9 of the Best Queer Video Games of 2023

Every video game is gay when I’m the one playing it. I’ll invent narratives and flirt with NPCs even if the in-game choices don’t strictly allow it. I did it for the first two Horizon games (more on that later), Control, and more. I’m queer, so games I play are queer, that’s the way I see it. That said, as the years go on, more and more games have actual canonical queer elements, so I’ve put together this list of the best queer video games of 2023. (Side note, I’m not going to include Hogwarts Legacy even though it supposedly has a trans character because JK Rowling doesn’t deserve your money or attention.)

Before we get into this list, there are two things you should know about me: I love playing video games, and I’m perpetually behind on the new and hip video games. I didn’t play the first The Last of Us game until 2021. So I’m going to tell you about the queer video games I do know about and/or have played, but I especially love hidden gems and indie games, so if I missed any, PLEASE let me know in the comments.

With that said, here are some of the best queer video games of 2023!

The following includes mild spoilers for all the games listed.


The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

Link flying through the air

Swearing fealty is gay, just saying.

This addition to the Legend of Zelda franchise is the most open-world yet, asking you to think outside the box. You can explore, build, adapt, and create to your heart’s content. Plus, it’s visually stunning.

Now, this game isn’t necessarily as explicitly queer in the way the others on this list are. However, almost every single gay gamer I know played and loved this game. Heather once posited that maybe Link’s androgyny and lack of dialogue makes it easy for queer and trans people to imprint on him. And you can read whatever you want into Link and Sidon’s relationship.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is available to play on Nintendo Switch.


Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood

Best queer video games of 2023: a witch with blonde hair twirls around

Cute witches are cute.

In this narrative adventure game, you play as Fortuna, an exiled witch who has decided to rebuild her tarot deck from the ground up. As you play, you collect cards and you get to design them. You spend “energy” to choose the backgrounds and pieces and then you can arrange them however you want, so your deck is uniquely yours. You also give readings, aid fellow witches, and help people through issues like gender dysphoria, mental health struggles, and more. Each decision you make impacts the story, and while you’re reforming your deck, you’re also forming relationships with the people you help. The style is old school, the music is soothing, and the whole thing is very queer and witchy. (Which might be redundant to say; all witches are queer, this is known.)

Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood is available to play on PC and Nintendo Switch.


Unpacking

Screenshot of Unpacking

I didn’t even know how gay this little Australian game was going to get when I arranged those stuffies in rainbow order.

Okay so this might be cheating a little because technically this game was released on PC and Switch in 2021 and Playstation last year, HOWEVER, it was released on iOS and Android this year and also I happened to play it this year (on PS5) and it’s one of my favorite games I’ve ever played. It has simple, retro graphics and simple, soothing gameplay; really, it’s what it says on the tin. The goal is just… unpacking. You start in 1997, where you unpack the main character’s childhood bedroom, and move with her through her life into dorm rooms and apartments, moving in with significant others and out again, through a little over a decade of her life. There is no dialogue, and the only words you read are between chapters, no more than a sentence or two that appear like captions under a photo in a scrapbook. And yet, somehow, it tells a really powerful story. You learn so much about the character as you unpack her things, including that she’s a queer nerd. Gameplay is super satisfying, and everyone has their own way of organizing things, though occasionally something will be “wrong” and you have to find a new home for it, either for story reasons or because no one else’s brain works like mine. It’s a really beautiful game.

Unpacking is available to play on PC, Mac, Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, Linux, iOS and Android.


Fae Farm

Best queer video games of 2023: Screenshot of a player character flirting with a goth fairy

Books and scrolls are my love language, too. (Screenshot taken from YouTube user Eeowna)

While some people may be quick to call Fae Farm “just another farming sim” anyone who loves farming sims will tell you a) the limit does not exist for how many cozy games we can love at one time or play in a row and b) Fae Farm puts its own twist on the classic genre. In this game, you land on a fantasy world full of humans, faeries, and elves, and you need to help them solve some problem and save their world. I love a task-based game, and this one adds a little extra oomph with dungeons and battles. Instead of Stardew Valley‘s pixelated style reminiscent of Gameboy days, Fae Farm is closer to Animal Crossing, or even Dreamlight Valley.

