Alexander of Caledon

I'm Mitch, a game designer and student from Scotland. Howdy!

Most of my stuff will be about videogames and the games industry, but there's plenty other stuff over on my Tags page.

Lists of LGBTQ characters in videogames crop up fairly regularly, and they’re often used to demonstrate the growing diversity of the medium, or, as is the case here, to demonstrate how videogames have “come a long way”.

They haven’t. The only thing a list of LGBTQ characters in games can demonstrate is the fact that there is a dearth of queer representation in videogames, and we have to cling to shitty examples like Birdo or tenuous examples like Kanji Tatsumi and rehash them over and over and over because we’re so starved for any kind of representation that we’ll even take the shitty or tenuous kinda-sorta examples and try and make them our own because that’s all we get.

The author even refers to Birdo (the “pink dinosaur” of the title), and has the gall to state “we’ve come a long, long way” — but take another look at that list and count how many other trans characters are in the list after Birdo. We haven’t “come a long way” by having only two or three characters who are “kinda sorta” trans (usually only if you read them that way, or according to apocryphal accounts that are never stated in the game - kinda the same way we found out Dumbledore was gay).

Also, the games that “let” you have romances “regardless of gender” are usually very shitty examples, because a lot of the time, if you didn’t romance that person, you probably wouldn’t ever know they were LGBTQ*! The fact that the characters that usually fill out these lists are totally invisible as LGBTQ characters until you make a move on them suggests a lot about how the developers and proponents think queer representation should work - as invisibly as possible. All of our LGBTQ characters should apparently remain closeted, especially if, as I suspect, it’s to ensure the developers don’t “alienate” straight male players, who would likely be anything from faux-apathetic to outright hostile at being presented with the very idea.

So basically: no, we haven’t come a long way. Yeah, there are some decent representations of LGBTQ characters in games, a fair amount of mediocre ones, a LOT of horrendous or offensive ones. 

*note that when I and others bring this up, we don’t mean “all LGBTQ characters should shout about being LGBTQ”, as so many people seem to presume - there are a million billion other ways of doing so

Does anyone in Glasgow/Scotland know what all the “HOMO SOCIALIST SNP, GAY LOVE" stickers in places all over Govan are all about and who they’re being posted by?

Cause tbh Homo Socialism sounds fucking brill, but i have a slight suspicion that it’s not a ringing endorsement for same sex shagging under the SNP.


Im all for girls drawing and writing self indulgent bullshit, especially considering about 97% of the media around today is just men writing and drawing self indulgent bullshit

(via coeurensabot)

style inspo by Haus Chels

i think i need a “ppl i love” tag or something, is that something that the tumblrtariat do??

its my weekly declaration of love for pretty little liars: i love pretty little liars

i love maya and spencer and emily and hanna and mona and everyone’s parents and basically everyone except all the men (ezra is horrible, ian is horrible, english guy is horrible, garret is horrible, jason is horrible, noah is horrible, toby is horrible, lucas is horrible, hanna’s wee AbstinenceAnonymous dude is horrible, caleb is kinda meh but ill give him a pass) and also aria and her whole family

i totally love that we’ve had a grand total of, what, three, possibly four queer women, we have the girl who’s all about ~fashion and shopping and parties yay~ who isn’t treated like shit, we have parents that have conversations with their kids about shit, and although we have characters who sometimes have shitty attitudes about stuff (drugs, homosexuality, bisexuality, etc), they actually address it and most of the time, overcome it, and the show (usually) doesn’t frame those attitudes as being ~just a perspective~ or ~morally courageous~

except for aria/ezra, which is not only weird but also incredibly boring


Girls from Mars Mini 6

First off, writing credit on this one goes to my friend Michael Richardson, who was the one who told me about the transsexual documentary drinking game (which also means Mel’s telling a fib about it being hers).

So, documentaries and the like… If I had to quickly sum them up, I’d say they’re a relic that were useful back in the day, but sadly have not gone away.

When I was young, I didn’t have the internet or anything, so I felt rather isolated. But then I’d see these stories in newspapers, chat magazines and on the telly about these transsexual people and holy crap! That’s like what I was going through! I’m not alone!

So everytime my mum would come home with her chat magazine (fittingly called Chat), I’d scour through it to find stories from transsexual people, because it interested me so much.

But eventually I stopped. Why? Because even then, nearly a decade before I came out as trans myself, I was starting to see a problematic pattern. All these stories read exactly the same. About how growing up was tough, they had these feelings, they had a rough patch, but now they’re out and doing so much better. And look at these before and after photos!

And it’s always trans-women. I still remember the one, ONE, article I read about a trans-man just because it was actually different for once, but I’ve forgotten the dozens I’ve read on trans-women, because they were basically the same story. Never did we actually ever find out about the actual person.

