Tag Archives: game

A game has been chosen!

That’s right! After a little while of waiting, I have decided upon what game I plan to make from my previous blog post.

And the winner is: Sea of Monsters!

With an amazing 100% of the votes (with a total of 2) this one hands down in the poll. Ok, so I didn’t get as much feedback as I expected, but the fact is I liked this idea, and have some grounding to base it off of. A friend of mine has done research into Classical cultures views of Trans People, so has a lot of knowledge and references I can pull on. Some things will need to b drummed up though, like a fully fledged story, and a new name (Curse you Percy Jackson!), but it all shows promise.

Unfortunately I will be moving out soon, so I may be away for a while, but when I return hopefully I will have a grounding to base a game from.

See you all soon!

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The Trans Horror Game – Location, Location, Location

So after the sudden jump in readers when I posted my ideas for a Trans Horror game last week (readership was up 1000%! (yeah but 10 times 1 is 10) shut up!) I have decided to carry on with it for a while, see if it gets any traction. If it does, I may start a Kickstarter or other crowd funding enterprise to get it off the ground.

So toady I will look at locales for a Trans Horror game. The best Horrors use locales which tie in thematically to the central themes and ideas, or play on peoples fears. They can also play on a cultures own fears to great effect, British Horrors tend to be based in Cities thanks to characters like Jack the Ripper who made Cities dangerous places. Americans on the other hand tend to set their Horrors away from Cities, thanks to the difficulties of small towns as they spread West. So lets look at some places to set a Trans Horror game.

City

You might question this a little, but bear with me. Cities a full of people running around shopping, working and socialising. But what if it was empty? Trans people often feel alone in the world, although this is becoming less prevalent thanks to the internet. It is still a very common feeling feeling when first coming out to yourself, that you are the only one. So by having a City which our mind tells us should be full of people empty you can draw on this loneliness. Also, Cities are always safe for Trans people, public stabbings can and do happen, regardless of whether people are watching. Slurs can be hurled at you from all directions from a faceless mob. Which brings me onto another City design, one full of people, but people you cannot see clearly. All you can see is their staring eyes which burrow deep into your soul because you dare to be different.

 Mental Health Hospital

Or an Asylum to most folks. This works really well not only because they are already creepy places, especially Victorian ones, but they play on the common misconception of Trans People. If you don’t know what that is its that we are all insane lunatics who need locked up. Ok, some are decent enough just to think its a mental illness and we need counselling, but the idea is the same. Given the often clinical nature we are examined by others, especially the media (the ever hated “So have you had your penis cut off yet?”) being somewhere actually medical can tie into this idea. Literally the player could be being inspected and scrutinised for their appearance and genitalia.

Graveyard with Church

This obviously has connotations of death and religion. Death clearly wraps into the violence suffered by Trans people. It also brings to mind Trans peoples own suicidal thoughts and tendencies, as almost one in two attempt suicide (myself included). A world surrounded by those lost and bearing this them would be incredibly heavy and dark, so I think caution would have to be taken, however a Graveyard offers other tie ins. The religious aspects such as cross shaped tombstones, a church and even an overbearing priest can all be used to bring to mind the fact that the religious right wing tries to prevent Trans people being themselves. It would sort out a villain and a world all at once.

These where just some quick looks at different worlds and how they could help to bring forward some themes surround Trans issues. This list is not exhaustive, and was kinda quickly written. I am open to more ideas and will look into this a little more myself as time goes on. Perhaps this game will see the light of day in the future.

Would you Like to Play a Game?

If so then here is a link to my game in development, Duel Wield! I built it as a web player so it should work no matter what system you are running (Let me know if it doesn’t).

