Hello! All this week we’ll be celebrating Pride and the power of positive representations in games. Every day we’ll be bringing you stories and insights from different parts of the LGBT+ community. You can also help support Pride with Eurogamer’s newly redesigned t-shirt – all profits from which will be going to charity.
In the midst of a recent replay of the original Final Fantasy 7, I found myself welling up. Not because I’d reached that bit – the mandatory, number-one entry in every ‘gaming’s top ten saddest moments’ list from now till the Lifestream runs dry. No. The tears were rising much earlier in my playthrough than that. And those tears were accompanied by a big goofy grin. What in this gloriously janky PS1 classic that I hadn’t picked up in almost fifteen years could have had such an effect on me?
I was in Wall Market – Midgar’s gleefully ungentrified equivalent of San Francisco’s Tenderloin, or London’s Soho, a century ago – and the game’s taciturn, hyper-masculine, ex-mercenary protagonist, Cloud, had just donned an extremely pretty silk dress. Not only that, but he’d put on a blonde wig he’d won from a body-builder at a local gym, splashed on some sexy cologne, and had just had his make-up done by a burlesque dancer. And, to top it all, upon emerging from the dressing-room to reveal his transformation, he had been greeted with utter delight by the friend, ally, and (though it pains the Clifa stan in me to say it) love interest who had accompanied him there.