A Year Of Digital Diversity – 2019

2019 has been a BIG year for the Digital Diversity project: with the amazing support of the community this has grown into such an incredible experience and something I’m really proud of.

With the number of games released by or about LGBTQIA+ folx over the last year (at least 500 if you just go by what has been uploaded to Itch.io) it feels like this project is only just getting to see the tip of what this big queer world of ours has to offer.

Before I go into all the games we’ve featured this year here are a few highlights either of or as a response to this Digital Diversity project over the last year:

  • Game submissions to DD grew to 78 and include games from multiple online platforms as well as TTRPGs. We couldn’t do this without people actually submitting their games to be played and reviewed so it’s pretty great
  • The Itch.io Digital Diversity collection grew to 82 games on that platform alone
  • Digital Diversity streams backed up onto YouTube for longer-term retention
  • 30 games streamed
  • 12 interviews conducted
  • The number of visitors to the blog doubled since last year, which means more eyes on more games
  • Two panels moderated at PAXAUS conducted representing LGBTQIA+gaming
  • Created my own first little game experience with the help of those in the community, The Live Here Now

So yeah, things have been pretty busy considering about half this year has been spent battling mental health issues, learning multiple new jobs and a lot of other interesting times, and next year I want to try and make things bigger and better.

So without further messing around, here are the games featured on Digital Diversity in one way or another this year. You should check out some or all of these games and throw your support the way of the devs because they kick butt.


Yearning: A Gay Story

MHuOAk - Copy
The first game featured on Digital Diversity streams this year and gosh this was a heck of a ride; my first playthrough took about 8 hours and as soon as I was done I wanted to go back and play again from the start. It’s wonderfully emotional, can be either lighthearted or very heavy depending on your choices, and the characters can really surprise you with their stories ūüôā

InterviewLet’s Play

Slap Game 4

slap

Cute, quick and fun. Slap Game 4 is all about being a cat climbing on a cat tree and just whapping things in a way that only cats can. I’m a big fan of Fenreliania’s experiences and always love having at least on of their games on each year’s list.

Let’s Play

Goodbye Hazel

haz

The Hazel series by pc0hiq are at once difficult and often tragic, but also beautiful and meaningful. The 4th part of the Hazel series Goodbye Hazel deals with dealing with self-acceptance and wish fulfilment.

InterviewLet’s Play

Love On The Peacock Express

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A train full of mature women and one young naive private investigator looking for mystery and love. This is one of those games where once you finish one story line you start it again and again until you’ve met every character and explored every option. This one gave me a lot of blushy feels.

Interview¬†– Let’s Play

When Aster Falls

WAF1

Gosh, what can I say about When Aster Falls that I haven’t gone on and on about before? I love this visual novel so much. It’s one of my favourite pieces of media focusing on asexuality because it digs right into what being on the Ace spectrum is like and does a great job of showing what it’s like when you realise that you might have been Ace all along.
I cried a little at the end of this one, happy tears.

InterviewLet’s Play

Skate & Date

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A queer roller-derby¬†rhythm game all about out-skating your opponents and crushing on the other team. I loved this game and I can’t wait for the full release someday soon.

Let’s Play

Incompatible Species

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Incompatible Species is a cute and queer kinetic novel full of wonderful characters and weird situations. Great voice acting and adorable art making this an experience difficult to keep off your mind for long. The characters really make this story what it is and I highly recommend picking it up.

Let’s Play

Acetylene

ace0

Dealing with the interwoven nature of sexuality and magic Acetylene is all about helping a friend’s sibling through the realisation that they may also be on the Ace spectrum. Lots of great representation in this one and perfect if you want to know more about asexuality/aromantic sexuality.

Interview Let’s Play

Monster Village

MV

Darn I want more of this. Monster Village is one of the few RPGMaker games I really fell for. Cute and whimsical but promising so much more to come it sets the stage for so much more to come. Learn a trade and become an essential part of village life, learn about the people around you and maybe fall in love.
More of this pls.

