Okay, this doesn’t have too much to do with my experience in Nigeria particularly, but it is something I’ve been wanting to broach.
I find it fascinating just how important the term “gay” has become in a culture so well known for its homophobia. And I mean this despite the fact that its use is almost always negative. The fact remains that it is used to a degree probably only surpassed by the gays themselves (and I’m talking your more flamboyant queen types here) and with a passion and emphasis that demands at least some examination, I think. I suppose it shouldn’t be surprising considering the theories abounding about what homophobia tends to really be! But, as intriguing and provocative as this path may be, I am resisting it for today.
Instead I would like to address something that came up in a discussion today. I was recalling how my first sight of the intro to final fantasy x some years back had been like someone had opened up my skull and dumped half a kilo of Nicaraguan White over my brain and that got us all talking about how far graphics have come and the things that used to knock us for a loop back in the day. Nostalgia had us getting on you tube and checking some of the oldies as well as some of the more recent trailers and intros out there. One of the things we looked up was this intro for final fantasy xii (which, btw, I haven’t played yet). We oohed, ahhed and gave props and then scanned the comments. For some reason, one comment in particular just jumped out at me. It read simply thus: Vaan is gay — final 12 is a shit.
Now I know that one can’t expect to be on the internet without coming across this sort of random, instigatory type, english-is-not-my-first-language rubbish. One comes across it far more often than one comes across any kind of sense. In addition to this, without having played the game and based on just viewing the character design, I actually agree that Vaan is indeed probably homosexual. Notwithstanding, the comment affected me. Why? Because after about six or more years of being involved in gaming culture, when that word gay jumped off the page at me, something inside me tipped and crashed and I found myself asking: and so what?
Seriously. So what if he’s gay? Does it make the role player gay? Does it even make the role player not gay? After hounding and harassing gays in the real world can we really not even leave them alone in virtual ones? Come on!!!!
You know what I would love ideally? What I would love is for Squaresoft or even better, Konami or some other company that creates hardcore, macho, angsty type games to release the most amazing rpg in the world. The graphics would be enough to make you tear up, the story line addictive and the game play a perfect symphony. It would be the perfect game with a lead character that was even more charismatic than Dante, Snake and Kamina (Gurren Laagan) rolled up into one. To play it would be to partake in the most submersively satisfying gaming experience ever. And about 3/4 ways through the game, it would be revealed as an incidental that the main character is gay. It would have nothing to do with the plot and probably only come up that one time just to add another exquisite layer to his character. But it would be undeniable. He would be G.A.Y.
I would love that!!! Like “reunited” it would “feel so good”! And not just because I’m a shuojo addled, bishounen addicted, Yaoi loving freak (which is really still up for debate). And not even because it would serve every gamer homophobe out there right (though it so would). I would love it simply because dammit, gays get such a hard time in the real world, I think that they at least deserve a break in the virtual ones.
So about Vaan I say:
And if he is not…I continue to live in hope.