Explicitly sexual content games are gaining momentum with the LGBTQIA+ thematic. Mark Hill, the author of an article on the subject in the American magazine Wired, noticed this.
“Sex has been a part of the game since the beginning – owners of Atari 2600 could buy Custer’s Revenge, a heavily criticized rape fantasy that sold 80,000 copies – but for most of the history of the area, any sexuality was aimed at heterosexual white men with all the subtlety of a horny sledgehammer. It was seen as a sign of maturity for the God of War franchise when its 2018 edition totally abandoned the subject instead of returning to the “Here are some boobs, you ruble” mini-games from previous entries. Indie games, and LGBTQ+ developers in particular, are filling this gap”, writes Hill.
“Dream Daddy”, continues Hill, “launched in 2017 and starring a single dad looking to date other single dads, featured in a Markiplier video with 6.8 million views, a sign that LGBTQ+ friendly romance games were starting to become popular.Meanwhile, narrow lists of the “hottest” sex scenes in games unintentionally reveal the sad state of big-budget titles, repeating old games like Mass Effect and The Witcher. Not every game needs sex, but for a subject that is fundamental to the human experience, conventional games lag behind other media in portraying it in a serious and reliable way”.
According to Hill, Hardcoded, which was released in 2018 but is still receiving regular updates, is an open-world visual novel starring a cast of trans women. “It’s not exactly subtle – a mysterious epidemic has made everyone incredibly excited, and some of its many sex scenes have turned into over-the-top science fiction territory. But it works because it is sincere, both in the development of it’s characters and, as the trans writers pointed out, in it’s eroticism”.
Dream Daddy, while not from a large studio, was funded by the YouTube giants, Game Grumps. He was praised for his engaging tone and for paying attention to the mainstream of a queer narrative, but he was also criticized for not getting involved in gay culture or using queer language. This is not to say that it was not pleasant, but critics realized that a game about the gay dating scene was not made by gays. Good representation needs authenticity, and Conway noted that independent games are freed from the demands of the market and design committees that can compromise accuracy.
“The representation of queer characters in conventional video games is not great, although it is improving”, said Conway.“So queer people find that they want ways to tell their own stories and represent their identities, and they often end up creating games for that.