**Warning Mature Content**
Michael Austin (Louisiana Tech University)
Beeps, Boops, and Boyz: Sonic Representations of Gay Men in Video Games
In his 2014 documentation film, Do I Sound Gay?, director David Thrope examines the stereotypes surrounding the speech patterns of gay men, investigating what it means to have a “gay voice” or to “sound gay.” While the vocal stereotypes explored in the film seem to be a fixture in popular culture, they also remain a subject for derision and a trigger for bullying and harassment, often causing gay men to internalize homophobia and resort to hyper-masculine sonic expressions of their own identity. These vocal stereotypes are often exploited in the aural representations of LGBTQIA+ characters in video games, where sometimes clichéd, and/or hackneyed voice acting, sound effects, and stereotypically “gay” music server as sonic shorthand for the gay community.
In this paper, I consider the presence or absences of these vocal and musical stereotypes in video games with overtly gay themes, such as My Ex-Boyfriend the Space Tyrant (Up Multimedia 2013), Coming Out on Top (Obscurasoft, 2014), Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator (Game Grumps, 2017), and The Tea Room (Robert Yang, 2017), and Gaydorado (Moga Studios, 2018), and discuss their value as camp and as a vehicle for positive representations of gay men in videogames. I will also discuss the importance of these games for the exploration of identity and self-expression for the “gay-mers” that play them, and the ways in which fans of these games participate sonically in and beyond the community.
Source: Bardic Knowledge