Let’s face it: it can be hard to find a good Let’s Player. Many Let’s Players, intentionally or not, use slurs or language that can alienate LGBTQ viewers. It’s difficult to take chances on new Let’s Players when you don’t know what you’re going to get, especially if you’re not the audience many Let’s Players seem to cater to. Fortunately, there’s a growing community of LGBTQ Let’s Players who are bringing new insights and attitudes to the scene and making a space for queer viewers, players and creators. While I’ve been lucky enough to call some of the people on this list friends, and many of them have supported me in my own forays into Let’s Plays, that just highlights the welcoming nature of this growing segment of creators.
1. Heather Alexandra
Heather is a trans Let’s Player (and Paste contributor) who covers a bit of everything, though she has a passion for older Japanese games like Skies of Arcadia and Suikoden III. She also plays newer indie releases like Titan Souls and Caves of Qud, and her streams sometimes feature guests who lend their energy and insight to the experience. Heather brings perceptive, thoughtful enthusiasm to every game she plays, and she has a love for games that shines through in her voice and each one of her commentaries.
2. Nick Scratch
Player 1 Loves Player 2 | Streamfriends | Twitch | Twitter
Nick can usually be found streaming with Streamfriends, an eclectic group of streamers with an active, friendly community who stream anywhere from several times a week to several times a day. His YouTube channel features a currently inactive series of him and his husband Matt playing an immense range of games with thoughtfulness and good humor, and archives of his Streamfriends streams can be found on both the Streamfriends YouTube and Twitch channels. He often hosts guests on stream, including a delightful playthrough of the Saints Row series with Todd Harper, and his commentaries are accessible, welcoming and engaging.
3. Danielle Riendeau
Danielle is a senior reviewer at Polygon, for whom she does streams and Let’s Plays of popular releases, including Five Nights at Freddy’s 4 and a surprisingly endearing run of Bloodborne with Phil Kollar, all of which can be found on Polygon’s YouTube channel. Apart from Polygon, she and her partner Patricia Hernandez stream a range of games, such as Splatoon and Nuclear Throne, on a frequent but irregular schedule, which they archive on their YouTube channel. Danielle’s commentary is always personal, kind and full of humor.
4. Liz Ryerson
Liz is a trans game designer, critic and musician whose streams and YouTube channel are largely devoted to in-depth explorations of DOOM and Wolfenstein. She has an encyclopedic knowledge of game maps and their history, and her design insights breathe new life into games you probably haven’t played since high school. If you’re not an old-school shooter fan, she also plays indie and art games you may not have heard of, exploring their design philosophies and themes with a thorough, intentional eye.
5. Masukomi Club
Masukomi Club features Eliot and Roger, who play Japan-only rare and vintage games across a range of platforms, including the Playstation, Dreamcast and Vita. While some games, like Catherine, have broad US appeal, others are obscure and often in their original language, which Eliot and Roger do an excellent job of translating and making accessible to English-speaking audiences. They provide historical and cultural commentary, as well as a hearty dose of energy and good chemistry that can make any game feel fun and alive. They also stream regularly on Twitch.
6. Nonbinary Robot
Nonbinary Robot plays a bit of everything, from Alien: Isolation to Garry’s Mod. They also revisit important classics with a new, critical eye, and they make more serious videos on issues such as gaming’s representations of mental health. Their channel updates regularly with new series and one-offs. They have a particular talent for voice acting that brings the games they play to life and adds some humor and uniqueness to the many titles they explore.
7. Tanya Depass
YouTube | Cypheroftyr Twitch | I Need Diverse Games | Twitter
Tanya is a bi streamer and Paste contributor and the force behind #INeedDiverseGames, which highlights developers, streamers, and players of color. When she’s not streaming with them she streams on her own channel, looking at new PC and console releases like Witcher 3 and Dragon Age: Inquisition. Past streams are archived on her YouTube channel. Tanya is a relentless force for diversifying games on all fronts, and her Let’s Plays reflect her passion for and commitment to the medium.
Kathleen is a queer college student with a love for the Mass Effect series. She stays very active on her channel, playing recent big releases like The Order 1886 and Tales from the Borderlands as well as pretty much anything else that’s out there today. She also does vlogs where she answers mail, talks about gaming news and political issues and brings on guests to discuss games and other nerdy happenings. Her friendly community and unabashed delight for games make her channel fun, lively and welcoming.
This active Let’s Player plays just about every game out there, including old classics like Earthbound (featuring voice acting) and new hits like Life is Strange. His channel also hosts “Gay Let’s Plays” of games dealing with LGBTQ content, such as Coming Out on Top and Always Sometimes Monsters. He also has videos where he discusses games and some videos of his personal life, including a trip to Japan and the Philippines, his love for Harry Potter and Pokémon and his husband’s surprise proposal (which I totally didn’t cry during).
MrKravin plays just about everything, though he seems to have a penchant for indie horror games like the Five Nights at Freddy’s franchise and Hektor. He also had a regular stream of survival games like The Long Dark and Don’t Starve. Along with a friend, HarshlyCritical, he runs Dangerous To Go Alone, a co-op stream that raises money for charity. His commentary is relaxed and good-natured, and the range of games he covers makes sure there’s something on his channel for everyone.
Riley MacLeod is a freelance writer and editor from Brooklyn, NY. He is Managing Editor of Haywire Magazine, a games site dedicated to mentoring new writers, and his work has been seen at Critical Distance, Christ and Pop Culture and in Merritt Kopas’ Videogames for Humans, among others. You can find him on Twitter and YouTube.