Pride is right around the corner and as this year's pride across cities and countries prepares for a pride that supports (or should) Queer Black folks, in the midst pf Black Lives Matter protests across the world but in particular across all of the United States, Steam has launched their lists of queer games "Summer of Pride" presented by Midboss.
Perhaps I'm too much of a negative or cynical person but the Summer of Pride's list of queer games left me lukewarm to say the least. It reminded me of games that were praised for doing the bare minimum such as Catherine's trans waitress Erica, the creators of Catherine were praised for writing in a trans character, until they created an additional ending that is so transphobic it ruined a game that had such potential, that was so fun.
So, here's my list of 15 queer games that I think you should check out right now, whether to set the tone right for Pride and the celebration of queerness, or for any other day of the year where we are just as queer! This list features Gay, Lesbian, Bi, Pan as well as Trans and non-binary characters & their stories.
1. A Normal Lost Phone
"A Normal Lost Phone is a game about exploring the intimacy of an unknown person whose phone was found by the player."
Created by Accidental Queens and Seaven Studio, A Normal Lost Phone is a game that focuses on the exploration of queer identity, the relationship between people and safety/privacy. It is a game that I picked up because I wanted something short and "simple" and I was surprised at how moved I was. A Normal Lost Phone is available on: Steam, Nintendo Shop, iOS and Android. Price: Under 5$
2. Your Royal Gayness
Described as: "Your Royal Gayness is a story-driven fairytale parody game where you must navigate royal life as Prince Amir and rule your kingdom while your parents - the King and Queen - are traveling. Manage your Kingdom's resources, make challenging choices and come up with funny and absurd excuses to avoid marriage!" "The library is on fire, cats have overrun the city and a wolf is munching on grandmothers in the forest. On top of that, princesses are knocking on your door, hungry for marriage! Survive royal life as a gay prince in this ultimate fairytale parody game!"
Your Royal Gayness is available on: Steam, itch.io.
Price: Under 20$
3. Life is Strange Franchise (LiS, LiS: Before the Storm and LiS 2)
Since the first Life is Strange game, LiS has been giving us queer stories that feature aspects of any and all relationships that are not always featured. I appreciated, especially in the two first stories of LiS, being given complicated, sometimes toxic, queer relationships between woman, through a story about coming of age, assault, depression, friendship and, well, superpowers. In LiS 2, the studio once against gives us the option of playing a queer character through the decisions we are allowed to make, or to choose not to make, this time, with a male character.
Life is Strange & all of its sequels (and prequels) are available on: Steam, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, iOS and Android.
Price: Episodic, packages range around 21.99$
4. Later Daters
"You’re the newest resident at Ye OLDE retirement community, where you’ll meet a cast of sexy seniors who are all dying (not literally) to meet you. It’s a lot like summer camp, but with orthopedic shoes, bridge clubs, and more jell-o. It’s an adjustment as you settle in, but who knows: maybe these will turn out to be the best years of your life!"
"Later Daters is a wholesome dating sim about queer seniors. The game, from Toronto developer Bloom, is a romantic romp that sheds light on the lives and stories of queer and trans elders." And with some of the most racially and culturally diverse cast of characters I've ever seen!
Later Daters is available on: Steam, itch.io and Nintendo Store.
Price: Under 10$
5. The Lion's Song: Episode 3, Derivation
"“The Lion’s Song: Episode 3 – Derivation” dives into the scientific world at the beginning of the 20th century – an era of great achievements, but also dark downfalls. On the eve of World War I mathematician Emma Recniczek enters the academic stage to solve a problem revolving around."
In the third episode of The Lion's Song, we play as a character who, as they face gender discrimination within mathematics and other inner struggles, also question their gender identity.
The Lion's Song is available on: Steam, Nintendo Switch, iOS and Android.
Price: Episodic, around 5$ per episode.
6. Get In The Car, Loser!
"A lesbian road trip RPG by the co-creator of Ladykiller in a Bind about fighting for love and justice in the face of indifference, inspired by choice-driven visual novels, and a battle system influenced by classic and modern JRPGs. WILL YOU STAND AND FIGHT IN THE FACE OF EVIL?"
Get In The Car, Loser! is not yet available. (Steam)
7. Dragon Age Franchise
The Dragon Age games have always featured a wide rage of options when it comes to the character your character can romance in the game. It first went from having a few options here and there, to the second game where every character can be a romantic option for yours, to Inquisitions, where characters have their own preferences, offering representation for Gay, Lesbian, Bi as well as trans folks through the character of Krem. (*cue my heart*)
The Dragon Age games are available on: Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, OS X. With the third installment also released on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Price: DA: 26.99$, DA 2: 29.99$, DA: I: 54.99
8. Dream Daddy
"Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator is a game where you play as a Dad and your goal is to meet and romance other hot Dads. You and your daughter have just moved into the sleepy seaside town of Maple Bay only to discover that everyone in your neighborhood is a single, dateable Dad! Will you go out with Teacher Dad? Goth Dad? Bad Dad? Or any of the other cool Dads in this game? With minigames, sidequests, and a variety of paths and endings, Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator is this year's most anticipated Dad-based game."
