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Gay space hero takes off
‘My Ex-Boyfriend the Space Tyrant’ will be launched this weekend at Melbourne’s queer bookstore, Hares & Hyenas, as its creator Luke Miller fields questions at the free event.
The Melbourne indie game developer enlisted US veteran comic book creator, animator and illustrator Joe Phillips to illustrate the game. Phillips has worked for the big names in the comic book industry, including DC, Dark Horse and Marvel.
In the game, the ripped and retired Captain Tycho Minogue must take on the insidious tyrant who is slowly taking over the universe, one planet at a time. It just so happens our video game villain is also the ex-boyfriend of our hero.
Miller grew up as a science fiction fan and told the Star Observer he wished there had been some queer role models in the genre to help him through some painful years as a teenager.
“I started thinking, maybe I should make some gay science fiction. Then one day the title appeared pretty much fully formed into my mind; My Ex-Boyfriend the Space Tyrant! It was such an ‘Aha!’ moment,” he said.
Having a muscled gay hero wearing short shorts, flying around in a spaceship and rescuing other attractive guys was ‘total wish fulfilment’ for Miller but it was also a mixed blessing.
“On one hand I wish I’d gone a lot further in telling a gay story and really trying to capture the gay experience in game form… [but] it was really hard to get the tone of the game right because there’s just not many examples of gay computer game content out there to learn from.”
For Miller, the experience of creating the country’s first gay video game has been fascinating.
The most common question he continues to receive is: “Is it pornographic?”
It isn’t, which Miller said usually relieved mainstream press and slightly disappointed gay men.
Despite its lack of cartoon flesh, Miller’s game has already got audiences in Australia and abroad buzzing with excitement.
“I get emails from around the world with people saying stuff like ‘this is the game I’ve been waiting for my whole life’. So yeah, I’m pretty chuffed actually even if I don’t win over the hardcore gaymers.”