When I play video games I’m always looking for good queer representation. Often enough, the games I get recommended to me are what I call “subtly” queer games. These are games like Skyrim or Stardew Valley which are referred to as “player-sexual” where you can date and marry a man or a woman regardless of your character’s gender. While it’s nice to have this option and counts as a small win, you still can only pick a cis character to marry, and have to choose male or female in character creation. You’re also only able to be married to one person at a time.
After getting fed up only playing these “subtly queer” games, I decided to go out and find as many queer games as I could. What follows is a list of some of the best games I could find. These games cross genres, developers, and platforms so there’s something here for everyone to love.
The Last of Us PartII (PS4/PS5)
No queer video game list would be complete without The Last of Us. A zombie game with a twist, we follow Ellie as she searches for vengeance after the peace in a community of survivors is destroyed. While at first glance this is a zombie apocalypse game like any other, The Last of Us sets itself apart with its incredible character-driven story. It’s an exploration of grief, trauma, and survivors’ guilt.
It’s also the first blockbuster video game to feature a lesbian protagonist. Overall, this is a great game for those who have played before, but have not gotten to see queerness represented in their play.
2. Life is Strange: True Colors (Most Major Platforms)
What’s great about Life is Strange is that the main character is bisexual and that’s just a fact. While the player is able to pursue who they want to in the game, protagonist Alex is always bisexual. It doesn’t hurt that the game itself is also just so fun to play. In the game, Alex is a young woman who can experience others’ emotions, and is trying to get to the bottom of the death of her brother. The story is beautiful, bittersweet, and unforgettable. Each time you play it, you feel completely immersed by the characters and their perceptions and reactions to the world around them. It’s truly unlike any other mystery game out today.
3. Dragon Age: Inquisition (Windows, Playstation, Xbox)
Dragon Age: Inquisition is BioWare’s first game to feature a trans character, and many believe they have had a positive influence on other major gaming companies to start including more queer representation in their games. The best thing about this character, Krem, is that it’s not obvious that they are trans, and that it’s just one small facet of his identity. Instead of making a huge deal of it, the story takes Krem’s transness in stride. This is great for a game that’s all about killing dragon demons, and settling civil unrest. In a world where dragons can pour through a rift in the sky, why can’t a character be trans?
4. Inkenfell (most major platforms)
Inkenfell is a game that relishes in the simple joy of being queer. Set at a magic school that feels both familiar and brand new, you start off by controlling Maritte Hildegaard, a girl without magic attending Inkenfell to find her missing sister. As the game progresses, you meet fascinating NPCs, have intense magic battles, and unravel the mystery surrounding Safina’s disappearance. With tons of queer characters, this game is at once fun and joyful without feeling shallow or like a rainbow capitalist cash grab. This is a great game for those looking to enter into the world of single-player combat RPGs in a way that has simple gameplay mechanics, and a fantastic story.
5. Tell Me Why (Xbox, Xbox One)
One of the first games to feature a trans protagonist, Tell me Why introduces us to twins Tyler and Alyson Ronan. The twins have a supernatural bond that allows them to communicate in a truly unique way. After being separated for a while, they are reunited and use this strange power they share to uncover the truth about their childhood. What I love about this game in particular is that Tyler being trans, once again, isn’t a major plot point. So often queer characters have to have a big coming out story, or their queerness is used as plot points or for shock value. But in Tell Me Why Tyler is just trans, and that’s all there is to it. The other thing I love is that they actually cast a trans voice actor to play Tyler, so the game is authentic both in the story it tells, but in the casting as well.
While this list only features five games, there are plenty more out there, and even more in development. As a queer gamer myself, I can’t wait until lists like this one are obsolete because all major games have queerness in them in a proud and authentic way.