I probably play too many video games. And by probably, I mean I certainly play too many video games. It’s the reason I prefer to spend time in my room, than out at the club. It’s the reason I’ve had sleepless nights, as I was determined to complete my virtual task. It’s also the reason this post is later than its normal weekly Tuesday spot.
That said, I believe that a transperson can find incredible respite in video games. And with the emergence of VR and AR gaming, that comfort will only increase.
Video games grant an escape to the player. A way for them to experience a world different to their own. And with the inclusion of character customisation, that player can place themselves into the game itself. Even without such a feature, a relatable main character increases involvement and how involved a person may feel with the game.
These games ARE different worlds. Worlds without the physical restraints of our own. You can be whomever you wish. You can live through that character in the incredible world inside. It may be the tiniest change too. For example, in Stardew Valley, a farming game akin to Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing (♡), my character is female. This choice changes next to nothing in the game itself, other than a few text lines and outfits for special events. Everything else is the same; however, I feel more like myself whilst I play the game. Had I made them look as I do now, in male form, I may have just seen them as another part of the game. I would not see myself as that person. I would not see myself interacting with the people in the game.
Even in games like World of Warcraft, my main character is female. In this case, they look nothing like me, nor are they even human, but again, I relate. I have other characters in the game who are male and I don’t identify myself with them.
And for the Sims, I think the reasoning is quite clear. I am that person. I can make myself. Myself as I truly am. I can live a life, interact with people, just as I would if I was AFAB.
NOTE: The most recent Sims, Sims 4, actually has custom gender options. This is incredible, especially for those people who identify strongly with their trans identity.
I believe all of this can be relatable to cis-folk. Think about the last time you played a video game. I’m sure almost everyone has played the Sims at some point in their life. You most likely made yourself. You wanted to relate to the character you’re controlling. You wanted it to be you. Why would you play as Bella Goth if you could play as You. That’s all it is. That’s all it comes to. Providing an escape for those who need it the most.
Cover image source: Myself.