Finally, I can fuck the professors in the Pokemon game! Nintendo announced on the first day of pride (June 1st, 2022) that I could have sex with my teachers because finally they are hot (in the upcoming game Pokemon Scarlet & Violet from Game Freak).
Kenneth Shephard outlines in the mildly sarcastic and uppity news article ‘The Internet is Down Bad for the Pokemon Scarlet & Violet Professors’ that the internet instead of being interested in the clearly important game things of Pokemon, instead want to fuck the newly revealed professors. Sada and Turo. The girl one and the boy one. The savage and the future man.
The posts shared by Ken give an idea of the kind of horny fan oriented appreciation of these obviously very sexy characters. These are Pokemon fans. Young, gay Pokemon fans. The internet.
That’s normalisation though right? A trend is spotted, deemed representative of the whole (hole) and we are told it is this and it was always this.
The thing is, are these two hot? In terms of conservative aesthetic ideals of the 20th century, sure. Light skinned, thin, exoticised (Sada), chiselled (Turo). They also are stern looking, like your teacher. These two ideals of the white imaginary, here to teach you about the nature of Pokemon and also fuck you. They are clear bisexual icons in the way that any other white person in clothes is. The clothes indicate the time period see, Sada wears the cavegirl with tribally associated jewellery outfit, and Turo wears the Tron suit. The tribal is the past, and technology is the future, right? Sure…
Please forget that these tropes ‘primitive’ girl and ‘future’ man, are fully drenched in the racial and sexual imaginaries of ‘civilised people’ from their appearances in the books written by eugenicist adventure fiction writers like Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Please forget that in real terms we are living through extremist conservative fascist movements that want very much to destroy their racial and gender and sexuality diverse targets’ hopes of existing outside of some prison/extermination system.
Big name global game publishers wanting to appeal to these fantasies of some ‘shared global culture’ based in American and European genre fiction tropes now have this clearly labelled from the get go, familiarity being where money is most easily attained. We saw this with another horny twitter phenomenon, the most recent Resident Evil game, a text ultimately about old Universal movie monsters and how women are monstrous if they aren’t caring for babies properly.
The queer response there, as much as horny gays on twitter can be called a ‘queer response’, at least made sense, in that the villains were for instance a bloodsucking giant lady in the form of early 20th century ageing Hollywood actress camp, which itself of course is another heady exercise in whiteness, alas. This Pokemon shit is beguiling. Like, are we that desperate?
Or perhaps are news outlets like Kotaku and Fanbyte so desperate for a story that they see a few fans doing fandom, creating religious figures out of some corporate brainstorm, and that’s reflected back to gamers as the new sexuality? Everyone re-entrenching things that were exported to sell the lies of white dominance over culture as the new thing that gets the bisexuals in the crowd going?
That’s just a small part of a critique you could mount against the normalisation of the investment in familiar and recognisable tropes for one as propagating racism and exoticism, as well as fan culture (in real terms, media and publisher outlets relying on it as ‘content’ to drive profits (Morbius)) as a motivator for designers, publishers and journalists reflecting on games culture and sexuality.
The “sigh predictable” tone of Kenneth Shephard’s story brings that out. Why even write what is essentially you grabbing a few gay fan artist’s tweets and then pointing at this minority group as the sexual representation of ‘The Internet’ here, if you don’t reflect on how that is itself cultural creation?
Never mind how the rest of the game seems to be invested in the ‘narrative game design’ version of this, taking place between two schools on some fantasy island with different biome regions based on their weather. What is a bland Open World game but an excuse to play around in the colonial adventure story trope forever?
I would argue that a game like Sable is just as guilty of this kind of acceptance of a cultural representative canon being sold to you as ‘New and Exciting’ as any Pokemon game.
We would like to sell you your sexuality back to you as a racial power fantasy, do you accept?