Category Archives: Games by Decade

Queer Game Narrative in Succulent

Year: 2015

Creator: Robert Yang

Country: US

Succulent, a short, free first-person game where players watch a man eat a popsicle, was created by Robert Yang, an indie game developer, academic, and writer. What is initially an allusion to the “homo pop” genre is transformed into critical reflection. Gameplay is only 2-4 minutes long, it can be downloaded for free from here.

LGBTQ references in this game:

Queer Game Narrative in Succulent

Citations:

  1. Matulef, J. (January 14, 2015). Retrieved from http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2015-01-14-succulent-popsicle-parody-game
  2. O’Connor, A. (January 15, 2015). “Watch A Dude Stick Stuff In His Mouth”: Succulent. Retrieved from http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2015/01/15/succulent-ice-lolly-sucking-game
  3. Robert Yang is an indie game developer, academic, and writer, based in New York City. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://debacle.us 
  4. Succulent. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://radiatoryang.itch.io/succulent
  5. Succulent (1 minute teaser / demo, free game). (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vx_HmNDH7lw
  6. Want To Suck? Play The “Succulent” Game. (January 14, 2015). Retrieved from https://n4g.com/news/1653822/want-to-suck-play-the-succulent-game
  7. With a Popsicle and ‘Immersive Cheek Physics,’ Succulent Takes on Sex in Games. (January 18, 2015). Retrieved from http://motherboard.vice.com/read/with-a-popsicle-and-immersive-cheek-physics-succulent-takes-on-sex-in-games
  8. Yang, R. (January 13, 2015). “Succulent” as hypnotyzing homo hop homage. Retrieved from http://www.blog.radiator.debacle.us/2015/01/succulent-as-hypnotizing-homo-hop-homage.html

Queer Game Narrative in Stick Shift

Year: 2015

Creator: Robert Yang

Country: US

Platform: PC/Mac

Creator Robert Yang describes Stick Shift as “an autoerotic night-driving game about pleasuring your gay car.” It can be downloaded for free here.

In slightly more than half of Stick Shift playthroughs, acceleration, fantasy fufillment, orgasm, contented slumber await players as their car’s engine cools off, leaking fluid on to the asphalt. However, during the remaining portion, 48%, players will be interrupted by two heavily-armed police officers. This probability is informed by a 2013 survey revealing that “of the LGBT violence survivors who interacted with police, 48% reported that they had experienced police misconduct.”

LGBTQ references in this game:

Queer Game Narrative in Stick Shift

Citations:

  1. Dale, L.K. (April 3, 2015). Stick Shift let me jerk off a car. Retrieved from http://www.destructoid.com/stick-shift-let-me-jerk-off-a-car-289979.phtml
  2. Grayson, N. (April 4, 2015). A Game Where You Have Sex With Your Car. Retrieved from http://kotaku.com/a-game-where-you-have-sex-with-your-car-1696107530
  3. Matulef, J. (April 7, 2015). Introducing Stick Shift: a game about having sex with your car. Retrieved from http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2015-04-07-stick-shift-is-the-best-game-about-having-sex-with-a-car-youll-play-all-year
  4. Priestman, C. (April 6, 2015). Pleasure Your Gay Car Boyfriend To A Wild Orgasm In Stick Shift. Retrieved from https://killscreen.com/articles/stick-shift/
  5. Stick Shift. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://radiatoryang.itch.io/stick-shift
  6. Stick Shift (2 minute gameplay teaser, free game). (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8zSuOLuU_8
  7. Yang, R. (April 3, 2015). “Stick Shift” as activist autoerotica. Retrieved from http://www.blog.radiator.debacle.us/2015/04/stick-shift-as-activist-autoerotica.html

Queer Game Narrative in Hurt Me Plenty

Year: 2014

Creator: Robert Yang

Country: US

Genre: Spanking game, BDSM primer

Platform: PC/Mac

Gameplay within Hurt Me Plenty is simple. Spank your submissive male lover as he cries out for more using either mouse-controls or Leap Motion, for additional interactivity. Fetish aesthetics are not uncommon in gaming, but it is atypical to explore these fetishes in any meaningful way. Hurt Me Plenty’s simulation addresses negotiations of control, consent, and after care. The game commences after the player and his lover agree upon relationship conditions. Unless mutual consent is reached, the player is blocked from playing the game for two weeks.

