If you are in Berlin between now and May 13th you are in for a treat. Schwules Museum is hosting what is touted to be the first LGBTQ videogame history exhibit and it is fittingly named Rainbow Arcade.
Curated by an international team, it features approximately 100 exhibits and a variety of playable titles examining the history of queer culture in videogames. Schwules Museum (Gay Museum) is the oldest and largest LGBTQ related museum and archive in the world. It is dedicated to collecting and preserving LGBTQ culture and heritage making it the perfect place to showcase our culture in video game history.
Notable titles include Caper in the Castro (1989) which is recognised as the first LGBT based video game, a murder mystery puzzle game featuring a lesbian detective (Tracker McDyke) as the protagonist. Solving the mystery of the disappearance of friend and drag queen Tessy LaFemme. Also featured is Robert Yangs recent trilogy Radiator 2 which is made up of three mini games, one based on BDSM, one based on assisting a hunk eat an ice cream and another about pleasuring a gay car via stick shift.
Whilst the exhibition itself was funded via a grant from the Berlin State Department. Schwules Museum also created a Kickstarter page to support the creation of a companion catalogue to the exhibit itself. Containing the research behind the exhibits, it also features interviews with developers and selected essays detailing the history of queer culture in gaming. Raising almost 28 thousand euro, they will be printing 1000 copies of the book to be sent to supporters world wide.
Both the exhibit and book are split into six sections. The first being a general timeline of firsts and notable milestones of LGBTQ representation. Following by two sections exploring both mainstream and indie treatment of gay characters through the years. There is a community section showcasing unique aspects of the LGBTQ gaming community. A section dedicated to the presence of discrimination in game content, production and gaming communities and finally a section looking to the future of LGBTQ representation in video game culture.
Well done to the Rainbow Arcade Team and Schwules Museum on a massive effort putting together the exhibit and catalogue. If you are in Berlin over the coming months be sure to head over and check it out.
With any luck if it is a maybe the exhibit will tour and make its way down under eventually.