Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Queer King of Liberty City

I should preface this by saying I know little about video games and even less about the Grand Theft Auto franchise, but still this commercial (which has been in heavy network and cable circulation this fall) struck me as a little odd.

The latest installment of the successful series follows the rise (and fall) of a prominent nightclub owner Anthony Prince better known as "Gay Tony." Despite his overt homosexuality, Tony is widely considered the king of Liberty City, both feared and envied by his competitors and enemies.

From what I have encountered, videogames are rarely progressive and characteristically limited, so this new installment caught me as quite a surprise. Especially GTA, which has been characterized since its inception for its poor representations (beating up hookers, ect.) Given the games controversial history and questionable ethics, I'm not sure what to make of a central character like Gay Tony (for whom the latest game is named.)

Any Thoughts?


  1. The fact that the character's name is "Gay Tony" makes it clear that the makers of Grand Theft Auto are setting him up to be the other. Why couldn't his name just be Tony who happens to be gay in the game?

  2. See, I'm not sure that I have a problem with this. Granted, I haven't played video games (but for the occasional guitar hero or rock band party) since middle school, but once I beat the game in this series that was set in Vegas, I was done.

    Given my (limited) experience with the franchise, I don't think the word "Gay" is meant to be offensive or to exclude the character from anything--it's no different than using "Italian" or "Black" as a qualifier. While I'm sure there are more than a few jokes about sucking dick and so on, it's actually impressive for Rockstar to have created a storyline featuring a powerful homosexual main character, especially since Middle America LOVES these games.