Noteworthy Video Games for WLW

Throughout the past decade, video games have become incredibly more diverse. From The Last of Us to Life is Strange and even Dream Daddy Simulator, there has been an increased demand for LGBTQ representation and stories. Here are three noteworthy games with WLW characters. 

1. VA-11 HALL-A

image via. Sukeban Games

VA-11 HALL-A initially came onto my radar because of its phenomenal soundtrack, which is a feat of its own. The game is a visual novel and RPG hybrid where you get to play as Jill, a bartender who is recovering from the recent loss of her ex-girlfriend. VA-11 HALL-A is ultimately a game about grappling with the uncertainty of life after college and moving past regret and towards action. The gameplay is simple but addictive; you aren't able to choose your own dialogue, but you can influence the game's path by trying to get your patrons drunk or by getting perfect bartending bonuses to buy new items. The artistic style is heavily influence by PC-98 games and pixel art is detailed and gorgeous.

Since the game takes place in the future,VA-11 HALL-A takes a rather nonchalant approach to sexuality and has a diverse body of characters that that feels well developed and never gimmicky. If you're a fan of visual novels, pixel art, or cyberpunk and sci-fi, VA-11 HALL-A is a treat. Its sequel, N1-VANNA, is already in development and slated for a 2020 release.

Consoles Available: PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4, PSVita

Price: $14.99

 

2. Butterfly Soup

image via. Brianna Lei

Butterfly Soup is a visual novel that follows the story of four queer Asian-American girls growing up in Oakland, California. Its adorably illustrated and written by Brianna Lei, an upcoming developer who is currently working on a sequel. Butterfly Soup begins at the start of four high-schooler's freshman year and follows them as they join a softball team, balance schoolwork and social life, and begin falling in love.

image via. Brianna Lei

Though Butterfly Soup initially seems saccharine, cute, and memey, the story quickly develops into something else entirely. Each hour of gameplay follows the perspective of a different protagonist; and Diya, Akarsha, Noelle, and Min all deal with intense issues of their own. Butterfly Soup's characters explore their sexuality, deal with obsessive perfectionism, and confront parental abuse, but ultimately, all issues resolve in the end and the game is relatively stress free. Through its realistic conversation, anime references, and memes, Butterfly Soup is both current and nostalgic. Since the game is only four hours long and is totally free, I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys visual novels or a good story.

Consoles Available: PC

Price: Free (though you can donate to the creator on her site!)

 

3.  Fire Emblem Three Houses

image via. Nintendo

Throughout its history, the Fire Emblem franchise has always included and suggested at the presence of LGBT characters, but with the series' latest installment, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, LGBT characters are finally at the forefront. While the other games on this list clock in at less than ten hours, Three Houses is packed with upwards of 200 hours of content (though you can speed through it at 40 hours if you don't have the time). And don't worry if you're a newcomer to the series; Three Houses doesn't tie in to the rest of the franchise and is much more forgiving than other installments. In Three Houses, you can pick one of four paths and train students for turn-based tactical battle. When you're not battling, you can explore the monastery where you live, forge weapons, and have tea with your girlfriend.

image via Nintendo

Fire Emblem: Three Houses is single-handedly the most diverse fantasy game that I've ever played. The Church of Seiros, the main religion of the game, is lead by a bisexual high priestess, and as a result, there are a dozen main characters that can be romanced by either gender. The game also has diverse characters from the regions of Almyra and Duscar, though a majority of the cast is from the white Fodlan. Both the The Church of Seiros and the Black Eagle path are lead by queer, romancable women. Fire Emblem: Three Houses shows a world where all love is accepted and normalized, and it's a treat for anyone who loves tactical strategy games or social simulators.

Consoles Available: Nintendo Switch

Price: $60.00