Tuesday, April 16, 2024

The best video games to play during Pride

Pride Month is here, and let’s be honest: there’s never a bad time to play gay-as-f*ck video games. But it does feel particularly poignant during Pride, doesn’t it? Almost as though smooching Fenris in Dragon Age 2 during this month makes it feel extra gay, somehow.

If you’re like us and are looking to play some incredible LGBTQ+ games this month, but aren’t quite sure where to start then sit back and relax: we’ve got just the list for you. And, as we always promise, expect video games that aren’t just from your typical triple-A company, but a fair few indies too.

And remember to shout out in the comments what LGBTQ+ game you’ll be playing this month.

Dragon Age 2
Image Source: Steam
Dragon Age

We know what you’re thinking: Dragon Age again? That’s so groundbreaking. Nobody could have predicted this. But, hear us out: the Dragon Age series is still one of the best dark-fantasy series that allows you, the player, to have same-sex relationships at the same time as including them in its world. That alone makes it one of the best games to play this Pride Month; because it’s still rare to see queerness within the world of a video game that doesn’t just shove it into a player’s hands and make them do all the work.

This is true across all games within the series. Dragon Age: Origins features several queer characters, which can include the player character. Dragon Age 2’s companions are all bisexual – though it’s still up to debate whether they are considered ‘playersexual’ or not – and Dragon Age: Inquisition included a pansexual character, as well as a gay storyline that many a gay man has related to.

The series is often on sale across both PC and console platforms, so if you’ve not played it yet and are looking for a trio of video games that’ll let you express your pride, look no further than Dragon Age.

Wylde Flowers Romance Options
Image Source: Studio Drydock
Wylde Flowers

Wylde Flowers, aka The Lesbian Drama / Farming Simulator won the Best LGBTQ+ Indie Game Award at the 2023 Gayming Awards, and for good reason! Not only is it a fantastic alternative for those looking for a more authentic, LGBTQ+ experience in their vide games, but it’s also a fantastic farming sim with a witchy twist.

If you’re a fan of games like Stardew Valley, but wish it had much more story and character content then you’ll be pleased to know Wylde Flowers is the exact game you’re looking for. Players take on the role of Tara, a young woman who moves back to the town of her birthplace to help her grandma with her farm.

It has a likable and diverse cast, as well as several love options (one of who is non-binary) for protagonist Tara to date. It isn’t all just about the player’s sexuality however, as there is a gay couple that lives in the town Tara moves to and, without spoiling too much, there may or may not be a gay wedding. Just putting it out there.

Wylde Flowers is available to play on PC, Android, iOS, and Nintendo Switch.

Gayming Awards 2023 Authentic Representation
Image Source: Northway Games
I Was A Teenage Exocolonist

If there’s one game that will make you sit down and exclaim it as being a narrative masterpiece, then it’s I Was A Teenage Exocolonist.

 In this game, players take on the role of 10-year-old child who travels to the new and exciting world of Vertumna after 20 years aboard a space ship. This new planet signifies a fresh adventure, but as always, turning up on a new, uncharted planet means that things don’t go to plan. New threats lurk around every corner, and it’s up to players to figure out how they and their colony are going to survive.

I Was A Teenage Exocolonist isn’t just queer with its love interests and world, but incredibly inclusive with character customization and gender identity. It has a robust pronoun system which allows players to make changes to how they are addressed by others, meaning you can mix your pronouns to better suit who you are. You have near complete control over your character, and it makes stepping into a new, sci-fi world even more exciting. We cannot recommend this game enough.

I Was A Teenage Exocolonist is available to play on Nintendo Switch, PS4/PS5, PC, Mac and Linux.

Desta: The Memories Between
Image Source: Ustwo games
Desta: The Memories Between

Desta: The Memories Between is what you get if you decided to combine dodgeball with the allegorical symbolism of Revolutionary Girl Utena. And yes, we do mean that as a compliment.

Featuring a non-binary protagonist called Desta, this roguelike game has Desta returning to their old house in a small town. They’ve been away for a long time after their father’s death, and have left behind a string of individuals (from old mates to childhood sweethearts) in their wake. Scared to confront them, Desta turns back to the one thing that eases their mind: playing ball with their dad. It’s this activity that triggers their subconscious, allowing them to enter their mind and face their fears in their dreams.

Not only are the dodgeball elements incredibly fun to play around with – especially due to the different abilities and features in-game – but its inclusion of a non-binary protagonist and several instances of queer characters is nothing to sniff your nose up at either. More importantly, the game handles the topic of misgendering in a sensitive, meaningful way that’s still rare to see in media, even now. Definitely a game for us gaymers.

You can play Desta: The Memories Between on PC, Nintendo Switch, Android, and iOS.

best lgbtq+ games 2022
Image Source: Veritable Joy Studio
ValiDate: Struggling Singles in your Area

If you’ve ever thought that Tinder should be made into a game, then we’re certain you’ll find something to enjoy with Veritable Joy Studio’s ValiDate: Struggling Singles in your Area. Who knows, maybe you’ll even pick up a tip or two to help you in the IRL dating world!

