Wednesday, April 24, 2024
Gayme of the WeekReviews

Gayme of the Week: Back Door Man

There are some games that you just never expect to play, and Back Door Man from Grundislav Games is certainly one of them. Still, Back Door Man turned out to be a pleasant, and remarkably aware, surprise that tackles homophobia and sex work with a cynical, but humorous perspective.

You start off the night sitting down at a bar on Tobacco Road. You play as an ordinary guy who just happens to be a sex worker, something that you eventually indulge to your barkeep. You have three different stories to tell that night, two about women and one about a man.

For the most part, you can play everything off as a very slap-stick, don’t give a damn about anyone else but me, and it works. I played at least three different times to try and see all the endings, and it was fun to see I could play a cynical jerk that likes to get down and dirty with a woman in a fursuit, or a guy who doesn’t want people to get hurt, physically or emotionally. Each playthrough lasts about 5-10 minutes tops, depending on your choices, so you can get through each one without having to be concerned it’ll take everything out of your day.

A playthrough consists of you meeting three different people, but what I was most interested in was your sexual encounter with the middle-aged, married man.

It’s key that readers know that this game is based in Miami, Florida. The reason for this is because I want you to know that Florida has never been the greatest in regards to the state’s acceptance of queerness, particularly queer men. Even now, in 2021, they still have anti-sodomy laws that view consensual sex between men as perverted and wrong as bestiality. So, with Back Door Man set before the 2000s, you should certainly know what sort of treatment to expect.

I head on out to meet the gentlemen, aka Mr Jensen. He lives in a good neighbourhood, and as I enter his home, it’s obvious that he rakes in the money. He has a nice TV, a spacious kitchen and there’s even money that he leaves lying around for you to just take when you enter. Maybe he’s a doctor or a CEO. Whatever he is, it becomes clear by his twitchy attitude and hurried nature that he has a lot to lose.

You have the option to not follow and have sex with Jensen – instead stealing everything you can get your hands on and taking advantage of him. Alternatively, you can go upstairs and have your fun, but without getting to know anything about him. An experience that is lustful, but somewhat educational for a man that’s clearly never done this before.

The approach of meaningless sex fits your protagonist’s agenda somewhat. After all, you really are just there to do work, but the game doesn’t quite see it like that and that, in itself, is fascinating. While you can just have sex with Jensen, you’re punished for not taking the time to know more about this man as, when his wife comes home, you have no real alibi that doesn’t reveal your true intentions with Jensen. While somewhat on the nose, Back Door Man doesn’t shy away from its judgments. It in fact practically tells you off for your view of Jensen as a ‘hole to be filled’ and ultimately, depending on your choices throughout the rest of the encounters, doesn’t let you get away with it. After all, it isn’t just Jensen’s marriage that you end up ruining – but his job and home too. He loses everything because of your actions.

Being closeted doesn’t make cheating any better, but the fact of the matter is that Jensen’s life is destroyed because his role as an upstanding, cis, heterosexual man is threatened and, in society’s eyes, that can only be met with a swift removal. While you can play the game and think ‘eh, at least I got the money’, it feels ten times worse from a queer person’s perspective and Back Door Man doesn’t hold back from sucker punching you in the gut with that feeling.

And yet, it’s this small look into what it means to be a closeted gay man in Florida is what makes this game such a poignant one to me. It’s uncomfortable in the sense that you don’t want to give it your full attention because it hurts, but at the same time, you must. It’s incredible, and if you have the time, I heartily recommend giving Back Door Man a go. It’s completely free and can be found on a variety of different websites.


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 (aimee@gaymingmag.com).

About The Author