September 28, 2023

However 11 years is a very long time for any scene, and the FGC is in a a lot completely different place, particularly with regard to the way it views queerness and treats its LGBTQ+ group members.

In fact, preventing video games are not any strangers to LGBTQ+ characters. Bridget and Testomony from Responsible Gear are two of probably the most distinguished examples in current reminiscence, however queer illustration in preventing video games arguably goes again to the style’s roots within the late ’80s. Whereas no point out of it was made within the unique Avenue Fighter, the gentlemanly British fighter Eagle, whose design was impressed by bisexual icon Freddie Mercury, is implied to be homosexual in later appearances. Different video games like Mortal Kombat, Tekken, and BlazBlue have included queer or gender-nonconforming characters of their playable rosters at varied factors.

Within the aggressive scene, queer gamers have risen to the heights of their respective video games. The most well-liked of all of them is Dominique “SonicFox” McLean, who has gained main tournaments throughout a number of video games together with Mortal Kombat X, Skullgirls, Dragonball FighterZ, and seemingly any preventing recreation they resolve to select up for greater than a pair months. Claire “UMISHO” Harrison, a trans girl, took dwelling the highest prize for Responsible Gear Attempt on the 2022 Evolution Championship Sequence (EVO), one of many largest preventing recreation tournaments on the planet. Different gamers like Ricki Ortiz, Daybreak “Yohosie” Hosie, and Mia “Mira” Reshel have additionally gained or positioned extremely in main tournaments for his or her video games. 

Even past prime participant illustration, nevertheless, the FGC is among the most various communities in esports. Whether or not it’s event organizers like Montreal’s Ishmael Cohen-Scali, casters like Gar, and even builders like Mane6’s Lindsay Cities and Jen Barboza, queer voices could be present in virtually any recreation or function in the neighborhood. For those who go to any native preventing recreation occasion on any given week, you’ll nearly definitely discover a trans lady practising some preventing recreation you’ve by no means heard of earlier than on the setup she introduced from dwelling, and he or she will educate you the best way to play it in the event you stand there lengthy sufficient.

So how did we get right here? What makes the FGC particularly so various? 

Jamaal “Ryyudo” Graves, a participant, commentator, and occasional event organizer, mentions the traditionally various casts of characters which were a staple of the style since its inception. He says that preventing video games “have achieved extraordinarily properly about shying away from strictly straight white male casts, doing greater than most video games of earlier many years and even at this time. Having extra characters meant fleshing them out in distinctive methods. So we get the World Warriors of Avenue Fighter when, round that point, NES traditional Punch-Out!! might need been the closest to matching that selection. Gamers hooked up to those characters and nonetheless do years later; Chun-Li as a powerful girl in gaming is among the greatest examples. When achieved with good intentions, we’ve acquired robust illustration and empowerment inside preventing video games.”

Cohen-Scali says the identical, and likewise cites preventing video games’ “arcade roots” as a contributing issue. “Arcades had been an inexpensive and centralized place for folks to satisfy up and play video games with others, cultivating a local people and tradition centered round these video games. Arcades is also related to bowling alleys, film theaters, or different smaller companies that allow them recoup the associated fee fairly simply, even in poorer neighborhoods, due to the low barrier to entry for the video games.”