A reading list on trans representation in games

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I’m currently researching a literature review for my Computer Games Design Course, looking at trans representation in media[…] I was hoping you could give me some advice on possible academic texts or writings I can use within my dissertation.

Thanks so much to the anonymous reader for sending in this request! Here is a preliminary list of readings I’d recommend for transgender representation in gaming, as well as trans issues in gaming a little outside of representation.

General trans and gaming reading

First, these links lead to collections of writing that include trans issues in games. Disclosure: Memory Insufficient is my project, and also I have a piece in Queer Game Studies.



There was a wave of writing on trans representation in games a few years ago. These pieces are a good window into the discussions that were happening back then.

  • It’s Time to Talk About it: Atlus, Naoto, and Transphobia |
    This relatively early piece on trans representation in gaming by Mattie Brice still stands out for its detailed analysis. Mattie also wrote pieces for the Border House Blog on other trans characters in games (see her portfolio for a list), and went on to create Mainichi, a game about her own lived experience as a trans woman that received widespread attention.
  • Empathy Game
    Anna Anthropy’s game Dys4ia became emblematic of the rise of transgender narratives in gaming. Here she talks about the pitfalls of such a game becoming a symbol. Also worth mentioning here is her Rise of the Videogame Zinesters, a book that has significance far beyond the subject of “trans people making games about trans people”, but that nevertheless had a huge impact on queer games creation.
  • The Queer Games Scene | Polygon
    Brendan Keogh’s feature on Mattie Brice, Anna Anthropy, and other queer creators cemented their work as foundational texts in trans representation in games.


More recent pieces on trans representation tend to retread familiar ground, but these three from the past year stood out as particularly remarkable.


We’re starting to see people create databases of trans characters in games that stretch back through the entirety of videogames history. Here are some examples:

Avatar creation

The ability to create, or be assigned, a gendered avatar is a representation issue relatively characteristic of video games compared to other media. Here it is particularly clear that gender intersects with other representational issue such as race.


For more on avatar relationships, these two pieces give a starting point for thinking about the psychology of being in control of a character.


Finally, I do want to offer some reading outside of the direct issue of trans representation, looking instead at trans experience and how trans narratives can queer game design itself.

Share your recommendations

What did I miss? Send in suggestions and I’ll update this post.