So what is it? Well I wanted to learn some simple coding, so it is nothing more than top down shooter, with a little difference. The reason it is called Duel Wield is that you little character (that delightful red circle currently) has not one, but two guns! Ingenious, isn’t it? OK, it’s a working title, but what are you gonna do? The character, henceforth Gunslinger, can fire in two directions at once, currently done by moving the mouse closer to them. The closer the mouse is to the character, the wider the stance for shooting. Other wise its your typical fair, use WASD or the arrow keys to move, point in the direction to shoot with the mouse and click to shoot.

This is very early Alpha Stuff, so criticism is both warranted and sought. I’m not inviting you to simply yell “This is shite” all other the posting section. What I want are genuine critics of what can be improved, like “the whole duel wield thingy is kinda weird to use” (which I realise, and plan to find another control method for it, suggestions?). This is going to be a survival game when fully built, although I do have ideas for a rather silly story and things down the line.

Oh, I do know you can’t die. The funny thing is you do lose health, it just doesn’t do anything yet.

 

NOTE: I have since removed the game as I am working on a professional project, and my Drop Box is full.

I Sold my Soul and Ideals, Only to get Insulted

I recently applied for a job in the games industry, with the biggest company in Scotland and arguably one of the most successful in the world, Rockstar North, creators of the Grand Theft Auto Series. I was even asked to attend an interview, though I can’t talk details for obvious reasons. I was excited, it was a huge possibility for me and could have lead to great things. I didn’t get it. It was a shame, because I really enjoyed meeting them. They were nice and friendly, well except one who seemed to avoid my gaze and not really look at me. I have no idea what he was thinking, but I do worry that it wasn’t nice.

Anyway, as part of the prep for the interview, I was asked to play GTA V. Not really an unreasonable request, but I got a little worried. I was torn between two issues. I really wanted the job, and so I should strive to play the game, but I swore not to buy the game because of its content. I of course didn’t tell them this, it was because I had no money and time as I was undertaking my Honours year at University (which as you should know was met with difficulties).

The reason the content made me swear not to play the game was because it was so insulting to so many groups, and Rockstar had also decided to include Trans characters. Not in a good way of course. Really this is all old news of course, Mitch wrote a brilliant piece on it for Gay Gamer, Bad Trans Jokes covered it in game and beyond and of course there was the Game Spot article in which Carolyn Petit dared to mark down a game for being misogynistic. So the issues were not only within the game, but also the community of fans. It painted a rather nasty picture which I did not really want to get into.

I’ll admit, the game looked amazing, and reviews (including Carolyn’s) all talked about the great gameplay within the game. I even watch videos of some one playing it, and was thankful when they released a video defending the GameSpot review.

So I decided to borrow my sisters copy, and used various sources to avoid problem areas. I did not wish to see the Trans Characters or go to the Strip Club. I successfully avoided them and found myself having fun, with only the issue of Trevor’s introduction. So after the fairly positive experience of the interview, I bought the game when it went on offer for £25, which was almost half its usual price. Then I spotted more issues.

While I had been avoiding the Strip Club, the game started to spawn me in it when I changed characters. Then I went and did a stupid thing. I checked the Fame or Shame Website. “Dancing Trannies,” “She Male Bop” and LGBT ais changed to LBGT so they can crack off the “joke” of it meaning “Lady Boy’s Gigantic Tits.” This is beyond poor stereotypes, this is blatant insults! She-Male and Tranny are insults, and I am no fan of Lady Boy either. I know “Trainnies” also appears on the Gay Bar’s windows, but this is a relatively accurate depiction of how some Gay men think it isn’t a slur (Rupaul for example (TW: to prove a point, the title of the linked article contains an anti gay slur)). Of course the media shares this idia, but to include along side She Male and Lady Boy is less a shout out to poor media representation, its actively taking part, especially considering all the other offenses. Also, the change of LGBT to LBGT for a joke about “Gigantic Tits” sounds like some silly school yard thing, were the very mention of Breasts, Penises, Anuses or Vaginas is funny. This is Carry On levels of puerile and I would know having enjoyed them as a silly young idiot.

