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My queer favourite game

Hello! Eurogamer’s latest week of features celebrating the intersection of LGBTQ+ culture and gaming is nearing its end, but we’re not quite done yet! Wrapping things up in style, we’ve spoken with some of our favourite creators, passed notes among the team, and even delved into the Eurogamer archive to spotlight just a few of our favourite queer and queer-positive games.

Some are joyous, others are intended to disturb and challenge, and maybe even a few are more than just a little bit profound. But hopefully you’ll find something here to enjoy, that compels you to investigate further, and if there’s something we’ve missed – after all, it’s a far-from-definitive list, given the breadth and richness of queer stories being brought to life by talented studios today – perhaps you’ll even share a few of your own favourites in the comments below.

Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor (PC)

As selected by Gareth Damian Martin, creator of Citizen Sleeper.

Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor by Sundae Month.

What is it? Developer Sundae Month calls Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor an “anti-adventure”, and so it is, ditching familiar video game thrills to craft a more intimate, personal experience that deliberately embraces monotony as players – cast as an Alaensee girlbeast known as the Janitor – go about their days picking up litter in an alien bazaar.

Gareth says, “Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor clearly wants to put its players through a highly abstracted version of a very personal experience; the discomfort and distress that emerges from pronounced ‘difference.’ The combined effect of the societal systems and this physical distress means that Spaceport Janitor forces you into a place of precarity and poverty, where survival, not success, is your daily focus.

“Inequality, identity, division and the precarity of the young. It gathers itself around these issues not because of some high-concept intention, but because it was built by people whose experiences were forged in the pressure cooker of trying to make a living as a young adult in the world today. In this way it is gorgeously queer and powerfully personal, and I love it to pieces.”

Monster Prom (PC)

As selected by Alex Meehan, senior staff writer at Dicebreaker.

Monster Prom Roadtrip is the latest in Beautiful Glitch’s series.

What is it? Developer Beautiful Glitch’s Monster Prom series – now on instalment three following this year’s Monster Roadtrip – might be about wooing a cast of weird and wonderful characters, but it offers a bit of a twist on the usual dating sim formula by slinging in multiplayer. Over several round, and across numerous classic teen-movie-style locations as the series continues, players attempt to up their stats in specific areas hone their conversational skills to make a connection with the monster of their dreams.

Alex says, “What I really love about the Monster Prom series is its commitment to the bit, that it completely gets that players will want to pursue fictional romances with characters that include a rotting zombie and an old CRT monitor attached to a robot body.

“It’s an extremely silly and horny game that understands the inherent queerness of stories about monsters and outcasts. If you have a bunch of friends over, who are on board with dating and fucking monsters – which any friend worth having should be – then any entries in the Monster Prom series are definitely worth booting up.”

ValiDate: Struggling Singles in your Area (PC, PlayStation, Xbox, Switch)

As selected by Ebonix, co-founder of Black Twitch UK and Twitch Ambassador.

ValiDate: Struggling Singles in your Area by Veritable Joy Studios.

What is it? Welcome to Jercy City, where 13 singletons are attempting to survive “soul-sucking 9-to-5s, quarter-life crises, and the harsh truths millennials learn as soon as they hit their 20s”. As you might expect, there’s hope of romance to be found amongst all this daily drudgery, with players – as one of four playable character available in Volume 1 – navigate branching stories amid “cosplay, trash mixtapes, and even poetry straight from the soul.”

Ebonix says, “ValiDate: Struggling Singles in your Area is incredibly representative in so many ways and follows storylines that I relate to intrinsically. If I didn’t have my queer awakening already, it would have been the reason for it!”

The Sims (PC, PlayStation, Xbox, Switch)

As selected by Nikatine, founder of Transmission Gaming and Twitch Ambassador.

The Sims made its unassuming debut in 2000 and the series would go on to become a multi-million seller.

What is it? Maxis’ multi-million-selling life sim series surely needs no introduction, providing a staggeringly vast set of tools players can use to create, represent, and explore all manner of existences in the safety of a digital world. In response to player feedback over the years, Maxis has embraced inclusivity in a big way in an attempt to reflect the a rich variety of real-life experiences, most recently introducing the likes of customisable pronouns, hearing aids, top surgery scars, and binders to The Sims 4.

