THE queers of Melbourne’s geek communities will make their voices heard this Sunday with the Queer Geeks of Oz panel at Oz Comic-Con.

After making its debut at last year’s Armageddon pop culture convention, the panel is back for some rowdy discussion of everything LGBTI in science fiction and fantasy, cult TV and movies, comics, video games and more. Queer Geeks of Oz will even be travelling with Oz Comic-Con, heading to Sydney and Brisbane later in the year.

Radio presenter and video game enthusiast Raena Armitage will speak on the panel about her favourite subject. She told the Star Observer it made sense for queer people to often be drawn to games telling more intimate, character-driven stories.

“I think gaming can be such a personal experience, and especially when you think about, say, Dragon Age and Mass Effect are two franchises that have a lot of personal narrative in them, and a lot of choices,” Armitage said, describing two games where protagonists have been given same-sex romance options.

“A lot of really great stories are being told (in games) without necessarily assuming that the protagonist has to be one kind of person—that you can be all kinds of people.”

Armitage said while games were changing for the better in terms of diversity and representation for queer people, the trend was towards giving the player more options around sexuality and gender identity, rather than more characters being written as queer, specifically.

She gave the notable exception of Ellie, a major character in last year’s hugely successful survival horror game The Last of Us—while it wasn’t discussed in the main part of the game, Ellie was revealed to be same-sex attracted in an addition to the story released later.

Armitage will be joined on the Queer Geeks of Oz panel by horror fanatic and radio host Sonja Hammer, journalist and comic book geek Dean Arcuri, radio host and gamer Dylan Adler, and others from Melbourne’s queer geek community.

The Queer Geeks of Oz panel is on this Sunday, July 6 at 2pm, at the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton as part of Oz Comic-Con.


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