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Will Atari's New LGBT-Themed Game Make Canada Proud?

Will Atari's New LGBT-Themed Game Make Canada Proud?


The storied video game maker has released a new LGBT-themed social simulation game in Canada, with plans to roll it out worldwide soon.

Canadians can now download a new LGBT-themed mobile game from Atari as part of a limited-time test launch. Currently, the app is available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch; the company has plans to release the game worldwide on multiple platforms later this year.

Pridefest(tm)is a "first-of-its-kind social-simulation game," according to the company. Players create personalized pride parades, spread happiness and pride throughout their city, and connect with other users. Players complete quests and challenges to brighten their drab city, unlock parade routes and sections of their city, and interact with other players by inviting them to stay in their virtual city, or by running pride parades through friend's towns.

Respected tech blog Engadget wasn't impressed when Atari announced the game was in development last year. The site accused the game maker of exploiting the LGBT people for profit instead of trying to benefit the community.

At the time, journalist Timothy J. Seppala wrote:

"The game, a simulator, doesn't approach LGBT themes the way a cross-platform AAA blockbuster like Mass Effect 3 did. In that game, players had the option to create a range of avatars, including an openly gay or lesbian character. ... Or consider the example of indie hit Gone Home, the story of which centers on a teenage girl coming out to her family. There's a striking difference between these two notable approaches to LGBT themes and Atari's own: inclusive versus opportunistic. That's because the developers of those games were more motivated by providing players with a welcoming experience rather than making an obvious play for profits from an underrepresented segment."

Canadians who download the game will be able to play it before the official launch, so they can provide feedback to Atari's development team. Pridefest is currently available on the iTunes store for $1.19 (CAN).

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