In this week of LGBT games history, we’re going to be looking at Moonmist! You’d be forgiven for not knowing much about this game, as it was originally released in 1986 on the Atari, Macintosh, Apple II and much more.
Published by Infocom, you play the role of a detective who has been tasked by your friend Tamara Lynd to investigate her new home of Tresyllian Castle. She has just recently become engaged, but her happiness is spoiled by a ghost named The White Lady. Tamara believes she’s out to kill her and it’s up to you to find out the truth…
Moonmist has been said to be one of the earliest known video games to include a gay character. There has been a number of games bequeathed with that title, and more research has to be done to be wholly certain of that, but we at least know that there is an actual gay character present.
The character in question is called Vivienne Pentreath, an artist who acts coldly towards the player and everyone else. She is especially unsympathetic towards Tamara’s husband, Jack Tresyllian, as it is revealed (depending on the colour you pick at the start) that her girlfriend, Deidre, was Tresyllian’s ex-fiancee. She also suspects his behaviour towards Deidre caused her to commit suicide.
Vivienne is never explicitly said to be a lesbian, but her relationship with Deidre is most certainly romantic. In the blue plotline – where she is, unfortunately, the villain, she tearfully reads a page from her diary about her distress at the loss of her lover.
It’s no surprise that the gay characters are either dead or considered a villain – though a sympathetic one – by the main cast, this was written a long time ago, so we will forgive some of these glaring issues.
As for the game itself, even though it is 2021, it’s still an engaging game that will have you on tenterhooks waiting for what comes next. The cast is likeable, and it is a thrilling, ghost story from the start to finish. If you can find Moonmist to play, we heartily recommend you do so.