LGBT characters in video games

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The following is a list of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) characters in video games.

1980s[edit]

In 1986, Infocom released Moonmist, a text adventure mystery with several possible randomly selected plotlines. In one of these plotlines, the criminal is a female artist who is jealous because her girlfriend has got married to a man. This is the first instance of a homosexual character in a video game.[1]

In 1988, C.M.Ralph published "Caper in the Castro", a gay and lesbian murder mystery problem solving game for Apple Mac computers written in the HyperCard language, distributed on underground gay bulletin boards. The game was later made into a heterosexual version called "Murder on Main Street" and published by Heizer Software. [2]

Super Mario Bros 2 - Birdo--article image.jpg

In 1988, Nintendo released Super Mario Bros. 2 for the NES. In the first-edition manual for the North American release of the game, Birdo is referred to as a male who believes that he is a female and would rather be called "Birdetta", making her the first transgender character for Nintendo.[3][4] In the game, Birdo's name was also mistakenly switched with another Super Mario Bros. 2 enemy, Ostro, both in the manual and in the end credits.[5] While the Japanese manual for Super Mario Bros. 2 referred to Birdo as female,[citation needed] later games featuring the character have made conflicting statements of Birdo as female, male or of indeterminate gender.

In 1989, Capcom released Final Fight for the arcades. One of the characters, Poison, was born male but, depending on the region, is either a crossdresser or transgender.[6][7][8] She has since been confirmed as a male-to-female trans woman.[9]

In 1989, Sega released Phantasy Star II, a console role-playing game for the Sega Genesis. In it, a character named Usvestia teaches piano, and will teach the MUSIK piano technique needed to progress in the game more cheaply to male characters because they "look cute".[10]

In 1989, Westwood Studios released Circuit's Edge for the DOS. The science fiction role playing game, based on a novel by George Alec Effinger, features several characters who are identified as homosexual or transgender.

In 1989, Cinemaware released It Came from the Desert for multiple platforms. In the game, the player encounters Jackie; a lesbian girl who crashed her car with her girlfriend.

The Final Fight series of game features a character named Poison who may be transgender.[11][12] Commentary about her may suggest she might have had sex reassignment surgery.Her appearance has been controversial and subject to censorship.[13]

1990s[edit]

Sierra Online's 1990 adventure game Rise of the Dragon features an establishment called the Pleasure Dome that caters to homosexual patrons, among other things. One of its patrons is a woman posing as a man posing as a woman.

In Ultima VI: The False Prophet (1990 IBM PC) and Ultima VII: The Black Gate the player has the option to pay a fee and be entertained, off screen, by a female or male companion. In Ultima VII Part Two: Serpent Isle, a bisexual mage will sexually propose the player's character regardless of the character's gender. The player is given the choice to accept or decline.

MicroProse's 1992 game titled Rex Nebular and the Cosmic Gender Bender for MS-DOS and the MAC OS requires the male hero to change his sex on a planet where women rule.

In 1992, Sierra On-line produced Laura Bow In The Dagger of Amon Ra which featured a woman from a small town who gets a job for a New York paper in the 1920s. Two of the women she meets are involved in a secret love affair.

In 1993, MicroProse released Return of the Phantom with a gay male character named Charles portrayed as an effeminate theater director. He is one of the good guys that helps the playable character, a French inspector, solve the mystery of the Phantom of the Opera once and for all.

In 1993, a FMV game Dracula Unleashed featured a character named Alfred Horner who co-owns a bookstore. He is explicitly shown to be homosexual and gives to player character lecherous glances. This was the first time a homosexual character in a computer game was shown as a live actor.[citation needed]

In 1993, Sierra Online's Police Quest: Open Season featured a gay bar as a symbol of organized homosexuality. In this game, the player is a police officer trying to track down the murderer of his police partner. His quest leads him to discover that his partner had a double life as a cross-dresser at a West Hollywood transgender bar. The game also featured a Neo-Nazi who calls the main character a "mother loving f*ggot" if touched.

In 1994, Nintendo released Earthbound for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. One of the characters featured is Tony who has subtle attractions to his best friend Jeff, according to Earthbound creator, Shigesato Itoi.[14]

In the 1994 game Streets of Rage 3 for the Sega Genesis, there is a homosexual boss called Ash. He was censored in some versions of the game.

Square's 1995 SNES RPG Chrono Trigger featured a major villain who was transgender. The character Flea, a henchman of Magus, was described as looking like a girl. Flea would exclaim "Hey, I'm a guy!" and later "Male or female, what difference does it make? Power is beautiful, and I've got the power." Flea would later appear with his sidekicks in the sequel Chrono Cross, appearing as a female with a pink wig and miniskirt. However, the battle screen in Chrono Cross displays the enemies' sex with a male or female symbol, and Flea is clearly marked as a man. It is notable that Flea's transgender theme appeared in the US translation of the SNES release, during Nintendo's censorship phase.

In 1995, Shannara, based on the books written by Terry Brooks, included a snotty and racist gay character, the Seneschal, who wore all purple. This character was similar to the snotty and racist elven character in Simon the Sorcerer 2 who not only had the purple attire, but a pansy flower in his hat.

In 1995, The Orion Conspiracy became the first computer game to use the word homosexual (although the 1994 Kirin Entertainment game Plumbers Don't Wear Ties does use the word 'gay'). The main character, Devlin McCormack, lives on a space station where he investigates the murder of his son and stops an alien invasion. His investigation leads him through the seedy, criminal underworld of the station, where he discovers that his son was homosexual by talking with his son's boyfriend.

In 1995, The Beast Within: A Gabriel Knight Mystery features the antagonist Baron Von Glower who pursues the protagonist Gabriel Knight sexually and eventually leads him to be turned into a werewolf.

The 1996 computer game Phantasmagoria 2: A Puzzle of Flesh featured a homosexual male character named Trevor, who was a close friend and co-worker of the player's character, Curtis Craig. Despite his effeminate and flamboyant portrayal, Trevor is shown as intelligent and is very significant through the game's plot. Curtis admits to his psychiatrist that he has feelings for Trevor and might be bisexual and later the two kiss, although Curtis is also shown as having relationships with a girlfriend and a S&M domme. Creators of the game talked about the mature sexual themes in the game during a 1997 interview.[15] Curtis is the first playable non-heterosexual character in a video game.[1]

In 1996 Vic Tokai developed the graphic adventure computer game Silverload, which features a gay barber.