Dream Daddy is available on: Microsoft Windows and macOS
Price: Under 20$
9. Butterfly Soup
Butterfly Soup is "A visual novel about gay Asian girls playing baseball and falling in love." Butterfly Soup is available on: Microsoft Windows and macOS
10. Hustle Cat
"You are Avery Grey, the newest employee at a popular cat cafe called A Cat's Paw. The coffee's good and the staff is friendly (and kinda cute!) but mysterious. One day, you find a strange book in the basement, with letters you can't quite read...You'll work hard at A Cat's Paw, but there's still time to get to know your new coworkers! Who's your favorite? The brusque, but devoted cook Mason? Or maybe Reese, the fashion-obsessed waiter who knows more than he says? And there's always your strange-eyed boss, the enigmatic Graves."
Hustle Cat is available on: Microsoft Windows and macOS.
11 . Max Gentlemen Sexy Business!
"The premiere Victorian Business Tycoon & Dating Simulator. Your family business has been stolen from you! Forge sexy partnerships in the sheets while crushing rival companies in the streets to become England’s largest monopoly and reclaim your family honor."
Max Gentlemen Sexy Business! is available on: Microsoft Windows, macOS.
12. Mass Effect Franchise
"As Commander Shepard, you lead an elite squad on a heroic, action-packed adventure throughout the galaxy. Discover the imminent danger from an ancient threat and battle the traitorous Saren and his deadly army to save civilization. The fate of all life depends on your actions!" Although these games are not focusing on relationships, it may be refreshing to play a game that simply gives you the option. "Mass Effect has traditionally included a number of same-gender relationship options, but with the inclusion of two openly gay characters in Mass Effect 3, both the man and woman protagonist options (John and Jane Shepard, respectively) can now romance a character who is not simply playersexual." (As in, depending on the player's actions, these characters' sexuality exists outside of how you play the game.
The Mass Effect Franchise is available on: Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Windows, with the third installment also released on the Wii U.
Price: Depends on the installment.
13. Night in the Woods
"NIGHT IN THE WOODS is an adventure game focused on exploration, story, and character, featuring dozens of characters to meet and lots to do across a lush, vibrant world: College dropout Mae Borowski returns home to the crumbling former mining town of Possum Springs seeking to resume her aimless former life and reconnect with the friends she left behind. But things aren't the same. Home seems different now and her friends have grown and changed. Leaves are falling and the wind is growing colder. Strange things are happening as the light fades. And there's something in the woods."
Night in the Woods is available on: Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, and PlayStation 4 as well as Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.
14. Monster Prom
"There’s only 3 weeks left before prom and you haven’t got a date yet..and you’re a monster. But that’s okay ‘cause at your high-school everyone else is too! These are the stepping stones into the world of Monster Prom, a one-to-four player competitive dating sim that has you thinking: I never knew I was into that! Choose your own adventure and get all the way to your special monster’s heart before anyone else does, take personality quizzes to determine your stats, get into all kinds of funny and absurd situations to seduce your sweetheart and find out more about yourself than you or your friends ever knew." "Don’t worry if you want to romance a certain love interest as a certain character! In Monster Prom characters don’t like boys or girls… they like people."
Monster Prom is available on: Steam Price: 13.49$
15. Ghost of Miami
"On average, one person is murdered every day in Dade County. Between the drug cartels, the AIDS epidemic, and a flood of undocumented immigrants, hundreds more will vanish, never to be seen again. Chelo Martínez finds the people who slip through the cracks.
Help Chelo explore the beaches and back alleys of Miami at its most dangerous, investigating her very first cases as a private investigator. You make the decisions: do you bait the shady drug dealer, or beat the answers out of him? When that handsome stranger shows up at Chelo’s door, will he help your case--or distract you from it? And will you be able to find Chelo’s missing father, who disappeared without a word almost ten years ago?"
Ghost of Miami is available on: Microsoft Windows, Linux, macOS Price: 16.99$
Here ya go! I hope this list helped you discover some new games you've never heard of, some games you did hear about but weren't sure whether they could be your cup of tea or not, hey, perhaps you're just going to grab one of these and throw yourself into an even bigger cup of GAY. Enjoy, celebrate being you the way you want to be, your truest self, during this month of pride, or any other day of the year. Donate:
Black Lives Matter: https://bit.ly/3cHcnKM
Black Lives Matter Canada: https://bit.ly/2MOZBiB
Also, Here is a lsit of organizations to support Black Trans folks: https://bit.ly/30AAgkO