Let’s Play

Gigolo Sim

gs1

The second TheLastYuriSamurai title on this list, Gigolo Sim was created as the anti-peaceful life simulator. Not taking itself seriously in the slightest it’s all about getting a job, forming casual intimate relationships and random pop culture references.¬† It has a wonderfully weird kind of charm.

Interview

When The Night Comes

wtnc1

If you’re into supernatural fantasy with lots of queer romanceable characters you really can’t go further than When The Night Comes. Not only does this game have great story and feel amazing all-round but the representation is a welcome change and some of the romances have me biting my lower lip so you know it’s got my favour.

InterviewLet’s Play

One Night, Hot Springs

j0YChr

As a trans person who loves Japan One Night, Hot Springs really hit home in the difficulties of being transgender in a country that really doesn’t handle that sort of thing well. After being invited to a traditional hot springs by a friend Haru just wants to take a bath and not have to deal with the awkwardness that explaining who they are to strangers. This feels like it could be made about trans issues any country and still feel as poignant.

Let’s Play

Mixtape

mt

I honestly don’t know how to describe Mixtape in a way that does it justice. Bizarre and evocative? Nostalgic and emotional? Just like the tape it’s a mix of a lot of things. Explore the world, dance, listen to music, discover the dream world around you made up of the memories that seem hauntingly familiar. This one got me in the feels surprisingly deep and I loved it.

Let’s Play

A Conversation

Conv

Queer artists talking about life, serious mood. When it comes to branching dialogue this is one of those examples you can point to and go “That’s how you do it right.”. I have a fondness for games that don’t give you a correct choice, only what is right for you at the time, and that’s what you get out of A Conversation.

Let’s Play

Knife Sisters

ks0

When the new year rolled around I knew I had to have Knife Sisters as the first Digital Diversity interview of the year. This was everything I never knew I needed in a visual novel and so much more. Layers of kink and occult wrapping together into an intricate dance of hedonistic storytelling made it something really special. This is that other game I never shut up about (the first being Hardcoded from last year’s roundup) and will forever be in love with.

InterviewLet’s Play

Games by Communistsister

CS

I’ve been playing Communistsister’s interactive stories for a couple of years now and I finally got around to streaming a couple of them, The Tower and PERSEIDS (or, All This Will Go On Forever), two very different experiences dealing with predominantly trans themes. One dug deep into my heart, the other made me laugh and gave me hope, both wonderful.

Let’s Play

Games by Le_Onionboi

onion

Onion’s work is prolific and amazing, they excel at making memorable experiences with simple engines like Bitsy. Three of their games have been on DD this year, A Night At Manster Mansion, A Day in the Life of a Sea Witch, and B.O.O.O and I loved each one of them in their own ways. Onion’s work really gave me the passion to try Bitsy and without their help I wouldn’t have made my own game. I owe them many many thanks.

Let’s Play

Out Of Work On The Docks Of Osiris

oow

Never before playing this game would I imagine getting to play the role of a spaceship captain who gets to interview with a sentient spaceship… But I guess that’s where I am now. I love this game, simple as that. Interview different AIs and decide which you would most like to spend the next part of your life with. It’s also beautifully drawn and charming as heck.

Let’s Play

Synthetic Lover

sl

I am so keen to see how Synthetic Lover turns out once it is finished. The story of an engineered humanoid waking up to reality after an existence of servitude is the kind of story that can either be done really well, or really badly, in the Synthetic Lover case it’s entirely the former. Great music, fantastic art, gripping story and well acted characters make this a game I want more of as soon as I can get it.

Let’s Play

Player Known Battlegrounds

PKBG1

Another first time for me is the time I got to spend as a tour guide in Gettysburg showing hapless tourists around historic monuments while fighting off a breakdown… because that’s the experience of Player Known Battlegrounds and it’s pretty darn amazing. This game makes me want to see more historic sites set up virtual tours, especially if I get to shepherd people back to the tour bus.

InterviewLet’s Play

Parsnip

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Is it a children’s book with a twisted heart? Or maybe some meaningful proverb about how good intentions don’t prelude nice endings? Either way I love this weird hand-drawn adventure and all its characters that each deserve their own stories. This is easily one of the most beautiful looking games I’ve played all year and it also happens to be one of the strangest. Moar pls.

