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GaymerX East 2017: Don’t Miss These 10 Events From the LGBTQ Gaming Convention

GaymerX East 2017, the second annual New York City incarnation of the five-year-old LGBTQ gaming convention GaymerX, is happening this weekend (you can still grab tickets if you want to go). In addition to stunning cosplayers, board game demos, an “indie arcade” of cutting-edge games and an expo hall filled with LGBTQ groups and geeky vendors, the two-day event also has a full schedule of panels featuring vibrant personalities talking about various aspects of queer and gaming culture.

Here are 10 highlights from GaymerX East 2017 you’ll want to check out. (Click on the numbered headings to get more info):

 

1. Share Your Best Bathroom Stories with Sexual Game Creator Robert Yang

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Saturday, Nov. 4 • 12:30–1:30 p.m.

The games of gay video game designer Robert Yang include one where you give furtive bathroom blowjobs, one involving privacy and dickpics (link NSFW), a game where you pleasure “a gay car” and another one about deep-throating a corndog, a carrot and a popsicle (link NSFW). Based on that alone, you’ll probably want to hear his talk, entitled “Gay Physics.” The description says that he wants to hear your best bathroom stories — that’ll be a hoot.

 

2. This Panel Addressing the Lack of Nonbinary Content in Video Games

Saturday, Nov. 4 •12:30–1:30 p.m.

While transgender gamers did a good job at GaymerX several years ago making a list of demands for more trans-inclusive games, non-binary characters are much harder to come by. However, game creators can fix this, and Wally S., a games writer and designer, has several ideas on how it can be done.

 

3. A Discussion on Games That Mess with Your Mind and Societal Expectations

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Saturday, Nov. 4 •  2–3 p.m.

You might not know what to expect from a discussion entitled “Subversive Games,” but it’s a panel discussion about “games which break existing conventions and familiar concepts/mechanics.” This includes first-person shooter games where the goal is not to harm anyone, games that demonstrate disabilities by not allowing players to reach seemingly accessible areas and other thought-provoking games that can teach us about empathy and new ways of engaging the world.

 

4. A Panel on How Games Can Help Teach People About Mental Health

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Image via ‘Ninja Theory’

Saturday, Nov. 4 • 6:30–7:30 p.m.

In the recent past, we’ve had a slew of new games that, by design or chance, highlight different aspects of mental health — including characters struggling to maintain their sanity and characters who see and hear things that don’t exist. This panel will discuss “dialogue systems that tap into social anxiety and narratives that echo depression” and other games that are getting people to explore the human emotions and perception on a deeper level.

 

5. A Show in Which Comedians Help Break (Down) the Internet

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Sunday, Nov. 5 • 2–3 p.m.

After a full day enjoying the arcade and expo hall, GaymerX East 2017 serves up a comedy show with expert panelists breaking down all the hilarious and horrid things that make the internet great. They say, “It’s everything you love about the internet with none of the jerky YouTube comments.”

 

6. Can Roleplaying Games Help Make You A Better Lover?

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Sunday, Nov. 5 • 2–3 p.m.

There’s a ton of fighting in video and role-playing games, but what about making love instead of war? Sharang Biswas — an award-winning New York City-based game designer, writer and artist — will discuss how people role-play romance or sex, whether such role-play teaches us anything about intimacy and the ways that fictional relationships can affect real life.

 

7. Meet Kitty Powers, the World’s Only Drag Queen Video Game Designer

Sunday, Nov. 5 • 3:30–4:30 p.m.

If you never played Kitty Powers’ Matchmaker, you’re missing out. It’s a cute and hilarious dating simulator where you help thousands of lonely hearts navigate the tricky world of romance. Powers (the alter-ego of game developer Richard Franke) is working on her second game, Kitty Powers’ Love Life — a game in which players influence a community full of lovers — and she’s here to share what she’s learned and what lovely surprises are up next.

 

8. Getting Your Grey On When You’re Aging in the Game Community 

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Sunday, Nov. 5 • 3:30–4:30 p.m.

Although gaymer culture is as diverse in age as it is in interest, many older aged gamers and geeks have little contact with the generations ahead or behind them. Two gaming and geek veterans will discuss the challenges of aging in a cutting-edge culture and the ways that older and younger gamers can build a stronger, more supportive community that helps everyone grow together.

 

9. Dealing with Your Feelings in an Uncertain (and Dangerous) Future 

Sunday, Nov. 5 • 5–6 p.m.

Sammus — the performance name and sometimes pen name of Enongo Lumumba-Kasongo — is an Ithaca, New York-based rap artist, producer and Cornell University science and tech PhD student whose music and articles touch on issues of race, hip-hop, gaming and feminism. Sammus will discuss how to deal with modern life when you’re a creative, empathetic individual, with some pointers on how outsiders can survive and thrive in the modern age.

 

10. Creating Honest and Powerful Trans Characters in Gaming

Sunday, Nov. 5 • 5–6 p.m.

Although trans people remain woefully under-represented in game development studios and in games themselves, the moderator and presenter of “It’s Not You, It’s Me: Depicting Your Personal Truth in Trans Characters” have ideas on how trans creators can put their life experiences into characters that reflect the messy and imperfect realities of trans existence.

 

GaymerX East 2017 is Nov. 4–5 at the Microsoft Technology Center in Manhattan. To purchase tickets, head here.

 

Featured image by Matt Baume