Zynga’s new FrontierVille allows for same sex marriage

A game UI window, showing a pixel art female character, with a male and female gender toggle, titled "Cuppycake's Spouse"

Zynga, the developer of the titanic social game FarmVille, have released a brand new game on Facebook last week titled FrontierVille.  The best way to sum up this game is FarmVille meets Oregon Trail.  It’s one of the deeper and more complicated Facebook games thus far; while playing FrontierVille you almost feel as if you’ve been whisked off to some remote location in the woods during the simpler times.  The game has quests, combat (though rudimentary), farming, crafting, avatar customization, co-op mechanics, building, and more.  It’s actually a lot of fun, and I suggest everyone give it a try if you’re looking for another time waster!

Anyway, the game starts out with a quest to find your spouse.  Your spouse is sending you frequent letters, asking you to partake in chores around your farm to “prepare” the homestead for his or her arrival.  This includes everything from making breakfast, building your spouse a store, clearing a path, and even crafting fancy clothing for your wedding.  When the time comes for the “big day”, you are prompted to customize your spouse.  You can name your spouse whatever you would like, customize their appearance, and select which gender you wish your spouse to be.

This is a big step forward in social games.  While it would probably be more complicated for the developers to detect your avatar’s gender and only allow you to pick a spouse of the opposite sex, we wouldn’t have been surprised if this were the case.  And while the game doesn’t actually support same sex marriage fully (the wall post to announce your marriage talks about the bride and groom, as pictured below) we still think it’s fabulous that we’re allowed to pick the gender of our spouse.  Zynga – take the next step and revise your wall post to be gender neutral!

The wall post image when you get married in FrontierVille shows a picture of a man and woman and talks about the bride and groom.

About Tami Baribeau

Lead Editor and co-founder of The Border House, feminist, gamer, lover of social media, technology, and virtual worlds. Pansexual, equestrian, dog lover, social game studio director and producer. Email me here and follow me on Twitter!
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13 Responses to Zynga’s new FrontierVille allows for same sex marriage

  1. Mantheos says:

    Zynga is an evil gaming company trying to take over the world.

  2. It’s actually a lot of fun, and I suggest everyone give it a try if you’re looking for another time waster!

    great, you’ve just extended my period of uselessness.

    i do love games where you get to choose the gender of your spouse. that’s why i loved the Fable games so much (well, mostly cuz it lets you have multiple partners of either gender), but it’s rather disappointing that the wallpost doesn’t reflect same gender marriage.

    is the race of the couple also standard? i notice most of the wall posts for Farmville depict white farmers; i was wondering if it’s the same for FrontierVille. (perhaps this would warrant a future post…)

    • Cuppycake says:

      You can actually customize your race (various shades of skin colors ranging from dark to light), but the wall posts are not generated based on your appearance, they’re set by Zynga. Social games definitely have a long way to go, because yes – all the icons I have seen for Frontierville depict white farmers only. =/

      • yeah, i’m glad at least for the customizable avatars. it’s at least better than the Playfish game, Country Story, where the only way to change the skin color is by changing the clothing color, certain skin tones being associated with the clothes…so it can’t fully reflect the user’s customization…

      • Ruth says:

        What I’ve seen in write-ups of the game makes me think there are two teams–one is coming up with all this smart & forward-thinking stuff and the other is doing basic stock work and has less creative/progressive minds on board. Hopefully they can get the first team to influence the 2nd one.

  3. DSimon says:

    While it would probably be more complicated for the developers to detect your avatar’s gender and only allow you to pick a spouse of the opposite sex, we wouldn’t have been surprised if this were the case.

    It would’ve actually been even easier that way; choosing the spouse’s gender based on your avatar’s gender would’ve been one line of code, while giving the player that choice requires drawing and implementing those two little buttons on the side that let you decide.

    Not a huge amount of work, but it’s still something the FrontierVille folks deserve props for: not only were they thoughtful enough to include this option, they did so even though it required a bit of extra implementation work.

  4. tekanji says:

    That reminds me of a casual game I played a month or so back called Life Quest.

    Even though it (unlike the majority of casual games I’ve played) was pretty good on racial and gender inclusiveness when it came to marriage and kids I was like, “Time for the heteronormativity!” Except that when I put out an ad for a date, it gave me the checkbox for “woman” as well as “man”! I married a woman, settled down with her and had three kids :)

    I find it interesting that games that traditionally have a large female following like The Sims, casual games, and Facebook games tend to incorporate same-sex marriage into their system as a matter of course.

    • DSimon says:

      Interesting, and really exciting. The fact that casual games which include gay marriage can be incredibly successful shoots a big hole in the “Society just isn’t ready for them to be highly visible, so let’s just slow this culture change train down, m’kay?” argument,

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  7. Jargo says:

    Great another facebook game i am now addicted too. ;(

    Now only wish my male avatar could wear one of those nice dresses and i am in Brokeback heaven. <3

  8. Ultraviolet says:

    ouuuuuch i was avoiding Farmville. Now this does it. *goes and hangs an ‘addict’ sign on her neck*

  9. Pingback: Quick Snippet: Zynga CEO on FrontierVille gay marriages | Border House

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