InterviewLet’s Play

//TODO:today

TD01

One visual novel about the struggles of being a struggling artist mixed with a heaping scoop of self-discovery and queer overtones please. This is a visual novel experience where I actually feel seen, something I don’t get often. Great personalisation options and the ability to craft your own story as you go makes for an experience not soon forgotten. Lots of good feels in this one.

InterviewLet’s Play

Camp Ravenrock

YqsCbz

Streamed as part of AceWeek I really enjoyed this summer school visual novel full of very queer characters. Very much a work in progress when I played it I fell in love with it not long after starting it up and I’m excitedly awaiting the full game. If you ever wanted to experience life in a summer school full of magical characters, aliens and elemental beings but also feel represented in a queer space this is a good one to play.

Let’s Play

Who Knows (Where They’re Going)

wk

Another AceWeek inclusion this time a short interactive novel about two waitresses on their first date and I love this charming little experience. Covers a lot of deeper subjects as well as discussion on asexual/aromantic identities¬† and I’ve a great fondness for stories like this.

Let’s Play

Gay Monster Kiss Club

gmkc

Farrrrk, we started this year feeling pretty gay and we ended it GAAAAAAY. As a queer monster myself I feel very seen by Gay Monster Kiss Club. I expected great things from the creator of GENDERWRECKED but even I wouldn’t have expected to feel so drawn in to this story of a Gay-Straight-Alliance in a school full of monsters. I need as much of this game as I can get my paws on.

Let’s Play

Warm

Warm

Lots of feels here. Warm is all about disconnection from others in school and at home, the comfort of simple things, being alone and not knowing how friendship is supposed to feel. It’s aiming for a 2020 release I’m so looking forward to seeing how this story plays out as the first chapter holds a lot of promise and is already utterly beautiful. This one is going to really resonate with anyone who had trouble connecting with others as a kid, or even as an adult. The art and music are also gorgeous and I want more.

¬†– Let’s Play

Dr. Frank’s Build-A-Boyfriend

Drf

If you had to retell the classic Frankenstein for the modern age I can’t think of a better way to do it than with Dr. Frank’s Build-a-Boyfriend. In reaction to his boyfriend dumping him and running off with his research Dr. Frank attempts to upstage his ex and the scientific community that spurned him by building his perfect boyfriend out of pieces collected from the local cemetery. Needless to say this doesn’t go as planned. Lots of great lewd joke and weird twists I had a lot of fun with this one.

¬†– Let’s Play

BAKED:MAGIC

BM

Short, sweet, and full of baked goods. The last game on Digital Diversity streams for 2019 and I couldn’t have asked for a more positive experience to finish up on. Some great characters, fun mini-game mechanics and memorable lines BAKED:MAGIC was exactly what I needed to round off a year of queer gaming. Bake some muffins, make some magic, be pretty darn gay.

¬†– Let’s Play


Where do we go from here?

Digital Diversity started as a very small passion project on a spur of the moment idea and has grown to the point where it feels overwhelming at times. There are more games being made every day than any one person (or monster in my case) could keep up with alone. So do I bring on someone to help with the project? Keep going as things are and chip away at that mountain of media? What is Digital Diversity’s destiny?

These are questions for future Kaiju…

…for now, Thank you

I want to thank every single person who has been part of the Digital Diversity project in one way or another. From those who made these amazing games, and those whose games I haven’t gotten to yet or might never get around to (there are lots of them, okay)

Thank you to each awesome person who has talked to me about their games, as well as those who shared their experiences with me about these games.

Above all I want to thank you. Yes you. The person reading this right now. You make this whole weird gay endeavour worthwhile and it means so damn much to me. I wouldn’t be doing this without you ‚̧

And with 2019 coming to a close let us all embark on a brand new year together. It’s a great big Digital Diversity out there, and we’re in it together.


Want your game featured on Digital Diversity in some way? Submit it
Want to check out some of these games? Check out the Digital Diversity Itch.io Collection
Want to support Digital Diversity? Go tell people about it on your favourite social media platform.
Want to follow the monster behind it all? I’m over on Twitter
You can support the Digital Diversity project over at Patreon

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