LGBT representations in video games certainly have a checkered history—including cringeworthy characters like prissy narcissist Vega from Street Fighter II, cross-dressing villain Alfred Ashford in Resident Evil: Code Veronica (right) and the titular mobster from 2009’s Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad Of Gay Tony.
But the future is definitely brighter, with more LGBT characters in games, more out gamers and even conventions celebrating gay gaming. This year, GLAAD gave special recognition to EA’s Dragon Age: Inquisition for including both gay and transgender characters.
Below, we call out nine video games that get LGBT representations right.
The Last of Us/Left Behind (2013)
One of the characters in this mega-popular zombie-apocalypse game is a big badass named Bill, “who is gay without being in any way a stereotype,” says Rocca. There was also a downloadable prequel, Left Behind, that revealed main character Ellie was a lesbian.
Gone Home (2013)
In this mystery-solver, you play 21-year-old Kaitlin Greenbriar, who has returned from a trip abroad to find the new home her parents and sister moved into is strangely empty. Going Home revolves around finding journal entries and clues about (heavy spoiler warning) a lesbian romance between two young women.
Mass Effect 3 (2012)
Alien scientist Liara T’soni appears in all three versions of Mass Effect and is attracted to Shepard no matter what the character’s gender. Steve Cortez, another ME3 character, has the hots for Shepard as well.
Dragon Age: Inquisition (2014)
The latest installment from Bioware’s crazy popular series includes its first fully gay character, Dorian, who players have the option to romance. Bioware has gone with more options in terms of romances for Inquisition, with straight, bisexual, and gay relationships each telling different stories.
Inquisition also includes a trans character, Krem, who demands respect and gets it. “He’s not a woman,” declares one ally. “Krem’s a good man.”
Metal Gear Solid: Sons of Liberty (2001)
Part of the long-running Metal Gear Solid series, this stealth-and-shooting game includes a bisexual villain named Vamp, whose evilness is mitigated by his tragic backstory of losing his family in an explosion. 2004’s Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater also suggested a romance between Colonel Yevgeny Volgin and Major Ivan Raikov.
The Sims (2001)
This iconic series has a history of allowing users to develop relationships of all different kinds. Earlier this year, the Russian government slapped an “adults only” label on The Sims 4 because it allowed for same-sex marriage.
Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic (2003)
Another Bioware offering, Old Republic introduces us to lightsaber-wielding Juhani, the first lesbian in the Star Wars universe.
This popular series was one of the first mainstream games to offer a same-sex option for in-game romance, including the option for a same-sex marriage.
“We said this is about having choice and consequence, and allowing people to choose which person they chat up is part of it,” said Fable developer Peter Molyneux. “When you came to think about it, there’s a man, there’s a woman, there’s a boy, there’s a girl. Same-sex marriage just came up naturally.”
Final Fantasy XIV (2014)
This installment in the insanely popular FF series allows players to marry partners of either sex. When the news was announced, members of the Rough Trade Gaming Community guild showed with a virtual “Pixel Pride” march, with avatars lined up by armor color to create a rainbow effect .
“Why should there be restrictions on who pledges their love or friendship to each other?” asked producer Naoki Yoshida. Why, indeed.