In 1996, the adventure game Harvester had a flamboyant gay firefighter named Fireman Sparky.

In 1996, Square released Bahamut Lagoon in Japan. The game features an older wizard character, Sendak, who hints at sexual feelings for the male protagonist, Byuu, and the player can choose whether to accept or reject Sendak.[16]

In 1996, Crystal Dynamics released Blazing Dragons for the PlayStation. It was a graphic adventure game based on a British cartoon where dragons had human emotions and real humans were obnoxious villains. Blazing Dragons was influenced by comedians such as John Cleese of Monty Python fame. This game marketed the introduction to the video game industry of the comic models that the computer game industry had been using to reference homosexuality. The game featured a dragon knight whose homosexuality was demonstrated by his effeminacy and vanity, and an entire puzzle involved dressing as the princess of the dragons in order to trick the dragon king into thinking she has not run away and been kidnapped by humans. When this fails, it falls to the court jester (who also appears to be homosexual) to wear drag; at one point he kisses one of the other dragon knights, while off camera. This game marked the first time when drag, in the comic model, was allowed to appear in video games.

In Square's 1997 title Final Fantasy VII, a specific puzzle involves the male protagonist, Cloud Strife, collecting various articles of female attire in order to audition as the girl that will spend the night with a male character. If the player has found enough items they are chosen as the girl and can play along with the scenario to a certain extent, although the couple is interrupted just as they are about to kiss. One of this articles, a wig, is found in a gym of gay male body builders, and the character can also enter a brothel. Depending on which room in the brothel is chosen the character may end up in a hot tub with around 10 men, including the character Mukki, who seems to propose the main character both in this scene and when the player meets him later on in the game.

In 1997, The Last Express has the player meeting two young adult girls named Sophie de Bretheuil and Rebecca Norton who are almost always in each other's company. While at first they appear to be merely close friends, reading the diary of Recbecca suggests they are lesbians, but there are no explicitly homosexual gestures beyond hand-holding.

In 1997 the Sega Saturn title Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers depicted the protagonist encountering a cross dresser by the name of Kamanari while chasing down the gambling parlor owner Tatsumi during a case. It is also implied Tatsumi himself is gay.

In 1998 Interplay released Fallout 2 featuring the first same-sex marriage in a game.

In Square's 1999 title Final Fantasy VIII, an unnamed minor character can be encountered in a bar; during conversation, there is strong implication the character is transgender. The player character Squall Leonhart is given the option to ask if he is really a woman. If Squall asks this the character becomes paranoid and wonders how he knew.

In the 1999 game Gabriel Knight 3: Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned, it becomes very obvious that two of the characters, Lady Howard and Estelle Stiles, are lesbians. However, nothing is ever made of this other than Gabriel noticing the one bed for two people and saying "Gee, isn't that cozy?".

In 1999 Eidos released The Incredible Hulk: The Pantheon Saga for the PlayStation, based on the Marvel comic book character of the same name. In the "Pantheon Saga", the Hulk joins joined with a family team of superheroes to combat global problems such as terrorism. One of the family members, named Hector, was openly gay. He appears in Eidos' game, although no mention or reference is made to his sexual orientation.

In the 1999 videogame Evil Zone for the PlayStation, the female characters Setsuna Saizuki, Kakurine and Ihadurca are lesbians.

In 1999 Funcom released the computer graphic adventure game The Longest Journey with a lesbian landlady, her long-time lover, and a gay cop. While the game used a futuristic Blade Runner type setting, the gay characters were not used to show how decadent society had become but were seen as normal and well adjusted secondary characters.

In 1999 Acclaim released a racing game titled South Park Rally, the first of several games based on the popular animated series South Park for the PlayStation, Nintendo 64, and PC. Big Gay Al, a prominent character in the series, is a playable character in South Park Rally. His house is also one of the tracks.

In 1999 Activision released Star Trek: Voyager – Elite Force for the PC and PlayStation 2. In the game the player could play as a male or a female, and in either case a female would flirt with them. Elite Force was notable in this regard, as the Star Trek franchise has often been criticized for its treatment of gay and lesbian characters on TV.[17]

In 1999 tri-Ace released Star Ocean: The Second Story for the PlayStation. In the game the player could choose to play as either Claude or Rena and can have a friendship and romance level with each party member acquired. If using Claude, the player can go on a date with a male member of the party named Ashton. In the PSP version of the game, the game includes a scene where the female members of the party can force either Claude or Ashton to dress up as women. If the player chooses Rena as the main character, the player can go on a date with a female member of the party named Precis.

In Persona 2: Innocent Sin, released in 1999 for the PlayStation, one of the playable characters was Kurosu Jun, a schoolboy with a connection to the game's main villain. Jun is a homosexual, and it is revealed through flashbacks that he and the main character, Suou Tatsuya, exchanged gifts as children and promised to always be together. Both Tatsuya and Jun have kept these gifts, and Tatsuya is often seen playing with the lighter he received from Jun. Through the actions of the player, Tatsuya could end up in a relationship with one of three romantic interests; one of these was Kurosu Jun. If Tatsuya and Jun are in a relationship, they receive a special "lovers" contact combo. The game has several references to Jun's femininity: his main weapons are flowers; there is a contact combo where another love interest, Lisa Silverman, puts makeup on Jun and then complains that he looks prettier than she does; and he apparently discovered his ability to use Personae when he was being picked on by bullies for his effeminate looks. In the second part, Persona 2: Eternal Punishment, Jun appears under the name Jun Kashihara, but his role in the story is extremely tangential. Tatsuya Suou also appears in the game, but though there are many references to the homoerotic content of the first game, the storyline focuses around a love triangle between him, his brother and Maya Amano, a female love interest from Innocent Sin. Eternal Punishment also featured a female athlete named Anna, whose relationship with her obsessive admirer Noriko contains lesbian overtones.

