Thursday, June 25, 2015

Let's make lifestyle choices!

Gotta catch'em all...or else
die friendless and alone.
Alright fellow nerds, you know how game companies sometimes release multiple versions of the same game with slightly different content so that gamers will have to buy both to get the full experience? Nintendo's been tricking gamers into doing this for years with Pokémon. One version will contain monsters not found in the other game and vice verse so players then have to trade with their friends or pick up both versions to catch all the Pokémon. It's a...what do you call it? Scam? Like, seriously, it's the same game each time, just with slightly different monsters, but we fall for it.

It's not a new concept, but next year's Fire Emblem If (Fates in the U.S.) will come in two different retail versions (well, three if you count DLC) and Nintendo is adding a whole new reason to pick one or the other: hot gay video game sex between androgynously drawn anime character sprites.
It's simple, Byakuya Oukoku if you're into ladies,
Anya Oukoku if you're into dudes. Got all that? 
Above: Gender plays no role as far as stats
go, but when playing as the female, monsters
drop 21.9% less gold for some reason...*
For adults and outdoor kids who might not know what the hell I'm talking about, Fire Emblem is a strategy RPG in which the player creates a character, choosing things like sex, stats, appearance and name and then that character interacts with NPC's (non-player characters) in the game. The last Fire Emblem let you marry your character off to an NPC resulting in certain plot developments and even offspring, but same-sex couples weren't possible. Fates, on the other hand will let you gay it up, but you have to choose the right version.

"I now pronounce you married,
 you may now level up."
Conquest is the version you want if you want to play a male character and marry a male character and Birthright if you want to play a female character and marry a lady NPC. Innovative, no? For the gamers who believe that Shigeru Miyamoto created Link and Zelda not Link and Steve, you can still choose opposite-sex partners and have children, but what's the point? I'd rather have more free time and disposable GP, but that's just me. Obviously gay couples in the game won't produce little level one baby mages or anything, but they will get stat-boosts, just like real life. So it you know, evens out.

Because there's never been anything
gay about Nintendo's games...
It may sound kind of ridiculous to get hung up on something as trivial as RPG characters having pretend same-sex relationships, but it's really about inclusion. Nintendo kind of screwed up last year when they omitted a same-sex romance option in Tomodachi Life and then said some pretty stupid shit about how gay people are a political issue and they like avoid politics in favor of whimsey and charm. It was a PR disaster and neither whimsical nor charming.

But this goes a long way towards making up for it and I applaud Nintendo for coming around to the kind of inclusiveness that gamers expect from pretty much every other major RPG series of the last 15 years. Even if it is a thinly-veiled attempt to get their customers to buy two copies of the same game. Progress, right?
This is Iron Bull from Dragon Age Inquisition, easily the most desirable
bisexual troll monster ever voiced by Freddie Prinze Jr. in all of gaming
and not once did he try to sell us on any DLC. Take note, Nintendo.

*Ok, no they don't, but seriously? That kind of shit wouldn't surprise me.

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