Individual Work
Hunt for the Gay Planet

The Hunt For The Gay Planet is an interactive piece created by Anna Anthropy. This work is a spoof of the Knights of the Old Republic video game which included a planet, “Makheb”, where same sex relationships were allowed, but players had to pay to access it. The Hunt For The Gay Planet is a statement about the equity imbalance for queer video gamers. It is also a statement about assimilation. This story was published in English in 2013 using the
open-source tool Twine.

The Hunt For The Gay Planet is the story of one female character’s journey through an intergalactic galaxy to find a place specifically for lesbians: Lesbionica. The character searches all over, looking under rocks and in caves. Anthropy allows the reader to interact with the story by supplying choices for where the character will travel to and with whom she will speak with. The reader relies on action choices, such as going left or writing, or interrogating other figures in the story to move along in the story. The reader has to “choose” what happens, despite there only being one ending. Each choice either progresses the reader down the path Anthropy has already chosen or bumps them back to where they originally were in the story, keeping the reader in a loop until the “correct” decision is made. There are no pictures, only a black background and white, purple, and yellow text. The reader explores five planets, fighting off sea monsters with Gossamer wings and the endless question “Do you have a boyfriend?”. The search for a place of community and acceptance unique to the charcter’s queer identity. The Hunt For The Gay Planet is meant to criticize the videogame world for not creating an equitable space for queer players, and even more specifically, female queer players. It amplifies the stereotypes that are forced upon queer players and highlights how unoriginal this kind of writing has become. Anthropy is forced to assimilate her own writing to accurately represent this world. The lesbian image is overanimated, oversexualized, and underdeveloped. This is a deliberate decision by Anthropy, done to portray to the reader that to experience anything beyond The Hunt For The Gay Planet, queer videogamers must assimilate themselves to the straight, male vision.

Sabrina Brown was a student of Melinda White for a digital literature course taught at the University of New Hampshire, Durham in the Spring term of 2020.

Author statement: 
The Hunt for the Gay Planet began as a spoof of Knights of the Old Republic's "Makheb" DLC (a planet in the game's universe where gay characters existed and queer relationships were possible, available only by paid purchase). But it became a greater statement about assimilation.