So why are these a problem? Because they’ve set a troubling precedent. First, before and after shots are misleading. They make it look like a magical transformation, instead of the actual years of transitioning. People actually believe it’s a simple procedure (“I just need a sex swap operation”), and these kind of before/after things aren’t helping.

Furthermore, they make people think they are entitled to the before and after. I know one trans-woman who had her story refused by the local paper because she did not provide before and after shots (and didn’t want to). Another told the group I go to how people will just come up to her and ask for before shots. It’s insanely intrusive.

As I said, they always want the same story, to put as in the same box. They try to paint the picture that every trans person is going through the exact same thing, when in reality every transition, if there even is a transition, is vastly different.

And good luck with finding anything about other trans* identities.

In this day and age of the internet, we have the ability to share our stories ourselves, on our own terms. We can tell about our diverse natures and stories about our lives, not just our transitions. We no longer have to get permission from the media to share our stories.

But unfortunately everyone else has been conditioned by these old documentaries and articles to expect, and demand, the same thing.

Sorry about the rather long rant, but these were my first real exposure to the trans* community so I’ve been thinking on this for quite a while.

Anyway, time to get back to creating issue 2!


TGC is now available in Waterstones Argyle Street! We’ll also be there with the full range on the 27th April for Graphic Stories- A Celebration of Storytelling in Comics and Graphic Novels.


you should check out #AcademicAbleism on twitter, if you haven’t already. 

(via cardboardmoose)

guess what i’ve been playing

Asker askgametia Asks:
No your just strawmaning and being a clueless white kngiht
alexander-of-caledon alexander-of-caledon Said:

New rules for trolls: gonnae link me to the thing you have a problem with when you send me hatemail, so I know what you’re going off on me for? ‘Cause I had to go to this person’s pony blog to find out what they were pissed at me for. Secondly, I’m cool with us having a conversation and all, but please don’t act like we’re familiar with each other, otherwise I’ll just assume you’re just some creepy nobody trying to score points, in which case, the only reason I’ll post yr stuff is so other people can see it and maybe get some entertainment from it. Alright? Alright.

The reason folk were focusing on Dina Abou Karam (I assume that’s who you mean by Dana?)’s skill at her job in the first place was because she was a woman - case in point, how many controversies has there been when a man has come in as a games community manager, regardless of his skill or lack thereof? None. In fact, how many controversies have their been when men adopt any games role whatsoever? Very few, and it’s usually because of a well-publicised categorical fuck-up rather than some tenuous kinda-sorta could-be-bad-if-you-look-at-it-real-hard problem that you have to go looking for. Because when women adopt influential or public-facing roles in games, they tend to be scrutinized more than men, so that people can find reasons that they’re not suitable for the role.

Men tend to go looking for reasons to exclude women before they know those reasons exist - and inevitably, they find some other reason, and then retroactively act as though that was the real reason they disliked them all along - something they don’t do for other men.

And the fact that one of the ten examples of gamer dweebs I gave supposedly has some dubious evidence to the contrary doesn’t invalidate any of the other nine - because the point was that there is a trend of women being unfairly treated in the games industry, which is so obvious and blatant that arguing to the contrary doesn’t even look like debate anymore, it just looks like creepy gamer-dweeb-fundamentalism.



"Professional game developer versus hobbyist game developer" is the new "hardcore gamer versus casual gamer".

Wait, what? Is this a thing? Cause I’ve seen none of it. It doesn’t even make sense!

Many folk in the games industry express the idea that if a game developer doesn’t use, pay lip service to, refer to, study or understand economics and business ventures and apply them to their game development, then they’re “hobbyist” game developers, with a tone of derision that hobbyists are irrelevant to conversations about game development as a part of of one’s life, especially when it crosses over into conversations about how certain game developers find it hard to make money with their games — the implication being that they’re poor because they don’t use these methods, not that there are additional factors that prevent them from using them as well as others might (which there often are).

Which means, if you make games but don’t develop them through conventional, supposedly tried-and-tested business methods intended for use by middle-class white folks in the West, you’re apparently doing it wrong, and any success you may have is purely by chance and/or the whim and whimsy of the market and nothing to do with your own skill; which is not necessarily true either.


"Professional game developer versus hobbyist game developer" is the new "hardcore gamer versus casual gamer".

(by which I mean it’s a false dichotomy, there are shades of the other in each, game devs can’t be so neatly divided into two, professionals are not “real” game devs as opposed to the hobbyists, it’s a spectrum rather than two boxes, etc etc etc)

"Professional game developer versus hobbyist game developer" is the new "hardcore gamer versus casual gamer".