The Incredible Evolution of Gaymer Culture
As LGBT culture continues to thrive and become more and more present in today's society, so does the vast inclusion in businesses that hold a ton of power in 2017. One of those types is the video game industry, which has seen a remarkable rise in a term that has been called "gaymers".
The video game industry itself has taken notice of its influx of LGBT players and has definitely partaken in the evolution of gaymers into the games they produce themselves, furthermore bringing them into the forefront of diversity and inclusion.
A recent article written on Casino.org showcases the evolution of gaymers and how far they have come in today's society. Simply put, "Once a niche relegated to small internet message boards, the gaymer is now a market as influential as any other." Incredible.
Because of this incredible change, it prompted the University of Illinois and game design school Full Sail University to conduct the first ever surveys of the gaymer communities in 2006 and 2009, respectively. These studies revealed much about the niche’s preferences and tastes, what kind of prejudice they experienced, and their support of the usage of the term itself.
At the time, it was reported that the 17,000 respondents mentioned how they felt underrepresented and unsupported by the video game industry.
The first game to showcase any sort of LGBT inclusion was the groundbreaking release of The Sims back in 2000. The article states that, "Up until this point, gaming was seen largely as an activity for young, male and heterosexual boys and game company Maxis (of SimCity fame) wasn’t convinced that this digital version of ‘play house’ would do well. But the game, which allowed players to date characters of any gender they wanted, was a success across the board and indicated to creators that the non-heteronormative market was an untapped one.
The best part was that this element of the game didn't cause too much controversy, and ultimately helped The Sims become the best-selling PC game of all time. The industry started catching on.
The article goes on to discuss the first ever LGBT video-game character all the way back in the 1980's, to how certain games like Fallout 2 became the first to allow same-sex marriage within the game, and even an animal-based game called Animal Crossing: New Leaf allows the players to dress and do their hair however they feel and also interact with a feminine giraffe named Gracie that is referred to as male. Awesome.
Now, there are Gaymer conferences which began back in 2013 after a successful Kickstarter campaign, which has led to other iterations happening around the world. As the article puts it, "Gaymers have declared that they are here, they’re queer, and they’d like to play video games that are more inclusive. So far, game designers have been listening."
Are you a gaymer? What are your thoughts on the "gaymer" evolution?