There are six romanceable characters, and you can flirt and date as many of them as you want. You can even date them long enough to get married; that is, unless you’re playing multi-player and someone else gets to them first! But all six characters are player-sexual so as long as you bring them gifts and go on dates, any of them are an option for you to romance. Including but not limited to a black-winged cutie named Pyria who collects scrolls. It’s a perfect little cozy game for escapism in the form of resource gathering, crafting, fishing, and, of course, farming.

Fae Farm is available to play on PC and Nintendo Switch.


Coral Island

Screenshot of every romanceable NPC from Coral Island

A lot of these ladies look extremely gay, imho.

On a similar note we have Coral Island, a very new farming simulator game that my friend Taylor called, “gay Stardew with mermaids.” Also with very Dreamlight Valley-style graphics, you can try to woo any of the whopping 25+ romance options amongst the over 70 villagers you can meet while you farm and craft and dive! You can even marry another player in multi-player mode, and regardless of who you marry, you can also have kids and raise a queer little family on your farm. You could even be poly; while you can only date one person at a time, once you’re married, you can romance a second person and marry them, too. Like in other similar games, you have to work your way up to romance with these characters, talking to them daily and giving them gifts based on their preferences and personality. And when you’re ready to propose, you better make a visit to the blacksmith so you can put a ring on it.

Coral Island is available to play on PC, Xbox, and PlayStation


Thirsty Suitors

Tyler from Thirsty Suitors, text reads: Auntie C's in on it too. A lot of the queer kids in town are involved. He preys on the misfits.

I don’t know about the suitors but I am thirsty for Tyler.

In this adventure game, you play as a young queer woman named Jala who returns to her hometown for a family occasion and must confront her many exes and suitors like an Indian Ramona Flowers. These exes include but are not limited to Jala’s ex Tyler, who is a Black woman with a hot goth aesthetic who is looking out for the queer kids in the community, and who is voiced by trans actor Christine Rose Schermerhorn.

You skateboard around accepting tasks and quests, some narrative (e.g. helping two boyfriends mend their relationship), some skate challenges. There are also cooking minigames, turn-based battles, conversations with dialogue options, and more. The style is very comic-book-esque, and you do flips and tricks as you go — not just on your skateboard, even when doing simple tasks like washing your hands before your mother teaches you how to make parathas. South Asian culture permeates this stunning game, and in fact most if not all of Jala’s exes are people of color, which makes sense because of who created it. Thirsty Suitors is the latest game from Annapurna, the video game publisher and developer that has produced some of my favorite games, like What Remains of Edith Finch, Gone Home, I Am Dead, and Stray, and it was written and created by Outerloop Games, whose website describes them as “a minority led, fully distributed indie game studio that creates accessible games with depth about underrepresented cultures and themes.”

Thirsty Suitors is available to play on PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox, and PlayStation.


Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores

Aloy flirts with a girl from Burning Shores

It’s always funny seeing screenshots of games like this when someone isn’t wearing the same outfit you usually have Aloy in.

The Horizon Forbidden West DLC, Burning Shores, is more of the Horizon games we love, with stunning graphics, smooth battle mechanics, and intricate stories unfolding in this post-apocalyptic world where man and machine live side by side.

I started playing the first game in this franchise, Horizon Zero Dawn, in February 2020, and because I loved Aloy (and a side quest) so much, it took me a year and a half to finish. (I did take a few months off because of pandemic brain but that is neither here nor there.) I was pleasantly surprised there was no forced romance in the storyline, since as the game went on I could tell that despite the open-world nature of the game, there was definitely a main story that was going to happen no matter what I did, and sometimes that’s where forced romances come in. But no, Aloy had machines to take down, mysteries to solve, and a world to save, she didn’t have time for romance. Even right before the last battle, when I tried to get Aloy to ask Vanasha to join her for one last night, Aloy wouldn’t acquiesce; she needed rest, and she was right for that. Horizon Forbidden West went similarly, with no romance options for Aloy, which again I enjoyed because I was enjoying Aloy’s character development as is, but was pleasantly surprised when more and more sapphic stories popped up around her. I was happy enough with that.

Enter: Burning Shores. In this bonus story, we get Aloy’s first on-screen love interest… and it’s a woman! Be still my heart! I don’t know exactly what it is about Aloy that made it clear to me from the start that she was some shade of queer; maybe it was her take-no-shit attitude, maybe it was her outsider storyline, maybe it was the fact that she is voiced by queer nerd Ashly Burch, maybe it was because when I unlocked facepaint in Forbidden West I immediately slapped the progress flag on that redhead’s perfect freckled face. This feels inevitable to me in the very best way.

