Author Topic: Reesearch assistance: Games with Characters who have multiple gender identities?  (Read 260 times)

Brynndolin

  • Cupcakes Member
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 2617
  • Frequently wrong, never in doubt
A friend of mine is researching for an article and asked me this question - I don't play enough different games to know. I know WoW is fluid in the sense it's easy to change between but she's looking for a multiple situation. Thoughts?

Marco

  • Three Rivers Member
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 7052
I can think of things this researcher is probably not looking for:

* Games where you can customize the protagonist and choose male or female assignments (Mass Effect), or perhaps choose an appearance that does not code as male or female (Saint's Row).

* Games which allow a gender reassignment of the protagonist as a sandbox option with no impact on the game script, like WoW's ability to change gender assignment with a paid character recustomization.

* Cross-dressing scenes played for laughs, like Cloud's in Final Fantasy 7.

A game script where a character changes gender identities does not come to mind--not even something fantastical like a body-swap or reincarnation of a supporting character into a body of the opposite gender assignment.  I found a curated Steam list with some possible candidates, but I haven't played most of them and the ones I have played don't seem to qualify: https://store.steampowered.com/curator/11934326-LGBTQ-Inclusive-Gaming/list/488
« Last Edit: June 15, 2019, 01:36:01 PM by Marco »

Brynndolin

  • Cupcakes Member
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 2617
  • Frequently wrong, never in doubt
Thanks - yeah, she's looking for main characters that are non-binary. Kind of surprising on reflection. Appreciate you thinking about it!!

Snique

  • Cupcakes Member
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 2058
Just so we're clear on terminology... non-binary is not multiple genders. NB is its own thing. "Multiple" is kind of a pejorative way to look at it and I would prefer that we not use that term for nb people. The closest I might come to multiple is what's called "genderfluid" - a person whose gender identity and presentation may vary with time and circumstance. Regardless of the variance, though, that person only has one gender identity at a time.

In that sense, there are no games I'm aware of that treat this subject without also treating the question of personalities. The condition that used to be called MPD (multiple personality disorder) is now generally referred to as DID (dissociative identity disorder). People with DID sometimes refer to themselves as "multiples". There are games that have characters who are "multiples" in this sense and it's not uncommon for a multiple to have different gender identities associated with the personalities (identities) they express.

A person with a nonbinary gender identity simply does not find that their gender aligns with the traditional male and female genders they know; instead they have a gender identity that is different. A person may also be "agender"; that is, they do not experience any gender identity.

With that in mind, I'd be interested to know what your friend is actually trying to research.

Brynndolin

  • Cupcakes Member
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 2617
  • Frequently wrong, never in doubt
She provided clarity so I added it. Sorry if that wasn't clear.

Brynndolin

  • Cupcakes Member
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 2617
  • Frequently wrong, never in doubt
Also - because I'm a little annoyed - I'd like to say she's looking for *anything* that's not gender-specific. So if anyone can help me point her to gender diversity in gaming, that would be awesome.

ghoselle

  • Three Rivers Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2082
    • Three Rivers
Fallen London had a question at the beginning that asked you your gender, and the 3rd option was something like "oh god, oh god, how can we talk about that when there is a thing crawling out of that sewer grate" -- and henceforth through the game you were an "individual of mysterious and indistinct gender".

HeidiB

  • Cupcakes Member
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 2011
I've seen gender swaps in some anime.  There must be games in that genre...?

Brynndolin

  • Cupcakes Member
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 2617
  • Frequently wrong, never in doubt
Thanks, Ghos and Heidi!!

Snique

  • Cupcakes Member
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 2058
I'm not an expert on this area, but a few links that might be informative:

https://medium.com/@devonprice/these-nintendo-characters-are-canonically-transgender-or-nonbinary-516f27317106
A really interesting essay on the gender transitions of characters in the Zelda game series and why some trans/nb people identify with those characters

https://slate.com/human-interest/2018/06/games-like-battletech-including-trans-and-nonbinary-identities-is-a-big-deal.html
This is another good first-person account of a trans person's experience with gaming. Dragon Age is cited, as are Pokemon games and even Battletech (the latest installment - the turn-based tactical squad game that's currently frustrating me; I may have to drop the difficulty to get through this one fight)

And as you'd expect, there's a Wikipedia page (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_characters_in_video_games) that is pretty comprehensive at least for well-known titles. Most of what it lists are lesbian or gay male characters, with a few trans and bi/pan characters. Unfortunately this list mixes up gender identity with sexual preference so that's a thing, but it can be a starting point.

Brynndolin

  • Cupcakes Member
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 2617
  • Frequently wrong, never in doubt
Thank you!!