Times are tough for the trans community, so let's highlight some great examples of representation in video games.
Soo, if you’ve been anywhere on the internet recently you’ll know that a certain game, based on a certain book, set in a certain wizard world, has just been released. You’ll also be aware of said author’s extreme views on transgender individuals.
Instead of focusing on negative news about a very vulnerable community, we just want to highlight some great representations. This list isn’t comprehensive but it’s a good mix of well-known AAA studio games and comfy indie pieces.
Out of over 60,000 reviews on Steam, 97% of them are positive. This beautifully-animated 2D platformer was made by non-binary Canadian game dev Maddy Thorson. You help the protagonist Madeline battle her demons as she climbs a dangerous mountain. Not only is the game compelling with great mechanics, but the soundtrack is also a masterpiece.
It’s currently £14.99 on Steam so an absolute bargain given the quality of the game. Towerfall Ascension was also made by Maddy and their studio, so if you are craving more when you’re done, you’re in luck.
The Last of Us Part 2
There’s a lot of hype around this franchise at the moment given the incredibly popular HBO series currently airing. The second instalment of the game delves further into certain characters’ LGBTQIA+ identities. Amongst the gritty fungal apocalypse, it still manages to find the time to explore a touching story about a trans teenager.
If a dark and atmospheric story-driven zombie game sounds like something you’d dig, or you’ve been enjoying the series, definitely give the games a go.
Undertale & Deltarune
Toby Fox’s narrative-driven RPGs inspired by classics like Earthbound explore themes of identity and play a little loose on gendering characters. Many of the characters are referred to with gender-neutral pronouns and some are even visibly gender non-conforming. For example, Mettaton is a character beloved by the non-binary community.
We shan’t give away any spoilers but there may or may not be a canon trans character in the spiritual successor Deltarune. Undertale is under a tenner on most platforms and Deltarune’s first two chapters are free online so give them a go without breaking the bank.
If a free-to-play shooter battle royale is more your style, give Apex a go. It has a vibrant art style, exciting gameplay and a bunch of LGBTQIA+ characters to play as. Bloodhound, one of the characters in the game since launch, was confirmed to be non-binary in a short film uploaded to the game’s YouTube channel.
The latest season of the game also introduced the new legend Catalyst, a trans woman. Her voice actor, Meli Knight, said that the developers wanted to make her inescapably trans and not leave room for ambiguity.
The Hayseed Knight
One of the smaller games on this list, this cute visual novel with great voice acting has 96% positive reviews on Steam. You follow a group of misfits on their journey with a one-eyed farmer on their sudden, unexpected rise to fame. So far, four chapters have been released for a total of around 16 hours of content.
The beautiful art style and charismatic voice acting make it clear that this passion project was loved by the developer. Deep dive into this curious and beautiful tale for only £11.99 on Steam.
This game doesn’t even need a Steam account or console. Just go to the Resurrection Land website to take yourself on a speculative adventure through a dark, atmospheric exploration of the effects of trans tourism. There’s an emphasis on how to protect those who are most likely to be erased by history as well as an examination of modern approaches to archiving history.
With no cost involved, there’s no reason not to explore the strange archives. You’ll definitely be left uneasy, but that’s kind of the point. It’s directly tackling some of the darker sides of being black and trans, the struggles of just wanting to exist and be remembered in a world that doesn’t want you to do either.
The Wayward Strand
If a gentle art style with complex, interwoven narratives told through interactions sounds like your thing, give the Wayward Strand a go. Set in an airborne hospital in 1978, you play as Casey gathering info to write a piece for her school paper. There’s so much to explore as you talk to the guests, follow them, and open up new sections to wander through.
Mostly has positive reviews on Steam and many awards to its name, so there’s proof of its calibre. Why not pick it up on Steam for just over £15?
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