Gay is good! Homosexually-tinged characters are finally seeping into video games, one of the last bastions of rigid, uber-masculine heterosexuality. So in the spirit of fun, here's a look at some classic game characters who might just be a tad light in their loafers...not that there's anything wrong with that!
#10 Zangief (Street Fighter series) - [ PS2 ]
Though he's certainly no sissy, this burly bear came up as a surprise blip on our gaydar. The brawny Russian wrestler has a habit of stuffing opponent's heads into his crotch, then sitting on their faces in an almost pornographic display known as the "piledriver.... Okay, okay, so chicks dig the piledriver. Still, the speedos, the leather daddy look, and the proud display of thick, luxuriant body hair point to the fact that, if nothing else, Zangief's in touch with his sensitive side. Just don't tell him we said that!
Verdict: Straight, mostly
On the outside, this Soul Caliber II warrior seems like a shoe-in, what with his ultra-stylized hair, flamboyant fencing style, and ornate outfit. Plus, he's French. So yeah, he's something of a poof. But looks can be deceiving. Aside from anecdotal evidence, there's little to suggest that Raphael is anything but a ladies man. So who's spreading all these rumors? Frustrated folks who keep finding themselves on the business end of his devastating sword thrusts, that's who.
Verdict: Straight, mostly
#8 Guile/Charlie (Street Fighter series) - [ PS2 ]
In identifying gay game characters, it always seems to come down to hair and physique, doesn't it? So it's no surprise that Guile's gravity-defying hairdo, toned body, and boyish good looks definitely raise some eyebrows. But ultimately, the truth lies within his murky relationship with war buddy Charlie (who boasts fighting styles suspiciously similar to Guile). Those records are classified, but who's to say what those two were up to in those foxholes?
Verdict: Don't ask, don't tell
#7 Samus (Metroid Prime 2) - [ GameCube ]
Well, what do you expect from a chick who thinks of a strapping on an ice beam and sticky bombs as "accessorizing?... In all seriousness, Samus is a tough one to call; with the recent Metroid Prime games, she inhabits the ultra-macho world of the first-person shooter (and does so quite convincingly). She's encased in a rigid, masculine suit, and exhibits no traditionally feminine qualities. But does she indulge in "the love that dare not speak its name?... Evidence is at best incidental, unless she and Mother Brain are closer than they're letting on.
Verdict: Ambiguous, possibly asexual
#6 Tidus (Final Fantasy X) - [ PS2 ]
This squirrelly young fella is decked out like a Mardi Gras float, and while that's not always a dead giveaway, it certainly registers as a major ping on our gaydar. Other key attributes include the feathered hair style and the excessive display of tanned, toned flesh. Okay, okay, so he "falls in love with... Luna, one of FFX's main female characters. But isn't it also possible that he's simply playing along for the sake of appearances? The jury's still out on this one, but there's no question that if nothing else, Tidus is suspiciously jaunty.
#5 Sephiroth (Final Fantasy VII) - [ Playstation ]
While we're on the topic of the Final Fantasy series, special attention should be paid to Sephiroth, FFVII's legendary bad boy. Once again, the flamboyant hair style and lavish outfit raise red flags, but with Sephiroth, there's deeper, more telling evidence. Just why is this guy so anti-social? Could he be wrestling with his own inner desires? Could he even have a crush on Cloud? It might explain why he took out his frustrations on Aeris, Cloud's harmless lady friend. And as an added bonus, the icy-hearted Sephiroth is the most despicable villain in the game, a position often held by gay characters in literature, film, and society in general. Then there's that massive, phallic sword, but we're just not gonna go there. This one seems fairly conclusive.
#4 Raiden (Metal Gear Solid 2) - [ PS2 ]
At first, it's easy to be thrown off by Raiden's whiny girlfriend. But in the end, Raiden's bottle-blonde hair, rippling swimmer's physique, and skintight bodysuit seem to point to one thing: sweet, sweet gayosity. And as further proof, he hangs out exclusively with a dude named "Solid Snake.... It might not be a dead giveaway, but it's close enough to raise some legitimate questions.
#3 Dante (Devil May Cry 3) - [ PS2 ]
If the uber-chic hair style, vast expanses of bare chest and midriff (nice abs, dude!), and ultra-tight lowride leather pants don't convince you, nothing will. And what's with that belt wrapped around his pecs? Maybe our gaydar's off on Dante after all-he could just be a garden variety leather fetishist, or a terminal fashion victim. Luckily, we know how to read between the lines.
#2 Voldo (Soul Calibur II) - [ PS2 ]
Is an explanation even necessary? Actually, it probably is. While sadomasochism is hardly limited to the gay subculture, some scholars believe that S&M embodies the mythical ideal of decadent homosexuality for members of that repressed social class. Or something like that-we're just parroting what our drama teacher taught us during freshman year. Want real proof? Voldo's super-slinky movements, suggestive crotch-thrusting attacks, and vogue sessions lend considerable weight to the notion that he's a bad stereotype of a leather queen. But that's why we love him!
#1 The Arbiter (Halo 2) - [ Xbox ]
We'll just let the pictures do the talking on this one. Note: you can access this ending by beating Halo 2 on the Legendary difficulty.
Verdict: Full-on, raging man-lover