For all the toxicity that the gaming industry can sometimes be known for, it's actually one of the most inclusive out there in all of media entertainment. In fact, there are a plethora of games available on the market that explore LGBTQ+ themes and prominently feature queer characters as either important side characters or the protagonists of the story.
More importantly, these games often tell intricate and immersive stories that highlight the same issues that the LGBTQ+ community is facing in real life.
It doesn't matter if you're looking for a dating sim or a visual novel or an action-oriented title, there's bound to be an LGBTQ game for you on the market.
Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator
There've been plenty of games in a variety of genres with excellent LGBTQ representation that has been released over the years. Dating sims isn't one of them. Yet, despite the relatively low bar on good dating sims that cater to LGBTQ players, Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator stands out as an overall high-quality game.
The premise of Dream Daddy is relatively simple: you're a single dad on the lookout for other hot dads to meet with and romance.
Conveniently enough, everyone in the seaside town of Maple Bay is single and dateable. This includes the dad is a teacher, a goth, and even the dads who never outgrew their "bad boy" phase. It also doesn't hurt that the artwork is excellent with hilarious dialogue that's occasionally lightened up with a well-timed dad joke.
The best thing about Dream Daddy is the excellent writing. It doesn't just resort to stereotyping queer men. It features unique and fully realized male characters who just happen to be interested in other men.
The Mass Effect games are transcendent in a lot of ways, including their inclusion of queer characters. It didn't just have a queer character or two. It had multiple. In fact, there is even an entire race in the game that can reproduce with both genders, including Dr. Liara T'Soni, which we ranked so highly in our Mass Effect companions ranking.
Even the much-maligned sequel, Andromeda, introduced the series' first trans character, Hainly Abrams. Side characters also included a wide range of queer characters, ranging from two pansexuals, a lesbian doctor, a gay engineer, and two more bisexual characters.
There are so many queer characters in Mass Effect that it might just be the best LGBTQ game out there.
Life is Strange
Life Is Strange's decision to release as an episodic game back in 2015 worked perfectly because of how well the game was written. With a new chapter coming out every month, fans looked forward to where the journey of the 18-year-old photography student, Max Caulfield, would be headed next. However, while the original game hinted at the queerness of Max, it was the 2017 prequel series, Before the Storm, that really dove deep into this.
Either way, both are powerful and must-play games that, at their very core, feature young women who are still coming into their own.
It'll be interesting to see how well the upcoming third title will match up.
Gone Home is one of the few games out there that puts you in the driver's seat. The game unravels depending on you. You decide how fast or how slow your investigation of your abandoned rural family home in Oregon is going.
Unfortunately, talking too much about Gone Home only leads to spoilers, so we'd like to avoid that as much as well.
We will tell you though that critics praised Gone Home for its portrayal of LGBTQ issues and is often used as an example whenever there is an argument if video games are art or not.
The Last of Us
The Last of Us is one of the best video games of all time. It's a masterclass gaming experience that's set in a world that's been ravaged by a zombie apocalypse with a story that both revolves around it and doesn't at the same time.
What we mean by the latter is that the games also tell all sorts of different stories. Case in point, Joel's sidekick in the first game, Ellie, is gay. This was hinted at in the first game before being confirmed later on in a prologue DLC, Left Behind. The sequel, The Last of Us II, explored this even further, as it featured a lesbian protagonist whose partner, Dina, has had romantic relationships with both men and women.
TLDR; The Last of Us games tell a beautiful and meticulously crafted story that has some of the most well-written queer characters in video games.
Night in the Woods
Night in the Woods was originally posted on Kickstarter, where it reached 400% of its initial target goal and went on to become one of the best LGBQ games out there.
In a Night in the Woods, you follow the tale of pansexual college dropout, Mae, in a side-scrolling exploration game. What starts as Mae going back to her childhood hometown turns into a mystery game as Mae discovers a missing childhood friend and something dangerous that's brewing in the woods.
What makes Into the Woods work as a game is its characters. Most of them are LGBTQ, including Gregg and Angus, as well as Jackie. Although them not conforming to society's gender norms aren't central to the story, they are important tidbits of information that are occasionally brought up to bring the story to life.
For example, Gregg and Angus will sometimes talk about how they've been in love since they were in high school. Later on, you'll find out that Angus has been abused by his family and that your group laments how there seem to be very few queer people there are around you.
Night in the Woods might just be a work of fiction, but it offers a very real look at natural discussions of relationships and sexuality that can happen to everyone.
The Sims 4
The Sims was one of the first games ever to let players be in same-sex relationships. In its most recent iteration, The Sims 4, queer couples can do everything that more conventional couples can. This includes, among others, starting their own families, adopting children, get married, and more.
The Sims 4 offers a virtual reflection of the world that we live in today, albeit one where you can literally leave your Sim to die by letting them drown in a pool.
A Mortician’s Tale
A Mortician's Tale is a resource and task management game that puts you in the shoes of a newbie mortician, Charlie. Throughout the game, you'll get to learn small tidbits of information about the dead from the letters sent to them and from their loved ones. The newsletters also go into great detail detailing how to handle queer and trans bodies with respect.
A Mortician's Tale isn't afraid to tackle difficult topics such as death and how difficult it is for funeral homes to honor the wishes of the dead, especially in cases where their wishes don't line up with what their families want.
Given how the game discusses the rights of LGBTQ+ people after death, perhaps it comes off as no surprise that the development team of A Mortician's Tale is made up of predominantly queer women.
A Normal Lost Phone
A Normal Lost Phone is a game that's literally about a lost phone. The game asks you to find out who the owner of the phone is based on whatever information is available. You'll eventually learn who the phone's owner is and find out exactly how she lost it. You'll get to read the owner's text messages, emails, and even social media accounts, as you find out more about who the owner is, their gender identity, and what struggles they faced.
The overarching theme of A Normal Lost Phone is self-acceptance. However, players will want to prepare themselves because the game can get fairly graphic. There are instances where sexual assault and abuse are mentioned in great detail, along with instances of transphobia and homophobia.
Despite the game's heavy and emotional narrative, A Normal Lost Phone ends on a relatively happy note that we'll leave up to you to discover.