Lesbian love syndrome: a history of Yuri and lesbian romance in gaming


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LGBTQ+ Gaming Week 2021

LGBTQ+ Gaming Week

(Image credit: TechRadar / R Healey Art)

Welcome to TechRadar’s LGBTQ+ Gaming Week 2021. During this week-long celebration, we’re highlighting topics and voices within the LGBTQ+ gaming community. Find out more here.

No matter who you are, and no matter your gender or sexuality, you can experience your own elicit lesbian love affair through the magic of games. Whether you stirred your beans with Sera in Dragon Age: Inquisition, slipped Samantha Traynor the tongue in Mass Effect 3, or boogied with any of the bisexual ladies in Fable, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, or Fallout 4, many of us have taken the opportunity to flirt with a feminine fling. 

However, we often think of explicit sexual relationships between women portrayed in the media as purposefully produced for an assumed male gaze. While this can be the case, it does a disservice to the great lesbian architects, who paved the way for their stories and representations in modern media. 

Making the invisible visible

Yumeutsutsu Re:Master

Yumeutsutsu Re:Master (Image credit: KOGADO STUDIO)

In 1919, Japanese novelist Nobuko Yoshiya released her semi-autobiographical novel Two Virgins in the Attic, a story about a woman who experiences her sexual awakening when she falls in love with her dorm mate. While lesbian attraction or sexual experiences in adolescence was known to, and in, the Japanese mainstream as class ‘S’ experiences, the Japanese name for what we in the West think of as a ‘phase’, it was often expected that women should mature past these and lead a traditional life. Yoshiya was letting women know – for the first time – that this was not the only outcome available to them. In an Encyclopedia of Lesbian and Gay Histories and Cultures, Jennifer E. Robertson commented:

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