When Boyfriend Dungeon stumbled across Xbox Game Pass, I downloaded it for his exploration of Hades-style dungeons and the obvious embrace of homosexuality, nothing more. Dating sims are usually not my scene. Once I started, I was captivated by the visual novel elements that normally don’t grab me. Most importantly, I was surprised to find that Boyfriend Dungeon allows you to do so much more than the name suggests and hides a true paradise for bisexual gamers.
You arrive in town to meet your cousin Jesse whose goal is to help you gain some semblance of confidence in the months to come. He does this by scheduling you dates, making you face your fears, or simply helping you forge platonic friendships with the people of the city. You can be gay, bi, ace, whatever, and you can go through him, her, or them – the best part is that none of these choices limit your romantic options. Boyfriend Dungeon is a free-for-all queer who is delightfully transparent, depicting the ups and downs of LGBTQ + life in a way that underscores its normalcy, rather than splashing it with childish rainbows or l to coat in unnecessary tragedy.
One of the first people you meet is the suave and pragmatic financier Isaac, a young but stern man who wears a suit with a lightly unbuttoned white shirt. This is completely juxtaposed when you meet Sunder, a club owner who wears a leather jacket with no shirt underneath, exposing his muscular chest and abs – he has long, unkempt hair and coarse body hair. He’s not my type and he texts like an old man who doesn’t care so I never really bothered, but then you meet Valeria, the wonderfully accepting street art guru who has a wild past ready to go. to explore. There’s someone for everyone, and for us bisexuals, the game is filled with brilliant choices across the genre spectrum – whatever you do, stay away from Eric.
The game gives you a plethora of people to flirt with and bond with. This is not done through arbitrary karmic choices like in an RPG or moral affiliations. The more you use them in dungeons – oh yes they all turn into weapons – the more your bond with them grows and the more dates you can skip. Aside from the transformation of weapons, it’s like in real life. The more time you spend with a person, the more you connect with them. You can learn a lot about the person you fall in love with, but at any time you can withdraw.
I’ve never felt so represented in a game before because that choice lends itself to being bisexual in the narrative. I put myself in the protagonist’s shoes, able to text, flirt, and date anyone I choose, regardless of gender, but it’s not just a completely open web of choice. – it’s strange.
Whenever I get “bisexual” in a game, it rarely feels authentic to me. It tends to seem like a sneaky way to appease everyone in the LGBTQ + space, as shareholders say, “Hey look, you can fuck men and women! Come and buy our game. It’s not really enough. There’s more to sex than what you sleep on, and that’s what Boyfriend Dungeon nails. It is above all about the intimate moments of dialogue between you, the meetings and the trust that you give yourself. It’s way more than you dare, which is nice to see when bisexuality so often boils down to promiscuity. The romances in Boyfriend Dungeon don’t feel like they’re initially straight with the odd change of pronouns in the dialogue to appease LGBTQ + gamers. It feels like every moment has been carefully crafted to meet the needs of a multitude of queer gamers.
You can still play it as a cis heterosexual – that’s not out of the question. The “love” counter is not inherently romantic (which also lends itself to asexual representation). The cat – also a weapon – you do come across hammers pointing at the house. The love meter doesn’t exactly mean that you want to bone a kitten, just that you’ve formed a strong bond. So if you want to use the thruster (Isaac) as a man in combat but don’t want to be gay, you can. It’s so open and fluid in its romantic storytelling and it serves to make its world tangible, like a bunch of strangers who become good friends at the end of the trip and, if you’re lucky, maybe something. what’s more.
What’s refreshing about Boyfriend Dungeon’s approach is that it’s not about player-to-player sex. Characters can all be fictionalized regardless of your gender, but Kitfox Games has taken care to include bisexuality in its storytelling, not just the story the player is writing. Valeria was in a polyamorous relationship with a man and a woman long before you met. Not only will she be dating you, regardless of your gender identity, but the writers consciously made her more than just sexual.
It’s incredibly rare for this to happen. Bisexuality is often something that’s supposed to be present in triple A games, but it usually comes down to little more than a character who is going to sleep well with you no matter how you identify with yourself. It is rarely explored in a nuanced way. Just look at Anders from Dragon Age 2 or the many Fallout 4 followers out there to complete your skill tree. Valeria is not promiscuous, she is not attracted to everyone she meets, she is not “greedy” – she is not a stereotype and she is not a blank canvas to paint for the sake of it. player. She fell in love with two people before your involvement and had a poetically romantic career with them as illegal street performers. When it all fell apart, she moved into a quaint art studio until one day she met you.
This understanding of bisexuality and its presentation are unfortunately rare. As the industry strives to include better queer stories, bisexuality is often left out, sidelined with the option of player sexuality, or not even using the term – “Princes and Princesses” in Loki stung. That’s why Boyfriend Dungeon meant so much to me and that’s probably why I ended up hanging on to Valeria rather than Isaac. I wanted to see how this story played out, to know more about her polyamorous story where she was blind to who she was. It did not disappoint. None of Boyfriend Dungeons’ weird tales did.
Next: Queer Stories Are Complicated And The Game Has To Show It
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