Nikatine says, “When I was a kid, the game that most spoke to me was a brand-new dollhouse simulator called The Sims. It was a little game where you could make a little house for your little people and guide them through life, and for most people that’s where the game kind of ends. But for little kid Veronica, I saw an opportunity, my very first opportunity, to allow myself the chance to put on an avatar, to explore a world as who I felt I really was.

“It was the first game where I could just be a woman, and the impact of that groundbreaking moment for me as a kid has stayed with me my entire life. I’m really proud of how far I’ve come, and I hope that other queer kids are feeling the same way about games today.”

A Summer’s End – Hong Kong 1986 (PC)

As selected by Lottie Lynn, Eurogamer guides editor.

A Summer’s End – Hong Kong 1986 isn’t just a great game, it’s as stylish as hell.

What is it? Vancouver-based independent studio Oracle and Bone describes A Summer’s End – Hong Kong 1986 as visual novel about ” seeking identity and meaning in a rapidly changing world where conflicting worldviews and cultures collide”. It charts the growing relationship between two Asian women, Michell and Sam, against a beautifully vibrant backdrop of 80s Hong Kong, taking its cues from Hong Kong cinema, 80s anime, city pop, and contemporary Asian literature – all set to a vaporwave and 80s-inspired soundtrack.

Lottie says, “A Summer’s End – Hong Kong 1986 is by far the best visual novel I’ve played so far. It provides representation for the Asian LGBTQ+ community, granting important insight for both the wider queer community and those outside of it.

“Using the uncertainty of Hong Kong’s political sovereignty after the signing of the Sino-British Joint Declaration as a backdrop, it weaves a tight narrative about discovering your sexuality and finding love. It’s a story many members of the LGBTQ+ community can empathise with; exploring the experience of realising your sexuality, finding internal acceptance and asking the ever-important question – do you live as your authentic self despite the consequences or do you compromise your identity due to the discrimination you might face?”.

Signalis (PC, PlayStation, Xbox, Switch)

As selected from the Eurogamer archive.

Signalis by rose-engine.

What is it? A dark sci-fi survival horror set in a dystopian future might not be the first place you look for a powerful, affecting story of queer love. But that’s what Signalis, from developer rose-engine, weaves so beautifully into its bleak, retro-inspired vision of cosmic terror as it follows Elster, an android-like Replika, on a violent search for her partner in a nightmarish world.

Eurogamer says, “Elster is denied love, all personal wants superseded by her function as a worker… As if that wasn’t enough, her identity is challenged by the forces of government and society. Suppressed where possible. Her body is not made hers to own but dictated by those same forces. For women and queer people, hatred towards our autonomy and very right to exist has felt like a rising tide… Signalis, for all its unending horrors, stirred up the romantic in me. Reminding me I can endure anything for the people that matter. For one person who matters. Something so reassuring emerging out of its nightmare was one of 2022’s greatest gifts.”

Even Cowgirls Bleed (PC)

As selected by Llaura McGee, director at If Found… studio Dreamfeel.

The opening page of Christine Love's Twine game Even Cowgirls Bleed. The dense text against an orange background sets the scene, concluding, "You picked up your petticoats, you bought yourself a gun, and you headed out west to San Francisco."
The opening screen to Christine Love’s Twine game, Even Cowgirls Bleed. | Image credit: Christine Love.

What is it? Renowned writer and game designer Christine Love takes on the wild, sometimes sexy west in her 2013 gun-twirling lesbian Twine adventure, Even Cowgirls Bleed.

Llaura says, “In 2013, when I played Even Cowgirls Bleed, it was a five-minute slap to the face. I had just discovered queer video games and while there are many games from that time which I love and which mean so much to me (like Rat Chaos or Problem Attic), there was also a lot of self-seriousness around. Even Cowgirls Bleed, however, was a silly fun game made for a lark, albeit one which also perfectly expressed being a total gay mess.

