The RPS Ultra Super Perfectly Coifed GaymerX Chat Show

By Nathan Grayson on July 17th, 2014 at 10:00 am.

For so many reasons (many of which I’ll elaborate on soon), GaymerX raised the bar for game conventions in my mind. I usually come away from these things drained and a little bit sad, a B.O.-scented ball of cynicism, but GaymerX actually left me energized after it came to a close on Sunday. The small San-Francisco-based con was dedicated to inclusivity and community in games, marketed foremost to the LGBTQ crowd but accepting of all (despite confusion on the latter part for some people).

To discuss what exactly made it so different, I gathered a small RPSfriend panel made up of Sentris creator Samantha Kalman, Treachery in Beatdown City master gentrification-suplexer Shawn Alexander Allen, Dominique Pamplemousse maestro Deirdra “Squinky” Kiai, and PopCap game designer Scott Jon Siegel. We talked the show’s ups and downs, queer representation in games, a bunch of games ranging from Perfect Woman to Borderlands, and heaps more. Watch below. 

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  1. Tei says:

    I don’t think sexuality is all that important. It should not define who you are. I mean,you can be from france, journalist, left-wing, anti-esports, fan of turn based cards games.. why if you are lesbian should that be more important than the other things you are?.

    • frightlever says:

      If everyone thought like that, I’d agree with you.

      And having finished listening to it, it looks like the panellists agree because discussion of sexuality and gender came a far second to discussion of fighting games. I realise I’m exposing my bias here, but I don’t much care for fighting games.

      Also, I find it odd that Squinky doesn’t play games. Like when Karen Traviss said she didn’t read novels.

      Interesting video overall, though a good chairman might do more to make sure everyone was engaged.

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      Thirith says:

      If one part of your identity gets your ostracised or even attacked, if there are very vocal people who decide that this part of your identity is wrong, sinful, flawed or unnatural, or even if it’s the more seemingly harmless “Why bring this up? Is it really that relevant?”, this changes the context. It’s basically a response to the whole “Could you perhaps be a bit less, y’know, LGBTI?” Others define you negatively due to that one part of your identity, and a valid response to that is defining yourself positively by that part of your identity. It’s a personal and political statement, and one that can be meaningful at least as long as that part of you isn’t really accepted.

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      Lars Westergren says:

      > I don’t think sexuality is all that important.

      Yep, and neither is gender. The calm, polite and insightful discussions that inevitably arise on game sites when these topics are raised shows that this is clearly the case for everyone everywhere.

      > why if you are lesbian should that be more important than the other things you are?

      Do quite a lot of countries have prison sentences or brutal death penalties for being a fan of turn based games? Do you risk getting disowned by your parents and thrown out of the house for being anti-esports? Did psychatrists classify being left-wing as a mental disorder and try to cure it with electroshock treatment just a few decades ago? Do kids in school or grown ups on the internet use “journalist” as a casual insult?

      No? Then perhaps that is the reason why these groups don’t feel quite the same pressure to fight for their rights as gays and lesbians do.

      • Tei says:

        I still surprise me people give a shit about this type of stuff for religious reasons. If anything, I think somebody like Jesus would have been on the side of LGBTQ people.

        • SuicideKing says:

          It’s fear. A lack of understanding that leads to fear. And as a great man once said:

          “Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, and hate leads to suffering.”

          Also, Sodom and Gomorrah

          • Tei says:

            I feel bad I asked, really.

            not related (robots vs men vs women in games & basket)
            http://xkcd.com/1392/large/

          • Piecewise says:

            Did you just fucking quote yoda from the prequel series of movies as a rational for homophobia?

            As red letter media said, that quote makes no fucking sense. You can’t just take 3 semi interchangeable emotional states and decide some sort of causal linkage.

          • Koozer says:

            But Piecewise, you are forgetting the most important justification: it sounds good.

        • wwwhhattt says:

          iirc there were early christians who said they could have sex with anyone they wanted. Although the evidence for this comes from st. Paul saying ‘no. no you can’t’. When in Rome and all that.

        • XhomeB says:

          These are VERY bold claims. Jesus once said “Neither do I condnemn thee. Go AND SIN NO MORE” and “Out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander”. He wasn’t “tolerant” (in the way we understand it today) in the slightest.
          Neither of us is perfect unfortunately, but that doesn’t mean we should bathe in sin or even embrace it as a way of life. We should ask God for forgiveness and help each other change our lives for the better.
          “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private, if he listens to you, you have won your brother.”

