Checkpoint’s Queer Game of the Month: March 2024 – This Bed We Made

Posted on April 8, 2024

Are you queer? Do you love mystery games? Enter This Bed We Made. This third-person mystery game has you playing a maid by the name of Sophie, working at a hotel in 1950s Canada. You spend your spare time during maidly duties being nosy and snooping about people’s things, and one day unearth a sinister mystery. Throughout your journey, you will begin to wonder what parts of you need to be kept deep down and what deserve to boldly and defiantly see the light of day. It’s thanks to these themes (and many more) and how they’re explored, that This Bed We Made is Checkpoint’s Queer Game of the Month for March 2024.

This Bed We Made isn’t a long game. A single playthrough can be beaten in about three hours, but the scope it reaches in that time is incredibly admirable. As a queer person myself, it doesn’t take long to feel tense in the 1950s setting. Newspapers have headlines talking about a police raid on sexual ‘deviates’. Fliers hanging around the lobby will warn of the ‘invisible force’ of homosexuals and how they’re a ‘threat to everyone.’ It’s clearly painted how diverse people are viewed in-game and is effectively blunt about it all without being too flowery, but also is clear enough to point out how this is wrong.

I’m not going to pretend to remotely understand what it would be like to grow up queer in the 1950s, but I did experience something like it. In 2015, not even a decade ago, I was in my senior year of high school. One day in Religion class, a copy of a pamphlet was passed around for everyone to keep. That pamphlet emphasised that gay marriage was not okay; a desperate plea against equal marriage just before the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey. At this time I was coming to terms with my own identity, wrapping my head around the idea of being bisexual, let alone non-binary.

That’s why games like This Bed We Made and these explorations are important. They’re real. I have a very fulfilling queer life with the one I love, but that doesn’t mean it’s all roses. There are days when that hate from others seeps in, clawing at your neck, much like the tension laid throughout the game. As a now trans woman myself, all I have to do is something like step outside and I paint a target on my back. Developer Lowbirth Games is aware of this heavy weight queer people often share and, for a majority of the game, they have you explore that as a third party.

This Bed We Made is incredibly multifaceted. Sophie trips and stumbles her nosy self into a mystery that just gets deeper and deeper. First, you’re investigating what appears to be a stalker, then what maybe looks like an affair; and then… a murder. How this all ties together is incredibly strong, and at the heart of it all is warm character writing, including charming interactions between the potential investigative allyships Sophie can form between fellow hotel staff Beth or Andrew. To have this counterpart to bounce off of throughout the game is a thoughtful touch. You’re already experiencing a lot of anxiety in this game’s world. You’re anxious about who you can turn to. Is it Beth or Andrew? Can you finally, just this once, open yourself up to someone else?

“Developer Lowbirth Games are aware of this heavy weight queer people often share…”

The reason the mystery is so compelling to explore is that it gives you all the essentials: readables, threads and puzzles to make sense of. Like all good walking sims or narrative-focused games, these items aptly paint a picture of a person’s life, having you be a fly on the wall for a fragment of their time on Earth. This Bed We Made lays those all out for players really well. If you’re just a plain cis, heterosexual gamer, you’re treated to a mystery that’ll play out in exciting ways. Maybe in ways that you don’t expect. If you’re a queer person playing it, however, you’re likely to pick up what the game is putting down sooner than others.

You see the breadcrumbs being laid out in front of you; the letters two lifelong friends share between one another or the inside jokes they have and how they find comfort in each other more than anyone else. Before long, you’ll probably work out where the game is going. And it doesn’t matter! It doesn’t matter, because it’s such a real and human story; one you can’t really believe exists in games yet. Until now! This Bed We Made goes there and I’m praying that, without spoiling the game, you understand where the there is I’m alluding to and are intrigued, excited or even over the moon about it like I am.

This Bed We Made is a clear-cut case for the importance of queer safety and queer spaces. In the face of the harsh, bigger world, staying true to yourself and those you love is more important than anything else. No matter the propaganda sent your way or the hate or vitriol you face each day, queer people deserve refuge and love. Nothing or nobody can take away the bonds Sophie forms in her life and exactly the same can be said for the lives had by you or I. All we have is each other.

Queer Games always have a special and personal place in my heart. When done right, they know how to floor me. They know how to make me feel feelings. The stories shared are ones like no other. Perhaps they even maybe have their protagonist be so charming and sweet I develop a little crush on them and do everything in my power to keep Sophie them safe. This Bed We Made made me giddy, it made me emotional and it made me angry at the world of hate. Thanks to that and all its complex themes and flourishes, I’ve chosen to enshrine it as Checkpoint’s Queer Games of the Month March 2024 feature.

This Bed We Made is available now on Xbox and PlayStation consoles and PC. Check it out.