2000s[edit]

From 2000–2009, several Buffy the Vampire Slayer games were made. A prominent character in the series, Willow Rosenberg, is a lesbian. In the 2003 game, Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds, both Willow Rosenberg and her girlfriend, Tara Maclay, are playable characters.

Square's 2000 title Final Fantasy IX features a playable character called Quina Quen who belongs to an apparently ungendered race called the Qu. Referred to by the pronoun "s/he" throughout, the Qu's bizarre appearance offers little clue as to any intended orientation. At one stage in the game, it is possible for Quina and Vivi, an apparently juvenile Black Mage, to be married. While this scene is optional and treated very much as a light-hearted comic scene with no implication of sexual attraction, it nevertheless treats the topic of pansexuality and same-sex marriage sympathetically.

In 2000 Capcom resuscitated this dormant theme with Resident Evil Code: Veronica, a survival horror game. The central antagonist is Alfred Ashford who at the end of the game is revealed as a 'cross-dressing freak' who is obsessed with his dead twin sister, in this case a reference to Norman Bates from the Alfred Hitchcock film Psycho.

2001's Shadow Hearts contained a homosexual character, a Chinese acupuncturist known as Meiyuan. Shadow Hearts: Covenant in 2005 also featured gay characters, the two flamboyant Magimel brothers. One was a tailor who would sew magical clothes when bribed with beefcake trading cards and the other was a vendor for items and weapons. In one optional scene toward the end of the game, a third major character was revealed to be gay. The ensuing offscreen anal sex was largely treated as disgusting, though one female player character called it 'beautiful'. Shadow Hearts: From the New World again featured Gerard, but he is with his boyfriend this time, by the name of Buigen.

In 2001 Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty featured a bisexual character named Vamp. The conversation in which this was revealed (by Solid Snake himself) also explains that he was the lover of Scott Dolph, a bisexual Navy commander. The game does not dwell on this point and accepts it simply as a factor of the character. The 2004 prequel Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater went further, featuring male bisexuality (Volgin and Major Raikov) and also some other sexual topics rarely touched upon in popular entertainment such as sexual sadism (Volgin again), polyamory and Caesarean section.

In 2001, Maxis broke new ground with a new television commercial for its computer game The Sims. Highlighting the ability of the characters to date, the commercial featured an attractive twenty-something man in a nightclub flirting with a woman, until he is suddenly drawn to an attractive man in the club and after a brief pause agrees to date him. Nintendo's Game Boy Advance and DS versions removed any same-sex romance interactions.

In 2001 Fear Effect 2: Retro Helix had a lesbian subplot between two of the major female characters.

The 2002 2D fighting game Guilty Gear XX introduced the character Bridget, a young male who was raised as a girl by his parents to avoid problems with a village superstition concerning twins. He works as a bounty hunter to prove his worth. He retains a feminine demeanor and appearance but still identifies as a male.

In the 2003 game Summon Night: Swordcraft Story, if the player chooses a female character and picks Sugar as their summon beast, lesbian innuendo occur. There are other girls, named Razzy and Sanary who also shares lesbian undertones when conversing with Pratty, the female main character. Though, less apparent in the sequel, Summon Night: Swordcraft Story 2, one of the female characters, Lynn, continuously tries to kiss the main character, whether they are male or female. The female playable character, 'Aera', shows the same romantic behavior that shows when the player play as 'Edgar', the male playable character, with some dialog changes.

In the 2003 title Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne, a flamboyant mannequin is shown as the owner of the junk shop and makes frequent but comical references to his sexuality.

In 2003 Bioware's Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, the party member Juhani was written as lesbian, though bugged coding on the initial release allowed her to be attracted to the player character regardless of gender. In subsequent patches, she reverts to homosexual preferences. She and another female Jedi were also heavily implied to be lovers. (It is worth noting that this would make Juhani the first known gay character in the Star Wars universe).[18]

In the 2003 Mega Man X7 videogame there are one boss called Tornado Tonion, and when the character Axl finds him, he tells Axl that he considers him handsome, but he considers himself more handsome.

2004's Fable allows the player character to flirt, marry and/or have sex with NPC townspeople of the same sex. If the player married a female character in addition to a male NPC, the personality status screen would label them as bisexual. While the NPCs in the game do not treat the player with any disgust if they choose to be gay, they do not get paid "dowry" for marrying any male characters but almost all female ones give such. One quest involves finding the deeds to a bordello so the player can free the prostitutes from the male owner. Like the other quests in the game there are several ways of solving this, but one option is to dress as a woman and have sex with the owner when he's drunk.

The 2004 Atari computer game The Temple of Elemental Evil has an optional story line permitting a gay marriage. In the town of Nulb, a pirate named Bertram begins flirting with male characters in the party and offers a lifetime of love and happiness in exchange for his freedom.[19]

In 2004 the computer game Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, the player is able to play a female character and have implied (off screen) sexual relations with Jeanette, another female character. Also there is generally the possibility to flirt with same sex partners throughout the game additionally there are also some more hints that different characters have been involved in homosexual activities. There is also a vampiress character who briefly mentions a relationship she had long ago with a female named Pisha.

In the 2004 GameCube title Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door you'll run into a Shadow Siren named Vivian. In the Japanese version of the game, Vivian is said to actually be a boy. Her character description translates to "One of the shadow group, Vivian appears to be a girl but is really a boy.". When your partner Goombella uses Tattle on Vivian, what she says translates into "That's Vivian. Of the shadow group, she's the youngest sister... er, brother.". Vivian's sister, Beldam also calls her a man at one point as an insult. All mentions of Vivian being a man were removed from the English version.

In Capcom's 2004 Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trials and Tribulations for the Nintendo DS, an effeminate chef called Jean Armstrong frequently confuses other characters about his gender. Although he is very effeminate in appearance, movement and fashion style, he clearly has a beard and mustache. Yet characters still become confused of his gender.

In Rockstar North's 2004 Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas the police officers in San Fierro will say various things one would expect from a comical, homosexual character such as "Drop the soap, honey!", "Lets wrestle to submission!", and "I'm on your ass, Daisy!". In this model, homosexuality is a joke, attached to gender inversion and used to denigrate the police, an enemy in the game. There is a clearly gay employee working at the counter of an athletic apparel store who makes flirty comments toward the protagonist, CJ. A previous installment in the series, the 2001 Grand Theft Auto III, has construction workers who look like the similarly-dressed member of the Village People, who shout quotes from the songs "Y.M.C.A." and "In the Navy".

