Pride month has a political history — it originated from the the pivotal 1969 Stonewall riots, and queer people, especially those of colour, fight daily for safety and equality. But June is a time for pure revelry too, something that includes video games.
You’re in the best position to fill community needs while making sure you tend to and monitor your own, which could look like scheduling a long call with your supportive loved ones, heading to New York City’s Pride March this Sunday, or playing a few very gay games on Steam. Oh, would you look at that! This is a brief list of games on Steam with queer characters and themes, separated by useful categories like popularity and horny level. How convenient!
While you play these games, which may tug at your heartstrings, delight you visually, or show you as many penises as the breadth of the queer experience allows, don’t forget this month’s political history. Take care of yourself, then take care of the community in material ways, like through mutual aid funds or, perhaps more subtly, by putting your ego aside and truly, peaceably hearing people out. Thanks for hearing me out. You can start up your PC now, and have a happy Pride.
The new classic: Stardew Valley
Gay people love Stardew Valley. Or maybe they would love better access to healthcare and more lesbian bars in NYC, I forget which.
But the simulation role-playing game provides solid queer entertainment. In it, your primary task is to stand by and cultivate your grandfather’s overgrown farmland with crops and animals, though it also lets you to take care of yourself and your land in other ways, like by cooking oily radish salads, catching fish in a lazy blue stream, or by navigating Stardew Valley’s social politics. Stardew Valley lets you meet non-playable girls and boys with different jobs (teacher, wizard, etc.), and you can date any of 12 cute pixelated singles. Eventually, you can choose one of these cute singles to be your lawfully wedded farm partner, regardless of gender. Bisexuals with at least one plant in our apartments, rejoice.
The hidden gem: One Night, Hot Springs
One Night, Hot Springs is a visual novel with understated cartoon drawings that are soothing to the eye. The story — fairly short, clocking in at about half-an-hour with seven possible endings — follows Haru, a transgender Japanese woman, as she attends her best friend’s birthday party at the hot springs.
The developer notes on Steam that the “game is for all ages, but it discusses issues that a transgender women in Japan might face, which is a topic that can be sensitive and personal.” But most of the Steam reviews confirm this in the best way, noting its emotional depth, relatability even if you aren’t trans or living in Japan, and its stylish art. Short and sweet, this one is.
The mildly horny: Spitkiss
Imagine a fluorescent pink world where there is no gender and everyone’s in love. It’s a nice idea, and it makes for a just-as-nice mobile game.
Spitkiss is a bright and gooey platformer. As the tiny black-and-white creature Ymer, you need to launch globs of sticky spit across your organs, represented by winding rooms and beaches, until it splats on another black-and-white creature like a kiss. A Spitkiss, get it? The other creature will communicate its glee to you via emoji, like through pink hearts or teeth-baring smiley faces. Meanwhile, you just keep slingshotting your spit through your body and other people’s hearts, the way life could be.
The explicitly horny: Robin Morningwood
Spitkiss is a subtle romance, but Robin Morningwood is Robin freaking Morningwood. Currently in early access, the point-and-click dating sim is about men with big dicks having sex with other men with big dicks. There’s a backstory of you being a big brawny adventurer exploring the land of “Whellcum,” which happens to be populated only by gay men, but if you’re playing this game, it’s likely because you wanted to see cute 2D dicks going into cute 2D butts. There’s a role-playing game element that involves buying butt plugs to bulk up, and there is an actual underwear sniffing mechanic that helps you relive your most hot and heavy moments.
Since the game is in early access and will be for the next three-ish months, developer Grizzly Gamer notes on Steam that it’s currently hearing out users’ ideas on its Discord server. Personally, I think this game could definitely use some race and body diversity, but it’s a start for the NSFW genre on Steam, which is usually dominated by straight anime girls.
Something to look forward to: Queer Man Peering Into a Rock Pool.jpg
I’m hoping that this surreal walking simulator, due out next month, will help June’s pride fill out the rest of the year. In it, you play as a queer man (who kind of looks like a hot dog with a mustache) and stomp him around a kaleidoscopic island in search of stuff to put in your empty home. You delight over rattan and Moroccan wood furnishings while house music punctuates your yellow boots squelching in the sand. You try to remember your past as the island’s water recedes and memories wash over you.
This game looks awesome and bizarre. Beautiful, a little sad, but rare. Just like you.
That’s it for my little list. What are some of your favourite queer-centered games on Steam, and what games are you looking forward to? Whatever they are, I’m wishing you a happy June.