty of queer dynamics, and the ways in which they enrich the stories they're telling."

[ Read the full article here ]

My queer favourite game

Image credit: Eurogamer

And finally for this year's Pride Week, we spoke with some of our favourite creators, passed notes among the team, and even fished around in Eurogamer's archive to compile a (far-from-definitive) list of some of our very favourite queer and queer-positive games. Do have a read and perhaps even share a few favourites of your own!

[ Read the full article here ]

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