The character Doctor N. Gin is portrayed as an effeminate character in Radical's 2005 Crash Tag Team Racing game. He is shown occasionally wearing a ballerina costume to boost his self-esteem and using pink fuzzy slippers in his inventions in the same game.[20] In the following Crash of the Titans, N. Gin reveals his desire for "chicks" over his factory's intercom[21] but is disgusted at the thought of girls in a later cutscene.[22]

In Eidos Interactive's 2005 sequel to Deus Ex, Deus Ex: Invisible War. One of the manners which the character can gain access to the apartment of Seattle's Minister of Culture is to flirt with the Minister of Culture at Club Vox (he will give the character his key). Although there is a gender choice available in the game, this method works only if the character is male.

In Cavia's Drakengard 2, first released in 2005, the enemy character, Yaha got incredible beauty that can charm all men and women from his pact, in return of the loss of 'pleasure' of sex. He is in love with his male old friend, Urick who is one of playable characters.

In Bioware's 2005-released Xbox RPG Jade Empire, the main character can either be male or female. If the player chooses a male character, he can have a romantic relationship with the female characters Dawn Star or Silk Fox, or the male character Sky, a female character can romance either Sky or Silk Fox. Also, if the main character is male, it is possible for Dawn Star and Silk Fox to end up in a relationship with each other.

The computer and console game Indigo Prophecy from 2005 includes a gay stock market follower named Tommy. One of the game's protagonists is good friends with him and Tommy's knowledge of the stock trade is essential in progressing in the game. If asked, the character makes comments about homophobia in the workplace and gay acceptance.

The 2006 adventure game Broken Sword: The Angel of Death includes Brother Mark, a Catholic priest who is strongly hinted to be homosexual, although he denies this.

In the 2006 title Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3, there is an unnamed female student NPC who has an intense lesbian crush on Mitsuru Kirijo, one of the main female characters. This crush goes as far as her having romantic fantasies about her as well as threatening the main character with revenge (if she's lying) after she tells her that she has pictures of her in a bathing suit. During "Operation Babe Hunt" of the NPCs 'beautiful woman' that Junpei, Akihiko and the main character attempt to hit on is revealed to be a trans woman.

The 2006 Rockstar Games title Bully (Canis Canem Edit in Europe) features optional homosexual content. The game's central character Jimmy Hopkins can kiss various characters, male and female, in order to regain health. Neither Jimmy nor any of the other six bisexual/homosexual male characters show any outward signs of overt femininity or other stereotypical homosexual traits, with the possible exception of the gay member of the 'preppy' clique who is depicted as being suave and somewhat effeminate. One of the female characters in the game alludes to Jimmy's "experimentation" with the other boys in a cut-scene in which she states, "I'm like Helen of Troy, but you seem more interested in boys named Troy". In Bully: Scholarship Edition, developers added an achievement (an in-game award) called "Over the Rainbow", which the player unlocks by kissing a boy twenty times.

The 2006 title Enchanted Arms features Makoto, an openly gay character who identifies herself as female.

Nintendo-published in 2006 Baten Kaitos Origins for the Nintendo GameCube also features a transgender character, of sorts. One of the three main characters, Guillo, speaks simultaneously with the voice of both a man and a woman and is gender neutral throughout the entire storyline. Even though Guillo is a 'puppet', Guillo has a very masculine personality, yet also is clad in high heels and has breasts. Guillo is also part of a bitter love "quadrangle" for Sagi, the main character, between Guillo, Milly, and Lolo.

The 2006 Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories features transsexual adult film director Reni Wassulmaier. Reni was born female and by the time of the game's events, he already had three sex changes and is a man. The objective for one mission, titled "So Long Schlong", is to take Reni to the hospital for his fourth sex change. Reni Wassulmaier previously featured in the 2005 sequel Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories, set 14 years after the events of Vice City Stories, as a radio DJ. In between songs, he makes reference to being a man.

In the 2007 horror first-person shooter Clive Barker's Jericho, the Ancient Roman Governor Cassus Vicus claims it had been a while since "tasting" both genders after becoming aroused while confronting the Jericho Squad. Vicus is portrayed as overly perverted and morbidly obese and is said to practice cannibalism, Sadomasochism and "blood orgies". Also, Lt. Abigail Black, a telekinetic sniper and playable character, is also confirmed to be lesbian early on in the game through a joke among fellow team members upon gaining the ability to play as her. The game's author, Clive Barker, is openly gay and has created characters with a certain disposition toward Sadomasochism of every sexual orientation.

In the 2007 title Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, there is a character named Heather and the player can get on their team who is implied to be a lesbian, who claims to have joined the army to 'meet all the pretty girls'.

In the 2007 game Mass Effect, the player can play as a male or female character. In both cases, there is an option for a subplot romance and sexual encounter with the alien Liara, a member of an all-female race that is able to reproduce with any sex of any species. The game received a lot of criticism for the 'sex scene' although it was hardly explicit, showing only brief, blurred shots of Liara's buttocks twice in a thirty-second scene.

Abu'l Nuquod, one of the assassination targets in the historically-based game released in 2007, Assassin's Creed, is strongly implied to be gay. He believes that the people hate him because he is 'different', is shown caressing the cheek of one of his male guards during his angry tirade and claims that he cannot serve the cause of a god who calls him an abomination.

The 2007 visual novel Fatal Hearts features a lesbian character named Lucy as one of the available love interests for the female protagonist.

In 2008-released Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner 2: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. King Abaddon, the main character, Raidou, confronts two Japanese disaster gods known as Binbogami and Yakbyougami who are both portrayed as effeminate and fiercely masochistic. Binbogami is shown to be pursuing Raidou sexually, even going so far as to encourage Raidou to 'whip' him when his life bar is reduced to half during two boss fights against him. The game also includes cross dressers in the Mannen-Cho location.

