Exploring Neoteric Horizons: How an Indie Horror Game Became a Beacon for Queer Hopepunk

Few video game stories truly subvert the medium while resonating with a core emotional, audience response. Fewer still have the ability to light a cultural fire – yet that’s exactly what happened with the lesbian horror game Signalis, a game that flew under the radar of much mainstream acclaim, but which managed to ignite a queer hopepunk moment to the surprise of all involved. In highlighting what made this happen, we hope to reveal how a distinct roster of cosmic horror and queer heartbreak resulted in a committed community forging a hopeful story of their own.

The Unexpected Alliance of Horror and Queer Romance

On the surface, Signalis might seem like an unlikely game to imbue with a message of hope and defiance. It’s a survival horror that follows the story of an individual entrapped in a failed lunar colony beset by malfunctioning technology and mysterious creatures. The narrative, made by the indie studio rose-engine, breaks out of the horror format to delicately pivot on a lesbian love story buried beneath a tragedy. Players must uncover a narrative that explores ideas of identity, loss and defiance.

DISCOVERING a Community of Hope and Resilience

It’s also remarkable to see how the game’s fanbase exploded, fuelled in large part by queer enthusiasm for the game’s more meaningful messages. Once again, this speaks to how games can be a solace for players – as we have seen here, discussions spread, fan art and videos emerged, and Signalis’ themes of love and resistance were celebrated.

Unpacking the Allure of Signalis

What is it about Signalis exactly that makes it so compelling? A tasty blend of horror and queerness, these two genres are not that dissimilar when you stop to examine them: both centre on the other, and both contain an assertion of autonomy under pressure. Both of these themes strike at the heart of queer audiences, reflecting a narrative that is as haunting as it is inspiring.

A Canvas for Queer Expression

The most impressive part of Signalis’s fandom was how it pushed fans’ creative instincts towards discovery, and as a result showcased a wealth of talent. Fan animations, zines, video essays, character art – the game’s community has written and created in impressive numbers, united by this love for Signalis’s queer story.

The Role of Representation in Signalis

Looking back at the reception, and what it is about Signalis that has given it such a devoted fanbase, it’s worth being able to answer the question of representation. With its characters and themes, Signalis has a place of representation, which means visibility and validation for its players, but also a promise of something to come.

The Growing Legacy of Signalis

Even after its time has passed, the game continues to be around, and so does the fandom that was built around it. People continue to create new things, new interpretations. This constant engagement is the best dissemination of existence, a world that hasn’t come to an end, where the connection between the Signalis character and me is still alive – Matias.

Discover More About Signalis

Ultimately, no matter what you make of it as a game, Signalis acts as proof of the value of indie development and queer representation in media. Every player who picks it up and stars sharing it with others, these are the people who will be remembered whenever mention is made of a great game. Hope and love will push through even in the darkest of tales.

Signalis, by speaking back to those bourgeois narratives of loss and futility, and by adopting a richly resonant queer hopepunk ethos, has proven that there are other ways to play, and that there can and should be more queer, more trans, more Black and brown, more different players in these scenes too. The more stories like Signalis we can find, the more enriched the texture of the games world can be, and the more diverse and vibrant the mythology of the games themselves.

Jun 15, 2024
<< Go Back