For hardcore gamers who are also queer, there’s often a struggle to find LGBTQ-affirming games. If that’s what you’re after, look no further than this list for some of the most fabulous queer games out there.
Heaven Will Be Mine
Worst Girl Games’ newest release is a funny, painful, and probably too online (in all the best ways) visual novel about three mech pilots trying to find their place in their factions and the world at large in an alternate reality where space travel has become the least of our worries.
You can choose between three characters: the rebellious, flirty Saturn; the weathered, twice-traitorous Terra Luna; or the compassionate and terrifyingly powerful Pluto. Pilot their respective mechs and take on missions to help (or hinder) your faction’s ends and discover what the people in charge really want from each. Fight, flirt, and explore what it means to fall in love, have a body, and to be human.
Tusks is a visual novel following a group of queer orc men (and one human) as they embark on a traditional annual journey together. Set in a semi-mystical Scotland, Tusks draws from the mythology of this area, using it to differentiate different types of orcs. This game shines in its willingness to explore bodies and sexuality in a way that other games, and other mainstream media formats, just don’t. There are so many frank conversations surrounding boundaries, kinks, and desires. Body diversity is also a clear focus, as each orc’s body is unique and presented as good and desirable regardless of weight, scars, or anatomy. A very real sense of family, warmth, and compassion emanates from this game, and it’s a much-needed departure from the usual depictions and realities we often see.
Secret Little Haven
Secret Little Haven’s charm lies in its incredible ability to capture the essence of 90s internet culture. I felt nostalgic for it while playing, and I didn’t even really experience that era. You play as a character named Alex, though you never see her physically. Instead, you navigate your way around her computer using an actual operating system created in Unity by developer Victoria Dominowski, sending IMs to internet friends, scrolling through the Pretty Magical Girl (a Sailor Moon equivalent) forums, writing fan ficition, and more. The game does have a content warning for parental conflict and gaslighting, but if you can get past these elements, there’s a really wonderful story of self-discovery and the positive ways the internet age has helped facilitate and nurture queer communities.
The Missing: JJ Macfield and the Island of Memories
Full disclosure, The Missing: JJ Macfield and the Island of Memories is an absolutely brutal experience. To advance, your character, JJ, has to solve puzzles and traverse platforming sections by literally tearing herself apart. The sound design in these sequences can be extremely rough at times as it supplements the more subdued art style. But this, in combination with some shockingly insightful narrative choices, made it a heartbreaking but ultimately empowering narrative about queer experience and chosen family.
Butterfly Soup focuses on four Asian-American high school girls. Dia is Indian-American, deaf in one ear, and socially anxious to a degree that’s almost painful. Min-seo is a Korean-American tomboy who’s small but (overly) fierce. Noelle is Chinese-American and a bit of a stickler for the rules and getting good grades. Arkarsha, my personal favorite, is Indian-American and uses her weird, sh*t-posting sense of humor to cover up the immense pressure she feels to be successful.
Theirs is a sweet coming-of-age story told through the unexpected lens of baseball.Don’t worry, Butterfly Soup isn’t a sports game, mechanically. You don’t have to know anything about baseball to understand what’s going on. Most of the characters don’t, either. Instead, baseball is used as a narrative device to ground the previous relationship of two characters and to later incorporate everyone into a team dynamic.