          • UpsilonCrux says:

            The people wwwhat is referring to are the Cathars, or the katharoi, from the Greek meaning “pure ones”.
            While it usually refers to a cult movement in France in the 12-14th century, they got their name from a fundamentalist Christian cult who we know as the katahroi. They are mentioned in several correspondences from around the time of Constantine.
            Basically speaking, there were many sub sects of Christianity in it’s early days. What we now know as Christianity is kind of the low-fat, milquetoast version – the type which was acceptable to the most people.
            This was the reason for the many ecumenical councils held by Constantine and his followers; there were “hardcore” Christians, basically hipster Christians, who didn’t want the new lame, bandwagon-jumping, fad-loving, console peasant Christians in their club.
            Many of the old-school were ascetics to the point of suicide, and some sects, like the Cathars, were extremely dualist in their philosophical outlook, and as such viewed the physical world and all it’s trapping as profane and evil. This meant that in their view, procreation was a larger sin than sodomy, homosexuality and masturbation, and in fact the latter practices were preferred to “normal” sex.

        • Bahlof says:

          I find it funny that people say things like “Jesus or God would support gays!”. When pretty much the whole reason why being gay was unacceptable at one point was based on biblical reasons.

          “fornication” is considered on the same level as “homosexuality” in the bible but obviously nobody makes a big deal about that. Most so called “religious’ people are the most irritating people cause the majority live the most hypocritical lives just picking and choosing what that want to follow. “You can have sex before marriage but you can’t be a homosexual!.

          If one is truly religious then don’t support gays. If not or does the half assed christian belief like 99% of the people then what gives them the right to say what you can or can’t do?

      • HybridHalo says:

        Well said.

      • GameCat says:

        ” Did psychatrists classify being left-wing as a mental disorder”

        Sometimes when I read about some left-wing ideas or actions I can’t help thinking that begin lefty could be some sort of mental disorder.

        They often reminds me of people who can’t accept harsh reality because it breaks their imagined concept of world.

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          Oozo says:

          Fun fact: quite a lot of people feel the exact same way about right-wing ideas and actions!

          Probably we should be glad that this paradoxon exists, though — after all, it gave the word the phenomenon that are drunken Irish University students yelling from the stands while people in front of them are trying to behave as posh as possible, while pretending to defend just such ideas.

          (Seriously, the finale of the World Universities Debating Championship is still one of the weirder things I witnessed in my lifetime…)

          • Michael Fogg says:

            One doesn’t have to be a right winger to find some leftist to be clinically delusional. Lots of middle of the road liberal democrats see Marxism as utter folly.

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            Oozo says:

            Oh, I wouldn’t argue against that. I would just add that if you take a seat on the outer regions of either wing, you will be judged “clinically delusional” by a fair number of people.

            That, and that some Irish fans of debating contests are a sight to behold.

          • GameCat says:

            No, for me most of other parties bad actions are just them being stupid and/or prick, but only lefties are delusional enough to shout “I don’t see a thing!” if something isn’t really as they thought it is, even when you’re showing them straight facts to prove them wrong. At least in my country (it’s not England)
            I hate people like that.

          • Dances to Podcasts says:

            Pft. Everyone knows reality has a well-known liberal bias.

          • HadToLogin says:

            @GameCat: Hmm, I guess I should ask what you mean by left and right. In my country it feels like only difference is if you follow church rules or not – when it comes to economy, both sides as so socialist they practically say “we’ll try to bring communism back”.

        • unit 3000-21 says:

          Are you sure you’re not talking about Laffer curve worshippers or people who really think the state is crushing businessmen and that political correctness takes away their freedom and all the other “rational non-leftists”?

      • ThornEel says:

        > Do quite a lot of countries have prison sentences or brutal death penalties for being a fan of turn based games? Do you risk getting disowned by your parents and thrown out of the house for being anti-esports? Did psychatrists classify being left-wing as a mental disorder and try to cure it with electroshock treatment just a few decades ago? Do kids in school or grown ups on the internet use “journalist” as a casual insult?

