Monday, November 24, 2014

The Queer Side of Nintendo and Video Games.

Non-Binary Birdo
Let's face it; beyond a form of art, video games are also a subsequent form of expression. Gamers, know through video games they can live different lives, be someone else; but not many people realize, that through gaming, some people explore their most inner desires about their identities, and about their subsequent affirmations about who they are.

The year was 1988; and Super Mario USA or Super Mario 2 made its debut on the market; but if we are being honest it was on 1987 where Birdo, who was known as Catherine was first introduced in Doki Doki Panic, who was later ported as Mario number 2.

From Birdo, multiple references over the years as being M2F transgender in much of the games of the Mario franchise where she had appeared as Yoshi's girlfriend; but Birdo is not only the one on the Mario series; as there are plenty of other LGBTI characters.

Probably the problem of the stories is lost on the localization of the video games. Cultural reasons aspects, that in Japan story-line are essentials, in North America could cause some "problems" with sensitives by the conservative aspects of culture, even if Japan is more walled that North America with conservatism, they still have more open story lines with their form of entertainments.

Another case could be Vivian from Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door with Vivian, a member of the Shadow Sisters/Trio, where not only she goes on the process of reaffirming who she is but also gains self-steem on her journey with Mario and also the acceptance of her sisters.

Probably one goes around the gender variance theory as well how different societies down value the role of women, because of the patriarchal influence by placing men who have feminine traits or defy social rules, as less.

That is the case of Vivian, as she can't find acceptance from her own family, but in real life for some people there is no happy ending from their own kin. Relating to the stories of the characters, where the players can live another lives and interact with acceptance and rejection such as checking this link; where the educational world has to deal with a set of patterns and behaviors that wasn't common around 40 years ago, and now with the ever evolving world, what was taboo on the 60 today is breaking up and we can see the world is far away from what it was, albeit we still are working to break any negative conception.

Besides Birdo, there were some other cases around the 1990; where sexuality was explored through the use of science fiction as well Steam Punk. The Game was Rise of the Dragon  that was inspired in the Blade Runner movie; where there were allusions and references to cross dressing and sex; albeit some of the aspect were carried to the SEGA CD and others just stayed on the computer version.

Inside the Dome
What is interesting about Rise of the Dragon, it's that Dynamix introduced the cinematic sequences and rotoscoping way before, they were a common practice on the industry; but also it gave complex characters who were beyond the NPC realms.

The most recent statement is Toad from the Nintendo Franchise, where producer Koichi Hayashida stated in a new game "Captain Toad: Treasure Trackers" that neither Toad or Toadette have a gender even if they use on their adventure, different gender archetypes, doesn't mean they are one or the other as on their species they chose who they want to be. So we can even thin, that the Toads reproduce asexually.

To think, who you would like to be without facing discrimination because your physical appearance doesn't match what it is in your pants, sounds utopic, almost surreal, because there is still discrimination for who you are in this planet, where is more important the social roles rather than what the individual can give to improve the lives of millions.  

Douglas C. Halderman (2000), Gender Atypical Youth: Clinical and Social Issues. School Psychology Review, v29 n2 p192-200 2000