6 lez/bi video games tapping their way into gaming history
BY ALICIA PRYZSIENIAK. IMAGE THE LAST OF US.
The world of gaming is ever-changing and, as it evolves, it (slowly but surely) becomes more diverse. Though earlier this year Gamesradar poured through thousands of gaming titles and, “found only 179 games out of the thousands upon thousands made had any LGBT representation,” at the very least, that representation can be found in some of the most popular games on the shelves today.
In a nutshell, though this gaming evolution needs to speed up a notch, queer characters are becoming a more regular feature of the pixelated world and, where games creators are really bringing diversity to the table, they are being given their own leading (and very queer) storylines too – and that’s a cause for celebration.
For me, and other lez/bi gamers, being able to play a character who we can identify with is everything. Video games are a great way to unwind and an even better place to lose ourselves for a little while – without having to lose our core identities.
So, with a little help from our friends at the LGBTQ Video Game Archive (check them out, by the way), and a sprinkling of gaming-nerd expertise, we’ve rounded up some of the leading queer and lez/bi characters out there. Think of this as Queer Gaming 101: An introduction.
Brianna Lei’s visual novel is a true triumph for queer storytelling. Baseball and girls? How much better can you get? The game celebrates love and friendship between queer girls of colour while exploring both mental health and identity. With an all-female lead, this game is a force to be reckoned with.
Diya, Min-Seo, Akarsha and Noelle spend their days as most teenage girls would: in high school, chatting online, being at odds with their parents and more importantly, coming to terms with their sexualities. Millennial humour and light-heartedness only add to the joy of this queer gaming staple.
Overwatch – Lena “Tracer” Oxton
Overwatch’s Tracer’s epic coming-out in the Refection’s comic confirmed all of our queer hope (and dreams) for the character. Overwatch is enjoyed by a hugely diverse fandom so it would have been a huge mistake not to have featured a queer character, in our humble opinions.
Blizzard, the game’s creators, stated: “We wanted the universe of Overwatch to feel welcoming and inclusive.” Well played Blizzard, well played.
League Of Legends – Neeko
A shapeshifting lesbian Chameleon, are you sure? Couldn’t be surer. Throughout League Of Legends game, Neeko’s interactions with character’s in a female form are much more intense than with those in male forms.
“Neeko is joyful to become you,” and “Wish I could stay like this forever,” seem to be a lot more positive than her reaction whenever “she” takes on a male form. “Yuck! Take a bath!” and “Do I smell as bad as I look?” explain exactly how Neeko feels about her male-leaning self.
In 2018, senior narrative writer on League Of Legends, Matt Dunn, told us exactly how Neeko feels: “Neeko does like female champions more than male champions.” Stay sassy Neeko- we love you!
The Last Of Us (Part II: Left Behind and American Dreams) – Ellie
The Last Of Us lead Ellie’s progression from 14-year-old deuteragonist to lez/bi protagonist is really something quite special to experience. As she fights to find a cure for an infection which she is (luckily) immune from, we see Ellie find comfort in co-character Riley, which progresses to the girls sharing a much-anticipated kiss (joy!)
This caused quite a stir in the gaming world, with the euphoria the scene created – and still creates to this day – forever cemented as a key moment in queer gaming history!
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
Assassin’s Creed is jam-packed with queerness! The lead character – either Kassandra or Alexios – have the ability to romance any character: gender is no barrier. Throughout the game, players are also introduced to other characters whom have LGBTQI relationships.
Crucially though, wait for it… there are UNICORNS! Every player has the ability to have their very own unicorn with a (super cool) glowing pink horn that leaves a rainbow trail behind when riding around. I mean, how much queerer can you really get, folks?
Assassin’s Creed is the holy grail of LGBTQI video games, and truly a blessing!
Life Is Strange – Chloe Price
Since this game’s release in 2015, the diversity it has created in its heavily female fanbase is incredible. Fans are very passionate about the female characters in this game, talking about them as if they are real people – and, after playing it, it’s easy to see why.
The original Life Is Strange sees Max Caylfield, a young woman who has come back home to Arcadia Bay, realising she has secret powers – namely that of time travel. Max and her (cough) “best friend” Chloe Price’s relationship is particularly strong, but it’s up to you as the player and the choices you make as to just how strong…
On top of this, Life Is Strange: Before The Storm sees you play as Chloe, who expresses her romantic feelings for Rachel and, in the 2017 prequel, Rachel might even reveal that she reciprocates these feelings… Determined once again by the player’s in-game choices, Chloe and Rachel might even share a kiss.
Arcadia Bay? More like Arcadia Gay.
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