Queerness in Games Conference 2017

Subverting the Heteronormative Jesus in Video Games

 

In 2017 I travelled to Los Angeles to speak at the 4th annual Queerness in Games Conference (QGCon), hosted at the University of Southern California. You can watch a video of my talk which was a part of the 'New Queer Perspectives' panel.  

 

Abstract:

Representations of Jesus, or Christ-figures, are present in nearly every form of media in our modern age, from film to advertising, art to literature, music, television and more increasingly than ever, in video games.

The concept of the messianic archetype is a common trope in many AAA games, from Final Fantasy X to Mass Effect, Half-Life to Dragon Age. Each of these games, and many more, let the player either witness or inhabit the role of a Saviour, a unique character who is tasked with saving a people, a world, or even an entire universe. This presentation aims to explore how sexuality has become an integral part of the depiction of these Christ-figures, and how it can be seen to both align to and subvert early traditions, specifically those seen in film, which often depict Messianic figures as solely heteronormative.

This presentation will cover how Christ-figures can be identified and give a short history of said representations, aiming to demonstrate how pervasive Christ-figures are within Western media. The main focus of the paper will be on how sexuality is explored with Christ-figure narratives and how video game Christ-figures have transitioned from the heterosexual, white male ‘norm’ to a more diverse, sexually fluid characterisation.