Gay guys and shooter games, huh? Who’d a thought. Not straight guys that’s for sure. They might never think that a gay guy could be so handy with a semi-auto rifle and a Molotov, but they might just be surprised.
Over the past few months I’ve become obsessed with the game “The Last of Us” on PlayStation 3 from the creators Naughty Dog. It’s an interesting game about a post-apocalyptic America, and one man’s and one young girl’s journey to find salvation. All in all a very touching and cerebral storyline with some great edge-of-your-seat action. There is another side to the game that has a much more sinister approach to the post-apocalyptic survival crisis. This game is called “Factions,” and it is a multiplayer game played online with two teams of four. Each team must gather supplies, hunt for enemies, and defend it’s teammates against the opposing teams thirst for survival. It’s this part of the game that I have become so enthralled with.
It might not seem like much at first, but for a gay man, this was a groundbreaking concept. You are able to communicate via headset or just work silently alongside 3 other randomly selected teammates (sometimes women, but usually men) to win each match. I had expected to get frustrated and essential grow tired with the concept rather quickly, but what actually happened was quite the contrary. I found myself being accepted into this whole new world of “brotherhood”. Defending, reviving, protecting, and healing these fellow teammates gave me this sense of comradery that I had never before experienced. It was exhilarating. Even more so exhilarating when you find yourself on a dream team of actual “team-players”. A team where their first priority is to watch each other’s backs and work together as a whole.
My role (modified and selected in settings before gameplay) is that of a skilled hunter with the inherent ability to revive and heal teammates at an accelerated rate. And let me tell you, it does not go unappreciated. Many times during a shootout I will crouch behind the lead hunter and continuously heal and revive him as he defends the team. (for which I receive a ton of points for…) I imagine this annoys the opposing team as they can not understand why they are unable to “take this sucker down!” You usually play a few consecutive matches with the same teammates. Eventually these teammates learn of my primary role and before you know it, I’ll hear, “Nicky, come heal me!!!.” (My user name is NickAlanNYC) Let me tell you, this releases a flood of endorphins you could only imagine.
Silly isn’t it, that a video game could instill such brotherhood, self-importance, and self-worth. But as I previously stated, this is a new concept for a gay male. As a gay boy, you grow up being looked at very differently through the eyes of your heterosexual male peers. They are taught to see you as a threat to their masculinity, and therefore don’t treat you like “one of the guys.” I am a firm believer that this effects a child’s social and mental development in many ways. You don’t have that crucial male bonding that lets you feel accepted and normal. Even if they aren’t saying anything to your face, you are intentionally NOT being invited to their laser tag birthday parties. So now, with the help of online gaming, I am just “one of the guys.” A faceless assassin and healer labeled only by the monicker “NickAlanNYC” and not as that “gay guy”. After an amazing match I receive a few friend requests and often times a few nasty messages in my inbox from peeved vanquished enemies.
Now, I don’t mind these types of messages, simply because this guy is calling me “fag” in the way that most straight guys call other straight guys “fag”. It’s less offensive and makes me feel like one of the guys!
And for those of you who think my game play is inferior because I’m not getting a ton of “downs’ and “executions,” my points/parts and ranking speak otherwise. That’s right… 10 revives! That’s 10 people I saved from execution. On average people usually get about 1-2. I got 10. I also got the most points. More than even the best hunter, and we won. It’s all about your own personal strategy. Behind every great hunter, is a great healer -me