Bryan Ochalla

This probably sounds funny, especially to anyone who knows me even remotely, but I knew I was a video gamer long before I knew I was gay.

That’s quite a feat when you consider I surrounded myself with Strawberry Shortcake dolls before the Nintendo Entertainment System caused me to throw them in the trash.

It’s funny how both childhood interests garner similar responses from my gay friends and acquaintances: confused looks, barely contained chuckles, catty under-the-breath comments.

Actually, some gay people find the Strawberry Shortcake story to be sweetly amusing in a way that makes them go, “awwwwwwwww.”

Not so much when it comes to my history as a video game geek.

History really isn’t the right word, though, since I’m still a video gamer-though I prefer the more modern term, gaymer, these days (gay + gamer = gaymer, in case you couldn’t figure that out).

Through the years I’ve owned pretty much every game system that’s been released-including one that never made it out of Japan.

I won’t bore you with their names, since I can’t imagine many gays have ever heard of the TurboGrafx-16 or the similarly wonderful (and overlooked) Sega Saturn.

My obsession (yes, I’ll admit it) waned a bit after college – having to find, and keep, a job and pay a heaping stack of bills will do that to you.

The obsessive feelings came back full force for this gay gamer when the Nintendo Wii was released last year, though, much to the chagrin of my non-gaming husband.

Ever since, I’ve been playing games (such as Wii Sports, Trauma Center: Second Opinion or WarioWare: Smooth Moves) like it’s 1985 again.

My heightened interest and excitement even convinced my stodgy hubby to join me once in a while.

I’m pleased to report that not only did he enjoy himself, but the experience prompted him to ask me to pick up another game a few months later.

If you’re in the same situation – in a relationship with an anti-gaymer – here are a few games that could get them to change their minds:

Animal Crossing: Wild World (Nintendo DS)

Sure, the game’s nearly two years old, but that doesn’t really matter if you’re not an avid gamer, does it? This game’s cute as hell (don’t say I didn’t warn you), but it’s so compelling that even the most jaded bear or butch won’t be able to resist its charms.

You start by creating a little guy or gal and then drop them into a sprawling village full of anthropomorphic animals. Once there, you can decorate your house, plant flowers, catch fish, chat with your newfound friends or run errands. It’s like real life, but a lot more relaxing.

Super Mario Galaxy (Nintendo Wii)

OK, so I haven’t exactly played this game yet (it won’t be released until November 12th), but I’ve seen enough videos of it and read enough impressions from lucky Japanese gamers (who got their hands on it yesterday) to know it’s a game that can be enjoyed by anyone.

You know who Mario is, right? Yeah, the little plumber dude who starred in the most recognisable video game ever (Super Mario Bros. on the NES).

Well, he’s back and this time he’s making his way through the universe in order to save his sweetie, Princess Peach, who has once again been abducted by the evil Bowser. I know, it sounds silly, but give it a chance.

Best setup for you and your own sweetie: You (the hardcore gaymer) control Mario while he/she helps you gather stars and other goodies with a second Wii.

Beautiful Katamari (Xbox 360)

Actually, my real recommendation would be for you to pick up a PlayStation 2 (if you don’t already have one) and a copy of Katamari Damacy, which trounces every other Katamari game released since.

If you only have a 360, though, the just-released Beautiful Katamari will do just fine. There’s no use in explaining the story – it actually makes Mario’s story seem completely normal – so I’ll just explain how it works.

You control a little green guy as he runs around gathering various earthly objects into an ever-growing ball. When the ball reaches a certain size-or contains the right objects-you move on to the next level. Believe me, it’s fun and addictive and can be enjoyed by anyone.

LocoRoco Cocoreccho! (PlayStation 3)

I know, another game with a very strange name. Don’t let that keep you from checking it out, though, especially since it only costs a few bucks (you pay for and download it through Sony’s PlayStation Store).

In the game, you control a strangely hypnotic butterfly as it floats through a trippy, two-dimensional world, attracting bulbous little creatures called LocoRoco along the way (you, as the butterfly, are supposed to lead them en masse to a gate parked at the end of the level).

