Interestingly, despite seemingly getting more coverage than some AAA games get, I’ve only noticed a slight increase in traffic to my games (Nepenthe and To The Dark Tower).
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, both on the news itself, and on my unlikely spot in all of it
it’s really for a very specific type of game–ones that have a focus on lgbtq content, or discuss such matters–think dating sims, “politically minded” games, etc…If you want to see more of that type of stuff it’s now easier to find it, and if you aren’t interested, it’s now easier to ask Steam to block it for you
I think there’s a pretty simple explanation to that. Political news punditry does not sell games, it’s not news that people who are looking for games to play are reading.
As for what the tag means and it’s usefulness. I don’t know if it is. Is there anyone here who looks at games tags and would buy a game because it has an LGBTQ+ tag on it? Is that really relevant information to your purchasing process? I’m not trying to be facetious or anything here, just curious.
I have from time to time been mildly annoyed with the “female protagonist” tag because it’s a huge tag and it pushes things out of the tag line that I’m actually interested in knowing about a game. To me the gender of the protagonist does not in any way matter, I don’t know if there’s anyone to whom it does. I could potentially see that maybe it’d be a small + to some people, but in the end if a game is good or bad what character model is being used has very little to no impact.
That is a good point, with the tag existing that does make it easier to find games specifically handling the subject. Would have been nice if they’d allowed other actually useful tags like “walking sim” to exist when the customer base deemed it a useful thing to sort in or out too.
Dream Daddy is a game where every single datable character is male, with you the player being also male in-game, it’s a good game, but for some, being put in such shoes may not be a good experience, and others may enjoy it.
On the other hand, some of the infamous Sakura games, feature only females as their characters, so given their nature, your in for some lesbian based relationships as well, which for some reason is a bonus for some players
Like these, there’s a plethora of VNs that feature same-sex relationships, it may not be a relevant tag for a game like Borderlands, but it is quite relevant in the realm of visual novels, where the story is paramount, so it’s helpful for people to know what the game is about from the beginning,
not to mention as @yitzilitt said, to make it easier to find such things.
That aside, the problem I see with “walking sim”, is that people started using it in a derogatory manner, so even if the game was good and an actual game like Gone Home(which is relevant to the topic by the way), people would avoid it without a chance just because of the tag and its association with game-play, unlike LGBTQ+ which basically denotes a theme or type of content.
@yitzilitt Congratz on your flu pal. Adding to what @Fraggles said, those news are more about the tag rather than your game, so maybe that can also affect results?
Oh yeah, I can certainly imagine some amusing fallout from this. The vast majority of games this tag could actually apply to would likely not be the kind of games someone using the term to search would be looking for.
But then that’s the rub with any tag really, how you apply it. Like “walking sim”, yes it started out as derogatory but it became useful because it is a very apt description. Valve of course in their infinite wisdom and rapid response times went in and banned it just as the tag evolved into usefulness.
I can certainly see how an LBGTQ+ tag would be used both derogatorily and pointlessly. Are we putting it on every modern Bioware title because you can court characters of the same sex? We are obviously putting it on every yuri VN in existence right?
The only way to avoid that though is to earmark the tag and say it’s only to be used for political content, only things that involves making some sort of statement or delivering a (positive) message on LBGTQ+ stuff. Not just simply featuring characters of alternative sexual orientations.
Maybe so that LGBTQ people could find game about them with ease? I dunno, I’m just saying…
There’s also female-protagonist tag in Steam, I used it when searching for point-and-clicks. It was right after Fran Bow and The Cat Lady, and yes, that was the exact time when I wanted to play more games with female protagonists. And I remember this tag getting mixed reactions, too.
Yitz, I read some of the articles! Very interesting bit you got here:
“We were trying to interpret a few strange lines in the poem my game is based on (‘Childe Roland To The Dark Tower Came,’ by Robert Browning), when we figured out that by interpreting the entire poem as a medieval-era gay man debating if his love is worth potential sacrifice, a number of ‘contradictions’ that experts found could be resolved easily,” Yitz said in a Twitter DM to Kotaku. “This would have been just a curiosity, had we not dug deeper, and found that the author, Robert Browning, was almost certainly a closeted bisexual, and at the time he wrote it was dealing with almost the exact same problems his fictional narrator internally faces.”
This is so fucking cool, actually! Real valuable insight right there. I’ll have to reread the poem before I play your game, my dude.
Thanks for pushing this tag thing. I, for one, super appreciate it.
And to those who think LGBTQ+ tag isn’t adequate: Steam tags have long since stopped being used solely for game genres. See:
political gore Atmospheric
Bonus is that, if you REALLY don’t wanna play an LGBTQ+ game, the tag is also for you! You can now exclude the category entirely. Isn’t that grand?
Congrats on the mentions!
Since they’re not explicitly about your game, I’m not surprised you’re not getting much out of them, though. But hopefully you’re getting at least a little extra attention.
I’d be hella curious to see what games are out there that have the LGBTQ+ tag but aren’t romance, that’s a combination I’m always interested in.
(Also, I use the Female Protagonist tag when browsing genres that either tend to default to Big Gruff Man protags or non-descript ones, as it’s the easiest way to increase my chances of finding games in those genres with more developed protagonists. And sometimes I just want to find fantasy games with young girl protagonists like Child of Light, and that tag helps.)
