Night in the Woods’ Gregg is Pure Chaotic Queer Joy
Being different in a small town is hard, but Night in the Woods makes it fun.
Night in the Woods — a coming-of-age adventure game set against the backdrop of a spooky, possibly Lovecraftian mystery in a dying mining town — stars a ragtag group of anthropomorphic teen animals in Possum Springs. Mae Borowski, who has just dropped out of college, reunites with her friends: Bea, a pessimistic but intelligent girl who has limited patience for Mae; Gregg, a hyperactive lost soul who likes to get into trouble; and Angus, Gregg’s quiet boyfriend. After a string of disappearances, Mae and her friends begin to unravel the truth behind a mysterious cult in Possum Springs and discover a shocking secret.
But that’s not what we’re going to talk about today.
No, we’re here to talk about the chaotic, messy, queer, joyous Gregg, the character I most identify with in Night in the Woods. Gregg is the kind of gay character I never thought I’d see in a game. He’s unapologetically gay. He’s a screw-up. He’s got a boyfriend who loves him.
Growing up gay in a small town is hard. You have to carve out an identity for yourself when there are few real reference points to help you. Some people hide who they are, while some choose to go full pride. Others take the anxiety and fear that comes with coming out of the closet and channel that chaos into something completely unique.
Gregg chooses to go unique. He’s deeply troubled, for sure — he’s not close with his family, he may have bipolar disorder, he’s insecure that Angus will leave him — but on the outside, he’s Possum Springs’ own rebel without a cause, complete with a cool jacket, tattoo, and boots. Gregg is also fiercely loyal to his friends when they get into trouble.
The game’s cute, side-scrolling world is filled with mini-games — at one point, Gregg initiates a literal stabbing match with Mae, which is super-dangerous but also hilarious. In between the dysfunctional fun, Gregg confides that he’s worried Angus will leave him. Gregg’s world doesn’t exist beyond Possum Springs; will he be okay without Angus as an anchor?
Night in the Woods frequently chooses a cheeky, dry tone to tell an incredibly bleak story, and Gregg is perhaps the personification of that. You get the sense when playing that Gregg, more than his friends, may not be okay. Gregg may also know that.
But he’s going full chaos agent as he goes down.