Retronauts Episode 507: A History of LGBTQ Representation in Games

Video games deal in the fantastic and the exotic, but for humans to comprehend them, we need at least one relatable element to focus our attention upon. We have powerful imaginations, however, so we can make a connection with just about anything. Pac-Man, Kirby, the little prince in Katamari Damacy—none of these characters look human but we can understand them and even empathize with them just the same.

What that means is all video games reflect humanity to one degree or another, whether there are people in the game or not. How games portray our ideas, our values, and our nature matters; few things are more powerful than picking up a controller, looking at the screen, and seeing a reflection of oneself or an idealized version of what we aspire to be. That goes double for people who feel marginalized by society.

This week on the podcast, we're taking a look at one such perspective by reflecting on the portrayal of LGBTQ characters and values in video games. Host Nadia Oxford speaks to her friends Len and Larch about how things have changed over time and how playing certain games gave them food for thought about their own lives.

Description: For the LBGTQ+ community, video games have always been a way to break barriers, find community, and make friends. Nadia buddies up with her friends Len and Larch to talk about how games have influenced and shaped the LBGTQ+ community over the decades.

Retronauts is a completely fan-funded operation. To support the show, and get exclusive episodes every month, please visit the official Retronauts Patreon.

MP3, 39 MB | 1:19:42 Direct download Retronauts on iTunes Retronauts at Audioboom

Artwork for this episode by Shaan Khan and editing thanks go to Greg Leahy.