Coming Out Simulator 2014: ‘A Half-True Game About Half-Truths’

Queer, indie game developer Nicky Case has created a semi-autobiographical, digital window into the life of a young person wrestling with the decision to come out of the closet. Coming Out Simulator 2014 is a browser-based, narrative driven storygame centering around the character Nicky who, at the behest of his boyfriend Jack, must choose a course of action to open up to his parents about their relationship.

2014-07-09 11_52_132“My coming out experience had that tension between wanting to tell the truth, and lying to protect myself.” Case wrote in his blog. “I wasn't conscious of it at the time, but I made my game's narrative structure reflect that tension too… with me, an unreliable narrator, who tells you upfront that they're unreliable.”

In many ways Coming Out is very different from your typical choose your own adventure type storygame. In place of leading players to come out point blank, the game subtly navigates the nuanced exchange of emotions and words familiar to anyone who has ever had to be honest with an openly homophobic loved one. Much of the game’s dialogue, according to Case, comes directly from the conversations he had with his parents, and its precision plays an integral role in gameplay.

“Almost every dialogue choice, no matter how minor, will be echoed back at some point.” He explains. “These tiny details, I hypothesize, make a story feel more organic than ‘every decision changes everything.’”


  1. Timo says

    I just played it. It is pretty good. I assume that Nicky is going to read these comments, so here’s some feedback.

    – The dialogue was fun and authentic. The jokes worked and I lol’ed at times.

    – The action tree was very limited. You always wind up in the same place. Which is fine because it reflects your own experience, but it does make this something less than a “coming out simulator.” An actual simulator would reflect a range of outcomes based on choices.

    – Dude, “queer” is very 1991. Drop it. Bi is beautiful.

    – A bit jarring to start the game with a conversation about a movie. I like the way you weave the themes of that movie into the game’s story, but it didn’t work to have the first interaction start off with a discussion of a film, esp. since not everyone saw it or remembers it. I’d start that convo off with discussion of real life, and then let them slide into the discussion of the movie.

    – Learned a new word. Manther.

    – All in all, great job. 3.5/4 stars.

  2. Rick says

    No respect for the closet from the liberal Tech gays. Some people don’t want to be out and it’s their choice. Not everyone feels the need to rub their atypical sexuality in everybody’s faces.

  3. Nathan says

    Rick, how is this game not respectful of the closet? Also, wouldn’t you be disrespecting closeted people by acknowledging them? If people in the closet don’t want to be out, then isn’t ignoring them the most polite thing to do?

Leave A Reply