Aisha Tyler: Girl on Game

Aisha Tyler's busy life may have cut into her playtime, but it's not quelled her love of games

MW: There are a lot of initiatives in the gaming movement to incorporate gay players and to lose the homophobia that’s inherent in it. What do you think the gaming community or the producers of games can do to help move this forward?

TYLER: Obviously the market is very male — it’s mostly young guys. But I think that generally the gaming community is broader and more diverse than I think we’re assuming. Someone asked me recently how could we reduce misogyny and sexism — I think that all bigotry in gaming is not the same, but related — and I said, “Don’t tolerate it. Don’t tolerate it online, don’t let people say stuff that’s unacceptable. Say something about it. Call them on it.” You know, I don’t play a lot of Xbox Live just because I don’t want to hear all the crap people are saying. And I gotta tell you something — 90 percent of the time they’re not even racists, they’re not even homophobes. They’re just saying shit. So I think that’s the first step for the gaming community.

I do think that with developers it’s two sides of the same coin. One, they’re there to make money; but two, they are making art and I feel like a part of that is creating rich worlds that are diverse in terms of character. I think we are moving in that direction. Whenever I think about diversity in terms of characters in games, I think of a character like Omar on The Wire, who was this incredibly masculine, aggressive, fearsome character and was also gay. We need oppressive, badass, kickass characters in games who you find out are gay the way you find out your friend is gay, but it’s not something you talk about all day long every day. I mean, I don’t talk about the fact that I’m black all day long every day, or that I’m straight all day long every day. It’s just a part of the fabric. And I think that’s where we have to go.

And I do believe in a kind of a Pollyannaish way that is the way that we’re going. There are so many games out there and it’s such a competitive world, it’s really about how do we distinguish ourselves and make our individual games richer, more complex, more interesting and more textured. So I do think money speaks. There are these big gaming — huge g-a-y-m-i-n-g — collectives that are playing and that are talking about it, and they’re going to pay attention. Because they want that market. So it’s happening — it’s gonna happen.

MW: So, when are we going to see Archer: The Game?

TYLER: Everybody asks about that all the time. It would be awesome to see Archer: The Game, but I feel like we would all just sit around getting drunk and yelling at each other all the time. It wouldn’t be a very active game. Just like a lot of bad sex and drunken fights.

MW: Sounds like a great game.

TYLER: [Laughs.] It would be a fun real-life game to play. I think it’s more likely, fingers crossed, that we see a live-action film — or an animated film — before we see a game. And maybe the film will spawn the game. We’re terrible at our spy missions, by the way. I don’t know if anybody’s noticed — we’re not very good spies. It’s not like a Clancy game — we’re terrible. We’re always running into stuff and blowing things up.

Aisha Tyler’s Self-Inflicted Wounds (HarperCollins) is available at Amazon, Barnes&Noble and Books-A-Million. The Talk broadcasts daily on CBS at 2 p.m. Girl on Guy can be downloaded via iTunes. For more on Aisha Tyler, visit aishatyler.com.

Rhuaridh Marr contributed to this interview.


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Randy Shulman is Metro Weekly's Publisher and Editor-in-Chief. He can be reached at rshulman@metroweekly.com.

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