You may have played plenty of dating sims before, but ValiDate is a little different. For one thing, it is undeniably mature. There are no teens yearning for love in this game, but adults who are doing their utmost to make their way through life, all while looking for someone to share it with – something which most of us can relate to.

In this first volume of ValiDate, players choose between Malik, Isabelle, Inaya, and Ehmari to follow on their dating (mis)adventures. What makes this fun is that sometimes you’re able to see the dates from two different perspectives, allowing players deeper insight into what the other character is thinking and helping explore what makes their relationship (and the date) a special one. Or you can make it the worst date ever, the choice is yours.

ValiDate: Struggling Singles in your Area is available to play on PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4/PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and Linux.

The Sims 4 Pride
Image Source: Maxis
The Sims 4

Would it be Pride if we didn’t highlight The Sims 4 as one of the best video games that doesn’t just include queer sexualities and gender, but actively highlights us through creator events and via in-game items and interactions? That’s right, there’s no game that’s quite doing it like The Sims 4.

Ever since its release in 2014, The Sims 4 has only got bigger and better, expanding the base game through free updates and DLC to help create a more inclusive game. It was only last year in July 2022 that sexual and romantic attraction, something which in theory had always been included, was expanded on further so that each individual Sim would be able to choose and develop their own romantic and sexual attraction.

But even before that, back in May 2022, the team over at Maxis included an update on the pronoun system – finally allowing players to pick and choose how each Sim would be addressed. This even included custom pronouns. What a milestone!

And even before all of that, The Sims series has been accepting and inclusive of gay marriage and adoption even during the early days. Though that hasn’t made it not incredible to watch the series expand over time, of course.

The Sims 4 is available to play on PC, PS4/PS5, and Xbox Series X/S.

Life is Strange Pride
Image Source: Deck Nine
Life is Strange: True Colors

Behind every hot queer person is an obsession with the Life is Strange series from Dont Nod and Deck Nine. We’re so serious: is there a game in the Life is Strange series that hasn’t been abundantly queer? We don’t think so, and we’re almost never wrong.

The first game follows time-reversing Max and her sapphic gal pal Chloe, the second Sean and Daniel, and the spin-off put players in the shoes of mystery girl Rachel Amber. Life is Strange: True Colors is a tad different: introducing players to new protagonist Alex Chen, a young woman who moves to Haven Springs to start anew alongside her brother, as well as some familiar faces.

All of the Life is Strange games are incredible, but Life is Strange: True Colors is certainly one to remember. It features the importance of finding somewhere to belong, and whether belonging is a place or a feeling. There are also many gay and nerdy references within the game’s narrative, and as per the last three games, there are LGBTQ+ romance options for players.

Life is Strange: True Colors is available to play on Nintendo Switch, PC, Xbox Series X/S, and PS4/PS5.

video games pride
Image Source: Love Conquers All Games
Get in the Car, Loser!

What could make a road trip RPG even better? If it was full of lesbians, of course.

Get in the Car, Loser! follows Sam, Grace, Valentin, and Angela, a group of loveable, gay disasters who want to do nothing more but stop the Machine Devil and the evil cultists that are trying to bring them back into the world. Unfortunately, they come up against fierce opposition, even from people whom they consider friends. Because apparently if you fight against evil, that ‘makes you as bad’ as evil in the first place. If you ask us, the numbers on that are just not adding up.

With nobody willing to help them, the group set off on a road trip like no other. Players will encounter enemies on the road, with each character fitting a different role that is typical of RPG games such as Final Fantasy, etc. What’s even more important is that there’s no filler: just chill vibes, and non-stop story and combat.

Get in the Car, Loser! is available to play on PC.

Horizon Forbidden West
Image Source: Guerilla Games
Horizon Forbidden West

Horizon Forbidden West dares to ask the question, ‘what if we gave you an 80+ game to play, and for your trouble, gave you a DLC story along the way that allows you to kiss a pretty girl?’ Would that be suitable?’ The answer being, of course, ‘yes, duh, bring it on!’

A sequel to Horizon Zero Dawn, Forbidden West continues the story of Aloy – a young hunter of the Nora tribe. She’s considered a very big deal thanks to her actions in the previous game, and this time around she’s heading to a region known as the Forbidden West to find the source of a plague that kills every single thing it infects. Gnarly, huh?

Along the way, Aloy makes new discoveries about the post-apocalyptic world they’re living in, as well as gets closer to new, interesting friends. That’s where Burning Shores, the latest DLC for the game, comes in. Aloy meets Seyka, and throughout the adventure, it’s obvious that there is a mutual attraction between the two women. Players can decide whether they want Aloy to woman up and confess her feelings, or not. But let’s be honest, we’re a queer gaming website, who on earth is going to pick the latter? Not us!

Horizon Forbidden West is available to play on the PS5.

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.