GA(Y)MING

How gaming created the space for me to be queer, before I knew I needed it.

“I want to be honest with her. So if she feels the same about me, there won’t be any surprises.”

So says my spaceship engineer Parvati; a quiet, considerate lass I bumped into when trying to procure a new engine for my ship – she was looking for some adventure, and I happened to be leaving town. Now, she’s met someone: another engineer (another woman). But she’s worried. She’s worried that Junlei Tennyson, chief-engineer aboard the Groundbreaker, won’t understand her asexuality.

Not that Parvati fully understands it, either. All she knows is that, so far, she’s yet to meet someone who will give her the space she needs, to be the woman she is. In Junlei, she thinks she might finally have found that someone.

I’m playing The Outer Worlds, an immersive RPG set in the Halcyon Colony – a dystopian galaxy in farthest space, where you awake after a 70-year spell in cryo-sleep. My character’s name is Jahanara Khan, one kick-ass female captain you do not want to mess with. And as I’m playing, engaging with a mostly-female cast of enemies and allies, encouraging the growth of an asexual-lesbian-partnership between my in-game companion and her sweetheart, I get to thinking.

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Anomaly (2020) – Sci-Fi Short Film

Watch my film here!

In Anomaly, humanity scours the far reaches of the cosmos for asteroids to mine and planets to inhabit, building spacestations as they go. For Pan, lone engineer, tasked with maintenance of the remotest outposts, life in outerspace is a drag. It’s hardly made more bearable by the constant presence of her AI companion, Dual – an acerbic autopilot with a dry wit and little else. When a rogue frequency promises an injection of adventure into an otherwise dull and lonely life, Pan leaps at the opportunity to track it to its source. Hyper-jumping to an unexplored region of space… what could possibly go wrong?

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Before the Cataclysm

‘I miss music the most. Real music. Synth. Bass. Heavy bass. Trance. Keys. Sub whoofers. Ecstasy. I miss ecstasy. Goose-bumps during work that day. Half a pill to get you ready. Meticulously crafted bombs, timed to bring you up as your heel hits the dancefloor and the track melts, entering your consciousness by osmosis. Baggies to dab from, keep you level, keep you on an even keel, keep you purgatoried between twilights. Glacial water on tap to swill powdered bitterness from your mouth, to run against the back of your neck and raise the hairs on your arms. Nothing but you and the DJ who, for all you care, is the messiah.

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Black Star

‘Do you think we’ll get another referendum, then?’

Something disrupts the song I’m listening to, a sixth sense, a feeling there are eyes on me. I turn around. Un-suction waxy earphones. He repeats his question.

‘Do you think we’ll get another referendum?’

He’s spilling out the bench and his crumpled white shirt. Comic banker rotundness stacked in folds beneath an old suit, topped with bowler hat.

‘I don’t know,’ I muse, ‘probably not any time soon.’ I’ve used this line before, it feels aged, but not like wine, not like whisky.

‘I reckon they’ll block it at every turn.’

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