jay barnham
Mar 9 · 8 min read

London Gaymers spotlight, a fortnightly look into our members where we get to know them and their thoughts on all things gaming. If you would like to be featured, get in contact on our Discord, Facebook or email at info@londongaymers.co.uk

Q1. Let’s start with an easy one, what’s your favourite game and why?

Lets go for top three, everyone knows its impossible to narrow it down.

The Fall — 2014

The Fall (Over the Moon Games)

It’s just a four-five hour side scrolling puzzler, but its one of the most incredible games I’ve ever found. The story is interesting and compelling, and the puzzles are the perfect balance of difficulty, and are woven into the narrative perfectly. The characters have unique depth and personality, and everything from the voice acting to the character movement are just on point. I really cant describe how amazing this game is, its a real diamond in the rough.

Gods Will Be Watching — 2014

Gods Will Be Watching (Deconstructeam)

Its the emotional depth that gets me here. Its a pixel “point and click thriller” that really messes with your head and gets under your skin. You play the captain of a stranded mission team, and you have to a) keep everyone alive and b) work out what the hell happened to you, but the deeper you get into it, the more mystery and distrust there is. It’s heart wrenching at best, and downright annihilating at the apex. Every run through has the potential for a very different game. Its so simple, yet so absolutely amazing.

The Witcher — 2007

3) The Witcher Series (CD Projekt Red)

The standout is obviously Wild Hunt, which is, in my opinion, the epitome of perfection, but I’m including all three games here. One and Two may not have aged very well in regards to graphics and mechanics (trying to replay the combat is like trying to peel a potato with a jackhammer) but the stories, the characters, and the character developments of all three games as a unit, are completely unmatched. The clincher for the series nabbing a spot in my top three is the way that CDPR have managed to develop the character of Geralt to be undeniably unique to an individual gamers playstyle, with even minute decisions and actions affecting his overall alignments, while keeping the core and instantly recognizable personality of Book Geralt, written to life in the original book series by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski. It’s a brilliant accomplishment, and is well deserving of very high praise. Also, I have an entire 300 image photo album on Facebook thats just Geralt of Rivia: Male Model. The Wild Hunt is fucking b e a u t i f u l and I did, in fact, burn out a graphics card during a 13 hour marathon in ultra graphics mode. Whoops.

Q5. How did you discover London Gaymers, and when did you join? What does it mean to you to be part of this community?

I first discovered LG after finding out my brother and his boyfriend are members of Perth Gaymers, back in West Aus. I figured if tiny Perth had an LGBT+ gaming group, then surely London would have something. Lo and behold, here I am.
As for what it means… well. It’s meant a lot to me, and then its meant little to me, and now its plateaued out to mean as much or as little as I would like it to mean at any given time. I appreciate the opportunities the group open to me in regards to meeting other LGBT gamers, and creating that connection to the LGBT community, but more than that, I appreciate having a space where I can talk games, and nerd stuff without being instantly shot down due to my (assumed) gender. I’m asexual myself, which most people pass off as straight, much to my frustration and exasperation, but it means I dont really have to deal with homophobia in my gaming lifestyle. I definitely have to deal with aphobia, but that’s not very widely recognized as even “a thing” yet, so my main issues are with my gender identity. London Gaymers is a space where I know I wont have to face as much misogyny around my gaming hobbies as I would in the general gaming community, and that is certainly a comfort. I wish I could say that I didn’t have to face any at all, but that is, alas, not the case.
I hear they are working on that though.

Q3. What one game do you wish you could play again for the first time?

Again, impossible to narrow down, so heres a top three coming at y’alls.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt — 2015

The Witcher Wild Hunt

My god. It’s goddamn beautiful. Playing through that game, discovering the landscape and meeting the characters was such an epic journey. I’ve played it through once already, 99%, and am on my second play through currently, but how I wish I could go into it again with an unknowing mind. Absolutely incredible.

