I have a new piece up on Indie Game Mag, about Robert Yang‘s talk at Games For Change. Yang talked about queer themes in games, in his own projects like Radiator and CondomCorps, and Anna Anthropy’s games, which deal with transgender themes. This was a really interesting topic for me because:
As an often-sidelined female player and designer, it’s quite easy for me to get caught up seeing gamer identity as either Mainsteam Male, that stereotyped angry 18-24 year old with a collection of AAA console titles, or the Female Other, forgetting how many other identities don’t even get a mention. A while ago, one of my players commented on some dialogue and characters that I’d developed for Next Island, laughing at an unrealistic age gap between a young woman and her much older suitor. It wasn’t meant to be personal expression; I’m constantly aware that I provide creative ideas on someone else’s project, according to a company’s vision, and yet, that piece of my experience slipped into the games’ content.
And I’m excited that indie games are allowing many different narratives and voices into gameplay.
First comment is, of course, wildly negative (Games For Change filled me with enthusiasm for the changing landscape of game narratives, but I still wasn’t expecting great feedback on a piece about queer narratives in games.) but oddly enough the attack is that I sound too much like Kotaku. Which is not really much of an insult if you think about it.
Edit: Via a writer friend from GDC’s game writing class on my game content: Young and bubbly + older and responsible is almost a friggin’ trope. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.