Horizon Forbidden West: Burning shores is available to play on PlayStation 5.


Stray Gods

Best queer video games of 2023: Screenshot of Grace and Freddie canoodling in Stray Gods

I was going to edit my face out of this screeshot but I think seeing how red and excited I got is proof I mean what I say when I say this game is gay.

Stray Gods has a lot of ingredients to love individually: it’s a narrative roleplay game, it has a queer protagonist, it features modernized versions of Greek gods, and it’s a MUSICAL. Add that all together with the bright, colorful graphics and you get a truly unique and magical game. In the game, you play as Grace, voiced by the incomparable Laura “BAFTA” Bailey, who is thrust into the world of gods living among us by a muse, voiced by Laura’s Critical Role castmate and legend in her own right, Ashley Johnson. In fact, the whole cast is stacked with familiar voices. Other Critical Role alum include Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, Anjali Bhimani, and Khary Payton (who you probably also know from The Walking Dead). The Last of Us‘s Merle Dandridge and Troy Baker, Flanaverse’s Rahul Kohli, queen of the nerds Felicia Day, nonbinary legend Erika Ishii, queer actress Allegra Clark, Sex Lives of College Girls‘ Lauren “LoLo” Spencer, Broadway alum Anthony Rapp, and the one and only Papi herself, Janina Gavankar. (I’m sorry, I know she has done so many other things and I genuinely love her and get so excited when she pops up in any TV show or movie I’m watching, but also she will always be Papi to meee.)

As you try to solve the central mystery, you make dialogue choices that change the course of the story and the songs being sung — and not just the lyrics, the style of music, too! You also have the option to flirt with up to four characters: your roommate Freddie, goddess of the underworld Aphrodite, the mischievous god Pan, or perpetual sad boy Apollo. And yes, you better believe I played it twice to romance both female options (and get new song options) and the story was so drastically and deliciously different each time. What’s nice is, even if you chose to have Grace romance Pan or Apollo, it doesn’t automatically de-queer the game. There is a pride flag in Grace and Freddie’s apartment, Erika Ishii’s Hermes is nonbinary and everyone in the game effortlessly uses they/them pronouns for them, and Persephone makes it clear that she is queer in more ways than just having an alternative lifestyle haircut. It’s extremely queer through and through, and you can make it as fantastical gay as you want, all while enjoying supremely talented singers and making snap decisions about how you want the story to unfold.

Stray Gods is available to play on Nintendo Switch, PC, Xbox, and PlayStation.


Baldur’s Gate 3

Best queer video games of 2023: Shadowheart from Balder's Gate 3

Shadowheart made me glad I recreated my half-elf druid instead of my moon elf cleric of Selûne otherwise she DEFINITELY wouldn’t have wanted to flirt with me.

If you’ve been on the gay gaming internet at all in the past few months, you’ve probably heard of Baldur’s Gate 3, but I’m going to tell you about it anyway! Baldur’s Gate 3 is an open-world, high fantasy role playing game where you get to create and name your own character, then embark on an adventure set in Faerûn, a world familiar to most people who have played Dungeons & Dragons 5e. And to answer a question I initially had: no, you do not have to play Baldur’s Gate or Baldur’s Gate 2 to play Baldur’s Gate 3. In fact, This third game takes place 120 years after the events of the second game, so you’re dropped into a whole new story.

I knew BD3 was based on D&D, but I didn’t realize how literally it was until I started playing. It’s truly like playing digital D&D when it comes to skill checks, turn-based combat, the race and classes of characters you can play, spells and other actions, and how one impulsive decision can drastically change the course of the story. Unlike the Horizon games, there aren’t really any guardrails. You just kind of… wander around until you stumble upon a quest and start following breadcrumbs from there. While you go, you collect companions for your party, and the game is so open-world that I was traveling around with just my girl Shadowheart until I realized all the battles I kept stumbling into weren’t meant for just two Level 2 characters, and had to double back and find more friends.

As you progress through the story, you will meet eight romanceable characters, and potentially win their favor. When creating your character, you can select your pronouns, body and face, genitals, and voice all independently of each other. None of this will affect whether or not a romanceable NPC will be into you; that is determined by dialogue choices and your actions throughout. I haven’t finished this behemoth of a game yet, but one thing I can tell you is that maybe you didn’t plan on romancing a character until you see “____ disapproves” and your heart breaks and you realize actually maybe yes you do want to romance them. Also, I’m saying “romance,” but this game gets spicy and you can do quite a bit more than “romance” them.

