QSU and VGA talk queer representation in video games


Courtesy of the Queer Student Union

Suffolk University’s Queer Student Union and Video Game Association came together on the evening of  Nov. 15 to discuss the importance of queer representation in video games.

Students met in the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion office in Sawyer Room 828, where the VGA set up a Nintendo Switch and brought a stack of popular titles for the group to play, including “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” and “Mario Kart.” QSU gave a presentation highlighting video games celebrated for their representation of queer characters, as well as what video game developers in the future can add to their games to make them more inclusive. 

Notable titles included the critically acclaimed 2020 release “The Last of Us Part II,” the record-holder for most Game of the Year awards, and “Celeste,” a 2018 platformer that was awarded “Best Independent Game” by The Game Awards. Both games’ main characters are queer; Ellie from “The Last of Us,” and her girlfriend Dina’s relationship is a significant part of the game’s storyline and Madeline from “Celeste” was confirmed to be a Transgender woman by the games’ director Maddy Thorson in a 2020 blog post.

QSU Secretary Mason Ryan emphasized the importance of educating people about issues faced by queer people in all areas of life.

“There was never a lot of queer representation in video games when I was growing up, but it has definitely become more prevalent now, and I think that’s great,” Ryan said. “Video games are such a universal media that having representation in them is really vital.”

In recent years, many games have taken steps toward allowing players more customization options for their character’s gender and sexuality. In May, “The Sims 4” released an update that allows players to customize their Sim’s pronouns and in July another update brought the option to select a Sim’s sexual orientation. 

QSU said that video games continuing to add the ability for players to customize their gender and sexuality is imperative in creating an inclusive environment for all people.

VGA has a library of games that are available to students to play, including many of the aforementioned games, in Sawyer 250. The library is open 9 a.m. – 10 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For future events and meeting information, follow QSU and VGA on Instagram @suffolkqsu and @suffolkvga.