In 1992 Microprose released Rex Nebular & the Cosmic Gender Bender , an adventure game set on a world where a “gender war” had killed off all the men. The remaining women separated themselves from the rest of the galaxy, hid their planet, and perpetuated their species thanks to the Gender Bender, a device that instantly but non-permanently transformed women into men and vice versa. What does the game do with that setup and the questions it raises? It makes jokes about how men leave the toilet seat up and women don’t know what torque wrenches are. We’ve come a long way since then. In 2007’s Mass Effect the Asari are a monogender alien species coded as women, and they don’t hide themselves away refusing to learn how wrenches work. On the surface they seem like stereotypical blue space babes, but they’re also a matriarchal society that plays a central role in the politics of the series. One of the Asari, Liara T’Soni, is a potential love interest for the player-character regardless of their gender—which, at the time, was controversial. Imperfect as they were, Mass Effect and its sequels felt like they were dealing with gender and sexuality in a… Read full this story
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