The existence of LGBTQ+ video game characters has far too often been only heavily implied or hinted at via flirty dialogue and vague suggestion. Queer video game content is also often only the meager result of a game allowing the player to create a male or female character and not limiting NPC romantic preferences. But the best queer video games offer rounded characters who romance, live, fight, and investigate while also being lesbian, trans, gay, or actively bisexual because they were written that way.
Although a lot of the LGBTQ+ games on this list focus on romanceable players, some of them paved the way for their franchises and games in general. Being able to marry Miria when playing as a female or Davin while playing as a male in Fallout 2 might seem like nothing nowadays, but in 1998 it was groundbreaking. In the same way, the first Mass Effect's introduction of the mono-gendered asari race seemed like a weak way to introduce bisexual characters, but the franchise has since grown to include male and female bisexual characters along with a full cast of LGBTQ+ character representation, including trans characters.
From the complicated romances of Dragon Age: Inquisition to the more playful and simple relationships and identities of Steven Universe: Save The Light and gay and lesbian-themed games like Dream Daddy and Gone Home, the world of LGBTQ+ games is constantly expanding. There are even non-binary characters, including playable characters, in games like Undertale or 2064: Read Only Memories, filling out the spectrum of identities and people in the gaming world to match the world of players.
Which queer games deliver the best LGBTQ+ content?
The range of NPCs that are romanceable is vast and offers bisexual, gay, and lesbian options. The world itself is rich in LGBTQ+ characters, including a relationship between female human Empress Celene of Orlais and female elf Briala that the player's character can help mend. The male mage Dorian is romanceable for male playable characters and fully fleshed as a being, who will enter into a relationship with the male qunari Iron Bull if neither are romanced by the player. The game also includes Cremisius "Krem" Aclassi, a trans man who is BioWare's second trans character in a non-romantic role.
Genres (Video game): Action role-playing
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Playable main character Mae is a pansexual who returns to her hometown after dropping out of college. Mae's friends include a gay couple and trans woman, while the themes of the game examine acceptance and repression of identity.
Developer: Alec Holowka, Infinite Fall, Secret Lab
Genres (Video game): Adventure
In this romantic visual novel and dating simulation, the player's character is a single dad who moves into a small town full of very romanceable other single dads. Charming art and an abundance of dad jokes round out the playing experience.
Developer: Game Grumps
Genres (Video game): Visual novel
Publisher: Game Grumps
Featuring the first instance of in-game same sex marriage, the player's character can romance and marry either of the twins Miria or Davin, regardless of the player character's gender. This isometric game from the late '90s was one of the first chances players had to experience LGBTQ+ content in a video game.
Developer: Black Isle Studios
Genres (Video game): Isometric projection, Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, Role-playing video game
Publisher: Interplay Entertainment