        I’m sorry for being confused, but let’s try anyway :

        > Do quite a lot of countries have prison sentences or brutal death penalties for being left-wing?
        Yes, definitely.
        > Do quite a lot of countries have prison sentences or brutal death penalties for being journalist?
        Yes – if you don’t confuse journalist and propagandist.
        >Do you risk getting disowned by your parents and thrown out of the house for being a fan of turn-based games?
        >Did psychatrists classify being a fan of turn based games as a mental disorder and try to cure it with electroshock treatment?
        Electroshock treatment was old-fashioned already AFAICT, but being a fan of video- or tabletop-game was considered the symptom of mental disorders by many, many people, and still is by some. So yes.
        > Do kids in school or grown ups on the internet use “journalist” as a casual insult?
        Maybe not kids, but grown-ups, certainly – particularly in developed countries where media have a bad rep.

        Honestly, as a bisexual man I feel uneasy by this. I mean, though being a man (and more important, what “being a man” means for me) is an important part of my identity, along with my birth culture, language, religion or lack thereof (and, again, what it means for me) and general way of life/interests, my sexual orientations are only one part of say way of life/interests. In fact, if tomorrow I woke up straight or gay, I wouldn’t really feel a different person.
        In fact, I wasn’t always a bisexual, and becoming one didn’t make much difference for me.

        So seeing this is unsettling for me, a bit like a Gamer would feel.

        • The Random One says:

          But the prison sentences are not for being left-wing; they are for being against a dictatorial party. If someone was right-wing but not in the precise way the dictator wants to be they’ll also be arrested and beaten. Same for being a journalist; the crime is not being a journalist, but speaking against a dictatorial regime. A journalist that speaks in favour of the regime will not be harassed, whereas a non-journalist that does speak is. And someone being called a ‘journalist’ as an insult… I’m going to call a [citation needed] on that.

          Sexuality is one of the few things that can get you politically persecuted regardless of your political actions, which is why it is frequently on the forefront of such discussions and rightly so.

    • Fiora says:

      I’m pretty sure love and who one loves is an important topic for quite a few people; if it wasn’t, there wouldn’t be straight romance plots shoehorned into the majority of video games, movies, and television shows in existence.

    • Michael Fogg says:

      I agree with Tei’s original statement, identity politics has taken over an alarming part of the public discourse. It’s far more important who one becomes or aspires to be (e. g. a journalist), what values and belief one holds than the atributes a person is born with. At the end of the day things like race, gender, ethnicity etc can’t be changed in most cases and mulling over them endlessly brings little benefit. Just accept the identity of yourself and others and focus on where your’e going from there.

      • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

        Here’s the thing: homophobes, misogynists, and racists disagree with you. Until that changes, keeping “identity politics” out of the public discourse only means people will be privately harassed, assaulted, and murdered.

        • Michael Fogg says:

          No, it’s one thing to rightfully oppose various bigots and another to spend inordinate amounts of time and resources to ruminate about the true meaning of your blackness, queerness etc.

          • The Random One says:

            Considering that I, and presumably you as well, support people spending lots of money and resources into making virtual men fire virtual guns at other virtual men for my entertainment, I see no problem with someone discussing their blackness and queerness if they feel it is good for them.

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            jrodman says:

            Thinking over race and orientation is one way that the public discourse and opinion shifts about race and orientation.

            Your comment kind of reads a little as hand-wringing but I don’t think that’s what you meant.

    • Universal Quitter says:

      Here’s a crazy idea! Whatever you want to be important to you can be important to you. However you want to identify yourself, it’s okay to do so.

      And I’m yet to talk to a gay person in real-life that only talked about their sexuality. In fact, it hardly comes up at all. It’s almost as if they’re regular people that want to talk about their jobs, hobbies, the non-sexual parts of their relationships, etc.

      The existence of gay rights awareness doesn’t mean that’s ALL a person cares about.

    • Timmytoby says:

      > I don’t think sexuality is all that important. It should not define who you are. I mean,you can be from france, journalist, left-wing, anti-esports, fan of turn based cards games.. why if you are lesbian should that be more important than the other things you are?.

      First of all: It’s not just about sexuality, it’s also about gender. And I would argue both very much define us in much more profound ways then our favourite game genres, or our jobs.

