Vivien Pentreath

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Vivien Pentreath, artist and attempted murderer, held the honor of being the first obviously queer character in a video game. In the early text-based detective game Moonmist she is the villain in one of four possible plot arcs. Furious at what she believes is the suicide of her former lover due to cruelty from the lover’s husband (said lover actually fell down a well by accident), Pentreath seeks revenge on the husband and his new wife by dressing up as a legendary ghost. The player’s character discovers that she is the culprit responsible for terrorizing the house by reading a “tear-stained page” of her diary in which she describes her anguish at the death of her late lover and desire for revenge. She is then arrested after pulling a blow dart gun on the player’s character.

Moonmist‘s 1986 release date landed around the time its publisher’s competitor Nintendo released quality control guidelines that effectively barred the inclusion of homosexual content, which was standard behavior given the homophobia of the time. While it is not explicitly stated that the two characters were in a same-sex relationship, the implication is strong enough for Pentreath to be included here.

 

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