Happy National Video Games Day! To celebrate, we round up characters in our favourite video games that you may not have known were LGBT.
It may have taken almost a century for Nintendo to get into the console business and churn out some of the most iconic games of all time – but this year marks 125 years since Fusajiro Yamauchi first began the Nintendo Playing Card Company, which would someday.
While Nintendo has been caught up in controversy over the exclusion of gay characters in one of it’s most recent offerings Tomodachi Life (they have since pledged to make future installments of the series inclusive and representative of all players), they still have been paving the way for LGBT characters in video games since the ’80s.
Take a look at some LGBT game characters, new or old, from Nintendo, Sega, Playstation and any other console you have gathering dust in your attic.
1. Birdo, Super Mario Brothers (Nintendo)
The egg spewing, bow wearing pink dinosaur has been one of Super Mario’s most annoying yet lovable antagonists since the ’80s and has appeared in countless spin-offs since. The question of Birdo’s gender, however, has always been up for debate. Early incarnations of Birdo suggest that the dinosaur “thinks he is a girl, and would rather be referred to as ‘Birdetta’.” Through the years, Birdo has been referred to as both male, female or gender neutral. In recent years it has been suggested, and widely believed that Birdo is trans.
2. Ellie, The Last of Us (Naughty Dog)
One of last year’s biggest titles, zombie shoot ’em up The Last of Us wasn’t just groundbreaking in it’s visual effects. 14 year-old Ellie, one of it’s main characters, was revealed to be a lesbian in a DLC spin-off called Left Behind. She shares an intimate, super cute kiss with fellow survivor Riley. PS. If you’re thinking that Ellie shares a striking resemblance to Ellen Page – so was everyone else. What caused even more confusion is that Ellen Page lent her voice and likeness to Beyond: Two Souls, a different game that was released later that year.
3. Anthony “Gay Tony” Prince, GTA IV (Rockstar)
Okay, maybe this is an obvious one. First appearing as a minor character in 2008’s Grand Theft Auto IV, Gay Tony quickly became a fan favourite and even appeared in two spin-offs, The Lost and the Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony. Tony is nightclub mogul, entrepreneur and totally unapologetic about his sexuality. He’s been out and proud for years, and if you’ve got a problem with it, he couldn’t care less.
Best quote? “In my day, gay guys used to be lonely, needy, and lost. Now, they’re all in relationships!”
4. Zangief, Street Fighter II (Capcom)
The Russian wrestler’s sexuality has never been confirmed or denied by creators, but many fans take it as fact that Zangief is a gay man. First appearing in 1991’s Street Fighter II, Zangief fits Japan’s stereotypical image of a gay man. The musclebound, speedo wearing strongman also has an intense dislike of attractive women… for some reason.
5. Ash, Streets of Rage III (Sega)
Ash, a boss character from the third instalment of the highly popular ’90s game Streets of Rage, is obscure as he is offensive. He is little known because of his last second cut from the US and European version of the game, but in the original Japanese version your character has to defeat the flamboyant, gender bending boss along with his team of rent boys. Yep, that’s right.
© 2014 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.