LGBTQ References in this game

Queer Game Narrative in Hurt Me Plenty

Citations:

  1. Hurt Me Plenty. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://radiatoryang.itch.io/hurt-me-plenty
  2. Joho, J. (December 5, 2014). We Talk to the Creator of the Dude-Butt Sensation Hurt Me Plenty. Retrieved from https://killscreen.com/articles/hurt-me-plenty-proves-videogames-are-thirsty-dude-butts-and-bdsm/
  3. Mattos, S. (January 2, 2015). GGOTY 2014: Gayest Games of the Year. Retrieved from https://web.archive.org/web/20160402205148/http://gaygamer.net/2015/01/ggoty-2014-gayest-games-of-the-year
  4. Mattos, S. (February 23, 2015). Kink and Controllers: Robert Yang’s Hurt Me Plenty. Retrieved from https://web.archive.org/web/20160302202134/http://gaygamer.net/2015/02/kink-and-controllers-robert-yangs-hurt-me-plenty/

 

Queer Game Narrative in Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator

Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator is a game that allows the player to customize their own dad character (with trans binder options) and date seven other dads. Because of the game’s premise, many queer relationships are featured in addition to specifically queer characters outside of the dateable dads. The game makes the player select their deceased spouse’s gender, allowing players to customize the sexuality of their player character. The game has multiple endings reliant on completing three dates successfully with a dateable dad of the player’s choice.

A list of characters and their implied or explicit sexualities and gender identities are as follows:

Brian: The player is never informed on if Brian was previously married or who Daisy’s second biological parent is. We also see no canon queer content for Brian outside of interactions with the player character.

Craig: He is formally married to Ashley but outside of interactions with the player, there is no canon queer content for Craig.

Dadsona: The player character specifically receives the option to use a binder, letting the player play as a trans man if they wish. The game also gives the option of choosing the player character’s deceased spouse’s gender, allowing for expression of a gay or bisexual identity.

Damien: The player is never informed on if Damien was previously married or who Lucien’s second biological parent is. Outside of player interactions, there is no canon queer (in regards to sexuality) content for Damien, but during the first date with Damien (found here at around 9:00), Damien mentions having binders in his closet. In a tweet from one of the co-creators, Leighton Gray, Damien is also confirmed to be trans.

Hugo: In Hugo’s DadBook profile, he says that he is turned on by muscles and we also find out that he has an ex-partner who he refers to as “the cool weekend dad” when talking about his son, Earnest and his past. This suggests that he is at least explicitly gay, possibly implicitly bisexual depending on his past before his most recent ex-partner.

Joseph: Through playing the story, we find out that Joseph has cheated on Mary before with Robert. We’re also shown that Joseph’s relationship is on the rocks and many have speculated whether Joseph is gay, bi, or queer in some way, such as in this reddit thread.

Mat: The player is informed that Mat was formerly married to a woman named Rosa before she died, but other than from player interactions, there’s no canon queer content for Mat.

Pablo: This character shows up multiple times as you’re dating Mat and seems to go by he/him pronouns but dresses in a gender non-conforming way.

Robert: We are told that he was formerly married to a woman named Marilyn but that she is deceased. In the game he offers to hook up with the player character before the character is able to date anyone and he is also known to have hooked up with Joseph. This suggests that he is explicitly bisexual.

Val: Through Robert’s story, you can meet Val, his estranged daughter, who mentions her girlfriend while talking to Amanda (found here at around 1:00:57), suggesting that she is explicitly lesbian.

A big controversy that relates to the difficulty in labeling these characters’ sexualities is that the game never explicitly uses labels or terminology. In an interview by Mic with both of the game’s co-creators, these things were said:

“The driving force of writing this game was that we didn’t want any of the paths to explicitly be about the dads’ sexualities.”

“A lot of people have said that this game fails to engage with queer culture in a meaningful way, and I absolutely understand that criticism,” Gray said over the phone. “But also, we didn’t want any of the [character arcs] to explicitly be about the dads’ sexualities. I think we already have a lot of media that spends a lot of time talking about those kinds of feelings and navigating coming out and grappling with your sexuality. I think those narratives are important, for sure, but I just want to fast-forward to the part where we can have stories about queer characters that are not explicitly about them being queer.”

This leaves many of the characters’ sexualities up for speculation, but for the purposes of the Archive, they are categorized on here as described in the list above.

LGBTQ References in this game:

Queer Game Narrative in Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator

Citations:

  1. Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dream_Daddy:_A_Dad_Dating_Simulator
  2. Frank, A. (2017, July 17). Dream Daddy Simulator’s last-minute delay causes a stir. Retrieved from https://www.polygon.com/2017/7/17/15973206/dream-daddy-simulator-release-date-pc
  3. Graylish. (2017, July 21). yes! [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/graylish/status/888316619168006144
  4. Ladypocky. (2017, July 29). R/DreamDaddy – “Joseph will always stay Married to Mary.” Joseph’s romance path is apparently a moral lesson? Retrieved from https://www.reddit.com/r/DreamDaddy/comments/6q916a/joseph_will_always_stay_married_to_mary_josephs/
  5. Mulkerin, T. (2017, July 28). ‘Dream Daddy,’ the gayest game of the year, never uses the word “gay.” Let’s talk about that. Retrieved from https://mic.com/articles/182198/dream-daddy-the-gayest-game-of-the-year-never-uses-the-word-gay-lets-talk-about-that#.wsvXRXvYQ
  6. Wolftooth. (2017, July 22). Dream Daddy A Dad Dating Simulator All Robert Small dates rank S & Good Ending. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awUVKEgeA1I
  7. Wolftooth. (2017, July 23). Dream Daddy A Dad Dating Simulator All Damien Bloodmarch dates rank S & Good Ending. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WeI5tKfZ2A0

