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If you spent most of your childhood watching horror films through partially closed eyes or blanket shields but now want to watch or play horror or thriller focused media to widen your experiences, you might be like me.
One of my first experiences with anything remotely in the horror or thriller genre was when I was about nine years old. I had woken up sometime in the night and was going downstairs for some water when I stumbled upon my dad watching Alien. Yes, in that moment maybe I internalized something about Sigourney Weaver in a jumpsuit. But what really stood out to me was the little alien bursting through that guy’s chest. From that day on, that memory would haunt the inner workings of my brain.
But as time progressed and my friends became more interested in horror, I felt obligated to watch along with them at a sleepover or at the local mall movie theater just so we could hang out. It was tolerable, but I didn’t start getting interested in horror until I started expanding my interest in video games. To me, playing a horror game held higher stakes than watching a movie. In many scenarios, you’re literally controlling the character’s moves and choices. The game will not be able to progress until you look behind the open door or progress into the next room. Unlike a movie, where you can just close your eyes and continue playing, a scary game requires you to be curious and brave enough to follow through.
For those gaymers out there looking for a taste of horror, or something horror-adjacent, this list of games is for you.
We Know the Devil
This first game actually comes to me as a recommendation from an Autostraddle community member, as a comment on a video game review I did recently. We Know the Devil is a visual novel that centers its story on three teens who must begrudgingly fight the devil at summer camp. Choose which friend to get closer to, literally fight the devil, and enjoy a great OST while you’re at it.
Prey also joins this list as a game that’s been mentioned to me by our lovely community here at Autostraddle. While not explicitly a horror game, Prey will keep your breath held and ass clenched. In this first-person shooter (FPS) game, you’ll play as Morgan Yu — who is canonically queer if you play as a woman — who needs to fight her way through hostile aliens on a space station orbiting the moon.
The MISSING: J.J. Macfield and the Island of Memories
When I searched for queer horror games while doing research for this article, this game came up multiple times. The MISSING: J.J. Macfield and the Island of Memories is a puzzle-platforming horror game where you take control of J.J. Macfield who is looking for her love interest and friend Emily who has gone missing. Learn more about your missing companion in this gruesome platforming game. Please note that the content warnings for this game are mentions and depictions of self-harm and suicide.
Dead by Daylight
Dead by Daylight is an asymmetrical (4v1) multiplayer online horror game. Play as either the killer, whose goal is to make sure none of the survivors make it out alive. Or as a survivor, who is part of a four person team with the goal of escaping the trial without being sacrificed by the killer. And while this game only has one explicit gay character as of right now — as stated by the developers — this game makes the list for the large community of queer, horror-loving DBD players out there (me).
Hooked on You: A Dead by Daylight Dating Sim
You might be thinking, hey, why does Dead by Daylight get two entries? Well, just for the sake of mentioning that they had a dating sim made where you can actually date four of the aforementioned Dead by Daylight killers. And also I love dating sims. Choose who to date, answer their questions carefully, play mini-games, and you might just end up smooching a ruthless killer. Romance beefy Trapper, sensitive Wraith, mommy Huntress, or cool Spirit — the choice is yours.
Hooked on You: A Dead by Daylight Dating Sim is available on Steam for $9.99.
The Last of Us Part II
For those of you looking for a heart wrenching, gritty survival game about being a sad lesbian during the zombie apocolypse, The Last of Us Part II is the game for you. Play as Ellie, a human immune to the spreading Cordyceps brain virus on her journey of revenge and forgiveness. It’s tense, jarring, and gruesome. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The Last of Us Part II is available on Playstation for $39.99.
To close out this list, we’ll go with a more recent horror game release. The Quarry, made by the same developers that created the iconic horror game Until Dawn, is about a group of teens trying to survive a night at camp. The choices you make impact what ending you get and which teens get to survive the night. Play your cards right, and you might just save everyone.
Horror Is So Gay is a series on queer and trans horror edited by Autostraddle Managing Editor Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya running throughout October.