Though queer people have had a love affair with video games since Atari, the number of actual video games featuring lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender characters are quite low.
The lead character in the game, Tycho Minogue, is a space explorer who finds himself confronting aliens across the galaxies and then learns that his ex-boyfriend is the nastiest space tyrant this side of the Milky Way.
Miller says influences for the game, which is available for Apple, Windows and Linux processing systems, include everything from "Star Trek: The Next Generation" to "Priscilla: Queen of the Desert," and if that alone doesn't convince you to fire up your computer, perhaps our quick interview with him will.
The Huffington Post: What was your inspiration for the game? Where did the story come from?
Luke Miller: I had been thinking about making an openly gay game for a while, then one day the title "My Ex-Boyfriend the Space Tyrant" popped into my head and it was the proverbial light-bulb moment. I thought, I would really like to play that game, and so after that I had to make it.
Why do you think there aren't more gay characters in video games today?
The video game industry is very conservative. Homophobia plays a part but so also does economics. Smarter companies are figuring out that if you discretely put some queer-friendly content in on the side you can actually increase sales without losing other gamers. As the industry matures I expect we will build up quite a solid library of LGBTI games. I also think a lot of straight people will happily play a gay game if we can provide them with a compelling story -- people like to play new experiences.
Do you consider yourself a gaymer? What do you think of the gayming community?
I am a gaymer but I am also a gamer who likes gay games -- there's a difference between the two groups! Lots of gaymers prefer mainstream games like "Call of Duty" and "StarCraft 2" to an indie gay game like "Space Tyrant" and that's 100 percent fine by me. One thing I love about the gayming community is that it's partly about young people creating their own shared identity based on their own sexuality. They don't like to be pigeon-holed and don't necessarily buy into the politically active, more radicalised, highly visible queer culture that came out of the '80s, '90s and '00s. It's almost post-gay-activist. It's healthy but it's also still a privilege out of reach for many people around the world.
You mentioned you already have a sequel in mind -- are there any details you can drop about it?
Yes! I'm really interested in making a game where players can have a real gay experience. I don't mean in a pornographic way but rather a walk-a-thousand-miles-in-my-shoes kind of way. In Australia and the West, gay culture often has these twin streams of deep repression but also overt hedonism. It's a fascinating tension and perfect fodder for a science fiction adventure. Besides, Tycho, the main character in the first game, needs to learn to relax a bit. There's a great villain -- he has chest hair. I can't say any more just yet, my co-writer will kill me!
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