from the bureau
We’ve all been in a closet. There’s an undeniable, immutable fact about us and we fear that, if revealed, this fact could injure us. The fact itself is not the source of the harm; the reaction from others and society at large is the malefactor. The closet is where society stashes things it’d rather not accept, because it disputes a falsity that many cling to as true, or because the revelation might somehow diminish the influence of those in power. But being sequestered in this way can cause deep pain for those who would prefer to live openly and honestly.
It turns out games are great at providing the language to discuss experiences on both sides of the closet door. They can represent your experiences and provide a model when you may lack one in your life. They can transport players to an alternate social reality where the rules have been rewritten and where power is equalized. And they can expose you to experiences or perspectives that you otherwise might not have considered.
This issue of electro bureau examines several intersections of gaming and coming out. First, Tate discusses the environment that Star Fox 64 created, as opposed to the game’s content itself, and how it provided a safe space to explore his identity and how it relates to others. Eric chronicles his ongoing journey of self-discovery, and how several games (such as Metroid, Lim, and Gone Home) provided the pieces for him to assemble his intersectional identity. Jake recalls the mediating role that first person shooters played in his experience of ultramasculine high school maleness as a gay man. Finally, Tony explores a coming out allegory embedded into Legend of Mana.
Come out to us! If you've got something to say about a game and the effect it had on shaping you as a human, we want to hear it. We're always looking to expand the breadth of experiences we can capture here. Also please feel free to write with any comments or concerns, and thank you for reading.