      Second: One thing that’s driving me crazy everytime I hear “We don’t want to hear it, the status quo is awesome!”, is that a lot of people are NOT happy with things as they are right now. It’s not necessarily about sex and relationships in games (allthough that is something a lot of people apparently look for, hence dating sims and romantic plots in a lot of games), but about the way LBGTQ characters are used in games: Mostly as comic relief or to make the audience uncomfortable.

      Third: Unless we talk about it, the game industry will never grow up and we will be stuck with the same boring white, straight beefcakes with a traumatic past and dark secrets. Showing that there are people (customers) that would enjoy a more varied cast of characters and array of topics in games and at the same time gathering professionals that are interested in pursuing these alternatives, is a Good Thing ™.

      • Frank says:

        Yeah, I can’t believe #3 isn’t enough to bring the entire RPS crowd on board. Aren’t we all sick of games with the graphical style of Warhammer and the storytelling of military scifi fan fiction?

        • ResonanceCascade says:

          I am not, and will never be, completely burned out on shooting aliens as marines in space. But I certainly welcome a wider, more inclusive games sphere, where all kinds of games for all kinds of gamers can thrive.

          But seriously, don’t fuck with my space marines. Space marines deserve a place at the table too.

  2. frightlever says:

    Why does this serious panel look like a pyjama party? I think Question Time just found its new look.

  3. Demiath says:

    It seems the consistent theme with RPS coverage of gaming events is that Nathan gets in bed with as many people as humanly possible. It’s all for the greater good, I’m sure…

    • gayreth says:

      Nathan should get his business cards to list him as “Official Bedside Correspondent”.

  4. guygodbois00 says:

    All i have to say about this is: perfectly coifed- yeah, riiiight.

  5. Freud says:

    Gaming to me is one of the least sexual activities. I don’t care about the sex in games and I don’t care about the sexuality of those I play with.

    • Michael Fogg says:

      You should be the first person to admit that EVERYTHING we do is sexual in one way or another ;)

    • Comrade Roe says:

      Even Second Life?

      • The Random One says:

        I think he means it’s a very unsexual activity for him, so seeing it discussed in games makes him feel awkward, like someone put blueberries on his spaghetti.

        I don’t agree, but I get this feeling – I feel the same way about books, and people love finding a way to put sex scenes in books. I realized I’ve been leaning towards YA fiction just because it probably won’t have a forced sex scene in it.

        • unit 3000-21 says:

          Same. For example I really like Jonathan Franzen’s writing but I was disappointed when about one-third of “Freedom” consisted of various versions of “and then they fucked”.

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    Wowbagger says:

    Ignorance ahoy! what’s the Q for? in LGBTQ?

  7. Piecewise says:

    I understand the rational behind “Gaymer” stuff. It is, as I’ve been told, much the same as a pride parade; both gathering to give support to the gatherers and to show those outside that the attendees are not boogie men and or non-existent.

    But I can’t help but feel like it may have a negative effect in the long run, for one reason or another, in much the same way that some of the choices with pride parades have given endless ammunition to those who would claim that a particular sexuality is nothing but a personally chosen form of perversion. Namely the fact that they are rather synonymous with marching down the street in assless chaps, a show girl plume of feathers and ball gag proclaiming you are totally normal and worthy of respect. Which, frankly, anyone doing that in public, regardless of gender or sexuality, really doesn’t deserve much respect in my book.

    Much the same way, I can’t help but feel like this may be coming at a bad time in the industry. Feminism, LGBT(I’ve seen extra letters, A’s and I’s, but I’ll just leave it at that) and the like have been rather in the spotlight recently with the “Tropes against women” fiasco and the sudden surge of professionally offended tumblrites bringing whiny protest to every corner of the internet. This combined with the plethora of recently invented things like “Gender fluid” and “head mates” and demanding unique pronouns has resulted in the vast majority of people getting frankly burnt out on the subject and starting to see every reference to feminism and LGBT rights as part of the same, often hyperbolically angry, lot.

    The fear I have is that, because of the time it is being held, it’s going to be written off as another one of “Those” things, associated with clickbait articles from Kotaku and and obese middle age tumblr dwellers who reply to every cat video on youtube with “YOU’RE HURTING IT!” I hope I’m wrong. I’d say I hope the convention continues for many years to come, but that would be a lie. I hope it doesn’t; because I hope it doesn’t need to continue, I hope in the future they don’t feel the need to separate themselves. I hope they can feel just as safe and empowered at a normal convention as they can there. That would be great.

