‘It doesn’t matter how old you get, you want a little action cause you’re not dead yet’ is the ridiculously catchy lyrics that greet me the moment I boot up Later Daters by Bloom Digital Media. I often find myself singing it under my breath, and it’s not hard to see why.
You see, Later Daters is an LGBT+ interactive visual novel where you play as an elderly pensioner moving into Ye Olde, a care home alongside your pet dog/cat/robot. You’ve been forced to move there due to your vertigo, and your doctor thinks it’s a great place to start anew.
Before you even get into the game Later Daters embraces inclusivity by giving you three avatars to pick from, your backstory – which can include you marrying a woman, a man, or a nonbinary individual – and your pronouns from Ms, Mr, and Mx. If you decide to use Mx the game will make mention of it, but only to explain to characters who haven’t heard of it before. It’s a nice touch that stands out as Later Daters going the extra mile to make players feel comfortable and safe in their choices.
To put it bluntly, Later Daters is about your life in a care home but it isn’t the story that pulled me in – it was the characters and how they interact with one another, and you. Unlike the characters in Last Minute Love, Later Daters is fleshed out to include characters of all different identities and backgrounds. You have Jax Argo, a survivor of the AIDS crisis, and Crystal, a trans woman who is slowly coming to terms with transitioning ‘late’ and how that’s affected herself and how her family perceives her… These are just two of the characters you can meet during your time at Ye Olde, there are many more and each one has a fascinating history and story for you to uncover.
What really makes Later Daters stand out is that it treats the residents of Ye Olde – all of who are in their 60s/70s as actual human beings. While I’ll admit to being partial to the loving old granny and/or gnarly old grandpa trope you’ll see in games, Later Daters waves that trope aside to hammer to the player that ‘yes these characters are old and loving, but they’re all horny as hell’ and well, yes! Too often are the older generation portrayed as being sexless, when it’s so far from the truth. In this game, it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t want to jump your bones. There’s even an orgy scene. Uh, but, it’s not what it sounds like. Trust me, you’ll know when you find it.
Horniness aside, Later Daters is a thrilling, interactive visual novel game that just has so much love poured into it. It isn’t scared to help educate, in fact, it’s happy to do so. It doesn’t shy away from tough subjects either – love, grief, and death. It may have a catchy theme tune and include dreams about orgies and spaceships, but there’s a real vulnerability in each and every chapter.
Later Daters can be played on PC and Nintendo Switch. Don’t hesitate to give this game a chance! We’re certain you won’t regret it.
(If this won’t persuade you, maybe the music video will.)
Gayme of the Week is 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org).