COVID-19 pandemic has brought our lives to a standstill. To break the monotony, we have rounded up some of our favourite queer video games for you to enjoy, classics like Mass Effect and The Sims, to more niche offerings like Dream Daddy and Night In The Woods – even better, they all feature LGBTQ characters or storylines.
The first explicitly queer game, an underground 1988 mystery called Caper In The Castro, came shortly after, although its technology has been lost to the sands of time. Since then video games have become technically more sophisticated, and so have a wide array of queer video game characters in both mainstream and indie games.
Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator (2017)
You might not be able to go on real dates during the coronavirus pandemic, but you can still get your romance fix with dating sims. While there aren’t many high-quality entries in the genre that cater to LGBTQ players, Dream Daddy does a very good job of filling that gap. In Dream Daddy, you play a customizable single dad who’s moving to a cul-de-sac in the city of Maple Bay. This new neighborhood is full of dads, and they are dads who want to date you. There are seven romanceable fathers in total, hitting on a broad variety of archetypes. Whether you’re after a sweet coffee-shop hipster, or a dangerous (or is he just misunderstood?) gruff stranger, you’ll find a man who hits the spot for you. The game also deals with issues like social anxiety and toxic masculinity.
“Dream Daddy is a clever, good-hearted game that treats its characters with respect. ”
– Simone de Rochefort, Senior Video Producer and co-host of The Polygon Show
— innocent ace person 🖤💜 ✿ (@diamondxstress) June 17, 2020
The Missing: J.J. Macfield and the Island of Memories
In The Missing players follow the LGBT video game character J.J. around in this lesbian-themed video game. J.J. has lost her girlfriend on a mysterious island and is trying to find her again. Strangely enough, she is unable to die in this place. To progress, she repeatedly has to inflict self-harm to continue, like setting herself on fire or dismembering herself. As the story progresses it becomes clear through unlocked text messages, that self-harm is part of J.J.’s history as a response to her critical, religious mother and having to deal with a secret about her gender identity. The Missing is a rare game in which the queerness of the main character is not only part of the story, but also an integral part of the gameplay.
The Missing does that. J.J. suffers immensely but survives. Instead of dying, she gets to wake up with a clearer sense of self and a partner by her side. In a medium where queer characters are often victimized and then cast aside, it feels downright radical to simply let this game — with all of its blood, horror, and self-loathing — still manage a happy ending.
– Heather Alexandra, game reviewer on Kotaku
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
True to the social and cultural norms of Greece during the time of the Peloponnesian War, heterosexual and same-sex relationships are depicted as common and unremarkable in this game. It is unfair to just pick one video game character from Assassin’s Creed Odyssey since the game is packed to the brim with queerness if you’re looking for it. The player character, either Alexios or Kassandra, can romance a whole buffet of characters where gender is no barrier. Players can introduce themselves to other characters that have LGBT+ relationships. And Ancient Greece, where the game takes place, is overflowing with statues of gorgeous naked men and women. Players can even unlock a unicorn with a glowing pink horn, leaving a rainbow trail behind while riding towards more adventure and sex.
— VG247 (@VG247) June 14, 2018
In any list of queer video games, Cyberpunk 2077 is a game of interest. Cyberpunk 2077 completely did away with binary gender options for game players, instead, opting only for body types. Depending on your choices, and the Non-Playable Characters you take an interest in, you can find yourself flitting between casual sexual situations or in a committed relationship. It’s possible to have big, complicated relationships that continue over the course of the game.
“For instance, you don’t choose your gender anymore. You don’t choose, ‘I want to be a female or male character.’ You now choose a body type. Because we want you to feel free to create any character you want. So you choose your body type and we have two voices, one that’s male-sounding, one is female-sounding. This is one of the queer video games, where you can mix and match. You can just connect them anyway you want. And then we have a lot of extra skin tones and tattoos and hairstyles. So we really want to give people the freedom to make their own character and play the way they want to play.”
– Marthe Jonkers, CD Projekt Red’s senior concept artist, said in an interview with Metro
Good! I typically pick female as my gender choice in RPGs and now I can just be whatever the hell I want #Cyberpunk2077
Anybody who is outraged by this, its not the game you’re confused about 👀😊🤭 https://t.co/kmIWn7Ghjy
— Parris (@vicious696) August 28, 2019
The Sims 4
Many queer people will remember the excitement of discovering that their virtual characters on the original The Sims game could have same-sex relationships, something which the long-running and undeniably iconic gaming series has always supported. In recent editions like The Sims 4, queer couples can also marry, adopt children, and start their own families, reflecting the real world we live in. It allows players to vicariously experience romance through the screen. Or you could just trap your Sim in a burning house. It’s really up to you to choose what your character does in this queer video game.
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