My Original Title: “If God Hates Nonbinaries Why Do We Keep Winning?”

Hey all, and welcome to GYGO! I’m Kael, your local nonbinary antigamer, and as my new epithet can attest I haven’t been playing many games recently. I did get some play time in Mass Effect Legendary Edition, and even eyed a trailer for Baldur’s Gate 3 before deciding to open a nice book. I just read We Are Totally Normal by Rahul Kanakia and really liked it! But you’re not here for my book recommendations (ostensibly, I don’t know your life), so here’s the news!

Kingdom Hearts Singer Utada Hikaru Comes Out as Nonbinary

J-pop superstar and Kingdom Hearts theme artist Utada Hikaru came out as nonbinary on Instagram last week. Utada, who hasn’t specified any pronouns, originally stated in an Instagram post, “I’m sick of being asked if I’m “Miss or Missus” or choosing between “Miss/Mrs/Ms” for everyday things😩 It makes me uncomfortable to be identified so markedly by my marital status or sex, and I don’t relate to any of those prefixes,” followed by “I looked it up and discovered that “Mx.” (pronounced as “mix”) has been suggested! That’s awesome and I hope it becomes more widely used.”

During an Instagram live this week, Utada clarified by saying “I am nonbinary. Happy pride,” right before inviting Evangelion composer Hideaki Anno to chat about their shared work together. As a small bonus, we also got confirmation that Utada Hikaru’s stuffed bear (Kuma-chan) is in fact a gay man.

Personally, I can’t overstate how ecstatic I am about this news. I’ve been a fan of Utada since I first heard Simple and Clean. After I moved to Japan, the multi-platinum artist has become a real source of bonding between me and my friends. Utada is a pop music icon here, with eight of nine studio albums hitting number one in the Japanese charts. I’m really excited for Utada’s coming out to open up more conversations about gender and help normalize nonbinary people.

Press Event for Military Shooter Goes Real Bad

This week developer CI Games apologized for their press event that asked reporters and influencers to fire airsoft guns at people dressed as middle easterners. According to writer Eric Switzer, it was an aggressive and dehumanizing experience reminiscent of the Middle East shown in American propaganda films. CI Games, a Polish company, contracted an American PR firm to handle the “extreme military counter-terrorism training” event, but due to pandemic restrictions were unable to attend themselves.

CI Games did apologize and explained they had limited ability to coordinate the event due to the pandemic. They described the setting of their game Sniper Ghost Warrior: Contracts 2 as a fictional region, with costumes designed “intentionally designed to avoid any direct or indirect cultural representations.” But that doesn’t change the fact that a game about a sniper killing people in an ambiguously Middle Eastern country plays into the same imperialist fantasy as an airsoft range asking people to shoot caricatures of Middle Eastern people.

Marvel’s Avengers Glitch Threatens to Dox Streamers

Marvel’s Avengers released an update last week that inadvertently caused an issue where “a floating string of text appears on the screen,” according to the game’s Twitter. The Tweet did not mention that the floating string of text was in fact player’s IP addresses. While not visible to other players, Marvel’s Avengers did ask streamers to refrain from broadcasting the game, likely because an IP address can be used to glean a streamer’s general location. The bug was patched later the same day.

In other news…

Microsoft announced that they will no longer be taking a cut from purchases made within Windows applications (programs downloaded through the Windows store). Weirdly, anything deemed a game by the store is exempt from this change and will require a 12% cut. This is down from the 30% of earlier this year, but it still leads to some interesting questions about what qualifies as a game on the platform. Microsoft has been unclear as to why games will continue to draw a fee, and they haven’t announced any plans to lower the 30% fee on Xbox in-app purchases.

Last year developer Chris Avellone was accused of sexual assault and has largely remained quiet since. This week he responded to the allegations by filing a lawsuit against the women accusing him. Avellone released a statement claiming two of the women accused him in retaliation for a breakup. Multiple women outside of the two named in his lawsuit have come forward with accusations of predatory behavior. He hopes that by litigating one of these claims it will “put these other claims in a much different light.” Criminal defense attorney Greg Doucette is less than optimistic about the viability of Avellone’s case.

Overwatch now allows crossplay between console and PC. This means all console players can play together by default, and console players can join PC lobbies by grouping up with a player on PC. Some have pointed out that this has introduced a skill gap between players using a mouse and keyboard over those using a controller, and again between Nintendo Switch players who are locked at 30 FPS.

Niantic announced that they will begin rolling back pandemic changes to Pokemon Go. This drew the ire of fans who claim that the increased range at which they can interact with gyms and pokestops has made the game more accessible overall.

Valve made changes to how the Steam store handles regional stores this week. In an effort to stop buyers from changing their region to get games at a cheaper price, the store is limiting users to one change every three months.

Final Fantasy IX was picked up for an animated series adaption. The children’s show will be co-produced with the French Cyber Group Studios and Square Enix.

With the original Final Fantasy remasters coming out fans have called into question the authenticity of new pixel art. This article digs into why it’s impossible to fully capture the look of the originals.

The Spanish localization of Cozy Grove shines a damning light on the American healthcare system’s global context.

AMD is ending support for some older GPUs. This comes in the middle of a global graphics card shortage that makes buying a replacement next to impossible.

Sonic got a Vtuber rig, allowing him to make direct announcements to his fans.