Fable's 2008 sequel, Fable II retains its ability for players to choose their player character's sexuality. The game also includes more lesbian, gay, and bisexual NPC townspeople to court and marry. A context-specific line is used in a conversation within the middle of the game, wherein Hammer asks if the protagonist was able to convince his or her partner, wife, or husband to wait for them when they must go away for a ten years. The game also includes a quest in which the player character finds a suitable partner for a farmer's son who hints at being gay. The farmer is surprised but accepts that his son is gay and was unable to find an acceptable partner because the father had previously presented him only with female suitors. Reaver, the NPC known as the Hero of Skill, is bisexual, known to have simultaneous lovers named Ursula, Penelope, and Andrew.

In the 2008 game Fallout 3, the player meets a female Ghoul named Carol who is suggested to be in a romantic relationship with another female Ghoul named Greta. They have apparently adopted a son, named Gob. While it is never made clear if they are romantically involved, if the player is a Female, Greta will warn the player to stay away from Carol. In Rivet City, the player meets Flak and Shrapnel, a pair of weapons dealers whom the game identifies as "partners." The two run a shop together and share a single bed. It's only implied that the nature of their relationship is romantic. An NPC from another city refers to Flak as an "old queen."

In Rockstar North's 2008, Grand Theft Auto IV includes Bernie Crane, formerly Florijan Kravić, (Serbian Cyrillic: Флоријан Кравић), a flamboyant gay lifestyle coach and friend of the protagonist, Niko Bellic. He is one of three survivors of Niko's fifteen man squad who fought in the Bosnian War. In the 2009 Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony, an episode expansion pack of Grand Theft Auto IV, the title Anthony "Gay Tony" Prince is a homosexual, and friend of the protagonist, Luis Lopez. He also features in a cameo in GTA IV.

The 2008 tactical RPG Valkyria Chronicles has several optional squad members whose profiles indicate they fancy individuals of the same gender. For example, a male squad member named Jann has strong feelings for muscular men, particularly Largo. He wears makeup, has an effeminate voice and is flirty toward men, including the player character who is his commanding officer. Similarly, Dallas is a female squad member whose profile states that she 'fancies women' and 'hates men'. Dallas has a crush on Alicia, the game's heroine, and her profile states that she became upset after Alicia's marriage until she became infatuated with another major character, Rosie. The game also features a bisexual character, Ted, who has both the 'fancies women' and 'fancies men' potential abilities in his profile.

In the 2008 title Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4, Kanji Tatsumi, a playable character, has a Shadow Self that rants about how he hates girls and likes boys, and later, Kanji himself states that gender is irrelevant to him, hinting at bisexuality. Another playable character, Naoto Shirogane, presents male until their Shadow Self reveals their conflicted gender identity. Naoto is from then on referred to as a girl, but is shown in the bathhouse scene and beauty contest to be uncomfortable with their body, and does not insist on being referred to as one gender or the other, hinting at a non-binary identity.

The 2008 visual novel Heileen features a female protagonist with three romantic possibilities, one male and two female.

In 2008 Square Enix released The Last Remnant which contains a minor character, the barkeep, who is known to flirt with the protagonist, Rush Sykes, when spoken to over the course of the game. He comments on Rush's physical appearance, refers to him with an affectionate nickname and offers a 'personal tour' of Athlum. He shows obvious attraction not only to Rush, but also fellow main character David Nassau, stating that "You just can't keep from looking at him," and calling him "the beautiful Marquis," also stating that he is jealous of Rush's interactions with David and even questions the relationship between the two.

The 2008 game Saints Row 2 and the 2011 game Saints Row: The Third, the Caucasian Female Protagonist character has hints of bisexuality as well as liking male characters, there are hints that she has a sexual attraction to both Shaundi and Kinzie Kensington.

In the 2009 game Dragon Age: Origins. the player may choose a male or female character from the start of the game. The main character has an opportunity to have sexual encounters with one party member of the same sex. There are also opportunities to have sexual encounters with NPCs of the same gender throughout the game and notably within the first 30 minutes of game play. Like its spiritual successor, Mass Effect, there are brief sex scenes (about 30 seconds); however there is no visible nudity. It should be noted that the two party members who will have a same-sex sexual encounter with the main character identify (through innuendo or descriptions experiences) that they are bisexual; therefore making the main character the only potentially gay character (excluding NPCs). One example of gay NPC's in the game are the effeminate Wade and Herren. The couple own an armor shop in the games capital and give a quest to the main character. In a Downloadable Content episode released by Bioware it is possible to chase them from the shop to a back alley where Herren teleports himself and Wade to safety. The game designers admitted Herren and Wade were lovers after the release of said DLC.

In 2009 game Tales of Monkey Island there are some hints captain Reginald Von Winslow might be bisexual. He has a relationship with a Vayalcan but does not want to reveal whether it is a man or woman. The captain also says some sentences to Guybrush Threepwood which insinuates that he is attracted to him.

2010s[edit]

In the 2010 Nintendo DS video game Glory of Heracles, one of the main protagonists, Leucos, is a cross-dressing lesbian. She spends most of the game pretending to be a man, but the other characters see right through the charade and it is a source of humor.

In the 2010 JRPG game Resonance of Fate it is implied that one of the cardinals, Pater, is in love with Zephyr, the male protagonist. It is later revealed that he was in fact interested in Leanne, the female protagonist. Additionally, the barkeeper of the Chit-Chat Noir is flamboyant and feminine, uses make up and flirts with Vashyron, the second male protagonist.

In the 2010 video game Red Dead Redemption, one of the minor characters, Quique Montemayor acts and moves flamboyantly. He appears to be in love with Captain Vincente De Santa, a more major character in the game and a captain in the Mexican Army. De Santa seems to be quite open about his relationship with Montemayor and both major and minor characters make suggestive comments about De Santa's inclinations, such as "He'll do a lot of things when men are on their knees," by the protagonist. After De Santa's death, another major character comments that, "a lot of young boys will sleep safe in their beds." Red Dead Redemption also features a very minor female NPC seen in a side mission involving a stolen horse. After the side mission is completed, the women can be seen flirting with female prostitutes in a nearby bar on occasion.

In the 2010 video game Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game, based on the graphic novel series, Kim Pine can perform a special move in which Knives Chau appears and kisses her, giving her health while damaging enemies. Kim's ending in the game also implies she gets together with Knives. Like in the graphic novel series, the character Roxanne Richter is a lesbian who had previously dated Ramona Flowers. Wallace Wells, Scott's mature gay roommate from the comic, also appears in the game as both a background character and running an item shop. Also Steve is a playable character who, in the comics, is revealed gay at the very end.

