The Importance of Being Gay Tony | Buzz Blog

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Importance of Being Gay Tony

Posted By on October 29, 2009, 5:31 AM

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Disclosure: A few months ago, when I stumbled upon a reference to the impending release of a video game titled Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony, I dismissed it as some kind of geeky Internet meme.

Shows how much I know about the gaming world. ---

As it turns out, Gay Tony is a genuine G.T.A. 4 expansion, being released today for the Xbox 360 platform. From what I gather, the eponymous character owns a bunch of popular dance clubs -- both gay and straight -- but is "about to lose everything!"

Gay Tony looks just as you'd expect: A 30-something, somewhat dissipated hipster with tinted black-framed goggles, gold hoop earring and a goatee.

The player's avatar is Gay Tony's (presumably hetero) tough-guy buddy, who I imagine has the task of rescuing Gay Tony's nightclub empire by successfully completing a sequence of exciting dangerous, violent and criminal acts.

Now, I'm not qualified to offer a review or any kind of expert commentary. I just like mouthing off about these things.

My own gaming history is limited. My only exposure to Grand Theft Auto was watching a friend's kid play G.T.A. 3 on a Playstation 2. From what I could tell, the object of the game was to drive recklessly around Liberty City trying to score drugs or sell stolen hubcaps. Maybe my friend's kid simply wasn't very good at it, but I lost interest pretty fast.

Generally, I like the more thinky, puzzle-based games, and I get bored with shoot-'em-ups and slug-'em-outs. But Gay Tony actually does look pretty fun. The graphics are amazing. If a friend invited me over to play, I'd give it a try.

Predictably, comments on gaming websites have been filled with jeering, adolescent homophobic comments -- but it looks like everybody's going to play the game anyway.

Of course, the big question on just everybody's mind is: How will this affect the gays?

The only reasonable answer is: Not at all.

Video games don't turn people into violent criminals any more than they turn people into yellow ball-shaped creatures hungry for dots. Likewise, playing a game that happens to feature a gay character probably won't transform many insecure, homophobic adolescents into broad-minded adults.

But the fact that such a title can be released is one more sign of the normalization of gay culture. As we're all so fond of saying, "This couldn't have happened 10 years ago."

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