Computer game programmer Luke Miller’s commercial debut includes such sci-fi staples as an imminent space invasion and a hero entrusted with saving the galaxy.
But this is no standard shoot ’em up.
My Ex-Boyfriend The Space Tyrant, the campy and kitschy game Miller previewed at a national computer conference last month, also features a same-sex attracted protagonist with links to a modern-day gay icon.
It’s unconventional, certainly, but Miller intended it that way after growing frustrated with a lack of gay representation in computer games.
About two years ago -¦ a friend of mine who runs a feminist website was looking for people to write articles. She said: -˜You know about computers. Can you write something?’ the Melbourne 27-year-old told Sydney Star Observer.
That got me thinking: Where are gay people in computer games? The more I looked and read about it, the less and less I found.
The Sims -“ in which simulated humans can form same-sex relationships -“ was a rare exception, Miller said. Jade Empire, a martial arts game made for the Xbox games console, also reportedly includes a same-sex relationships storyline.
My Ex-Boyfriend The Space Tyrant will devote its entire plot to gay themes. Due for release early next year for Macintosh and PC, the game tracks future hero Space Captain Elliott Minogue -“ a distant descendant of one of the Minogue sisters -“ in his efforts to save the universe from a decidedly unsavoury ex.
His ex-boyfriend has resurfaced with an invasion fleet, and no-one knows why, Miller said.
They hope that by bringing in an ex-boyfriend that he’ll be able to get through and stop the invasions from happening.
But with another computer game, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, recently banned over a hidden sex scene, it’s not Miller’s aim to attract censors’ attention -“ My Ex-Boyfriend The Space Tyrant contains suggestive dialogue but no sex.
Instead, Miller hopes to promote what he sees as an underrated medium -“ while ensuring gay gamers have fun.
I think one of the reasons why computer games are able to get away with very poor representations of gay people, and often quite homophobic content -¦ is because people don’t take them seriously as a medium, and so they’re not critiqued in the same way films and books are.
[But] the aim is actually to make a fun game that gay guys really enjoy playing, he said.
I just really wanted to play a computer game where two guys go googly-eyed over each other.