What would you make if you could create your dream Pride?
Mine would probably be an arts and activism festival, with partying in the street, rather than behind barriers and fences. There’d be a ton of art exhibits, readings, public lectures, theatre, a big burlesque show. It’d feature all local queens and performers instead of RuPaul’s Drag Race transplants. We’d all skip the insufferable parade, replete with red tape and corporate sponsors, and get back to politicized marches. There’d be a free poutine stand on every corner.
My Pride may not be to everyone’s tastes — how could you turn down free poutine? — but that’s okay: you’ll be able to create your own Pride with Atari’s upcoming video game Pridefest.
The gaming pioneers behind the first arcade games, including Pong, have declared that they are going to be “reaching out to new audiences — including LGBT, social casinos, real-money gambling, and YouTube with exclusive video content.”
Part of this strategy is the announcement of the company’s first ever LGBT-themed game, a Pride festival simulator for tablets and mobile devices:
“The first LGBT-themed game from Atari, Pridefest™ gives players the opportunity to customize their own parade flotillas with colorful decorations and adorn their locale with eye-catching attractions and entertainment — with the goal of keeping their city happy and vibrant. Players will need to solve challenges and complete quests to unlock new parade and festival supplies, or receive other bonuses. The game will incorporate various personalization and social features, including the opportunity to chat with friends, visit each other’s city and create avatars bedecked in clothes and jewelry.”
I doubt the game will have players dealing with some of the complexities that can arise out of Pride celebrations, like contending with bigoted Christian protesters — and there were many at this year’s celebrations — city councillors threatening to defund festivities over certain human rights groups’ participation, absent mayors, parents and politicians freaking out over buck-naked men, splintering trans marches, et cetera.
Still, Pridefest sounds a little more complex than Pong.