Before I begin, let me first point out the positive of seeing People of Color in so many major roles in this installment of a Bioware franchise. I recognize before I begin this rant that as a white straight female, I’ve seen more love than many.
Also, I’m a DRAGON AGE girl. This is my first introduction to a full play through of a Mass Effect installment so my elf lovin heart has high expectations.
That having been said…
I’m just chipping into the monster that is ME:A, but as some of you lovely ladies and gents know, given I play these games FOR the romance stories woven into the plot, I have some fucking thoughts.
That’s my thought. As a straight female, I say Fail.
And to share why, here’s a lovely tally of all the romance options in the new and long awaited Mass Effect: Andromeda.
Cora – Male Ryder Only
Liam – Female Ryder Only
PeeBee – Male or Female
Vetra – Male or Female
Jaal – Female Ryder Only
Gil – Loves the Cock!
Suvi – Lesbe honest, Female only
Keri – Male or Female
Avela -Male Ryder Only
Reyes Vidal – Male or Female
“Damn son, that’s a lot of lovin,” you say? Well, sure you do… if you’re a straight male.
Tally of romance options for a straight male – Cora, Vetra, Peebee, Avela, Keri (5)
Congrats, boys! Get some!
Now, even better! If you’re a gay female player who would prefer to romance another female, your tally is – Suvi, Vetra, Peebee, Keri. (4)
Holy shit, ladies! You are on the prowl! Nice to see the gaming industry is starting to really show some inclusivity, right?
Well, until you take into account the fact that there are only TWO options for male gaymers, and a paltry THREE for straight females.
Three for the straight girls. Three.
I’d say the male gaymers got the shortest end of the stick, but they get Gil, and let’s be real, the first thing I did once I hit the Tempest was go mack on Gil (who instantly responded with “Liam’s more my type, if he wasn’t such an ass.”). Gil is without question the best male romance option in the game right out of the gate, and I don’t get to touch his butt. I cry foul.
Now, you might be saying, “Hey! At least the lesbian ladies are getting some representation here,” but we all know the truth of that assessment – ladies who love ladies lucked out for one reason and one reason only:
Because they’re lucky enough to enjoy the same thing as straight male gamers. Lady gaymers didn’t finally get representation, they lucked out by default.
Straight women, who if the rule of 1 in 10 (is gay) is true, make up approx. 45% of the population can only mack on 30% of the romance options. That doesn’t sound too awful, you say?
Well, that brings us to the options.
Liam – smoking hot ‘Moses, Ninja’ Attack the Block vibing steam machine.
Reyes Vidal – A man whose head looks like a potato.
Jaal – A literal talking vagina.
Seriously? That gives the girl gamer one viable option.
Liam. Who I naturally have already started macking on, but seriously – does he have the boyish charm of Alistair? The brooding intensity of the velvet-voiced Fenris? Or the three game long build up of Cullen and his tortured past?
Now, I admit I haven’t reached Reyes or Jaal, yet, but unless that vagina has the silver tongue of James McAvoy, chances are I’m not going to be able to get randy with a vulva faced character, nor a spud noggin.
Seriously, who wants a softcore sci-fi porn with a tuberous plant? Is that a thing? Is it even a thing?
It will be now because I said it.
My disappointment was so palpable, I almost didn’t want to play anymore when I realized what a shunting the lovers of penis got.
And what does that say about the gaming world? When Bioware is setting their sights on inclusivity, why in a lineup of romance options, do they still blatantly cater to one section of their demographic, by and large? And one can’t argue ‘it’s because straight males make up the largest demographic in gaming.’
Of course, they do! They’re the highest served. If you serve one portion of your audience better than the rest, guess what? You’ll find more repeat customers on that side of the room. Of the many dems, bioware sees a massive portion of the girl gamer population, and they damn well know it. And often, it’s the women playing who praise the romance angle the loudest. Despite this fact, they still heavily catered the romance to straight men.
Accommodate all narratives! Lesbians lucking out because they can also enjoy the male gaze doesn’t equal inclusivity when your gay male romances can’t achieve Matchmaker achievement.
And ask your female gamers, gay or straight, why they love these franchises. I’m not alone when I say I play for the romance. When you somehow manage to make a female romance choice still about the visual appeal of a vagina, you fail at fucking life.