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Pride Month is almost over, but that’s no reason to stick to non-rainbow-infused games for the next eleven months. Yes, LGTBQ-friendly games exist — there are dozens of them on the Steam store, provided you know how to look for them.
Steam is often like a hybrid between a shopping mall and a battlefield. There are so many games being released onto the platform — AAA, indie, and everything in between — that finding what you’re looking for can be a matter of clawing your way through an army of irrelevant options.
Sure, there are a few of the games that have attained enough popularity that you can find them by name. For example, indie exploration game Gone Home is famous for its queer teen romance storyline and is also universally lauded. But others are more obscure, and definitely not likely to randomly appear in your recommended list.
Luckily, there are a few straightforward ways to find something if you don’t want to aimlessly browse. So if you’re interested in LGTBQ-friendly games on Steam, how can you find them?
One of the most useful features of Steam is the tags, which are used to both sort games into categories and recommend games to users based on a specific constellation of tags in the games they already own. Played shooters and sci-fi games? Here’s a sci-fi shooter you might be interested in. You get the idea.
Steam recently added an official “LBGTQ+” tag to its list, meaning you can search for all games with that tag. To find it from the landing page of the Steam store, find the tab labeled “games.” This will open a drop down menu. Near the bottom of this menu is the option to “See Popular Tags.”
This will take you to the main tag page. You can either scroll through all of them looking for the “LGBTQ+” tag, or you can use Ctrl+F/Cmd+F to find it. Once you do, it’ll show you a list of all the games Steam has deemed LGBTQ-friendly. Currently it’s mostly visual novels, though not entirely. For example, you’ll find the likes of the aforementioned Gone Home or Verdant Skies, a Harvest Moon-esque sim where the customizable player character isn’t bound to “male/female” gender options.
If you don’t want to trust Steam’s classifications, there’s another way you can find LGBTQ+ games on Steam: curators. Steam allows users to curate lists of recommended games, and you can find several specifically for such games.
Just search the curator list for keywords like “queer,” “gay,” or “LGBT,” etc. Admittedly, the search function here is a bit hit-or-miss. You may have to go to a search engine to find them. I promise they’re there.
The benefit of looking at a curator’s list is that the curator can leave notes next to each game explaining why they recommend it. In most cases, curators who make LGBTQ+ lists leave notes about just how the game is romantically- or gender-diverse.
There’s one more way of finding LGBTQ-friendly games: you can look at pre-prepared bundles, which allow you to buy several LGBT-friendly games at once. Specifically, the game company Midboss compiled two game bundles as part of its Summer of Pride event. Both bundles are still on Steam at time of writing.
The only downside to this is that if you click the link to the bundle, it won’t load into the Steam client, but into your browser. You may have to log in again in order to access the bundles, one of which is currently age-locked.
One last thing to keep in mind: all of these options will lead you to more or less the same games, so you might not find as many games out there as you like. But they’re out there, and hopefully as more people buy LGBTQ friendly games, more developers will be inspired to make them.