Pokémon Go praised by gamers for introducing gender fluid avatars

Players are invited to choose a 'style' not a 'gender'

Jess Denham
Tuesday 12 July 2016 12:14 BST

Pokémon Go has been praised by gamers for allowing them to use gender fluid avatars.

The augmented reality smartphone game that lets people catch Pokemon in real life has been taking the world by storm, with users noticing how they are invited to choose their ‘style’ rather than gender at the start.

Past Pokémon games have asked gamers to opt to play as either a male or a female character but with Pokémon Go, non-binary players do not feel pressured to align themselves with a gender they do not identify as.

The latest development from Nintendo comes after multiple online petitions were launched asking Pokémon to “evolve and recognise diversity in human beings”, not least because “Pokémon themselves have three genders - male, female and genderless”.

Non-binary players have been thanking developers on social media for not forcing them to misgender themselves.

The change from ‘gender’ to ‘style’ follows The Sims, which recently rolled out a free update allowing users to make their characters gender fluid. Gamers can choose the sex, physical frame, clothing preference, ability to get pregnant or get others pregnant and whether or not they can “use the toilet standing”.

“The Sims is made by a diverse team for a diverse audience and it’s really important to us that players are able to be creative and express themselves through our games,” Maxis told gay news site Pink News at the time.

Clearly, and positively, Pokémon Go wants to rival The Sims as the most inclusive game out there. It is currently only available in the US, Japan, New Zealand and Australia, but will be coming to the UK soon.

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