Queer Indie Games on itch.io, 2013-2022

Xavier Ho, Remedios Perez Escobar, Natalie Tran

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review


As we turn to queer independent games, we tune our senses to their appearance, narrative structure, and stories to arrive at what authentic queer experiences can be through the lens of queergaming. In this paper, we propose to queer game studies via a multidisciplinary triangulation of critiquing games and theorising queer experiences through queer theory, by counting queer representation in queer indie games, and by conducting a thematic game analysis with two case studies on a collection of LGBT games on itch.io. By orienting ourselves to the desire of having agency as a queer person, we will show how queer indie games provide authentic embodiment of queer experiences. Although our qualitative
sample is relatively small to be statistically significant, we found the gender representation of queer character seem to mimic that of global industry game developer surveys, and we also report the proportions of LGBT games by platform, genre, tools, language, and price points. We also reported the representation of queer pairings, which to our knowledge has not been reported elsewhere. Through the thematic analysis, we identified three themes throughout the game collection, and present two brief case studies on smartphone messaging apps and the use of queer horror in the game sample. This work fills a gap in the literature on what queer experiences are in games through illustrating human connections in queer indie
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 17th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games
EditorsKostas Karpouzis, Stefano Gualeni, Johanna Pirker, Allan Fowler
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
ISBN (Electronic)9781450397957
Publication statusPublished - 2022
EventFDG 2022 (International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games) - Athens, Greece
Duration: 5 Sept 20228 Sept 2022


ConferenceFDG 2022 (International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games)

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