Queer Game Narrative in The Missing: J.J. Macfield and the Island of Memories

Screen Capture taken from the game

In The Missing: J.J. Macfield and the Island of Memories, a story about two college students in a budding queer romance is told, focusing on one of the two characters and her trans storyline. The game’s story takes place inside of a dream (players find this out at the end of the game) had by the protagonist, Jamie Jackson Macfield, an amab trans woman who goes by J.J. for short. J.J. is dreaming after a suicide attempt that is set in motion after her mother finds women’s clothing in her closet at home and takes her to a counseling session to “fix” her.

The dream had by J.J. slowly reveals this story to the player in the form of texts with various characters and phone calls with the Emily, J.J.’s best friend and lover, inside J.J.’s dream. Through the texts, the player also talks to characters such as a nonconformist musician named Abby who talks about high school bullies calling her friend, Sherrie, a lesbian. It isn’t until the very end of the game however that we see J.J. wake up from her dream in the school, being attended to by paramedics. We see in this scene that J.J. is amab and that she has “found what she was looking for”.

An article by Julie Muncy from The Verge says this about the game and its queer narrative:

In reality, The Missing is a stunning queer narrative about the brutality of trying to become who you are, and an argument for why painful, violent stories about queer existence matter. I expected an off-beat romp; I found a broken mirror, instead.

Also, in an interview by Rely on Horror with SWERY, the following exchange occurred about SWERY’s comments on who the game is specifically for:

Rely on Horror: On your Twitter you mentioned that The MISSING is a story for everyone yet the narrative of THE MISSING explores queer and transgender identities as the core experience of the story.

SWERY: The MISSING is J.J.’s personal story, but at the same time, I wanted this game to be something that everyone could relate to on their own. This title is not aimed *at* any specific group of people–it is *for* everyone. I believe that all people are in some ways a minority, and at the same time, in other ways, a majority.

This is because perspectives and positions vary from person to person, and everyone has something they are dealing with.

As previously mentioned, “this game was made with the belief that nobody is wrong for what they are.” This game is rooted in this central message.

LGBTQ References in this game:

Queer Game Narrative in The Missing: J.J. Macfield and the Island of Memories

Citations:

  1. Alexandra, H. (2018, October 16). The Missing Gets Queer Love Stories Right. Retrieved from https://kotaku.com/the-missing-gets-queer-love-stories-right-1829784922
  2. Hashimoto, K. (2018, November 05). Interview: SWERY on The MISSING of J.J. Macfield and the Island of Memories. Retrieved from https://www.relyonhorror.com/in-depth/interviews/interview-swery-on-the-missing-of-j-j-macfield-and-the-island-of-memories/
  3. Muncy, J. (2018, November 08). This queer horror game forces you to literally tear yourself apart. Retrieved from https://www.theverge.com/2018/11/8/18073332/swery-the-missing-jj-island-memories-queer-horror-game
  4. Swery65. (2018, October 16). Thank you for understanding The MISSING deeply. This is why I made This game. However, I didn’t make “The MISSING” for ONLY certain people. This story is kind of journey for everyone. Even for me. Everyone is majority, also Everyone is minority. We can accept for ourselves. [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/Swery65/status/1052375485739458560
  5. The Missing: J.J. Macfield and the Island of Memories. (2019, March 13). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Missing:_J.J._Macfield_and_the_Island_of_Memories
  6. White Owls Inc. (2018). The Missing: J.J. Macfield and the Island of Memories [Video Game]. Japan: Arc System Works.

Noelle in Deltarune

Noelle Holiday is an NPC character and one of Kris’ classmates and neighbors in Deltarune. Multiple times throughout the game, Noelle will mention another character, Susie, who fans have speculated she has a crush on (all times Noelle talks about Susie found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJB7MHAKZx4).

LGBTQ References in this game series:

Undertale (2015): Alphys and UndyneFriskMettatonNapstablookRoyal Guard

Deltarune (2018): Alphys’ Computer; Bloxer; Kris; Noelle

Citations:

  1. Noelle. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://deltarune.fandom.com/wiki/Noelle
  2. OooooooOOOO. (2018, November 17). Everytime Noelle mentions Susie [DELTARUNE SPOILERS]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJB7MHAKZx4

Kris in Deltarune

Kris is the player character in Deltarune. The game’s narration and characters all address them with “they/them” pronouns, pointing to an ambiguous gender identity.

LGBTQ References in this game series:

Undertale (2015): Alphys and UndyneFriskMettatonNapstablookRoyal Guard

Deltarune (2018): Alphys’ Computer; Bloxer; Kris; Noelle

Citations:

  1. Kris. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://deltarune.fandom.com/wiki/Kris