13 Games with Positive LGBTQ+ Representation You Should Be Playing

There are a growing number of video games out there which proudly have LGBTQ+ protagonists and characters, and the large majority of them come from independent developers. There’s a shocking lack of representation in games coming from AAA studios, and when I was putting this list together, I was again disappointed to see so few AAA games with diverse casts, and more so when it came to playable characters. Only one AAA game made this list, and whilst I hope that one day very soon the AAA industry will begin working with the LGBTQ+ community to create well-represented characters and storylines on the regular, here are a whole bunch of excellent indie games that you should support which feature prominent characters under the LGBTQ+ umbrella.

I link to Steam for each PC game, but please note some are also available on Itch.io and other platforms, or exclusive to one platform in particular. This list is in no particular order.

Highway Blossoms

Highway Blossoms had a profound effect on me when I first played it back in the Summer of 2017, and I’ve been a hardcore Studio Élan fan since. I loved how Amber’s and Marina’s relationship was portrayed, but mostly, I related to Amber. I loved seeing how Marina would pry her from her shell, and how Amber would become a better person for having met Marina. This game is an all-time favourite of mine, and I’ll never not recommend it. Plus it’s always on sale! For so little money!

Sayonara Wild Hearts

I remember how this indie rhythm pop-album of a game took the world by storm at release, with people posting online about their thoughts on the game’s story, and how incredible the OST and visuals are. Sayonara Wild Hearts follows a young woman who has had her heart broken, and this is her story of coming to peace with her past relationships, healing, and being able to move forward. And damn, is it good! Yes, the soundtrack is on Spotify.

The Missing: J.J. MacField and the Island of Memories

The Missing had me in tears by the end of it. I won’t go too into it, but The Missing features a character who is going through a very difficult period, as they are attempting to be who they truly are, and it’s often heart-breaking to play through. It might look like a bizarre horror-puzzler (the gameplay ties wonderfully in to the story), but this is a game brimming with heart, and was easily one of my favourite games of 2018. This brief synopsis does it no justice, but I’d rather you go in blind if you don’t know much about it yet!

Trigger warning: this game has themes of suicide and self-harm.

Fatal Twelve

Honestly, I bought Fatal Twelve and didn’t realise before playing that the game’s two main leads would be able to pursue a romantic relationship, and that it would be pivotal to how the plot pans out. The game itself isn’t a romantic one, with twelve people who died at the same time fighting for a chance to live again, but the love between our two leads is able to push them through to the game’s true ending.

Trigger warning: this game has themes of suicide and self-harm.

Heart of the Woods

Studio Élan’s Heart of the Woods, like Highway Blossoms, is getting voice-acting soon, but that shouldn’t stop you from buying it in preparation for the patch, if that’s your preference. Heart of the Woods features two openly gay couples, and one transgender character, and the studio has made every effort to create a team who can pull from personal experience. It’s also coming to Switch in the near future, and you’re missing out if you don’t give this one a go.

The Last of Us Part II

The Last of Us Part II did many amazing things, but that this is the only AAA game in 2020 to have an openly gay protagonist, and a transgender character of focus, so far, is appalling. Ellie and Dina are a fantastic couple, and Lev is a brilliant character. Moments, even outside of the brutal violence, can be hard to watch, but Naughty Dog has taken a step in AAA gaming that was needed, and hopefully other developers follow suit with just as much care and attention. Like Naughty Dog, please work with your LGBTQ+ colleagues, focus groups, etc. They are able to make all the difference in the final product.

Trigger warning: this game has instances where a character is deadnamed.

Dream Daddy

Another game that took the internet by storm from its very announcement. Whilst many of the games in this list focus on romance between women, Dream Daddy allows you to date other men, as well as create your own avatar to use in-game. Its story has more twists and turns than I’d expected, but it makes for a game that’s hard to put down. Don’t brush this off as a “joke” game, as I’ve seen mentioned many times before, as it only serves to be a disservice to the game and the team behind it.

Kindred Spirits on the Roof

One of the most popular yuri visual novels around, Kindred Spirits on the Roof follows young girl Toomi Yuna who comes across a pair of ghosts during lunch one day. How odd! The two girls both died long before their time, but they met, and fell in love, but are unable to move on. They ask Yuna to help other girls come to terms with their own feelings, in the hopes that they will be able to learn something from them. This game is known for juggling a large cast of characters with care, and it has since been adapted into manga, and audio dramas.

p.s. buy the Full Chorus DLC for voice-acting, new CGs, subtitled audio dramas, and more!

Gone Home

Full disclosure, but I didn’t actually like Gone Home when I first played it around seven years ago. Since then, I’ve matured and made an effort to understand the story it was trying to tell, and now I’m a big fan of it. I wish I realised how important it was back in 2013. Gone Home is a brief game set in 1995, and you play as Katie, who is returning home for the first time in a while. Your home is abandoned, and you explore the house to piece everything together. I won’t say anymore, but do play it.

Murder By Numbers

Murder by Numbers released only a few months ago, but its art style, diverse cast, and the composer of Ace Attorney’s involvement, had me sold from the very first time it was revealed at a Nintendo Direct. Murder by Numbers follows Honor as she gets entangled in a series of crimes, and comes to realise that her true passion might not be in acting after all. The game has several LGBTQ+ characters throughout its story, with one of the game’s cases taking place primarily at a drag club.

one night, hot springs

Haru is a young transgender woman in Japan, and one night, hot springs focuses on the issues that a transgender person may face in Japan, especially as they are forced to still use their legal name and gender when declaring who they are. It’s educational, and I learned a fair bit from this game. It’s a brief game, but it’s also free to play on Steam, so it costs you literally nothing to play through it.

a new life.

Created by Angela He, a new life. follows August and May through different stages of their relationship. The bio says, “But when your loved one hurts you, what do you do? Is it better to love and be hurt, than never love at all?”, and yeah, this game is very likely to make you cry.

It’s bittersweet, but I love that Angela’s brief game shows us different sides of these two women, and it encourages repeat playthroughs. I liked the questions and answer options, as they felt very natural and realistic. It’s a touching journey, and for how cheap it is on Steam, you really should pick this up. Plus, its art is gorgeous, just like one of Angela’s other games below…

missed messages.

missed messages. is another Angela He game, but I played this one after a new life. Both games made my chest feel tight with anxiety, but I think that whilst a new life. sort of eased me into the events that transpire, missed messages. slapped me around the face with how close to home it could sometimes hit. Two of the core themes it deals with is depression and suicide, and whilst it does feature some disturbing imagery, the themes are something that many of us can relate to. When May opened up to the protagonist in one route, and at this point I had only played about 15–20 minutes playtime total, I choked up. It’s a brief but very real look at depression, and it doesn’t shy away from how bad it can be, or try to be a magical problem-solver. You don’t always know the issue, but if you suspect something is up, you can always reach out. That alone can be a huge help to those who are suffering.

As the protagonist, you’re able to go on a date with another girl, and she proudly reps a rainbow flag, which she comments to show that she’s proudly gay, and a trans flag, which she does not comment on.

This one’s free to play. Please play it.

Trigger warning: this game has themes of suicide and self-harm.

There are a bunch more games which I’ve been meaning to get to, but I’m always looking for more. Please leave a comment if you have any other recommendations, so people who read this may discover even more games with positive LGBTQ+ representation.

Writing a novel | Communications Assistant at Funimation UK | Hang around for #Indieview, Otome, and maybe a little more!

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