Journey — 2012

Journey

This game is nothing short of a delight, and I remember going into severely underestimating what to expect. I knew the art was cute, I knew the character was cute, but other than that, I knew nothing, and I was completely blown away by the level of detail and care that went into every nook and cranny of this exquisite game. I was just going to type out “No other game has made my heart soar quite so high” but instead, I’m going to throw in an honorable mention to Valley, which I’m also adding to the list as a bonus. These games, from the art to the stories, to the music, are completely indescribable.

Kingdom Hearts — (initial release, 2002)

Kingdom Hearts

If this game isn’t on everyone’s “Games I wish I could play for the first time again” list, then I will be devastatingly disappointed. The convoluted, yet rich and engrossing, storyline(s), the tear-your-heart-out characters and plot developments, the Disney… God I wish I were ten again sitting at home with my siblings just watching the magic unfold before my young eyes. Or, I wish I get a sudden, and very specific case of amnesia, so my twenty six year old eyes could watch the magic unfold… I think I’d be better equipped to keep up with what the hell is going on at any given moment now I’m older and world wiser. Brilliant game, perfect score, 5/7.

Q10. What one thing would you change about the gaming industry as it currently stands?

This is probably an obvious one for me, so lets just rip the band-aid off before cutting a little deeper into the already gaping wound that is the gaming industry.
MORE.
WOMEN.
And pay the talented, hard working, irreplaceable bastards what they are worth!! Goddamn it, it’s not hard!!
Anyway, yes. Women need to be employed, treated, and paid, equally to men. Anyone who thinks on it for more than four total seconds will understand that there is a wealth of very shallowly tapped imagination and innovation there that would thrive and create some beautiful works of art if the creators were just given the chance to rise.
Aside from that, I would also like to see the general standard of game developer treatment rise to something just a touch higher than “literal slave driving”. I’ve read and heard some absolute horror stories about the amount of pressure game devs are put under to churn out games at faster and faster rates. We all know how much effort and detail goes into these things, especially AAA standard games — both the gaming industry and the gamer community need to learn some fucking patience. I’d rather wait six more months and have a beautiful game thats ready to launch, than have an earlier version of a AAA thats downright laughable, and a dev team that can hardly stand (Looking at you Andromeda). Just, treat people right and let them do what they love. That’s all.

Q6. What are your passions outside of gaming?

My Hero Acedemia — (debut, 2016)

Books and reading take top spot. I read a lot, and I’ve made being a book worm into a career, so I’d say I have to stick this one in there. I read almost anything, fiction, fantasy, politics, biography… anything that’s interesting and engrossing really. It’s all about the stories and the perspective. I wouldn’t call myself very empathetic, but I prefer to view people and situations from multiple angles before making a decision, so the more experience I have with perspectives and ideas, the better. Reading is the perfect way to achieve this.

Is anime a passion? It is now. Technically, I still admin an online anime/manga club, but I’m less active there than I was a year or two ago. Still, I own about 3TB’s of anime, have watched at least 2TB of that, and can talk shop about literally all of it. God knows what it is about anime specifically, since I find western TV to be boring and unimaginative, but put on some weeb content and I am there.

I was a photographer for a while, and won some national awards back in Australia during high school, and I often reminisce about it, so I’ll count it as a passion for now. I do love architectural photography, and finding new ways to display old subjects is always a challenge and a victory. Maybe I’ll get back into it one day.

Also feminism, communism, being a lefty, and messing up the patriarchy are all passions of mine. Eat the rich.

Q15. What is you favourite quest, scene or moment from a game? What made it memorable?

You remember earlier I gave and honorable mention to a game called Valley? Well, they get the spot light now, because while there are so so many game scenes and moments that made me come alive (shout out to the opening of Doom btw Jesus that was perfection), I acutely remember the first time I ran down the rails in Valley. This game is pure, simplistic joy, and the feeling of lightness and freedom that came with that scene made my blood sing, and caused my heart to take flight away from absolutely everything else in the world around me. Everything from the smooth movements, to the music, to the scenery just took my breath away. I’m not linking a video because trust me, it’s something you will want to go into without knowing at all what the expect. Just please play the game!

London Gaymers

jay barnham

Written by

Art, Illustration, Video games, geek and carbs

London Gaymers

The LGBT+ community for board and video gamers in London and across the UK.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade