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As most LGBT news outlets have announced, this week Gay Fighter Supreme finally came out after being announced about a year ago. It promised a fighter game similar to that of Tekken or Mortal Kombat, and we were excited about the possibility of an all-gay version of DOA: Dead or Alive.
‘Were’ being the operative word there.
Ignoring all the arguments about stereotyping for one minute, this is not a fighting game in the slightest. A fighting game where you fight against the computer or another player involves hitting buttons in a sequence that produces a variable outcome. For example, if playing as Nina Williams on the PlayStation system and you hit square and triangle at the same time as hitting the direction you want to go in, you will get an attack (used in all incarnations of the character) called ‘Atomic Bombshell’.
The difference in Gay Fighter Supreme is that you are rhythmically hitting the white button every time it flashes on-screen – one out of a possible six – with a varying degree of powerful attack. While it is pedantic to raise this as an issue, it is important to do so, as mobile games continue to improve and so greater scrutiny must be placed on them. If we can have fully functional RPGs produced by Square Enix, then surely our fighting games can be more complex than rhythmic tapping?
This alone is enough to shut down this game for most gamers, gay or otherwise, because no one appreciates a bad gaming system. And since conception was announced over a year ago, they had that long to work on the mechanics, and frankly we are hugely disappointed. If you are going to go for a specific gaming market (‘gayming’) then you need to be able to match your competition, and this is not a match – this is bullshit.
Second, there is a huge pricing issue – you don’t charge £1.60 for a mobile game then charge more for in-app purchases. For that price we expect access to all the characters from the get-go. Yes, we love an unlockable system, but don’t be telling us the only way to play as the bad guys is to pay for the privilege. That was why we battled for hours on Tekken Tag Tournament 2 – to have the ability to play as Devil Jin.
Finally, since we brought it up, the stereotyping is bad. A black voguer whose name is ‘Devon’ (pronounced ‘Dev-on’ not ‘Dev-un’) and has the ability to ‘read his foes to death’ is one example. A lesbian character called ‘Sappho’ with short spiky hair and who wields a spanner as a weapon is another.
We get it: there is some variety here (for example inclusion of an emo character called ‘Emo Elmo’), but the fact is these stereotypes aren’t just bad, they’re lazy, with no imagination.
I mean, if you are going to come up with a drag queen fighting character, you can do better than naming her ‘Carrie Cupcake’, making her look like a white version of Latrice Royale, and giving her special abilities that involve the use of her wig and boa. I mean, come on – you seriously want to target a game at a gay audience and come up with this?
Gay Fighter Supreme is a bad mobile release, and not just because of the fact that it plays up to poorly written stereotypes that are probably praised as much as they are condemned. We know that there are people going ‘Yay an LGBT game!’ but if that is the case, please educate yourself and pick up a demo copy of Read-Only Memories (scheduled for release this August).
If (and that is a big ‘if’) the developers read this – you should know that this is the standard that is being upheld in ‘LGBT gaming’. Gay Fighter Supreme is way behind MidBoss’ games in terms of representation, and that game studio has said from the get-go that its aim is to include a mobile version in the future. If this were a fight, Gay Fighter Supreme would be KO’d.