Nearly 200 independent artists have rallied together on digital platform Itch.io in an effort to pay each other a sustainable annual wage by packaging their games into the Queer Games Bundle.
The bundle collects 236 titles from the contributing creators for $60 (£42), the average price of a video game from a major studio sold at retail. Their argument is that treating the massive bundle with the same fiscal weight as a tentpole release for studios such as Naughty Dog, Nintendo or Ubisoft directly empowers smaller artists to continue their own work.
“If we had 1/3rd of the budget of an AAA game, we could give every solo developer a livable wage for a year and every single team a massive funding boost,” reads the bundle’s description. “Imagine what the developers and artists in this bundle could create a year from now if they weren’t worried about starving or how to pay their rent this month.”
The bundle runs throughout Pride Month, a period that has increasingly become synonymous with cynical public gestures from corporations and brands, often bereft of any material aid to queer communities. The proceeds collected will be split evenly between all participating artists, whether they meet their ambitious goal of $5,000,000 or not.
Plenty of tabletop RPGs can be found among the selection of titles, including Speak The Sky’s Twilight Song, a mapmaking and storytelling game about the last whispers of humanity and what hope remains when facing an uncertain oblivion. There’s also a number of titles by 10-Million HP Planet creator Sandy Pug Games, such as the solo poetry game Ego and Rennasistance, where revolutionaries use player-created music playlist to cast their righteous magic.
Everest Pipkin’s The Cloister is especially poignant, two-player game about the last hour of a journey home as a pilot and operator share stories, emotions and perhaps secret fears.
Many more analog games can be found in the bundle and come at a steal without considering the wealth of video games included on top. There’s also a pay what you can option that slides between $10 and $20 (£7 and £14) for those who might not be able to afford the full price. The Queer Games Bundle can be found on its official Itch.io page and runs through July 4th.