The Week in Pop Culture Headlines: #StopKony Campaign, Hammer Horror & Mass Effect 3 | TQS Magazine

This week in pop culture headlines: Invisible Children’s Stop Kony Campaign breaks viral video records, Hammer studios begin search for lost footage from classic films but it was gay romance in videogame Mass Effect 3 sparking debate in the gaming world that has grabbed our headline spot:

Videogame Mass Effect 3 Features Homosexual Romance Option

A new Sci-fi videogame is the latest in a select few games to include a same-sex romance.

Mass Effect 3, created by BioWare, allows players freedom of choice in the life decisions of lead character Commander Shepard, including who he chooses to romance. Critics have made particular note of the potential romance with crewmember Cortez, which is the first same-sex romance to appear in the series. If game players choose to interact romantically with Cortez via certain options, the game shows footage of the two men kissing and then sleeping together. Since its release, the brief footage of same-sex relations (about 90 seconds of the entire game) has received mixed reviews. Mass Effect 3 was released on Friday and is available for Xbox 360, PC and PS3. Here is the footage that has got gamers, geeks and gays buzzing:

It may seem a long time coming to some, but little developments in the gaming world are hoping to change perceptions on sexuality. This is nothing particularly new, world-building series The Sims and fantasy game Fable have both featured options to create gay characters or same-sex relationships. However, what is most interesting is that Mass Effect 3 is essentially a war game. It is steeped in macho action role-playing with extensive weaponry and vivid battle scenes. I think it’s no coincidence that this sci-fi military game series has made the move towards same-sex romances so soon after the US military ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy was abolished in September 2011. As such, Mass Effect 3 is touching on new territory and, I think, does so fairly respectfully if we remember the fact that ALL of the lead character’s romantic pursuits are a choice- not just the same-sex relations. Of course, the video spoiler which was released on Youtube has incited a shocking amount of bigoted remarks. For instance, Concerned Mother commented on Forbes Online’s review of the game:

“We Mothers understand that there should be tolerance when interacting with sexually oriented groups, but it should not be thrown in your face… I think with young people playing games such as this one, sexuality should not come in place, and believe me Mass Effect is not the only game (Fable which in involve threesomes, with either sex). Can’t we just save the World?”

The irony is that Concerned Mother is referring to a game that revolves around killing sprees and graphic war imagery and has a 15 rating in the UK. And yet she’s worrying about her ‘child’ seeing two men in bed together (just spooning) in their briefs for all of 45 seconds. Questionable priorities some might say, but we’ll let you decide for yourselves.

Words by @j_fishman

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