In 2010 video game Nier, NPC swordswoman, Kainé is intersex.

In Mass Effect 2, developed by BioWare and published by EA, female Shepard is able to date and sleep with her Yeoman Kelly Chambers. Male Shepard is not able to date any male characters.

Fable III continues the series' option of becoming a lesbian, gay or bisexual hero and includes more LGBT NPC townspeople. Reaver returns, this time inviting the hero (of either sex) to have a 'private party' in his bedchamber (though he/she cannot accept this invitation).

In the 2010 game Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, the protagonist's lifelong friend Leonardo Da Vinci is implied to be homosexual, based on similar historical evidence. On one occasion, he assures Ezio Auditore da Firenze that "Women provide little distraction" from constructing upgrades for him and pats him on the back, to which Ezio replies "Wait, I don't get it.". In the downloadable content The Da Vinci Disappearance, Ezio appears to know of Leonardo's historically romantic relationship with his pupil Salaì, stating that "You do not need to lie to me. Salaì fits you. I approve.".

The 2010s installment of the Fallout series, Fallout: New Vegas, contains at least two confirmed LGB joinable NPC, and other references to homosexuality. Furthermore, the main character, the unnamed Courier, can be chosen as male, with the perk (character trait) Confirmed Bachelor, giving him several advantages with other homosexual male NPCs (and, following the stereotype of the homosexual as more understanding and perceptive about emotions, grant him the ability to better understand the plight of the otherwise mute companion Christine) . This perk has a female equivalent, the Cherchez la femme perk. The same game features the character Veronica Santangelo, a young Scribe from the Brotherhood of Steel, who confesses to the main character to have nursed a crush for another girl in the Brotherhood (hinted to be Christine Royce, another joinable NPC, mute and enslaved, who references having been in a relationship with a girl in her Brotherhood days) which ended badly because of the disapproval of her girlfriend's parents. Arcade Gannon, a doctor with the Followers of the Apocalypse is clearly gay, discussing his orientation if certain dialog paths are chosen. Furthermore, if the Courier is male, Rose of Sharon Cassidy, another joinable NPC, will jokingly tease him, and if the player has the Confirmed Bachelor perk, will hint that the Legion of Caesar, a paramilitary formation in the Mojave Desert, is mainly staffed by homosexual soldiers. On the other hand, if the player plays as a female Courier with the Cherchez la Femme perk, Rose of Sharon will simply state that when she's drunk enough she doesn't care about who gets in bed with, and drops the dialog abruptly.

In 2010's Dead Rising 2, it's hinted that two minor villains, twin sisters Crystal and Amber Bailey, are in an incestuous lesbian relationship.

Japanese 2010 SRPG Blaze Union, developed by Sting Entertainment, features a character named Eater with dual personalities, one male and one female. Although Eater's body is female, she is treated as male when the male personality is in control as this is how he identifies himself. One route of the same game portrays the lead character Gulcasa and his close friend Nessiah in a questionably intimate relationship. While it is never stated outright that the two are lovers, the possibility is implied. Yggdra Unison, a 2009 game from the same series, supports the possibility by showing a number of Nessiah's personal effects (e.g. clothing) in Gulcasa's home, through a number of conversations between the two characters with affectionate overtones, and Gulcasa's inability to use an item only equippable by virgins.

In 2010's A New Beginning the player has to control Fay and Dr. Bent Svensson. Bent never made time for his family and now finds out his son Duve, also present in the game, is gay and frequently visits a gay hotel in Barcelona together with his boyfriend.

In 2011's Dragon Age II, the sequel to Bioware's Dragon Age: Origins, the player may choose to play as either a male or a female version of the protagonist, Hawke, Champion of Kirkwall. Each will have the option to romance one of two members of the same-sex if they choose to do so it will be Anders or Fenris for the male player character and Isabela or Merrill for the female player character. The player can also sleep with male or female prostitutes regardless of Hawke's gender. If certain conditions are met, it is also possible for the protagonist to sleep with every companion in a single playthrough.

Gloria Union, developed by Sting Entertainment in 2011, features a character called Kyra who is intergender and treated as such in the game's interface, which determines unit formation based on gender. Kyra's formation is a combination of the male and female versions.

Magical Diary, a 2011 RPG and life simulation set in a school for wizards, features a female protagonist who can date male or female characters. Several background characters are depicted as gay or bisexual, and one student is mentioned as having two fathers.

In the 2011 role playing game, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the player has an option that allows to marry any character, regardless of gender.

In the 2011 title, Catherine, Erica, the waitress at The Stray Sheep, is a trans woman.

In the 2011 Bioware game Star Wars: The Old Republic, after a Republic character completes a rescue mission on the moon Oricon (where people are being driven mad by powerful Dark Side users), the person the character reports to states that "Gialto thinks he shot his husband".

Don't take it personally, babe, it just ain't your story, a 2011 visual novel, contains two same-sex relationships (one lesbian couple, one gay couple)

Dark Souls, a Japanese developed game - Dark Sun Gwyndolin, one of the bosses in the game, is a DMAB trans woman, raised as a girl from birth due to her magic and associations with the moon.

Mass Effect 3 includes same-sex romance options for both female and male Commander Shepard. One of the male options, Lieutenant Steve Cortez, mentions he used to have a husband. There are also minor same-sex couples seen or discussed throughout the game. There is no direct indication that such relationships are considered in any way unusual in the galaxy in general.

In the autobiographical Dys4ia (2012), the player controls a character undergoing hormone replacement therapy and transitioning from her natal sex. Journalists for The Guardian and the Penny Arcade Report observed that the game featured observations of the politics and personal development of those experiencing gender identity disorder.

In The Secret World, a 2012 massively multiplayer online role-playing game developed by Funcom, there are gay characters present in each of the games major areas. Moose, a biker who yearns for police officer Andy, in the games starting area, two gay archaeologists in Egypt, and the Braga brothers, who hit on the character regardless of gender in the games third act, Transylvania. Additionally, the game features an implied lesbian encounter should the player choose a female Dragon player at the start.