It’s an imperfect game (there is an alarming amount of fantasy racism right out the gate… I’ve been playing D&D with queers who love to play tieflings so long and with so many DMs who just ignore the “people hate tieflings” idea that it took me aback at first) but it’s a fun, epic adventure. The graphics of this game are beautiful and complex, and D&D has always been as queer as you make it, so it’s fitting that Baldur’s Gate 3 follows suit.

Baldur’s Gate 3 is available to play on PC, Mac, Xbox, and Playstation 5.


I hope this list gave you a solid rundown of some of the best queer video games of 2023, the queerness in each, and maybe inspired you to check one or two you’ve yet to play. And again, I do hope you’ll tell me which queer games came out this year that I missed! (Rest assured, one thing I learned in researching this piece is there will never be a shortage of dating sims out there that include queer and/or player-sexual options.)

It’s worth noting that this year has been… rough for the gaming industry. In September, Epic Games laid off about 16% of its workforce, approximately 850 employees. Bungie laid off about 100 employees, and Ubisoft laid off 124, most from its Canadian studios, plus there were layoffs at Amazon Games, Digital Bros, Humble Games, and Kongregate.

Always, but especially now, be sure to support queer games whenever and however you can! What are your picks for the best queer video games of 2023?

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Valerie Anne

Just a TV-loving, Twitter-addicted nerd who loves reading, watching, and writing about stories. One part Kara Danvers, two parts Waverly Earp, a dash of Cosima and an extra helping of my own brand of weirdo.

Valerie has written 535 articles for us.

11 Comments

  1. Loved Horizon Zero Dawn. Forbidden West is coming to PC early 2024, so I’ll be playing that for sure. And yeah, Aloy read as queer pretty much from the start. I love her snark, especially when it’s directed at the more lecherous men.

    Right now I’m enjoying Scarlet Hollow, which is a horror visual novel game with four chapters out so far (and three to come). You set your character’s name and pronouns and pick a couple personality traits, then jump into a story about returning to your mother’s hometown for your aunt’s funeral. Spooky things, of course, start happening, and every chapter forces you to make a difficult choice in order to save (or not save!) people and places around the town. Although romance isn’t the main point of the game, you can romance a bunch of different characters — male, female, and nonbinary. I’ve played the existing chapters three times now with different traits and it’s been quite different every time! (Most fun trait: Talk to Animals, for sure, but my “best” playthrough used Book Smart and Keen Eye.)

  2. I highly recommend the amazing, super queer text-based game “Stay?” by E. Jade Lomax.

    From their website:

    STAY?
    CHOOSE YOUR OWN HAPPY ENDING

    Welcome to Elaia, a magical city nestled in a high valley. It’s the end of your first year at university & time to choose your major.

    Find yourself among potential friends or lovers– young people with secrets, dreams, fears, and tragedies. Learn about the history & breadth of Elaia’s world, and decide what kind of mark you want to leave on it.

    WHAT IS “STAY? ” ?

    – An interactive fiction story.
    – A dating sim wrapped up in a fantasy adventure puzzle.
    – A quest to find your own happy ending in a world where you always get a second chance.

  3. Oh my! Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood’s graphics are amazing, as for me, an amateur artist. I just fell in love with it. As for Baldur’s Gate, I played it(I’m not a fan of D&D) and it’s great, especially with such realistic graphics, oh I spent hours creating my character

  4. Me making my extremely slow way through horizon zero dawn reinvigorated that Aloy has a queer storyline hohoho. Excited to check out some of these games!

    Also for consideration it came out last year but my roommate and I have been doing ‘pass the controller’ coop for the horror narrative game the Quarry and I am seriously obsessed. No sapphic storyline, but there is a cute queer story between camp dj Dylan and podcast fan Ryan that I am so into atm. Seriously exceeded expectations. There’s a lot of sapphic energy between Emma and Abigail but sadly no actual romance (except in my heart). So I too understand the late to the game (literal). Still waiting for bg3 to go on steam sale so I can pick it up hehe.

  5. Do you think that video games are kind of a waste of time? I think so. If I have to play something, I prefer gambling or sports betting. At least there is a big bonus in the form of earnings. Now I found new platform https://duckdice.io/ , which seems to have really cool bonuses. But as a sports betting fan, it’s cool that there are 3 betting modes, including flash betting, which I tried here for the first time.

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