“The game’s presentation is straightforward, but a simple twist on the Twine format elevates it. Instead of clicking the next link, you’re firing it with your pistol. Peow! Bam! Your character begins by rocking up into town like a real badass. And then… it goes beyond that idea (most games never get past being a premise). So now another Cowgirl shows up, one even more rugged than you, and immediately your character can barely hold it together.

“I played Even Cowgirls Bleed just now for the first time in a few years and I forgot just how thirsty it is (it IS a Christine Love game), but in a super sweet way, ha. So for today, this is my favourite queer game. It won’t make you cry (it might make you ache), it won’t win GOTY (it should), but regardless, it’s the kind of game I love: one where someone tells a story in their own idiosyncratic vibe and one that’s also VERY GAY.

Heaven Will Be Mine (PC)

Heaven Will Be Mine by Pillow Fight and Worst Girls Games.

As selected by Eve Golden Woods, writer and producer at If Found… studio Dreamfeel.

What is it? Heaven Will Be Mine, a queer sci-fi visual novel from developers Pillow Fight and Worst Girls Games, travels to the far-flung future of 1981, where humanity has established a position in space as part of an intangible war. With the battle deemed pointless, however, it’s time to come home – a less than appealing prospect for three “terribly behaved” women from three different factions, each piloting giant robots in a final eight-day war. And so a choice: fight for humanity’s future or ditch the day job and make out with each other instead.

Eve says, “Heaven Will Be Mine isn’t the only queer game I love, but it arrived at the perfect moment in my life to be supremely memorable. It’s so gorgeously maximalist, full of passionate feelings, incredible art, and a story that revels in both its queerness and its science fiction tropes. It takes a genre of storytelling and cracks it open, makes space in it for new stories to be visible, tangible, foremost. You’ve got three young women, all disasters, all with their own traumas and desires, all enmeshed in each other’s orbits.

“The story does a great job balancing the personal and political, the girls relationships with each other not microcosms of the space-spanning conflict, but distorted reflections that offer both repetitions of violence and hopeful alternatives to it.

“If you liked Witch from Mercury you owe it to yourself to give this a try. And from a design and narrative perspective, I adore how all the pieces of this game fit together, art and story and UI all building on and enhancing each other. Some day I’d love to make a game that is as much of a treat for me as this clearly was for Worst Girl Games. Until then, I’ll just have to admire what they achieved with it.”

Ikenfell (PC, PlayStation, Xbox, Switch)

As selected by Ed Nightingale, Eurogamer deputy news editor .

Ikenfell by Happy Ray Games.Watch on YouTube

What is it? Developer Happy Ray Games’ Ikenfell whisks players away to a school of magic for a turn-based tactical RPG adventure with Paper-Mario-style combat at its core. It’s got spells, monsters, bosses to battle, a treasure trove of magical artefacts, and an entire magical academy to explore as its story of “friendship, trust, love, and loss” unfolds, all in the company of a wonderfully diverse cast. Oh, and it has cats for days.

Ed says, “Retro-style pixel RPG? Check. Tactical and challenging battles? Check. Sleepy cats as save points? Check. Gay as hell? Absolutely. Ikenfell is set in a magical school where almost every student is a member of the LGBTQ+ community, and what I love most is how normalised that is. There are varied pronouns and partnerships, but it’s just a natural part of this world and universally accepted – a safe space for these queer characters to express themselves. They’re magical, but it’s their prowess with spells rather than their queerness that makes them special.”

Gone Home (PC, PlayStation, Xbox, Switch)

As selected by Wren Brier, co-creator of Unpacking – Eurogamer’s Game of the Year 2021.

Gone Home by developer Fullbright.Watch on YouTube

What is it? Gone Home, the first game from developer Fullbright, is an impressive bit of sleight-of-hand. It begins one dark, rainy night as its protagonist returns to her family home after a year abroad, only to discover the house is eerily empty. For a while, Fullbright’s influential exploration adventure feels a lot like horror as players tiptoe through the shadowy halls and rooms of Gone Home’s impecabbly crafted mid-90s homestead – and some of the stories waiting to be discovered within certainly live up to that promise. Slowly, however, it reveals itself to be something else; a story of love, hope, and self-discovery.

