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‘Strafe’ Says Fuck You to Old, Archaic Views on Gender

This chaotic ‘Doom’ throwback lets players select from anywhere they please on a gender slider.

Strafe is a very fun, very old-school style FPS with an emphasis on blasting aliens/demons/bad guys in the face as quickly as possible. It's all set in an alternative 1996, with a gloriously goofy FMV tutorial, lots of chunky, pixelated textures, and good old buckets of blood. It also happens to have a setting for the player character's gender, i.e. your character's voice for the little grunts and barks while playing the game. And it's no mere switch: there's a whole little spectrum. Set it towards the masculine end, the feminine end, or anywhere in between, and Strafe considers that a valid gender expression. Game Designer (and Waypoint contributor) Alex Zandra Van Chestein noted this in a tweet yesterday.


The folks at developer Pixel Titans let me know that they wanted their game to avoid being anachronistic in every way bar this (awesome) one. "We made a hyper violent action game with a love for the 90s, but we don't pretend that everything was perfect about that time," Thom Glunt, the game's director, told me via email. "During the golden era of shooters a lot of game marketing was pretty sexist and mostly directed towards teenage boys. We believe that may have alienated a lot of people from playing and enjoying these classic games so when making our own we made a conscious effort to include everyone." Is it a small touch? Sure! But inclusive elements like this mean a lot to players who may not feel comfortable in certain boxes—or simply prefer to play outside of them.