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Game of the Week: I forget how powerful games have the capacity to be


A close-up of Bertie's character in Baldur's Gate 3. They are a white-skinned human male with long blond hair, dipped in pink at the bottom. They have black rings around their eyes and black veins are visible beneath their skin.
Image credit: Eurogamer / Larian

Sometimes, in the churn of games that come out each year, I forget how powerful games have the capacity to be. They can reach out and into our lives and grab us in ways that are profound. They're a bit like that bad guy in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom who can grab at people's chests and then pull their hearts out - in a nice way, I mean.

Pride Week this week has reminded me of this. Look at Caelyn's piece on the companion character Parvati Holcomb in The Outer Worlds, for example. It's a piece about being seen. Parvati is a crewmember and as a side-character, her story isn't enforced; it's the sort of thing you can explore or not. The whole game might go by without you ever noticing it. But Caeyln noticed because she relates to Parvati as an asexual person - a sexuality very rarely represented in games. And not only was it represented here, Obsidian handled it with understanding and care. It knocked it out of the park, to borrow Caelyn's sentiment. And Caelyn teared up to see herself reflected and validated in this way.

That sense of belonging is something James Croft explores in his piece about the surprising power of queer gaming groups. It's a piece about the communities around games and about how good can grow from bad. But it also shows the tremendous power games have to be a kind of glue that can stick like-minded people together, in ways that can positively affect their whole lives.

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