Games referenced in this article
WARNING: This article may contain some spoilers about the following games:
- A Day for Fresh Sushi (Emily Short; 2001; Z-code 5).
- The Lost Spellmaker (Neil James Brown; 1997; Z-code 5).
- Paradise Hotel (Blue Meanie; 2006; ADRIFT 4).
- Jigsaw (Graham Nelson; 1995; Z-code 8).
- Whom the Telling Changed (Aaron A. Reed; 2003; Z-code 5).
- Blue Lacuna (Aaron A. Reed; 2008; Glulx).
- Violet (Jeremy Freese; 2008; Z-code).
- Ollie Ollie Oxen Free (Carolyn VanEseltine; 2013; Glulx).
Homosexuality as incidental
Some IF games have included characters whose homosexuality is not presented as unusual. These games do not delve deeply into queer issues, but instead (arguably) normalise homosexuality by making it a secondary or non-issue.
- The Lost Spellmaker features a female PC with a female love-interest. At one point the protagonist expresses confusion over what the word 'lesbian' means, and dismisses it as poor English. This game was associated with (although it may not have directly resulted from) a rec.games.int-fiction discussion over whether an IF game with a homosexual protagonist would have to involve homosexuality as its main subject.
- The PC of A Day for Fresh Sushi is in a committed lesbian relationship; hints about the relationship are revealed through exploration of the environment.
- Ollie Ollie Oxen Free has a happily married gay PC. The game includes references to the repeal of the United States Defense of Marriage Act and other LGBTQ concerns, but the plot does not revolve around the PC's orientation.
Homosexuality as an option
Some IF games feature a protagonist or love interest character, or both, of undefined gender. At least one has a specific option for a same-sex romance.
- Jigsaw involves a romance with a character named "Black," whose gender (like the player's) is never specified.
- Whom the Telling Changed allows the player to pick a male or female love interest. The player may also choose between traditionally masculine and traditionally feminine roles (a warrior or a healer), but not a specific gender.
- Blue Lacuna explicitly asks for genders of both player and love interest, specifically allowing the possibility of a gay or lesbian relationship.
- Violet has a HETERONORMATIVITY OFF command which changes the gender of the protagonist (but not the titular love interest); this changes the solution to one minor puzzle.
Homosexuality in AIF
AIF tends to follow the lead of mainstream pornography (as opposed to, for instance, fanfiction) in that it is overwhelmingly written for heterosexual males. Thus, lesbianism is a common theme but rarely presented seriously; most lesbians turn out to be enthusiastic bisexuals, and games which primarily or solely feature lesbianism (Kissing Cousins, Archie's Birthday) are primarily written for a straight male audience. Male homosexuality is generally rare, does not tend to be explicit, and is usually presented negatively.
The following AIF games are of interest for diverging somewhat from this norm:
- In Paradise Hotel, a primarily heterosexual male PC is given the option of briefly experimenting with homosexuality.
- In Bareback Mountain, the main character is a homosexual male character.
- Gay Characters in IF and Gay commentary on gay chars - two related raif threads from 1997
- Best Lesbian Sex Scene - an Erins award