The Power of Subtle Queer Themes in Games

CONN QGCon 2015 headshotSPEAKER: Matt Conn

MidBoss began creating Read Only Memories with the goal of making a game that features realistic queer themes that don’t become the game’s entire focus. Through its creation, the team has learned a lot about how people react to queer characters when they play a game. They have studied how to naturally integrate queerness in a story that is intended for general consumption and how to include diverse narrative elements in powerful ways. When queer people are treated less as a spectacle and more as real people, the potential for education and acceptance through a narrative becomes much greater. Positive queer representation in a game can help gamers familiarize themselves with real-word queer people, by coming to understand and appreciate same-sex relationships or queer gender identities. This panel will share and highlight the game team’s experiences and explore how these elements can be included in any narrative game seamlessly.

Matt Conn is best known for being the founder and CEO of MidBoss, the company that also puts on the GX game convention (formerly GaymerX) that seeks to create a safe space for LGBTQ identified gamers. He is also the producer for MidBoss’ upcoming cyberpunk story adventure Read Only Memories, which seeks to include queer characters in a positive way through the narrative of an interactive experience. Conn is a major leader of the fight for queer inclusion in video games and directs all MidBoss projects from San Francisco, where he lives.