That's a lot of good'uns!
The Melbourne Queer Games Festival 2021 has selected a whopping 57 games to showcase in its online festival.
The selected titles are across a wide range of genres and address an equally broad range of issues and interests.
TraceS, by Paulette, is the first “of a series of Bitsy games, which proposes to search for traces and archives of the fight against AIDS”. Titles like Arcadia Fallen by Daniel Svejstrup Christensen and Parmesan by Laine Parent feature non-binary protagonists, while the likes of Weltschmerz by BáiYù and Take a Piss Like a Woman by Velvet focus on transgender characters.
If you’re looking for a little escapism, you can manage a magical hotel in Minotaur Hotel by MinoAnon, pretend to by skeletons who’ve forgotten what sex is in TOMBS Toot on my Balls Skeleton by Cam Burke, or retell scary queer tales in Rhianna Newlove’s Ghost Story… not to be confused with Emma Conner’s Ghost Stories, which has you listening to creepy tales. Developer Red Chan has two titles showcased: I’m a love interest in my childhood friend’s reverse harem is an “otome game with BL possibilities”, while I’m a side character in a BL story! focuses on an NPC.
Video World by Melbourne’s Jacob Leaney, also known as Monster Mansion — a title and developer that we’ve covered in the past — is also one of the titles featured in this year’s festival.
“I definitely think in previous years, you’ve been able to discern trends quite easily, and I thought coming in this year that some of the trends from last year would follow through,” organiser Luke Miller told Stevivor when looking at this year’s selections. Particularly, around trans games — they’ve always been really strong part of the festival.
“You’d think the big two are the lesbian and gay [themed games], but every year that it’s the trans games that show up. That’s because I think they’ve got something to say at the moment, compared to the other letters of the of the rainbow alphabet,” he continued. “But this year I think discerning a trend a lot harder; there just seems to be more variety.”
While Miller is still working his way through playing each of the showcase games in the lead up to the festival in October, he said that he hasn’t “come across a single instance of ‘will you kill someone’ or ‘shoot someone'” and that all the titles are “contemporary, slice of life games”.
Miller also noted that the quality of submissions continues to rise with each year that passes.
“I think in our first and second year, we only had three or four games that weren’t [visual novels]… but this year we do seem to have more technically minded games than just the visual novel, and I think that’s notable,” he said. “There are RPGs where you walk around or fly around, and some 3D games as well.
“I think the tools are maturing or the scenes maturing a bit.”
All games in the Melbourne Queer Games Festival 2021
- A Good Game We Can Speak Of (Audre): You send your queer game to the game publisher “fantastic-pear”. They’ll accept it, only if you modify it a little.
- Starry Flowers (NomnomNami): two witch boys fall in love
- Somewhere Better (TangledVirus): A road trip between a mage and some magical girls.
- Parmesan (Laine Parent): an 8-bit story about a non-binary person being bullied for being who they are
- Dragon in the Road (Mariken S.): A short story about being a sleeping dragon in the way of a hero.
- Close to Nothing (Rhianna Newlove): Queer horror romance interactive fiction
- A Day of Maintenance (Peter Maringell): An open world truck-sim driving game with gay robots in it
- Cover Me In Leaves (Elliot Herriman): An interactive fiction game about queerness and small towns.
- boy’s curse/boy’s blessing (nilson carroll): A desperate anti-dating sim, a shattered queer self-portrait, a shakily written list of every binary binding my body and ruining my heart.
- Video World (Jacob Leaney): Video World is a synth-pop halloween musical set in a 90s video store.
- Weltschmerz (BáiYù): Two young trans men find themselves stuck together on a strange train.
- Their Warmth (Themoe): “Their Warmth is a bisexual and queer visual novel with a non-binary protagonist. It’s a mystery with elements of romance.
- violeta (Gabrielle Serna): Be a cat, be cute, listen to your friends, and knock over some plants if you feel like it.
- A Twisted Place (Rhianna Newlove): Depressing horror with queer experiences
- TOMBS: Toot on my balls skeleton (Cam Burke): A TTRPG where you both pretend to be skeletons who have forgotten what sex is, but who really want to have it anyway
- Happy Pride (Gamaturgie): In a Pride, Alex enjoys the party, meeting people and talking with them, and creates a zine about Prides’ history.
- What’s your gender? (radow): a non-eucledian labyrinth, exploring terms and concepts related to gender and identity
- TraceS (Paulette): TraceS: Where our story hides is the first episode of a series of Bitsy games, which proposes to search for traces and archives of the fight against AIDS.
- Minotaur Hotel (MinoAnon): A gay romance visual novel where you meet the legendary minotaur and manage a magical hotel.
- A Message and an Advice. (TangledVirus): Say goodbye to someone you almost love.
- An Un-epic story: The adventure of Enki and Tiny Freddie (Mariya): Enki and Freddie’s contract was simple: defeat a nearby river monster. They knew tentacles would be an issue, but there are other complications too…
- Pride or Prejudice (Sean): An interactive, queer, Visual Novel adapation of Pride and Prejudice.
