Saturday, May 17, 2014

The 1st Annual GLAAD Birdo Awards, or What's good for the Goose....

In the previous article I discussed the Tomodachi Life situation, as well as the backlash that followed it's bad PR statement. At the height of the controversy, GLAAD spokesperson, Wilson Cruz had this to say

“In purposefully limiting players’ relationship options, Nintendo is not only sending a hurtful message to many of its fans and consumers by excluding them, but also setting itself way behind the times,” GLAAD national spokesperson Wilson Cruz told GamesBeat. “It’s been over a decade since The Sims — the original ‘whimsical and quirky’ life simulator — allowed its users to marry any character they wanted, and many other mainstream and massively popular video games have followed their lead since. Nintendo should do the same.”
Bold words that stand true...

Now imagine my surprise when I see this article from stating that GLAAD has no awards for honouring games that support LGBT content. Let's look at this article, together.

"Justin Amirkhan, founder of Vagabond Dog, has asked LGBT media advocacy organization GLAAD to recognise games in its Media Awards. Amirkhan makes the request in the wake of the recent Tomodachi Life controversy.

"I'm saddened that when I went to your web site and looked at your extensive list of GLAAD Awards, I did not see a category for video games," he said in an open letter to GLAAD.

"Wouldn't it be great to honour and recognise outstanding examples in video games who strive for inclusion, rather than weigh in on this issue in a public manner for negative reasons instead of positive ones?"

While Amirkhan is pleased that GLAAD spoke out against Nintendo's decision not to include same-sex relationships in Tomodachi Life, he wants it to go further and recognise those games that do offer these choices.

"If organizations outside of the video game industry like GLAAD were to recognize the achievements of progressive games the same way our own industry frequently does, the choice for inclusion would be easier for many developers," he said, citing his own title Always Sometimes Monsters, which is released this month.

"We are not the first to include these choices, there are countless other games that have gone unrecognised for their inclusion over the years. Games that have sold millions upon millions of copies."

GamesIndustry International has contacted GLAAD for its response. "

Now, it's quite interesting that GLAAD doesn't feature a means of honoring these titles, which they went on to cite in what will be now known as the "Tomodachi Life scandal", but I offer a means of solving this problem and bringing the Advocacy group out of the dark and into the 21st century. Ladies and Gentlemen (not quite in that order), I bring to you. The first annual Birdo Awards.

Yes, you heard me right. The 1st Annual Birdo awards. Awards for games that make an exemplary show of their contributions to the LGBT community. For awards you could possibly make gold cast statues of Birdo in his/her most cutest pose, and put them on stands to hand out to these games.

Why Birdo, you may be asking yourselves. Well Isn't Birdo the most famous Transgendered character in Nintendo's own camp. Yes, Nintendo. Those guys who were behind the times. The same guys who green lit Gay characters such as Jolly Roger in Banjo Tooie, as well as all the gay references that made it through the censors in Conker's Bad Fur day.

Birdo also made an appearance in the Wii game Captain Rainbow, where she was apparently arrested for walking out of a female restroom. Her husky male voice confused the robot police officer into thinking that she was a man, and you the player had to prove her innocence. How did you do that, you may be asking yourself? By finding her/his vibrator. Clearly only a woman would use a vibrator, right? right?.... guys?..... hello?

You could also do a whole retro segment about all the games that feature LGBT characters such as Final Fight (Poison), Phantasy Star II (Usvestia), and Earthbound (Tony who had feelings for his best friend, Jeff). Oh yeah let's not forget Street Fighter (Eagle / Juri), Metal Gear Solid series (Vamp / Volgin /Major Raikov) and Guilty Gear (Venom). For posterity, we could even go so far as to throw an entire list to catch you up on whom to honor.

Then we could talk about current developers who are including LGBT characters in their games and are making an effort to keep things inclusive. And by saying that I don't mean just doing an hour long segment on Beyond: Two souls because Ellen Page is in it. That's not progressive at all.

In glancing on your page for the media awards I see you have segments for Comics and Graphic Novels, but I don't see anything pertaining to Anime. This is kind of sad considering there are tons of LGBT characters featured in Anime as well. Japan seems to continue to do a better job of representing LGBT characters with a list of characters that eclipses American animated LGBT characters. Including Kill La Kill, Steins Gate, Tokyo Godfathers, Card Captor Sakura, Sailor Moon. The list goes on.

 I'm sure GLAAD will include anime and Video games in future iterations of their awards. If not this year, then next year they will promise to be more inclusive. Just in case you don't I suppose we should stage a twitter protest just to ensure that you guys are totally aware of the situation. Sound fair? I think it totally does.

This is partly parody, and partly a message to GLAAD in response to their involvement in video games. I mean If you're weighing in on exclusivity in gaming, you should probably make some sort of means of showing the positives of games, too. Not just cherry pick the Sims ( which despite the inclusion, still has inequality in the way gay characters are presented ) as a point to make.

You can't blame me for wanting both sides to be inclusive.

 I personally feel that In purposefully limiting voter's options, you're not only sending a hurtful message to many of fans and consumers by excluding them, but also setting itself way behind the times. It’s been decades since These games and anime, both ‘whimsical and quirky’,allowed  users to enjoy characters of the entire spectrum and cheer on the choices they make. Many other mainstream and massively popular video games and anime award shows have followed their lead since. GLAAD should do the same.

Game On!

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