Wren says, “Gone Home was the first time I saw queer representation I could really connect with in a game. It just felt so genuine. It definitely served as one of the inspirations for Unpacking.”

Citzen Sleeper (PC, PlayStation, Xbox, Switch)

Citizen Sleeper by Jump Over The Age.

As selected from the Eurogamer archive.

What is it? You are a Sleeper, a corporate-owned robot infused with a digitised human consciousness. That’s the starting point for developer Jump Over the Age’s table-top-RPG-inspired sci-fi game”, which spends most of its time on a half-ruined space station known as the Eye, where thousands of inhabitants struggle to survival. And that includes you, on the run and attempting to make it through each daily “cycle”, doing odd jobs, and making connections that might one day save you from your pursuers and hold back your “planned obsolescence”. And it’s in these blooming relationships that Citizen Sleeper truly comes alive, with a real sense of warmth, kindness, and humanity to be found among its rich, multifaceted cast of characters.

Eurogamer says, “Sometimes I forget what, at its core, Citizen Sleeper is about. It’s about a Sleeper, which is a kind of cyborg fundamentally tethered, and perhaps remote-controlled, by a person ‘asleep’ somewhere in a facility, somewhere in space. I forget the game is about that because to me, it’s much more about helping other people and forming tender relationships with them. Though, I suppose, within that, there are very strong themes of belonging and people accepting you for who you are. It sounds so on-the-nose when I put it like that, but in play, it’s much more of a swell of themes that build to realisations. And what’s so lovely about it is the acceptance you do find, and the love that comes with it.”

Tell Me Why (PC, Xbox)

As selected by Deere, drag streamer, creator of The Stream Queens, and Twitch Ambassador.

Tell Me Why’s touching story comes from original Life is Strange studio Don’t Nod.Watch on YouTube

What is it? Don’t Nod’s Tell Me Why will be immediately familiar to anyone who’s experienced the studio’s earlier Life is Strange tales, offering a similarly styled, narrative-driven small-town adventure that gently tilts into the supernatural as a means of exploring the relationships at its core. This time, the cinematic action takes us to Delos Crossing, Alaska, where grieving twins Tyler and Alyson reunite, after several years apart, to sell their childhood home.

Deere says, “My favorite LGBTQ+ video game has to be Tell Me Why! On paper it seems ordinary, a story-driven game about twins with a tragic childhood. Separated for years and then reunited; except in this story one of them is trans!

“It’s a beautiful story about family and friends in a small town, with exploration gameplay, puzzles, and a whodunnit murder mystery at the same time. What makes it special is that the queer storylines and characters are interwoven into the narrative convincingly, and while these aspects are important, they do not feel like tokenism nor cheap. It feels like authentic world-building, with tons of layers and things to discover. I recommend it wholeheartedly!”

Milky Way Prince – The Vampire Star (PC, PlayStation, Xbox, Switch)

As selected from the Eurogamer archive.

Milky Way Prince – The Vampire Star by Eyeguys and Lorenzo Redaelli.Watch on YouTube

What is it? Described as a visual novel about an “abusive relationship, idealisation, and intimacy”, the semi-autobiographical Milky Way Prince from solo developer Lorenzo Redaelli pulls no punches in its depiction of dysfunctional love, psychological abuse, and borderline personality disorder. It’s an uncompromising, disturbing, but powerful debut; melding deeply stylish 2D art and 3D environments, baroque electropop, and fascinating gameplay choices as it tells a branching story of a manipulative lover – the titular Milky Way Prince – who’ll adapt their behaviour to your choices to make you question everything.

Eurogamer says, “Games of this subject matter can at times feel like a kind of development-as-therapy, where the creator exorcises a daemon through the retelling of a personal trauma. That can be an almighty powerful experience; it can also, on occasion, feel a little crass. Milky Way Prince moves somewhere beyond that, to a place where it can resonate with, and ideally also challenge its audience. But subject matter aside, you should play this for the same reason you might watch the early, uneven short-features of great directors, or read the first scrappy, hundred-page novels of a favourite author: to experience a prodigal talent, just as they begin to discover what they can do.”