In the 2012 action role-playing game, Dragon's Dogma, the player will get a love interest in the game and said love interest can be practically any of the NPC's in the game, regardless of gender.

In Guild Wars 2, a 2012 massively multiplayer online role-playing game developed by ArenaNet, the minor characters Caithe and Faolain are depicted as being in a lesbian relationship. Both are of the Sylvari race, a plant-like people who do not reproduce sexually. As such, the Sylvari people do not base their relationships upon reproduction, but rather love, sensuality, and finding beauty in one another.[23] Furthermore, if one chooses "The Green Knight" as part of one's storyline during the creation of a Sylvari character, the first quest after the prologue involves saving young gay couple Eladus and Dagdar from said knight in magical armor who challenges young Sylvari to duels and kills them. There is also an implied relationship between the NPCs Kasmeer Meade and Marjory Delaqua throughout the game. Their sexual relationship was confirmed by the developers ArenaNet in the installment "The Origins of Madness".

In the 2012 Enhanced Edition of the RPG Baldur's Gate, the newly introduced character Dorn Il-Khan can romance the player character regardless of gender.

In the 2012 adventure game, My Ex-Boyfriend the Space Tyrant, the majority of characters, including Tycho Minogue, the main character controlled by the player, are gay.

Borderlands 2 includes an audio-log in the Wildlife Exploitation Preserve that mentions two same sex couples (1 gay couple, 1 lesbian couple) who were forced to run experiments on their partners, as well as a sidequest given by Sir Hammerlock that involves finding his ex-boyfriend's audio logs on hunting for use in his almanac. The character Mad Moxxi is also openly bisexual and speaks of having relationships with both men and women. In the DLC Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep, it is revealed that Axton, one of the playable characters, is bisexual. While his flirtatious lines with male characters were originally a coding error, Gearbox Studios decided to confirm his bisexuality with overt references in the DLC.[24] There is also an implication that the 13 year old character Tiny Tina may be gay when she confesses to liking Maya in The Siren's invitation, asking if Maya likes her in turn. Additionally, her original motivation for helping the Vault Hunters train for Mad Moxxi was due to her having a crush on Mad Moxxi.

In the 2012 visual novel game Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair by Spike Chunsoft, the Ultimate Nurse Tsumiki Mikan states that during her time at Hope's Peak, she fell in love with the Ultimate Fashionista, Junko Enoshima, whom she claims truly loved her back. Before Tsumiki's execution, she calls out to Enoshima and asks for forgiveness as she is about to die with the 'Hope' of seeing her again. Through the in-game "free time events", the male player character is capable of getting closer to other characters. During the last of Nagito Komaeda's free time events, he attempts to confess his love to the player character, but ends up changing his wording at the last minute to avoid it.

In the 2013 visual novel game This Is Where I Want To Die by Marcel Weyers, the protagonist is revealed to be a homosexual man who is attacked by two homophobic people, whilst out with his boyfriend. The message of the game is stopping homophobia. In the 2014 visual novel To Kill A Black Swan by Weyers, which was created for the 2014 Indie Game Development Contest and which is loosely based on To Kill a Mockingbird, a detective investigates in the murder of a transgender woman.

The 2013 Nintendo game Fire Emblem: Awakening has a playable character named Tharja, who is in love with the players Avatar, regardless of player gender.

The 2013 interactive story adventure game Gone Home is a lesbian coming of age story that centers around the protagonist's younger sister and her girlfriend.

The 2013 Playstation game The Last of Us features a character named Bill who helps Joel and Ellie during their journey. It is heavily implied he was gay and had a partner named Frank, who is later found dead, much to Bill's dismay. A note left by Frank claims he did not love Bill anymore. Also, in The Last of Us main story DLC 'Left Behind', it is implied Ellie has feelings for Riley, culminating in a kiss between them near the climax of the game. The developers Naughty Dog later confirmed they have romantic feelings for each other and the writer for Ellie's character, Neil Druckmann, said he wrote her to be gay.

The 2013 survival horror game State of Decay has two gay characters who are implied to be in a relationship. One of them, Jacob Ritter, is a playable character.

The 2013 Nintendo game Animal Crossing: New Leaf has an NPC called Gracie the giraffe that looks like a female character and it is stated to be male in the original Japanese version of the game. The NPC Savannah the camel is also male in the Japanese version. Another NPC, the secretary Isabelle, is also stated to have a crush on the player character, regardless of what gender the player chose at the start of the game. The player themselves can also opt to dress themselves in clothes of another gender, and if you go to Shampoodles, a hairdressers, enough times then they can choose to get hairstyles that would normally only be available to another gender to complete this.

The 2013 Rockstar game Grand Theft Auto V once again features a main character in the series that has attraction towards the same sex. Trevor Philips, who is originally from Canada, is one of the main protagonists from the game. He suffers from bipolar disorder and because of this there is confusion as to whether or not his sexuality is genuine due to his personality constantly changing or if it is because of his sense of humor. However, even though Rockstar has not stated nor have they denied Trevor's sexuality, it becomes debatable as to what his sexuality is. The fact that the Grand Theft Auto series is notorious for taking risks and exploring new ideas to diversity of society, it's very implied that Trevor is bisexual due to him having concern of sexual acts upon other women as well as men. There is a certain point in the game where Trevor not having a place to live asks if he could marry a male friend of his in order to stay at his house. The Escapist, also seems to have confirmed this.[25]

The 2013 Namco visual novel/dating sim game Namco High deliberately avoids identifying the gender of its playable character, Cousin, as to allow the player to interpret Cousin's sexuality any way they desire. Cousin can date male, female, or other gender-ambiguous characters, ranging from anthropomorphized space ships and taiko drums, aliens, humans, ghost-human-bird hybrids, talkingcats and birds, and even a zombie. The game's writer, Andrew Hussie, is also well known for his webcomic Homestuck, which also ranges from hinting at to outright stating several of its characters are gay or bisexual, including Terezi Pyrope, an alien girl who is datable in Namco High. In the society she hails from, the concept of monosexuality is treated as being utterly foreign; a defining preference or fetish, at most; and she is known to be attracted to both men and women.

