Pride is an event that is celebrated around the world and has become a symbol of love and acceptance. While this is how it’s viewed now, many don’t realize that Pride was sparked as a form of resistance. In 1969, a community of LGTBQ peopled rioted against the New York Police Department following an unjust raid of Stonewall in Greenwich Village.
The community has come a long way since then, leading to more influence and fairer representation in the media. Although games with LGBTQ+ characters have become common, it’s still a struggle to properly depict them. However, there are multiple representations that are effective and have been well-received by members and allies alike.
Parvati From The Outer Worlds (Asexual Homoromantic)
Obsidian Entertainment has gained a reputation for releasing huge epic RPGs, including Pillars of Eternity and Fallout: New Vegas. In 2019, they released a sprawling sci-fi adventure called The Outer Worlds. One of the first companions you’ll recruit is Parvati Holcomb, a kind-hearted and talented mechanic who’s always felt like an outsider due to her curiosities. Her personal quest involves wanting to meet an engineer she looks up to, Junlei Tennyson.
Parvati quickly develops feelings for her that are reciprocated. During a serious conversation, Parvati reveals that she’s never had a physical interest in people but that she still wants to pursue a romantic relationship with Junlei. She’s awkward, honest, and self-aware, which makes her feel real and pure.
Terra From Final Fantasy VI (Asexual Aromantic)
In 1994, Final Fantasy VI was released for the Super Nintendo and is still considered one of the best of the whole series. A common theme in the series is having a main character who tends to fall in love with a companion. The sixth game is different by having an ensemble cast that doesn’t really have a true leading role. Terra is the first character you’ll control who plays a very important part in the plot and the world.
She’s grown up and repeatedly used by the Empire for her magic affinity until she meets the Returners and decides to use her powers to help the world. Throughout the journey, she never experiences any romantic or sexual interest in anyone. This leads her to believe that she is incapable of love, but after saving some children, she realizes that her love is both maternal and familial, but nevertheless valid and strong.
Gay Tony From Grand Theft Auto IV (Homosexual)
When it comes to the criminal underworld, the most powerful figures are frequently heterosexual white men. This was challenged in 2008 when Rockstar released Grand Theft Auto IV. Though protagonist Niko Bellic is your typical tough guy, he meets a variety of colorful characters. One of them is Anthony Prince, known locally as Gay Tony. He’s a prominent businessman and nightclub owner who many refer to as the king of Liberty City nightlife.
Tony has experienced a lot of legal and personal troubles but continues to persevere and never loses sight of himself. He’s also shown to be courageous and willing to fight when necessary. In fact, he was such a popular character that he got his own deuteragonist role in the spin-off DLC The Ballad of Gay Tony.
Ellie From The Last Of Us (Lesbian)
When it comes to zombie games, Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us series is towards the emotional side of things. It follows an aging survivor named Joel as he escorts the young Ellie, whose immunity to the zombie virus may be the key to saving humanity. The game focuses a lot on their relationship, and though Part II expands far more on Ellie, it’s the DLC Left Behind that first gave us insight into her sexuality.
It follows Ellie and her friend Riley as they explore part of the city together. As time goes on, their relationship develops from friendship to something more intimate. It happens gradually as the two of them realize their feelings, and the story ends on a very emotional note.
Joseph From Dream Daddy (Repressed Homosexual)
As time has gone on, dating sims have become more lighthearted and comical, making them appealing to a wider audience. Developed by the Game Grumps, Dream Daddy was released in 2017 as a ‘Dad Dating Simulator.’ You customize your own dad and soon get to mingle with all the other dads in the neighborhood. One of them is Joseph, depicted as a preppy and traditional family man.
Though he frequently spends time with the other dads and you can pursue him romantically, which he will reciprocate, he hides behind a facade. He’s the only dad who’s married to a woman, Mary, who is fully aware of his true sexuality. Unfortunately, there are many men who struggle to break out of the roles that society has forced on them, and Joseph represents them.
Tyler From Tell Me Why (Trans)
To this day, people still have trouble representing trans people in an accurate and sensitive way. In 2020, Dontnod Entertainment made strides toward this with its narrative game Tell Me Why. The story centers on a pair of twins, Tyler and Alyson Ronan, who are reunited after 10 years to investigate the death of their mother. During gameplay, Tyler is revealed to be a trans man who has finally achieved his true identity.
His backstory reveals that though he and Alyson were identical twins, he always felt more like her brother than a sister. While Alyson was accepting and even helped him feel more comfortable in his body, their mother Mary-Ann was less understanding. This conflict had a tremendous impact on Tyler, leading to a series of events that sent him away from Alyson. However, it was in this new environment that he finally found acceptance outside and within.
Kelly Chambers From Mass Effect (Pansexual)
Some would say BioWare has a monopoly on romance subplots and LGBTQ characters. In the original Mass Effect trilogy, the cis-gender protagonist Commander Shepard goes from being able to romance a few people to a whole crew. The romanceable characters who receive the most attention are Shepard’s companions, but there’s one NPC who also stood out.
Kelly Chambers is a crewmate who joins Shepard in Mass Effect 2. One of the first things you’ll learn about her is her open-minded attitude towards sexuality. Her comments about aliens lead people to think she’s a xenophile, when in fact she can be attracted to anyone. This sentiment is captured in her meaningful words, “Character matters, not race or gender.”
Zagreus From Hades (Bisexual Polyamorous)
Roguelikes and roguelites continue to dominate the gaming market, with Supergiant Games’ Hades still riding high since its 1.0 release in 2020. It follows Zagreus, the son of the Greek god Hades, who wants nothing more than to escape the Underworld. He’ll fight his way through different floors filled with demons, monsters, and other entities while receiving help from the other gods.
Every time he dies, Zagreus is sent back to the hub area, which is full of characters to interact with. He can romance several different characters, both male and female, and pursue multiple relationships. All of these interactions can be playful and flirtatious while also being significant and sentimental to Zag.
Who are some of your favorite LGBTQ video game characters? Let us know in the comments below.