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Atari makes good on its LGBT promises with  Pridefest
Atari makes good on its LGBT promises with Pridefest
July 17, 2014 | By Christian Nutt

Some companies have made a lot of money targeting gay consumers: Absolut Vodka pioneered the practice, but it's hardly the only one.

A struggling Atari has made that strategy part of its comeback plan. Today, it announced Pridefest, a mobile game that lets players design and run their own pride parade, promising social interaction and plenty of customization.

Pridefest is the company's first game targeted at the LGBT market. It has also teamed up with restaurant chain Denny's to re-brand classic arcade games ("Hashteroids") and made moves toward the social casino space in a bid for relevance.

The company was also a sponsor of this past weekend's LGBT GaymerX2 conference (for more on that event, read one developer's reflections on the San Francisco gathering.)

"We will continue offering a variety of games that are inclusive for all Atari fans and Pridefest is another example of how we are doing that," COO Todd Shallbetter said in a statement.

While the company that today wears the Atari brand bears little relationship to the original 1970s-era company founded by Nolan Bushnell, it does own the rights to many of its classic games in addition to developing new ones.

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Brad Borne
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Huh... This rub anyone else the wrong way? Like, some suit said, 'you're going to make a game for the LGBT crowd!', 'okay, what do LGBTs like to do?', 'uh, I dunno, throw pride parades?', 'I... believe that is accurate.'

Call me overly cynical and unqualified in to have an opinion here, but something about this just sounds, I dunno... reductive?

Dan Brown
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Yes! Being gay myself it bugs me a fair bit. This attempt at being inclusive just feels very disingenuous and no effort put in to the initial idea. I mean, a parade simulator?

I don't really want to play a game where you send off a float with a bear wearing a gimp suit down a road. Not all GLBT are out there partying or sleeping around. A lot of us have long term partners, jobs, families. We just want the same thing as everyone else.

If you want to include more people let them customise their character. Give them a bad-ass / strong personality no matter what they are (female, male, gay, bi, straight, cis gender, whatever). Seems far more inclusive than this pride simulator.

Mikael Raheem
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Yeah, it's not the same as having an RPG hero who is gay but doesn't go around having sex with people of the same sex all the time. Just because the protagonist isn't heterosexual, doesn't mean they're sex-fiends or super flamboyant or, for that matter, all that into Pride Parades.