For Pride month: Slight improvements upon Nier: Automata, Final Fantasy XV, and Mario Odyssey
Behind a waterfall is a mysterious, crystalline cave that thrums with the music of the universe. Deep within its reaches, on an altar made of beauty and purple stone, stands my phylactery. It’s a mug that says “COOL DUDE” and it is the source of all my power. When June swings around, the mug’s carvings change to “COOL BI DUDE” and I become extra powerful for the full 30 days. It allows me to will unspeakable things into existence…! See: this article.
My bisexual powers of dude-loving are amplified a thousandfold. Which means that I get to share with you all my frustrations with video game characters. Why? Because it’s time that the game industry listens to us. I don’t want to see straight men write “I want to sukc[sic] Lara Crofts big sharp boob’s — NOT her new model btw because shes a SJW.” Our fantasies demand to be heard, too! So here are three ways in which they could have been met. And by ‘our fantasies’ I mostly mean mine.
#3: None of the dudes in Final Fantasy XV kiss
Pedal to the metal, Charli XCX on the radio, undershirts thrown to the wind, four men on a roadtrip. They all dress like goth cowboys and every scenery they drive past looks like the set from Brokeback Mountain. They give each other cute nicknames and none of them wear their seatbelts, which is gay culture.
But wait? They’re not making out every time they set up camp? They just, play some shitty phone game? Why the hell are you gaming when you have a dude with a 12-pack and the fullest set of lips right there? You have Britisher Jamie Oliver chauffeuring you and making the best slices of toasted bread you’ve ever had, and you don’t apply the spit slug to his mouth hole? Disgusting. This game is terrible. Well, not really, but imagine how much better it would have been if Noctis knew how to dress well and also kissed Prompto stupid.
I call upon every Source Filmmaker video producer to set things right.
#2: 9S is straight and this destroys the world
[NIER AUTOMATA SPOILERS AHEAD]
The stories that Yoko Taro tell are ones that speak to the intense desire for purpose, how psychopathic the pursuit to feel ‘real’ can become, and the desperate futility of it all. In Drakengard, you had Caim whose only goal was to kill in order to quell his bloodlust, even if it was antithetical to the world. Zero in Drakengard 3 sought out all possible avenues (assisted by Accord) to, effectively, end her life. NieR had a dumbass dad try to save his daughter at the cost of everything, literally everything.
NieR: Automata has the android 9S, who wants to **** 2B. Seeing her death at the hands of A2, he goes mad. All of 9S’s character shows that his central processing unit is located in the groinal region, and he obediently follows his horny programming.
For the entire game up to the point of her death, 2B has not displayed a single soupçon of romantic interest in him, let alone in anything at all (much less staying alive). But, as is the tragedy that is patriarchical self-delusion, the conditioning that lets boys mistake utter disinterest for coquettish aloofness, he convinces himself that he coulda gotten some anyway. But! In that classic use of Yoko Taro dramatic irony, 2B had actually requested to be killed before she is corrupted by a mind-controlling virus. So the shopping mall gremlin A2 puts an end to her life in an Utena-esque act of lesbianism. This is the real ship, and the only real romance in the game to speak of.
Regardless, 9S gets the main character treatment for a reason that must clearly be some sort of mistake, and he only thinks about avenging 2B. But really, what he he wants is venting his distinctly heterosexual frustrations. He perceived A2 as having stripped him of a shot at love, but the buried lede is the belief he was entitled to her body in the first place. I mean, he grafts 2B’s arm onto his body without a thought.
Fast-forward to the final boss in the game, and you can either preserve A2’s stone butch lifestyle or let 9S die from nut-loss. It’s a very unsatisfying dilemma, because, if 9S wasn’t dick-thinking all the time, he could’ve allocated some cognitive processes to figuring out a real resolution. I comfort myself thinking that 9S’s story exemplifies the pointlessness of male narrative focalisation. But if he weren’t straight, or just not around at all, we could’ve had a lot more A2 being awkward with Anemone and trying to get back together with her, A2 flirting with either Devola or Popola or both, etc.
#1: Mario deserves to have body hair you cowards
The greatest mistake Nintendo ever made was showing a shirtless Mario Mario in their promotional material for Mario Odyssey. Not because it was accidentally sexual, unlocking a whole new stratum of feelings in the most taciturn compartments of my mind, but because it was a huge disservice to gamers everywhere. It was the first time that Nintendo, dad of Mario, revingly revealed what might lie beneath those tight little dungarees in an official and canon capacity. And they made his body the bio-equivalent of a waterslide.
This man has had playful curls and an impenetrable moustache from the day Miyamoto gave birth to him. And you mean to tell me the only hair he has on his body has been collectivised on his face? Now, I like men who are a bit pudgy and hairy and trapped inside of a virtual realm. For decades I have awaited the conceptualisation of such a man, so specifically party to my proclivities. And there came Mario Mario. He was the one, until that day… To me, an utter Mario Mario fan, giving him the full-body Brazilian wax is a direct attempt to silence my bushy fantasies.
His bald, nubile form suggests that the working-class plumber is ABSCONDING from his proud and hairy Italian heritage — which he would NEVER do, as he is a devout Catholic and a family man. Not only that: it isn’t doing any justice to the Sicilian body type. Unlike Luigi Mario, who is an arrogant twink from Milan (In my professional opinion, Luigi Mario is adopted.), Mario hails from Palermo, where everyone has chests as crowded like schools of anchovis. The heel of Italy permeates the very essence of the smaller Italian. In fact, he uses his two heels of Italy to jump and defeat his foes. Indeed, Mario Mario fights using the Italo style. The cultural dislocation of Mario Mario from his unshaven country is the biggest scandal in video game history.
To make matters worse, Nintendo has confirmed that Mario is only 24 years old. This shatters like a window pane my domestic fantasia of Mario Mario being a 40-something, tracksuit-wearing ex-mafioso. No longer will it feel honest to replace his shoes with slippers, hand him the newspaper, and bring him his dinner from the kitchen, artificially prolonging a marriage of 13 years that has run out of anything resembling affection over a decade ago. No, he is 24, which means he probably works in some shitty start-up company run by Waluigi.
Nintendo has chosen the path of least resistance, as if they fear getting stuck in the strands of Mario Mario’s mighty plumage. They are malapropisms of the very concept of Mario Mario. I will never forgive them.
But, light shines only in darkness. Life finds a way to administer blessings to those fallen from their faith. Almost immediately after this disappointing reveal of hairlessness, some blessed soul created — rectified reality itself — a version of the Sicilian we, as a collective, have idealised for for over 30 years.