Very recently I had to prepare for a formal event with a very strict dress code. I was told I’d have to wear a proper shirt and pants, and cut my hair. Past that, I’d have to shave my beard, and above all- learn how to bow, which is a shame because I have curtsying down. But the strange thing was, what should have been a nightmare for a post-op trans woman, was actually a lot of fun. Such is the nature of virtual worlds and roleplay, and such is the reality of playing Geralt of Rivia in CD Projekt Red’s The Witcher 3. A massive open-world RPG where you not only play a man, but your status as such has a plethora of gameplay consequences. It made me reflect on how, and in which context I’m comfortable roleplaying, and on the discussion surrounding the ability to play as your gender.
So much has been written on Deus Ex: Human Revolution already that I don’t want to reiterate what has already been said. However, there is something which struck me while I was playing Human Revolution which hasn’t gotten enough attention. It happened as I was walking through the convention hall in Detroit on my way to confront Taggart. This man was giving a speech about the dangers of trans-humanism at a time when a growing subset of the general population had become augmented. There was a woman in the lobby yelling to all that would listen that being augmented is a beautiful thing, that it’s nothing to fear and even this might be a natural part of us. In that moment, I realized that Human Revolution is not a narrative about trans-humanism. It is about how society deals with change.
Final Fantasy XIII is among the media which changed my life, offering me a way to articulate parts of myself that I haven’t been able to before. More so, the more I think about it and the more I play, I’ve come to the realization that FFXIII is queer as hell. We can argue author intent vs ‘Death of the Author’ all we want, but even if it wasn’t Square-Enix’s attempt to produce a story that is one big queer metaphor they succeeded in doing so regardless. I think it’s worth discussing because this game draws some pretty striking parallels between what its characters experience, and what LGB and T persons do. To the point where I’ve come to view being l’Cie as an excellent example of what it is like to be Trans (tra’Ni?).