Paradise Killer (PC, PlayStation, Xbox, Switch)

As selected by Matt Wales, Eurogamer news reporter.

Honestly, it’s so good, your shirt will probably fly open.Watch on YouTube

What is it? Welcome to Paradise 24! A beautiful tropical island retreat that also just happens to be an experiment to create a perfect living mechanism capable of sustaining the religious fervour required to resurrect the Old Gods. Kaizen Game Works’ dizzyingly high-concept Paradise Killer is as bananas as it is subversive, one moment a visual novel, the next an open-world investigatory adventure as players – in the role of the superbly named Lady Love Dies – attempt to figure out who exactly butchered the island’s ruling Council.

Matt says, “Toss a casual glance at Paradise Killer – its sandy white beaches, swaying palms, and sun-kissed holiday resort vibes – and it’d be easy to assume you’re in for a laidback, vapourwave blast of a good time. Which, in fairness, you are; but Paradise Killer also has other things on its mind. For all its sunscreen and glamour, this can be a dark, wild ride – a surreal, suffocating thwack of wildly imaginative cosmic horror, melded to an engrossing investigative murder mystery shot through with impending doom, all drenched with a lurid aesthetic strongly suggestive of a Hell undecided between tropical resort nightmare and 90s CD-ROM game.

“That Paradise Killer has room for anything else after all that is a surprise; that some of its best moments are the quieter, more reflective kind – the vibrant interpersonal exchanges between its wonderfully, unapologetically queer cast of assassins, skeletons, and reluctant idols (all very bad at buttoning their shirts) – turns an already stellar experience into something bordering on sublime. And don’t get me started on that soundtrack.”

The Outer Worlds (PC, PlayStation, Xbox, Switch)

As selected by August Aiden Black, actor and voiceover artist (and voice of Tyler in Tell Me Why).

The Outer Worlds by Obsidian Entertainment.

What is it? Obsidian Entertainment’s alternate-future action-RPG begins on the planet of Terra-2, part of a small star system known as Halcyon that’s slowly being colonised by a humankind in the shadow of omnipresent corporate control. What follows is a gently satirical open-world adventure across striking alien locales; there’s some engaging exploration and smart, stylish gunplay, but, as is often the case with Obsidian, it’s in the game’s smaller, more human stories that The Outer Worlds really shines.

August says, “Although I’m not a huge gamer, I did fall in love with The Outer Worlds’ queer-inclusive storyline. It felt effortless and not ‘just added’, making playing the game that much more fun!”

If Found… (PC, Switch, iOS)

If Found… by Dreamfeel.

As selected by Dr Lloyd (Meadhbh) Houston, writer and teacher of queer history.

What is it? If Found…, from developer Dreamfell, takes players back to 31st December 1993, where its protagonist, Kasio, in the surroundings of a crumbling mansion on Achill Island, sets about destroying her diary. It’s a story concerned with “going home, coming out and erasing everything” that’s told through exquisite illustrations, a moving score, and, at times, devastating dialogue – all progressing, both ingeniously and sometimes uncomfortably, through the process of rubbing-out the Kasio’s drawings and diary entries.

Dr Lloyd says, “I wrote about If Found… for Eurogamer in the summer of 2020 in relation to ideas of queer erasure: the experience of being rendered legally, socially, or culturally invisible. In the two years since then, efforts to erase, and, in many cases, eradicate queerness and queer people from public and private life have only intensified in their openness and brutality. In such a context, my appreciation for the resilient, open-hearted, and quietly defiant spirit of If Found… has steadily deepened.

“It conjures a delicate and tender world that perfectly balances the local and specific with the cosmic and universal. In inviting players into that world and introducing them to the found family of queer people who populate it, it offers a powerful testament to the strength that community brings; of the obligations we share to care and stand up for one another; of the cruel narrowness of life without the freedom to live authentically. It’s a rare oasis of visibility in a medium where queer erasure is still often the norm. I hope you will find the same solace, sustenance, and joy in the game that I did.”

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