Hello! All this week Eurogamer has been celebrating Pride with a series of stories examining the confluence of LGBT+ communities and play in its many different forms, from video games and tabletop games through to live-action role-play.
If you missed anything in the series and fancy settling in for what we hope will be some entertaining, informative, perhaps even thought-provoking weekend reading, you'll find links to all seven of our Pride Week 2021 features (and a brief taster of each) in one convenient location below.
And of course, enormous thanks once more to each of this week's stellar contributors (in order of appearance): Jay Castello, Sharang Biswas, Lottie Lynn, Evan Torner, Dr Lloyd (Meadhbh) Houston, Alex Meehan, and Eli Cugini.
Queer play is everywhere
Jay Castello investigates the joyously queer, community created world of Blaseball and beyond:
"Blaseball is pretty difficult to explain. On its surface it's a browser-based fantasy sports simulator. Players with randomly generated names like Zephyr McCloud and Justice Spoon bat and pitch their way through 100 games per week for teams like the Ohio Worms and the Hellmouth Sunbeams. And also along the way people get incinerated, or do sick skateboard tricks, or have run-ins with gods. [But it's] also pretty commonly regarded as a queer game."
Hunky Dads & Voxel Flags - Video Games and Our Queer Future
Sharang Biswas on the players using video games to explore a better, queerer future:
"When we talk about videogames as 'escapism', we tend to focus on provenance: we're escaping from the humdrum of our jobs, our obligations, the petty horrors that fill modern life. Seldom do we focus on destination. Where are we escaping to? Is it actually a better world than the one we're attempting to leave behind? Video games can offer us worlds we might like to live in; can they offer us worlds we can live in? And particularly for queer people, what does that world look like?"
A Summer's End - Hong Kong 1986 is a tale of lesbian romance and coming out
Lottie Lynn delves into the acclaimed visual novel A Summer's End - Hong Kong 1986:
"Many members of the LGBT+ community have experienced similar journeys to Michelle and, even when she missteps, it's easy to empathise with her, because you understand what drove her to make that decision. By the time you reach the game's conclusion, you truly want Michelle to embrace her authentic self - both in the terms of her sexuality and working towards the life she wishes to lead."
Finding Queerness in Larp
Evan Torner offers an introduction to the ever-expanding queer larping scene:
"Media portrayals ranging from the 2003 Ogre Battle 'Lightning Bolt!' video to glossy coverage of the popular College of Wizardry magic-school larp introduced the medium and subculture to mainstream audiences... A recent strain in journalistic usage of the term 'larp' connects it with politically vocal individuals dressing up as and pretending to be something they're not. But one thing is for certain about larp in the current cultural moment: the active global scene is irreducibly and unapologetically queer."
Disidentification and Lady Dimitrescu - Taking Pride in Queer Thirst
Dr Lloyd (Meadhbh) Houston on Resident Evil Village's Tall Vampire Lady and what they can teach us about the process of disidentification:
"In the case of the Gothic, [film theorist Harry M. Benshoff] argues this queerness is emblematised by the 'outrageous' figure of the monster, whose 'sadomasochistic' antics consistently serve to pull focus from the narrative's 'banal and underdeveloped' protagonist(s) and disrupt their rational, bourgeois, heteronormative life-trajectory... Literally larger than life, [Lady Dimitrescu] strains against the confines of normative social order (and the door to the Save Room), mixing blood-play with an appreciation for vintage wine, fashioning a chosen family of 'daughters' from deceased local women/sentient clusters of flies, and violently decrying the presence of the 'man thing' (Ethan) wherever she encounters him."
Dicebreaker recommends Monsterhearts 2 - an RPG about being queer and loving demons
Dicebreaker's Alex Meehan explores designer Avery Alder's Monsterhearts 2, a tabletop RPG that embraces the themes of weirdness, queerness, and youth:
"To be able to explore my own sexuality so openly through an RPG and to form - albeit fictional - bonds with other queer folks in the game's world made the story feel so much more than just a silly thing we were doing for a stream. Even though I'm way past my teenage years, I find I'm still figuring myself out, and Monsterhearts 2 has somewhat helped with that journey."
Twine Games and the Trans People Who Love Them
Eli Cugini brings this Eurogamer's week of LGBT+ stories to a close with a look at the trans creators embracing the Twine interactive fiction scene:
"These games are designed to centre a kind of existence where your baseline reality is regularly denied by other people, where your whole life is like a series of minigames you play to keep yourself safe. So, for once, in these games, there's nothing to prove. If you've entered this world, it's because you want or need to be there, and if you want to stay, you can."