The gaming industry creates unique opportunities (sites, apps and more) for players to tap into their greatest fantasies. From social simulation to roleplaying, and chat games, the LGBTQ+ community loves to connect with characters that represent their lifestyle. While the video game industry is one of the largest entertainment platforms, the LGBT community remains an untapped resource for innovative storytelling, chatting, and dating experience.
Similar to films and literature, people who identify as LGBTQ+ can experience seeing the world through the eyes of a virtual character in a thrilling fictional world. As the video and chat game industry expands its horizons to reflect real LGBT people and the world we live in, there is still room for improvement for more diversity.
When games strike the right balance with meaningful subtext, developers become a stronger influence to reverse damaging stereotypes about gay men and other LGBT tribes. However, the core demographic of white and straight males remains a prevalent issue in terms of including more content for minorities.
Mainstream vs Independent Gaming
Though LGBTQ+ characters in general and gay ones in particular garner both praise and backlash no matter how they're included in a game, mainstream studios commonly assume that queer or transgender avatars outside of the social norm will ultimately alienate customers. A solution to diversifying their product is implementing gay, lesbian, or transgender characters quietly without drawing attention to their sexuality. This move draws criticism as an excuse for developers to not generate meaningful subtext and accepting an inherent belief that the mere inclusion of LGBT characters results in adequate representation. More often than not, these avatars and players aren't treated with the same well-rounded attributes that heterosexual characters and players possess.
On a wider scale, independent game-makers keep their fingers on the pulse of what their communities want. App developers acquire financial support through crowd-funding efforts. Their overall success relies on word-of-mouth reviews and direct support from the LGBTQ+ community. Without financial or operational safeguards in place, grassroots owners often delete their apps due to harassment or are unable to update software.
The History of LGBTQ+ Online Gaming
As society's treatment of the LGBT community evolves, offline and online video, flash, and chat games aptly reflect the evolving acceptance of gender norms and sexual identity. With more diverse games slowly on the rise, namely with sim and role-playing, there's an underlying skepticism if the industry isn't running as progressively as it could. Gay characters first emerged several decades ago. That is how the situation evolved later on:
- In 1986, Moonmist allegedly features the first homosexual character, Vivienne Pentreath. She isn't explicitly described as a lesbian, but she has a deep unrequited romance with a fellow female character.
- The LGBTQ Video Game Archive records the 1989 game Caper in the Castro as the first known queer video game, where a lesbian detective attempts to solve the disappearance of her drag queen friend.
- Except for notable games such as the Orion Conspiracy which centered on a familial relationship between a father and his gay son, LGBT characters mainly existed in the background, and roleplaying books described homosexuality as a sexual disorder.
- In the early 2000s, video games like the Fallout series and Bioware studios developed queer characters and allowed players to engage in relationships regardless of gender. However, other games like Fear Effect and Fallout 2 used LGBTQ+ characters for salacious advertisement and comedic effect.
- Around 2010, games like Gone Home headlined queer characters with nuance. Independent developers attempted to create more LGBT-centered games often with minimal success.
- In 2014, the revelation of Ellie as a lesbian in Left Behind made a breakthrough for LGBTQ+ representation in major franchises. The controversial move allowed developers an opportunity to continue striving for diversity.
Best Gay Sim Games
Sim games bring LGBT (especially, gay) players into the fold of exciting genres like action, adventure, and romance. With characters designed with their interests in mind, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender players can participate in appealing escapism like everyone else.
The sleepy town of Maple Bay comes alive after you and your daughter move into the neighborhood. Every guy is a "Dateable dad" and you get first dibs to date them. The sim game isn't just playing up the "daddy-boy" trope for gay laughs; it's hailed for its good-natured storyline that celebrates the love between dads and daddy types. DreamDaddy app is available for android devices and in the App Store.
The Sims 4
The Sims franchise made a name for itself by copying and pasting the real world into a virtualreality and giving users accessibility to design their lives with an avatar. Throughout its multiple reiterations, the game grows increasingly inclusive. The Sims 4 now offers the ability to chat and create same-sex relationships (gay, lesbian and more), use gender-neutral bathrooms, and select your sexual identity among other features. The game is not available as an app and is available on PC, Xbox One, and Playstation 4.
Life on a rural farm doesn't have to be boring and dull for gay men. It certainly isn't in Cockville, where you grow crops, fulfill requests from adult customers, and engage in sexual encounters. This game is full of explicit character designs and is not safe to play at work. Cockville is available online and a downloadable file for android devices. It is not currently available as an app.
In the first roleplaying game designed specifically for the gay community, immerse yourself as one of 16 characters who love to dress up, explore romantic connections, chat and take on the best action-packed plots in a thriving metropolis. Aside from its main theme as RPG, it also includes chat rooms and encourages players to meet. The game is free in the App Store with in-app purchases available.
Top Gay Dating Game Ideas
Gaming is a great avenue for gay players to meet like-minded people in the community, chat with them or even date.. With the field of specific LGBTQ+ games as limited as it is, users will have to explore generalized games and events for dating a gay partner.
- Gamer meetings and events like GaymerX. Attending a local or national convention can help you find gay men, women, or non-binary individuals looking to celebrate their love of gaming and make a connection with other players. Various dating options can emerge. Keep chatting!
- Play multiplayer games like Minecraft, Borderlands, and Overwatch. The ease of chatting with other people playing makes it easy to start conversations, dating and develop relationships.
- Gaming communities like forums, chats, and social media. Share your love of video games on Facebook group pages and streaming sites like Twitch, and you're sure to expand your presence and have your voice heard to meet new people.
- Gamer dating sites. Similar to matchmaking sites that narrow down body types or attraction labels, check out online dating sites like GamerDating that hook up gamers directly. Chat with your next gay boyfriend not in gym but while playing.
Other Popular Games
For gay players who want to step out of their comfort zone from social simulator or roleplaying, there are plenty of games in the genre of mystery, romance, and visual novels to enjoy.
- Dragon Age series. Take the lead as the Inquisitor and lead your squadron to save the world of Thedas from chaos. It is only available on Xbox One.
- Lovestruck (Choose Your Romance). Become the star of your own romance novel and show who you are. With over 70 characters and multiple scenarios to explore, the options of falling love and replaying different plots are limitless. It is available both on Google Play and the App Store.
- Night in the Woods. Step into the role of Margaret Borowski, a college drop-out cat who returns to her small town to explore a sinister mystery lurking in the woods. It's available on Windows, Mac OS, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Switch.
- All Men Are Pigs. An erotic dating visual novel by Kaimaki Games puts you in the center as Max, a young gay man who moves to the Caribbean island and must get through the day as handsome hunks throw themselves at you. The gay community directly funded this on Kickstarter and awaits a release for December 2020. A test game is available on their funding page.