Updated: Dec 22, 2020
There’s this strange dichotomy intertwined amongst the vines of inclusivity. If you are included in a group that can be identified as normally in the spotlight of humanity you tend to have trouble seeing why minority groups would want to strive to attain such a spotlight... because you're numb to it. It’s a lot like addiction in the fact that the more you have of something the less sensitive you are to its taste. As a nomad I prefer to watch the world from the shore, dipping my feet in as opposed to desiring to become one with it. But seemingly to the contrary, I can understand the plight of the unheard.
This article is meant to help teens, tweens, and their parents by taking them into another world, particularly one where those on the LGBTQ spectrum can feel included. This article covers 5 LGBTQ affirming video games for those who are ages 16 - 10 years of age. Something similar to this would take a lot of searching because literally, no one on the planet has written this article before. Just kidding. I really don’t know if that’s true, but seriously I have yet to find another article on this topic that was geared towards young people in particular.
The guidelines for this article:
We are going over the games rated E to E10+.
I am only going to show the games that are the most affirming
Not all games will be triple-A titles, some will be indie games.
Games E to E 10+
1) Sims 1-3
PS3, XBOX 360, NDS, PC, Wii, Android (depends on the title)
Sims… What’s That?
The Sims is an iconic video game franchise that goes all the way back to February 2000. To explain it clearly, the Sims is a simulation game where you act as a kind of god to a nondescript customizable family of supposed humans, known as Sims, who speak an indecipherable language and seem to have a shared brain, because the more of them you have the dumber they get, where you control every aspect of their lives from the design of their house to their jobs, to their relationships, all the way down to the food they eat. The goal meanwhile is just to goof off and enjoy the power of somewhat godhood.
Sims and The Gays (Romantic jazz Noises)
As I said before every game on this list is here for a reason and the Sims are here because it allows you to create your ideal family, no matter the orientation.
2) Story of Seasons
Switch, Nintendo 3DS
What is the Story of Seasons?
Story of Seasons, specifically the Friends of Mineral Town Remake, is a farming game originating from the harvest moon series whose name came to be due to a breakup in developers. Story of Seasons starts out with you returning to your late grandfather’s home town, with the goal of returning his farm to its former glory. In the game, an entire story will unfold in front of you where you interact with fantastical beings and develop relationships with the townspeople.
Why is it Queer?
While not quite as inclusive as the Sims, Story of Seasons can be used as a dating simulator where, again, you can date or even marry members of any sex. After that point, you can choose to start a family and play out your fantasy of your ideal family.
3) Stardew Valley
Switch, PC, Mac, Linux, PS4, XBOX ONE, PS Vita, Android
Stardew Valley, It’s Similar Story of Seasons… Just Better.
Just like the title of this section said, Stardew Valley is basically a better Indie Story of Seasons. So instead of telling you what it is, I will tell you about how it’s different:
There’s a leveling system
The caves have monsters you can fight
Not only does the farm started in disrepair, so does the town
(You can fix them up)
Stardew Valley and Gender.
Something that distinguishes this game from it’s younger cousin is the fact that your character can also be trans… kinda… just let me explain. The character creator does not have gender-exclusive customization options, so what does that mean? That means you can have a nonbinary character, which is great right? Unfortunately, this game has binary gender options, but, mods are here to save the day. There is a mod for the PC version of this game where you can replace all mention of He/She, which refers to the player character, with They/Them. Thus creating a world for your true queer fantasies.
Switch, PS4, PC, Linux, Mac, PS Vita.
A Legendary Tale.
Undertale is a legendary Indie-RPG about a little girl who has fallen into a place deep beneath the earth called the underground. While in the underground, she meets and fights many monsters on the journey back to the surface. The journey is full of puzzles and the combat consists of bullet-hell style gameplay. Where the game gets interesting is when you realize that your actions have permanent effects on all subsequent playthroughs and saves. I would explain but that would involve spoiling the experience of the game, the only thing you need to know is that there is a non-lethal option, one that you should try to take on your first time around.
While this game may not be a dating simulator, it’s on this list for a different reason. More specifically because of its characters. The characters in this game have a healthy cast of Queer monster folk, while there are only a few overtly LGBT characters, there are far more that are heavily implied to be.
5) Night in the Woods
Switch, PS4, XBOX ONE, PC, Linux, Mac
A Little Known Masterpiece.
Night in the Woods is a game similar to another game called Life is Strange. Both of these games are story-driven adventures, that are more like a slice of life. At Night in the Woods, you are a young adult who has dropped out of college and is returning to the town where you grew up and attended high school. You live with your parents while hanging out with friends from high school. But your character expects things would have stayed the same, but they haven’t. Everyone has moved on and grown-up. In the game, you choose one of three friends to spend the most time with. And you get to learn more about them and their troubles. If you’ve ever played Life is Strange, you know that it is quite heart wrenching.
The Important Parts.
While this game only has a few LGBT characters. One of them hits it where it really counts. Remember those three friends I talked about? One of them is gay. Now if you don’t know this game you're probably saying, so what? But the thing you don’t understand is that your player character… isn’t the main character, your chosen friend is. The entire game is about the person you choose, so you're fully engrossed in the happenings in that person's life.
Stay tuned for Isaac's next article on recommended Teen video games with LGBTQ+ affirming characters!
ABOUT THE WRITER: ISAAC KNIGHT
Hey there, I’m Isaac. I’m an aspiring genderqueer journalist who is currently volunteering for the North Idaho Pride Alliance. I used to write consistently until I got scared off from it when I tried to work for a piece-work website. Now that I’ve gotten back into writing, it would be nice to eventually write for nonprofits across the world.