But wouldn’t it be more sensible if light and shade filters sat in a different filter class than Platformer, MMO, RPG, Visual Novel? I certainly think that some game descriptors carry a lot more weight than others.
I mean if someone is looking for that kind of thing more power to them and for the people that are this will be helpful but as someone who does not care that much about that kind of thing and cares more about gameplay i’m not going to use it. I do wish they added more useful tags like “Good game cuz Garfield kart” or “Trash game cuz its anything other then Garfield kart”.
I dunno about Steam tags really, some are useful, some aren’t. There are a good few games that are hard to put into the right category too. Is Myst a Walking Sim or a Point and Click Adventure, or Puzzle or all of those? Or moreover, classic?
Kind of like how Rogue-like games were inspired by the originals, while some are actually rogue-lites. Man there’s a lot of tags, lol.
For my part, I’d be happy if it was easier to find out say, for dating Sims, if you knew whether romancing any gender was possible from the go. On the other hand, if a game has a LGBTQ character, who Is NOT the MC, do use still have to use the tag? I wouldn’t think so.
Female protagonist is a tag I do like, because I hate the Nancy Drew trope of females always being the damsel in distress in need of rescuing. In many cases, females are the physically weaker sex, but not the incapable sex, and it’s good to see that represented now. I love Sekiro, but I’m glad that people can use the tag to find games like Toren, X-Blades, Mirror’s Edge and the Vagrant -titles they may not discover by other means.
Speaking as one still new to comfy spaces like Chrono, not everyone has a group of friends to help them find good games they’d enjoy, so while some of the tags seem silly - hooray for them. Bummer on the more useful ones being discontinued.
Is there anyone here who looks at games tags and would buy a game because it has an LGBTQ+ tag on it? Is that really relevant information to your purchasing process? I’m not trying to be facetious or anything here, just curious.
You know what? Now that I think on it, if I saw that tag, I would actually be discouraged in buying the game because of how it is automatically associated with real world politics. And a game about real world politics is not fun.
The female protagonist tag only makes me cautious and do more research before buying the game. There are plenty of female heroes that are in good games. But if I don’t know the game, I will definitely not impulse buy before knowing its details.
The sad thing is the block limit for tags. (checks steam). As far as I know, the limit was 3. But it was increased to 10! Yessssssssss!
Also for anyone reading. There are 2 places where tags can be excluded.
Account details >>> Preferences >>> scroll to Tags To Exclude
Store >>> Featured >>> scroll to “Your Discovery Queue” click “Learn More” >>> click “Customize your queue”
Even if I exclude these games, if a game really really stands out, I can still search for it manually and check it out. So I will never really miss out on good games to add to my wishlist.
I’ve checked the tag yesterday and it’s about 50% anime girls romance visual novels (yuri). There are several things worth noting about yuri visual novels:
the art is usually bright, sweet and full of color;
the emphasis is often on the emotions: it’s always the big drama, or an extremely sweet story, or a combination of that;
there’s often a fantasy theme or setting involved, and even if there is not, the world still feels like a magic bubble created for the story to shine;
they feel far away from the real world.
How do I know? That’s one of my escapism windows. I used to buy every yuri game I saw in Steam, but eventually stopped bc of the overall quality drop: sometimes even the good art can’t compensate the weak writing that doesn’t create a realistic world. And even a shiny yuri bubble needs to have dimensions, or the things just won’t work for me.
I also know that’s not your niche, and yuri games are probably not for you. I don’t have any friends who are into these games, but I have friends who enjoyed Gone Home, loved Timespinner and shipped two female leads in Life is Strange. I have yet to play the first two games, but I’m sure they’re awesome.
So what I’m trying to say is:
While the games on the tag might be assocated with real-life politics, they might actually contain little of the said politics or even none of it at all. And that would be the case for the most games on the tag. People just want to have fun too, I guess.
You’d probably not see many of those games in your recommendations or while browsing anyway. Bc as for now, most of them are yuri games, gay dating sims (you know them when you see them, you don’t really need a tag to distinguish them) and short philosophical vns you’ll skip anyway if you’re not looking specifically for that kind of experience.
There might be some games or even genres you like. You absolutely do not have to push yourself to go out there and try something that you’re not interested in. I love visual novels, but I don’t play or buy yaoi\male love novels. I thought Dream Daddy could be fun (universally praised, mentioned for its humor etc.) but it just wasn’t for me. Money not well spent.
But the world is changing, people get more open about lots of stuff. GTA already had The Ballad of Gay Tony and it featured gay themes even if the character wasn’t gay. And it was fun and engaging bc it was executed all right. Night in the Woods was a big talk among people who love classic adventure games, and that’s a game about a cat who explores a mystery in a town full of other talking animals. LGBTQ games have great puzzes, platformers, adventures; games like KOTOR have gay-option-exclusive content (you won’t see certain interactions if you don’t roleplay like a gay\bi character at some point). I’m sure there will be more. So limiting it all to “real world politics” you might be missing some cool games.
There are games that let you play with real world politics. Think Civilization or Europa Universalis. I know they’re niche too, but they’re fun You can play to win, or use them as a big political sandbox and see what can happen if you mess around.
Now, guess I’ve just been thinking about this for a while. And used your comment as an excuse to express the thought that’s been for a while. For that, and for the longread, I’m sorry. But the short version would just look like “Most LGBTQ+ games are not about real world politics bc they’re not”, so guess it’s still better than that