How Video Games Saved A Transgendered Gamer
Posted on Friday, August 26 @ 14:18:51 PST by Nicholas Tan
I’d felt like a girl ever since I was three, and yet all around me there were boys happy being boys, and girls happy being girls. Everyone seemed to belong in their skin, and that’s a huge thing to take for granted, believe me...
That changed when N64’s Perfect Dark came out, where I played James Bond’s distaff counterpart, a redhead named Joanna. Whenever I hated my body, I could step into hers and boom headshot my problems away. But still, she was just an exception that proved the rule. In the land of the X chromosomes, the Y was still king. Enter Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem, and its blonde, heat packing heroine Alexandra Roivas. Did she ever complain, or whine, or live life like she was a second class citizen? No, she bound the power of ancient gods to the slug rounds in her shotgun and proceeded to wholesale maim the hell hoardes living beneath her home. She Quantum Leap-style took over the bodies of men throughout history to accomplish her mission, because that’s how she do.
The coup de grace, the real freedom was when Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic was released... SW:KotOR basically let you be as badassly benevolent or foaming-at-the-mouth Sithy as you pleased, and, thanks to the character creation system, you could be a chick while you did it. One who you got to design head-to-toe. I real, live lady, with girl parts and everything. I would swing my double bladed lightsaber, go VWUM, WUM, WUM, and I’d do it as a girl. I could go between singeing [sic] my nails with force lightning or the more manicure-friendly force choke. And that’s how everyone in the game treated me, like a strong woman. I looked how I felt...
Even when I couldn’t play the girl, video games were beginning to tell stories about three-dimensional women I could appreciate or look up to. The gal cast of Drakengard and Metal Gear Solid featured a lot of women who everyone thought was evil or insane, but who were always confident what they were doing was right, no matter what anyone else thought. Killer7’s Kaede took the serious out of suicide by playing it for laughs: she used her wrist slitting to open hidden passageways. Games let me believe in a world so crazy that a guy could even become a girl, and that that would be the least nutty thing that could happen.
It’s years later, and last week I celebrated 16 months on estrogen and, if you can forgive my ego a moment, I turned out to be a hot B... last week my girlfriend and I celebrated two years of love, and five years of friendship, by curling up next to each other on the couch and playing through Shadow of Destiny, Katamari Damacy, Dead Space and Saints Row 2. So, thank you, video games. For keeping me company and seeing me through that 22 year storm... And for making life significantly less lousy for a whole lotta people.
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