The 2014 game Saints Row IV allows the player to pick the Protagonists sexuality in the Romance option, however in the Saints Row series the Caucasian female Protagonist voiced by Katie Semine and Laura Bailey would appear to be bisexual as she is attracted to Shaundi and Kenzie Kensington as well as men, all other Protagonists are heterosexual by default.

The 2014 RPG South Park: The Stick of Truth contains many references to gay characters from the TV series of the same name. Mr. Slave also has a prominent role, being the subject of an early quest, then coming back to help the main protagonist during fights. The last quest of the main storyline also takes place in a part of Mr. Slave's anatomy.

The fitness app/game Zombies, Run! features two same sex couples; Jack Holden and Eugene Woods, the hosts of Radio Abel, and Doctor Maxine Myers and Doctor Paula Cohen.

The Harvest Moon franchise frequently features androgynous characters. In Harvest Moon: The Tale of Two Towns there is a male cafe owner named Howard who wears make-up and has a pink bedroom; his sexuality is not explicitly mentioned. In Story of Seasons the androgynous male doctor Marian refers to herself as "big sister" and is often addressed with female pronouns.

The second episode of season two of The Walking Dead Video Game from 2014 features the characters Matthew and Walter, who are portrayed as a sympathetic and generous gay couple.

References[edit]

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  2. ^ Winkie, Luke (June 9, 2014). "A Q&A With The Designer of the First LGBT Computer Game". Paste Magazine. Retrieved July 7, 2014. 
  3. ^ Loguidice, Bill; Matt Barton (2009). Vintage Games: An Insider Look at the History of Grand Theft Auto, Super Mario, and the Most Influential Games of All Time. Focal Press. p. 280. ISBN 0-240-81146-1. 
  4. ^ Kevin Burra (2012-06-06). "Electronic Entertainment Expo Inspires Look At 10 LGBT Video Game Characters". Huffington Post. Retrieved 21 December 2013.  "Although the name change never took effect and later franchise installments dropped mention of Birdo's gender, it was widely discussed by gaming magazines."
  5. ^ "Top 10 Underrated Games". Crave Online. 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2009-10-16. 
  6. ^ Capcom staff (2000). Capcom Design Works: Early Days (in Japanese). Enterbrain. p. 197. ISBN 978-4-7577-0412-1. 
  7. ^ Staff (March 2007). "The Making of Final Fight". Retro Gamer (37): 52. 
  8. ^ スタジオベントスタッフ; スタジオベントスタッフ (2000). ALL ABOUT カプコン対戦格闘ゲーム 1987-2000 (All About Capcom Head-To-Head Fighting Game 1987-2000) (in Japanese). スタジオベントスタッフ. スタジオベントスタッフ. p. 339. ISBN 4-88554-676-1. 
  9. ^ Leone, Matt (January 2008). "The Big Comeback". Electronic Gaming Monthly (224): 68. 
  10. ^ Josh Flaherty (24 June 2012). "Homosexuality in Video Games". 
  11. ^ McWhertor, Michael (2007-12-12). "Final Fight's Poison: The Final Word on Gender". Kotaku. Retrieved 2009-06-16. 
  12. ^ Capcom (1993-05-23). "Character profiles". Final Fight CD, instruction manual. Capcom. 
  13. ^ Sheff, David (1999). Game Over. Cyberactive Media Group Inc. p. 225. ISBN 0-9669617-0-6. "With Capcom USA, Phillips's team edited some of the grislier games that came in from its Japanese parent company, although Capcom's own censors weeded out the most offensive touches...When a Capcom USA representative suggested that it was tasteless to have the game's hero beat up a woman, a Japanese designer responded that there were no women in the game. 'What about the blonde named Roxy?' the American asked. The designer responded, 'Oh, you mean the transvestite!' Roxy was given a haircut and new clothes." 
  14. ^ "Earthbound and the first Gay Tony". gaygamer.net. Retrieved 2013-04-22. 
  15. ^ "Phatasmagoria 2 Interview". 
  16. ^ "Surprisingly Sexual Pixels (or — The Lady, or the Old Homosexual?)". backofthecerealbox.com. Retrieved 2013-05-25. 
  17. ^ "Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Star Trek". Webpan.com. Retrieved 2009-08-04. 
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  19. ^ Matthew D. Barton. "Gay Characters in Videogames". Armchair Arcade. Retrieved 2007-02-14. 
  20. ^ Radical Entertainment. Crash Tag Team Racing. PlayStation 2. Sierra Entertainment. Level/area: Midway (Slipperly Slope). "Doctor N. Gin: I'm sorry, but Doctor Cortex is very insistent that I finish my latest creation as soon as possible. It is a weapon of horrible power, but I... can't finish it! Please, Crash! You've got to help me! Bring me the secret component! / Crash Bandicoot: Hoonevebinevieueh... / Doctor N. Gin: That's right! Fuzzy slippers!! Only the raw, uncontrollable fury of fuzzy slippers can bring my creation to life! Please, Crash! Find me the slippers, and I will reward you greatly." 
  21. ^ Radical Entertainment. Crash of the Titans Wii. Sierra Entertainment. Level/area: Episode 11: Shock and Awesome. "Doctor N. Gin: Someone take out the trash, and by trash, I mean Crash! Hey, that rhymed. I should start a record label. Then I could get some chicks! I'm tired of monkeys!" 
  22. ^ Radical Entertainment. Crash of the Titans Wii. Sierra Entertainment. Level/area: Episode 13: Doomraker. "Doctor N. Gin: That's right, stupids! You need to go to Uka Uka's lab and stop him! That's where they make all the delicious mutants! Maybe your revolting sister is there, too. Eugh... girls..." 
  23. ^ "ArenaNet: The Sylvari Soul – Angel McCoy on Writing the Sylvari - Page 2 - News, Interviews & Articles - Guild Wars 2 Guru - Page 2". Guild Wars 2 Guru. Retrieved 2012-11-14. 
  24. ^ "Inside the Box: Inclusivity". Gearbox Software. Retrieved 2014-05-13. 
  25. ^ "The Escapist : Forums : Gaming Discussion : GTA V: I am slowly liking Trevor more and more". Escapistmagazine.com. Retrieved 2014-05-13.