  8. Bluestormzion says:

    Thing like this are really my ONLY problem with the LGBTQ+ whatever the acronym is these days crowd. They scream and scream and scream about wanting to be seen as exactly the same as everyone else… and then you have these exclusivity focused conventions and all. Bullshit.

    You’re a gamer? Come to every game convention I go to. Watch game footage with me, play demos with me, converse with me about games. I don’t give half a motherfuck about who you’re attracted to (unless you’re a lady and you’re attracted to me. That I can work with,) because we’re not going to Sexuality-Con, we’re going to GAMES-Con. Gaming is about Games and about Gamers. I don’t play videogames with my testicles and neither do you. Stop trying to force me to celebrate the things that make you different from me, how’s about instead we celebrate the things that we have in common? Because at the end of the day, you’re you and I’m me. I’m opening the door and welcoming you into my convention, why then do you make a convention whose very name excludes me?

    • Sam says:

      It’s important to note that the name is as far as “exclusion” goes. Anyone is welcome, even if they engage in cross-gender romance.

      I think the early parts of the video give a good indication of the way many people feel far more welcome and comfortable at GaymerX than they did at other major conventions. You might be opening doors and welcoming people, but maybe not everyone is.

    • CannedLizard says:

      I think you’re confused as to what exclusive means. You can still go to their con, just as they can still go to yours.

      You’re very convinced every con you go to is a LGBTQ+ safe area…but you’re also not walking in their shoes. Isn’t the fact they felt the need for create their own con proof that the cons you go to AREN’T safe spaces for them?

      Finally: you don’t play games with your testicles? You’re missing out, man.

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      Unknown says:

      Really? Your “ONLY” problem with LGBTQ people is their desire to self-organize safe spaces where they can discuss their hobbies and issues relevant to their community without feeling harassed?

  9. dE says:

    Questioning is another popular variant as well.

  10. Koozer says:

    Lettuce, Gherkin, Bacon, Tomato, and Quavers.

  11. dE says:

    Well, what can I say, two new entries on the blocklist that will make future discussion far less hateful to read.

    In case you’re doing this out of a lack of knowledge:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT
    Scroll down to Variants.

  12. Bluestormzion says:

    Freud was famous for comparing anything cylindrical to a penis, but when someone pointed out that Freud smoked cigars, he was quoted as saying “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.” Very true, Sigmund.

    But sometimes a Cigar is a big black dick in your mouth. Not Judging, Siggy, but if I had a dick in MY mouth, I’d probably shrug and say, “Yep, this is definitely a gay act.” Glass houses, and all.

    All psychology is bullshit. But it’s easier to sit in a chair and tell people that there’s lots of things wrong with them than it is to put on some work-gloves and do something that actually helps humanity. Pays better too :)

  13. ThornEel says:

    He’s only considered a hack by people who didn’t even bother checking Jacques Lacan, so that’s ok.

  14. ThornEel says:

    Some people have no interest in “checking” Albert Einstein.
    Your choice.

  15. ResonanceCascade says:

    Einstein would have immediately seen through the obvious farce that is Lacan’s body of “work.” He’s the poster boy pseudo-intellectual.

    TimHorton, you are wise to save yourself the trouble when you could get the same amount of mental stimulation from trying to break concrete with your forehead.

  16. ThornEel says:

    Would you care to develop how he was a “pseudo-intellectual”? After all, he got better results than the dominant behaviourist schools. Let’s remember, as was written on this very website not so long ago, that the behaviourist “best method” to deal with depression is drugging them up and tell them to try not think about it. Which, for a broken leg, would be putting them under morphine and tell them to not use their leg.
    But then again, AFAICT psychology in the Anglosphere is about slightly better than medicine in Moliere’s France. At least electroshocks/bleedings are mostly over now.

    Also, calling a “hack” someone still considered as one of the founders of the field, even by people disagreeing with his works and considering him obsolete, is, well… try to call Aristotle a hack in front of chemists.

  17. DXN says:

    Calmer’n you are, dude.

  18. The Random One says:

    Everyone was making a Castlevania reference, but only one went the extra mile to hold a glass of wine.

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    jrodman says:

    I approve this sandwich.