While watching a GiantBomb Video of some upcoming features in S2games’s Heroes of Newerth version 2.0, Gay-Nerds.com heard something it found to be a bit insensitive. An upcoming announcer pack adds a number of new announcer voices that say certain things when you have success in the game. One such pack, called "flamboyant," features an effeminate male voice saying things like "cherry popper" and "it’s a three-way."
When Gay-Nerds.com contacted S2 Games, they said the following:
"The flamboyant pack is one of many voice pack options that will be available for HoN 2.0 players. The intention of offering a wider range of voice packs is to bring a broad representation of personalities to HoN that let gamers express and differentiate themselves."
Here are responses from the site’s owners:
paranoia says: "I *get* that it’s supposed to be a joke but you know what? This is just puerile and insensitive. The whole announcer schtick was meant to humiliate and taunt the other player and then they also decided to use an effeminate male voice, rainbows, glitter and an oversexualized gay stereotype. Why not just call it the “faggot” pack instead of the flamboyant pack? It’s pretty clear what you’re trying to make fun of. Calling it flamboyant doesn’t hide anything."
In my head, this is really no better than them releasing an “Exotic” pack and having the announcer say “ROR YOU GOT OWNED” or “CHING CHONG CHANG MOTHER FUCKA’” or having a “Negro” pack and having it play “Song of the South” clips then putting a sad black face versions onto the other person’s avatar. It’s the cheap, easy but insensitive laugh that just plays on outdated stereotypes and just pisses all over your minority fan base. As a gamer, it’s all too often an occurrence to be called “fag” or “gay” online as a synonym for being bad at a game and this just officially endorses that behavior. You have to draw the line somewhere and I draw it here. This is completely inappropriate for any modern game company.
And now writer Raiden’s take on it:
I don’t really take much issue with this and I think we have to examine exactly what the product consists of. The “announcer packs” are in essence intended to be taunts – something designed to annoy a fellow player as they lose – and having listened to the brief sample, this particular pack consists of an overly affected and obnoxious voice, which in my estimation fulfils its purpose rather well. I personally would find it grating after around the third time of being subjected to it.
The next aspect, which seems to be the contentious one, is the choice of name, the “Flamboyant Pack.” The question I have to ask gay people who see this as a swipe at them, is when did we start defining ourselves as flamboyant? For a community as diverse as ours, why are we trying to take offence to something that we know not to be representative of us? You can argue that straight gamers might be ignorant and perceive things differently, but as soon as a gay person makes an issue of this we are buying into our own outmoded stereotype, and reinforcing it in the minds of others, which only hampers and reverses progress.
There’s nothing explicitly anti-gay here, and do we really want to become those people who try to infer prejudice from everything, as though being offended was our hobby? This pack is something we can love or hate without bringing our sexuality into the equation.