Mark Matthews is the main playable character of Coming Out On Top.
He is a gay undergraduate student in his senior year in Orlin University, living with his friends Penny and Ian. The story of the game focuses on Mark's various potential dates and romances which the player can pursue or reject through his choices and actions.
See the Walkthrough page for achieving specific routes.
Mark is your average run of the mill college student, though he hid his sexuality for many years, which weighed heavily on him. After coming out, he is ready and willing to jump into dating men.
His responses to various interactions with potential love-interests range from polite and friendly to sassy and scathing, as well as varying levels of timidity, then straight to sheer horniness.
Outside of player choices, Mark is a well-rounded and somewhat introverted individual. While not completely inexperienced, he is unsure of himself and his newness in the gay dating scene frequently leaves him high-strung, and a venerable play-thing to romance potentials. However, Mark is capable of seizing control of situations and coming out on top, literally and figuratively.
Mark has short brown hair and steely blue eyes. He is 6'0" tall and has a lean upper body "swimmer's" build and a narrow waist. He wears a grey shirt with navy blue sweater vest. He also wears a grey tee for casual occasions.
Ian - the "best friend" romance
Ian is Mark's off-the-wall roommate and closest friend. They met during their first week of college, at a dorm mixer. Ian was first to break the ice by asking Mark if he knew what the secret to meeting people was. Pulling out and wearing a very large furry trapper hat, Ian said the answer was 'funny hats.'
The two developed a fast bromance ever since, and became roommates. They frequent the gym together on Saturdays, and meet up between classes. Ian is supportive of Mark's coming out, and even tries to help him hook up with guys. Later, Ian expresses jealousy towards the men Mark tries to date, and will openly flirt with Mark while drunk. If Ian's romance route is pursued to the end, it is revealed Ian has had a crush on Mark since they first met, but refuses to act on his desires for fear of harming their friendship. With a push from Ian's ex, Mark can help Ian work through his fear and begin a strong romantic relationship with his best friend, and eventually the two will marry.
Regardless of whether Ian's romance route is pursued, if their friendship affinity is high enough and Mark manages to save $800 by the end of the semester, Mark will visit Ian in Brazil.
Penny is Mark's nerdy albeit sassy female roommate and tech guru friend. She met Mark while testing out her campus map app, where she nearly fell into a gutter. She regularly asks Mark to be a beta tester for her newly developed phone apps, such as "Tanning Spray" and "Brofinder," and gets his opinion on bugs and features. She was supportive of Mark's coming out, even expressing excitement to hear about his sexual escapades. She is a good friend who expresses concern for Mark's well-being, and acts as the rational roommate against the comedic foil of Ian.
If their friendship affinity is high enough, post-graduation Penny lands quite a bit of success for developing Brofinder, and asks Mark to be her business partner.
Alex - the "student-teacher" romance
If Mark chooses to go to Charlie's after coming out, Alex will hit on him and exchange contact info. Once the semester begins, Mark realizes to his own embarrassment/arousal that Alex is actually Professor Davies, who teaches his anatomy class. Alex frequents the same gym as Mark, where during Alex's route they will continue to bump into each other and have sexually-charged racquetball matches, and Mark begins to have sexual classroom dreams.
Recognizing their mutual attraction to one another, Alex cuts any further advances, at first because it would be inappropriate for a student-teacher relationship to continue. But their romance continues unabated as they bump into each other again, but it is taken advantage of by another faculty trying to get Alex fired. While Alex's life falls apart, Mark can complete the romance route with Penny's sleuthing to clear his name. Once Mark graduates, he and Alex rekindle their relationship and move in together.
Brad - the "jock" romance
Mark will meet Brad if he accepts the tutoring gig at the athletic house. Brad is a seemingly straight quarterback for the Orlin Otters, struggling with academics in English comp. Mark is taken in by Brad's good-looks, and bribed to write his essay for him. Behind the scenes is Brad's overprotective brother Beau, who hired Mark to keep Brad on track to pass the class.
To pursue Brad's romance fully, Mark refuses bribery and pushes Brad to focus. Brad opens up to Mark during the tutoring sessions, and as time passes Brad flirts with Mark. He reveals he has no interest in women, giving Mark a kiss. Beau finds out, and fires Mark for seemingly taking advantage of Brad.
Afterward, Brad acts standoffish towards Mark in public. No longer his tutor, a despondent Mark visits Brad one last time to give him the notes they worked on together so he can finish the class. Brad apologizes for acting a fool, and reveals he has been procrastinating his essay, due the next day. Mark builds Brad's confidence and helps him finish the essay, in a sexually-charged all-nighter.
If Brad passes, they begin happily dating, and Mark stays with him after college and watches his games.
Jed - the "bad boy" romance
Jed lives in the apartment directly above Mark's. Mark is pressured by Penny and Ian to confront the noisy neighbor. Jed opens his apartment door, completely naked. He is openly flirtatious with Mark, calling him "Sparky," inviting him in to join a bukkake party, and suggests Mark should stop back by the apartment for a hookup. If Mark chooses to advance the romance, he sneaks over to Jed's apartment the following week, only to run into Jed's older sister Sylvia, who threatens to call the cops.
Jed makes surprise visits to Mark's apartment to deliver "peace offering" pizzas. He invites Mark to see his punk-rock band "The Dirty Loofas" perform. The band gains recognition at the cost of member cohesion. Ian and Penny worry Jed is using Mark when he continuously asks for help, but in the end Jed asks because he trusts Mark. Jed is nearly kicked out by other members when an opportunity to rebrand presents itself. With Mark's help, the band is kept together and Jed wins a piano competition to fund further success without having to resort to changing their music or identity.
If Jed isn't kicked out, he and Mark will continue their relationship, with the two of them traveling all over the world together in the wake of the band's success.
Phil - the "military guy" romance
Penny asked Mark to welcome Phil at the airport and after a misunderstanding for Mark being a racist, Phil was very distant and cold to him.
Phil's relationship with Mark will fit into the military romance type.
- Mark's name can be customized by the player.
- Penny mentions Mark has a thing for shapely bottoms.
- Mark's wardrobe consists of almost nothing except gray tones, including a collection of 7 identical gray t-shirts.
- He has a pet goldfish named Slurpy (default name, though it is customizable) which he bought one day prior to the story. Slurpy can become a gag romance option for Mark if he spends too much time studying not going out on dates.
- Mark is an only child and remains in close contact with his liberal-leaning parents, usually calling them on Sundays. They are openly accepting if he chooses to come out as gay, and his mother even tries to set him up on dates.
- Mark was on a water polo team previously and his swimming abilities earned him the nickname "Spanish Armada." He stopped playing water polo due to a shoulder injury.
- Mark has a talent for singing, and was the star pupil in choir practice when he was younger.