Apparently one of the most original and entertaining games of 2007 stars a tied-up woman hanging from the ceiling and is chock-full of lesbian undertones. That is, according to two different blogs, which in today’s world means it’s as good as a fact. Game-Ism’s art below is pretty hard to argue with, especially since Portal’s designers said they were going for a “Venus hanging upside-down” look. The lesbian theme, on the other hand, is something else entirely…
Heroine Sheik makes the point that Portal features an all-female cast (the weighted companion cube is referred to as “he”, but c’mon, there’s pink hearts all over it!), and GLaDOS references Chell breaking her heart, implying some sort of relationship. I never took her comments in that light, it seemed more like the ramblings of a crazy person than an admission of romantic love.
But here’s the kicker. The FPS is a highly masculine genre, i.e. you walk around blowing stuff up and killing everything that moves using a gun that shoots bullets. Read that last bit again: a gun that shoots bullets. Get my drift, here? Portal isn’t as action driven, and even though you’re solving puzzles (a left-brained masculine activity), it’s decidedly less testosterone/adrenaline filled. And instead of shooting things out of a gun, in Portal you have a gun that creates openings. Holes. Orifices. Holes you go into to do things. Get my drift there, too? So if an FPS is masculine, Portal is, in many ways, feminine.
Let that sink it. It isn’t a rock solid assumption, as I could pick it apart with a few well-placed casual arguments, but I love conspiracy theories. It reminds me of the U R MR GAY discovery a few months back. You can bet I’ll be playing Portal very soon, but this time around it will be a very different experience.