Like most of the games mentioned above, the story doesn’t make much sense; luckily, the proof is in the playing, and that’s where LocoRoco shines. It’s addictive, engaging, intuitive, and, above all, fun.

If you have a PSP, consider picking up the original LocoRoco as well, which has players twist and turn their portable gaming machine to move the LocoRocos through a similarly trippy-dippy world.

© 2007 GayWired.com; All Rights Reserved.

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Gay Gaming

A gay gamer’s guide to what’s hot and not in the world of video games

Written By Bryan Ochalla

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Category: | Daily News | Entertainment | Shopping |

This probably sounds funny, especially to anyone who knows me even remotely, but I knew I was a video gamer long before I knew I was gay.

That’s quite a feat when you consider I surrounded myself with Strawberry Shortcake dolls before the Nintendo Entertainment System caused me to throw them in the trash.

It’s funny how both childhood interests garner similar responses from my gay friends and acquaintances: confused looks, barely contained chuckles, catty under-the-breath comments.

Actually, some gay people find the Strawberry Shortcake story to be sweetly amusing in a way that makes them go, “awwwwwwwww”. Not so much when it comes to my history as a video game geek.

History really isn’t the right word, though, since I’m still a video gamer-though I prefer the much more modern term, gaymer, these days (gay + gamer = gaymer, in case you couldn’t figure that out).

Through the years I’ve owned pretty much every game system that’s been released-including one that never made it out of Japan. I won’t bore you with their names, since I can’t imagine many gays have ever heard of the TurboGrafx-16 or the similarly wonderful (and overlooked) Sega Saturn.

My obsession (yes, I’ll admit it…) waned a bit after college-having to find, and keep, a job and pay a heaping stack of bills will do that to you.

The obsessive feelings came back full force for this gay gamer when the Nintendo Wii was released last year, though, much to the chagrin of my non-gaming husband.

Ever since, I’ve been playing games (such as Wii Sports, Trauma Center: Second Opinion or WarioWare: Smooth Moves) like it’s 1985 again.

My heightened interest and excitement even convinced my stodgy hubby to join me once in a while. I’m pleased to report that not only did he enjoy himself, but the experience prompted him to ask me to pick up another game a few months later.

If you’re in the same situation-in a relationship with an anti-gaymer-here are a few games that could get them to change their minds:

Animal Crossing: Wild World (Nintendo DS)-sure, the game’s nearly two years old, but that doesn’t really matter if you’re not an avid gamer, does it? This game’s cute as hell (don’t say I didn’t warn you), but it’s so compelling that even the most jaded bear or butch won’t be able to resist its charms. You start by creating a little guy or gal and then drop them into a sprawling village full of anthropomorphic animals. Once there, you can decorate your house, plant flowers, catch fish, chat with your newfound friends or run errands. It’s like real life, but a lot more relaxing.

Super Mario Galaxy (Nintendo Wii)-OK, so I haven’t exactly played this game yet (it won’t be released until Nov. 12), but I’ve seen enough videos of it and read enough impressions from lucky Japanese gamers (who got their hands on it yesterday) to know it’s a game that can be enjoyed by anyone. You know who Mario is, right? Yeah, the little plumber dude who starred in the most recognizable video game ever (Super Mario Bros. on the NES). Well, he’s back and this time he’s making his way through the universe in order to save his sweetie, Princess Peach, who has once again been abducted by the evil Bowser. I know, it sounds silly, but give it a chance. Best setup for you and your own sweetie: You (the hardcore gaymer) control Mario while he/she helps you gather stars and other goodies with a second Wii controller.

Beautiful Katamari (Xbox 360)-Actually, my real recommendation would be for you to pick up a PlayStation 2 (if you don’t already have one) and a copy of Katamari Damacy, which trounces every other Katamari game released since. If you only have a 360, though, the just-released Beautiful Katamari will do just fine. There’s no use in explaining the story-it actually makes Mario’s story seem completely normal-so I’ll just explain how it works: You control a little green guy as he runs around gathering various earthly objects into an ever-growing ball. When the ball reaches a certain size-or contains the right objects-you move on to the next level. Believe me, it’s fun and addictive and can be enjoyed by anyone.