LGBTQ+ rep in video games


#1

Hey guys! I’m always up for checking out some games that have good LGBTQ+ rep, so feel free to post your own recs, but don’t eschew discussing games that got it wrong, either (this could mean they do not touch upon it at all or characters are portrayed in an offensive manner.)

Some games that I enjoyed that had decent to good representation were Dreamfall: Chapters and Black Closet.

I’m not saying these games were flawless - there are QTEs in Dreamfall: Chapters for instance where the gay protag can kiss a woman, so that’s kind of strange, but all in all I enjoyed what that game did in terms of identity.

I will also always stan LGBTQ+ characters in Bioware games, though this company has repeatedly missed the mark when it comes to their portrayals, and I’m also bothered by the fact that they continously allow a straight man to write lesbian characters and have cis people write/voice their trans characters.


Headcanon and Representation Are Important
#2

Bioware frustrates me, because they try harder than most out there…but OMG do they step in it sooooo often.

Still, Dragon Age: Inquisition was the first game that let me create a woman with a semi-butch voice and a noticeable Adam’s apple, which makes it the first (and only) game that I could create “me” in.

I’ve done a lot of finding my own representation in games, though. Rock Band, for example, really helped with my dysphoria once I realized it was okay to play as a woman like I wanted to.


#3

Night In the Woods is a great little game and has two main characters that are gay and in a relationship, and one who is pan.


#4

Cool thread. And cool to be on a forum where I think it’ll be respected. Some places I feel like I can’t do it without backlash. When I have a little more time I’ll go into the time I started a thread in the Double Fine forums about representation in Massive Chalice.

For now though I want to just quickly articulate something I’ve seen in representation and that’s that there seem to be 2 main kinds which are important for different reasons.

First kind is LGBTQ+ stories, where it’s so central that you couldn’t talk about the game without talking about LGBTQ+ experiences. Which are important for people to see.

Next is simple inclusion. A protagonist who is Queen because why the hell not, or other non central characters. I think this is also important because I really think visibility is half the battle.

I’d be interested to hear about good examples in both categories.


#5

A game that really surprised me recently was Horizon: Zero Dawn. Some of it is explicit and some of it is implicit. Considering how well drawn most of the characters are it works out very well.

I mean, it surprised me on a lot of levels…but that made it also super comfortable for me as a player.


#6

Two of my all-time favourite characters are Arcade and Veronica from Fallout: New Vegas. I think they’re well written in general and I like the way their queerness is handled in regard to their specific factions.


#7

This is a good thread for me to ask - I’ve been starved for media with bisexual male protagonists, any good non-RPG games with them?


#8

I’m with you on BioWare. It’s hard to be mad, because so few companies even bother to make the effort, but I find their handling - particular of trans characters - painfully ham-fisted. It’s so limited to minor characters, who just sort of inform you that they’re trans and allow you to ask invasive, awkward questions that are completely inappropriate and that I would warn people to never ask an actual person. I don’t understand why their writers can’t do that better.


#9

I’m actually super interested in your thoughts on representation in Massive Chalice, so feel free to post them here - unless you’re uncomfortable with this because it reminds you of what I assume was a bad experience on other forums.

I started this thread because so far the Waypoint community as well as the site have been super inclusive and I feel very accepted and welcome here!


#10

It wasn’t so much a bad experience (although there were a couple of folks), that forum is geeeenerally speaking pretty cool. (Disclaimer: I’m actually a mod there now)

It was just a discussion that blew up and ran the gamut if responses, good and bad. And actually ended up in real changes in the game, which I think are a mixed bag but I’d love to go deep on it someday when I have some time.


#11

We Know the Devil, true end to that is… damn. Looking very forward to Heaven Will Be Mine.


#12

Agreed on the EA/Bioware notes above. Considering Tim Cain gave us marriage equality in the wasteland almost 20 years ago, it feels like RPGs are still having a hard time with dealing with sexuality, sex, and inclusivity (and paying us, which is the obvious solution to fixing these issues from stilted and stereotypical portrayals to queer-baiting “subversion” of certain stereotypes).

That being said, I really enjoyed Life Is Strange recently. As far as I know, the senior & writing staff at Dontnod didn’t have any first-hand experience of growing up as bi girls. But I connected with that portrayal and a story that (at least how I played through it) was entirely built around young queer love (I would go so far to say that the central three characters in the story are Chloe, Max, and Rachel Amber - even if only two of them are appear in the game). Even with much of it being implicit or optional dialogue, that story was exceptional.


#13

Bioware’s writing feels still squarely stuck around 2009, so its attempts at inclusion, while certainly valuable for people, haven’t landed for me at all.


#14

Agree with this 100%


#15

Speaking of what happened 20 years ago, I think it’s also interesting how this has sort of been a cycle.

I don’t think it’s rose-tinted of me to think that games were making pretty good strides before the 360/PS3/Halo/COD era where they became huge blockbusters and in many way took steps back.

I go back to look at games I played toward the end of the 90’s or just after 2000 and I see a lot more option at least in terms of who I can play as and how that affects the game.

So many things we celebrate now feels like, we were here before…why has it taken this long to get back?


#16

This is pretty since I need a little help remember what games had good rep of LGBTQ characters. I’ll come back when I remember my LGBTQ moments.


#17

I was talking to some friends recently and MAN the trans Andromeda stuff (now patched, I know) and the trans BotW stuff really burned.


#18

Not familiar with just about anything in Andromeda (Gave up on Bioware a long time ago), but just looked it up. I’m baffled how this went through numerous developers who all apparently thought it was okay.


#19

I also really, really love Bioware’s representation, or at least want to. But more and more it feels lie for every plot like Dorian’s that gets me totally bought in and excited, there’s 2-3 that only exist to provide cishet players a fantasy of being a perfect ally.

Which isn’t just a bioware thing or even just a video games thing, I just wish there was more stuff where LGBT folx got to tell their own stories instead of straight folks telling them for us.


#20

VA-11 HALL-A has a bisexual protagonist. I thought it was handled reasonably well, and I personally grew the like the main character quite a bit.

I feel like bisexuality is often underrepresented as anything more than a convenience for the player in games that allow dating. Most of the time the characters will only express monosexual interests based on the gender of the player character.