Many gamers’ have already noticed the abysmal user scores that Mass Effect 3 has received on Metacritic. User scores, especially on day 1, need to be taken with a grain of salt though. Several negative reviews are simply because of day 1 DLC, and most reviews seem void of any real critical analysis.
What is truly bothersome though are the many reviews that look something like this:
“It’s simply a terrible game. I can’t believe they’re selling this. Day 1 DLC and terrible writers who force homosexual and transgender romance into the plot. Don’t even pirate it, it’s not worth the bandwidth. It looks even worse than the PC version and has worse performance.”
This sort of viewpoint is appalling. I find the support and representation that BioWare have included for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community to be admirable. The sort of bigotry represented in the diatribe above is disturbing. I am a straight man, and I don’t find the inclusion of these themes troubling at all. If you are so insecure with your own sexuality that you find the choice to play a homosexual character in a video game threatening, then you probably have some sexual identity issues already.
Our colleagues over at Game Bandits reported some terrifying numbers concerning a YouTube video yesterday. In the article, Game Bandits discuss a video displaying Commander Shepard in a romantic scene with his lover, who happens to be male. Game Bandits said:
“As of this writing, there are 1,320 dislikes and 292 likes.”
As of today, those numbers have changed to 1,536 likes, and 2,242 dislikes. While the gap has closed, there are still over 700 more people who dislike this video than like it.
This sort of response, in this day and age, is abominable – and dehumanizes an entire group of people. Homophobia is rooted in fear, and apparently there are at least 2,242 people out there who fear the potential for a gay Commander Shepard might make them gay. I don’t hear any of these intolerant idiots bitching about a lesbian female Commander Shepard.
Some people have responded to outrage like mine by making terribly misguided comments, like Stephany Castillo below who said:
“You can’t force people to like or dislike something, this is just how they feel. I don’t think that automatically makes anyone “bigots”, nor evil in any way. It would be like expecting gays to “like” videos about straight sex. I’m sure they’re not into it at all (thus the gay part..), therefore it would be ok, and totally understandable for them to click on the dislike button too.”
Allow me to retort. If someone had clicked “dislike,” or made comments like those listed above, but the characters in the video were black instead of gay, it would be clear to everyone that it was bigotry. If it had been an interracial couple, people would have unanimously acknowledged that it was bigotry. It was only because the scene in question depicted homosexual relations that these responses are tolerated. Responses like Stephany’s exist because of one disappointing fact: It is socially acceptable in this country to treat homosexuals like second-class citizens.
People weren’t simply saying that they didn’t like the video by clicking “dislike”; they were saying “that’s disgusting.” That is bigotry.
I really don’t have much room to criticize intolerance though, because I am wholly intolerant of such prejudice. I abhor this misguided, disillusioned outcry by my fellow gamers. The people making posts like this should be ashamed of themselves.