- Anxiety! In the Club (Anthony O): A short game about anxiety and being stuck in places you’d rather not be.
- I’m a love interest in my childhood friend’s reverse harem!!! (Red Chan): A not-so-generic otome game with BL possibilities.
- Pebble Witch (Pete Foley): An rpg-ish, walking simulator-y, talking game.
- userID (Hua Chai): Log into the console and locate “userID.”
- Ascension: Transition and Silver (Hayley-Isabella Cawley): Venture into The Zone – a dangerous and alien world. Follow the abrasive Doctor, the shy Scholar and sardonic Escort on their journey – though none of them will come out unscathed.
- Homing (Michelle Lega): A low-poly epistolary game where you navigate a messenger pigeon through a city.
- for|rest (Jes Klass): A first-person, 3D Unity game that explores complex grief, nature, and catharsis.
- Take a Piss Like a Woman (Velvet): A trans woman and an ace man start talking while taking a piss.
- Arcadia Fallen (Daniel Svejstrup Christensen): Arcadia Fallen is an LGBTQ+ friendly roleplaying game where a non-binary character plays a central role in the plot
- Yearning For Spring (TundraFlame): A girl gets lost in blizzard during a hike, and meets someone who will change her life forever.
- Deliver Us From Evil (Crysil): Investigate humanity’s dark wishes and romance supernatural batchelors
- Parcels and Pollen (littlerat): Be a rabbit. Sell flowers. Make friends!
- Ghost Story (Rhianna Newlove): Game about telling horror stories with with a specifcally early ’00s approach to queerness
- 湯圓 [tong jyun] (kc): a little chat about cooking & culture.
- Zen: A Gay Sequel (Bob Conway): A stat-based, planner-focused gay dating sim set in college; also the sequel to Yearning: A Gay Story
- LanVodis (Sraëka-Lillian): A treasure-hunting, navigation and dis/orientation game
- Ell’s Kitchen (Red Chan): Cooking with lesbian youtubers
- I’m a side character in a BL story! (Red Chan): Ever wondered what the side characters get up to in a BL story? Here’s your chance to find out.
- Moon Archer Shooting Stars (shino): The gatekeeper of an elevator to the moon meets day after day a girl without papers.
- The Hayseed Knight (Maxi Molina): Join a ragtag band of misfits as they piece together how Ader, a one-eyed farmboy with impossible dreams, becomes the kingdom’s most celebrated knight in this gorgeous fully voice-acted VN.
- HITME (Xiri): Follow the story of Nam, Dei and Astra as they feel (hit, fumble, fuck) their way through the city of Santiago de Chile.
- Confession Center (Samm Jinks): Falling in love… at an anime convention!?
- The Life of Saint Fiona Bianco Xena (Fantasia Malware): The hotly disputed story of the fictitious saint’s life. Fiona is a kaleidoscopic vision of one woman seen through three rotating eyes, an illusion of separated light scattering in different directions.
- Cusfu Grapefruit Sun (gg noni): tiny click-thru w moving pics, sounds, music
- Mizuchi 白蛇心傳 (Roxie): Mizuchi is a wlw a fantasy romance visual novel inspired by the Legend of the White Serpent and other multicultural myths.
- The Morning Star (S. Jean): Alec wakes up alone at a bus stop in the middle of nowhere; except he soon finds he’s not as alone as he thought.
- (in)finite girl (Supercircuit): You meet a girl and reality shatters.
- daria (Bahiyya Khan): Daria is a game about a teenage girl that is addicted to going on to sex cam sites for validation, mostly from men.
- The Dark Place (Robin): A personal VN on anxiety, depression, and the value of others.
- co-open (rayzones & Yaffle): co-open is a slice of life adventure game, about a kid who is sent on their first independent grocery shopping run by their grandmother, that touches on supportive social systems and depicts casual queer representation.
- Were|House (Madi Wander): Were|House is a comedic visual novel with dashes of romance, where protagonist Dori gets roped into working alongside three monstrous cuties during Halloween!
- When You Meet Your Doppelganger on the Road, You Must Make Out With Them (Mids Meinberg): A two-player game about meeting your doppelganger on the road and then making the decision about whether or not to make out with them.
- Sparkles & Gems (j a r s hooch): Sparkles & Gems is a unique take on the classic ball-and-paddle game, with wild power-ups, a fun and deep story, and many little treasures along the way!
- Winter (Elliot Herriman): WINTER is an interactive fiction about sex, trans insecurity, and a girl with a skull for a face.
- Ghost Stories (Emma Conner): Winter is the time for ghost stories. Spend your days walking through the woods to find offerings for the ghosts; spend your nights listening to stories of their lives.
All 57 titles are available to view — and most are available to play — via the Melbourne Queer Games Festival 2021 website. We highly encourage you to check them out share your favourites with others.
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