Thursday, April 18, 2024
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Gayme of the Week: Always Sometimes Monsters

Always Sometimes Monsters first released in 2014, was developed by Vagabond Dog and if I’m being honest, left a mostly positive reaction on me when I first played the game. As I’ve grown older, that reaction has quickly turned sour but… that hasn’t stopped me from being entertained by this RPG, nor is it enough to make me say that players shouldn’t give this game, as well as its sequel, Sometimes Always Monsters, a try.

Always Sometimes Monsters puts you in the shoes of Larry, a guy who is desperate to sign someone on and get a book published by the end of the year. Because he is terrible at his job, Larry decided that hosting a party and asking all his friends to come over was the best way to find someone who’d be willing to sign up with him and pitch their book. It sounds simple enough, but what makes this such a pivotal moment in the game is that you’re able to control Larry and choose just which person in the room will be the main protagonist. There are a range of protagonists to choose from, both male and female, with multiple ethnicities so you have the choice to pick someone who looks like you.

Your options don’t just stop there, though. After picking your new protagonist, they’ll mention that they’ve got to go get their partner from the next room before they can talk more. Just like before, you’ll be given the choice to pick between a range of people – both men and women. Later on in the game, you can also confirm that either you or your partner is transgender, though this is a throw-away line and isn’t mentioned again. This means that you are able to have a same-sex relationship in this game, and passes our ‘Can You Be Gay‘ test. A harder feat than you’d think!

But what stands out about Always Sometimes Monsters, and what makes it particularly memorable to me, is also something that makes me uncomfortable too. While in games like Stardew Valley, where as long as you give the right person the right gifts, they’ll fall in love with you and only make a singular comment on your gender, Always Sometimes Monsters does not give the same luxury. Who you are matters, and that isn’t always a good thing.

People who know me may feel that’s a little hypocritical of me. I’ve always talked about how much I want the LGBT+ community to be represented, whether it be the good or bad, but I can’t deny that Always Sometimes Monsters does take this to the extremes. For example, my character was called a dyke a number of times, and my partner, an Asian woman named Keely, was treated poorly due to who she was. It’s always by characters that are close to becoming caricatures of evil, but it still feels a strange, and uncomfortable choice at times. I’d even go as far as describing it as edgy to the point of unrealistic. There are people who are, to put it bluntly, are closeminded jackasses, but do I want to surround myself with that sort of overwhelming toxicity in a video game? Maybe not, and it’s something that players should consider if they decide to give Always Sometimes Monsters their time and energy.


Gayme of the Weekis a weekly column by Aimee Hart about indie LGBT+ games that she’s played and what she loves about them. If you’ve got any recommendations, be sure to contact her on Twitter (@AimemeRights) or email (aimee@gaymingmag.com).

Aimee Hart

[She/They] Aimee Hart specializes in queer fandom, video games and tabletop, having started her career writing for numerous websites like The Verge, Polygon, Input Magazine and more. Her goal now is to boost LGBTQ+ voices in the video games industry.