Although the Strong Museum of Play in Rochester, New York is currently operating under strictly limited conditions due to COVID-19, it is still expanding its collection. The museum, which boasts huge, interactive exhibits featuring toys, dolls, sports equipment, board games, video games and more, will now host the LGBTQ Video Games Collection. The Collection, which discusses over one thousand games, is an extensive digital archive which can be accessed for free at its official Web site found here.
The LGBTQ Collection was founded in 2015 by Dr. Adrienne Shaw, a professor at Temple University. Dr. Shaw wished to create an online archive which would discuss the history of queer representation in video games after GayGamer.net, a Web site which had previously served that function, was taken offline. The Collection went online in 2016 and has been free to access since then.
The site collects examples of queer characters, queer relationships, queer stories and more in video games beginning in the 1980s and continuing through the modern day. It also contains records of problematic handling of such subjects in games, including examples of homophobia, transphobia, and anti-gay “jokes” in video games. Dr. Shaw made the decision to include this when the archive was founded in order to recognize progress that has been made regarding LGBTQ representation in games.
The LGBTQ Collection was populated by Dr. Shaw and a group of Temple University-based volunteers, including Aja Binette, Cody Mejeur, Hocheol Yang, and Weimei Sun. As more and more games are released every year, and more and more choose to include queer characters and tell queer stories, the archive will continue to expand and grow in the future.
Currently, the Strong plans to feature physical exhibits and interactive experiences inspired by the materials in this collection and themed around the portrayal of LGBTQ individuals and stories in gaming, but no further information has been released at this point.