Now I suspect that Rockstar does not have a single trans staff member. If they do they are either too spineless to call out this nonsense, too frightened they may loose their job, spoke up and lost their job or was silenced because all this was “too funny.” I don’t know, I certainly never saw any, although I wasn’t looking. I slightly worry if my own Trans Status had anything to do with not being accepted despite my skills from a Games Course. I again can’t know, but my request for reason as to why I did not get a job has gone unanswered, which does not alleviate these fears. Here is the funny thing though, if they didn’t there is a place not too far away were they could have gone to check their jokes, or even talk to some trans people to get some real experience. Rockstar North is situated in Edinburgh, and Edinburgh has a LGBT Centre for Health and Well Being, and pretty much every Month Trans Woman go their for something called Tea Time (there is one in Glasgow too). I have been to a couple, and they aren’t far from the Train Station. Neither is Rockstar North. In fact they are both walking distance away! Here is a map showing each location, with some directions!

Map

Not exactly miles away, its not even one!

With such easy access to Trans People who could have told them that what they would be doing is insulting, why didn’t they use this valuable resource? The could have made some brilliant jokes about Trans people were we are still legitimate people, not things to gawk at or be disgusted by. I’ll give you this brilliant one I found for free:

How do you find the Transsexual in a room full of Drag Queens?

Look for the girl in a t-shirt and jeans.

I just want to point out before signing off, I am not saying Rockstar is a big evil corporation. My fears of not getting the job for being Trans are as yet unfounded, and I would rejoice at being proven wrong. I just don’t like the insulting manner of Trans inclusion and have suggested how they may in future prevent such issues.

Fun AND Social Commentary Together? Let me Introduce you to Dragon Commander!

That may seem like an oxymoron at the start of my title, but it can exist. I am doing this as a sort of response to this article by Todd Harper. I totally agree with what Todd says, and want to point out a game that achieves what, as he points out, the games industry at large thinks is impossible. So let me Introduce you to Divinity: Dragon Commander. Dragon Commander is from Larian Studios, and they make some really fun games. Nor do they take themselves too seriously. This is a company with a running gag about skeletons dying because they think too much about how they function (honest!) and uses this as a logo:

Larian Logo

“POP!” Honestly that sound effect plays.

So they seem to like to have a laugh. Dragon Commander is no different. The story is absolutely nuts. You are the Bastard Son of a Murdered King on a quest to reunite the lands using Steampunk Armies. Did I mention you were a Dragon with a Jet Pack? Well that too. It plays as a combination of Real Time Strategy and 4X elements, and some Role Playing Stuff too. You manage troops across a world map, moving them from place to place, building buildings on land you own and playing Cards to give yourself an advantage. When you meet enemy units a short battle occurs where you command units, capture building pads to build factories and what not and kill the other guys units and blow up his base. Also you can jump in as a Dragon and wreck the place, because that’s what a general who can turn into a Dragon should do. This loading screen sums it up nicely I think.

Dragon Commander

Not in game footage, but gives you the jist of it.

I’ll admit its a bit of an acquired taste, but boy is it fun! So lets get back to that social commentary stuff. As well as commanding units, you also have to deal with the politics of ruling a Kingdom, in a more in depth way than Fable 3 tried to do. After a couple of turns you will be given five advisers, representing the five races (as a Dragon, you represent Humans of course).

Five Advisors

From Left to Right: Undead – Religion, Elves – Nature, Dwarves – Family and Money, Lizards – Good of the People, Gnomes – Science and Exploding stuff

Every so often, one of the advisers will give you a proposal, and you can either approve it or deny it. You can talk to the advisers to find out their stance on the matter, and understand potential ramifications. Selecting something they don’t like will result in them not liking you as much, which can have pretty bad consequences when it comes to the battles. If a race does not like you, fighting in a region they live in will result in a lower unit cap, less possible resources and more difficult fights. It has real in game consequences, and I have found it hard to conquer he Undead regions as they hate my views.

It gets really political when you see some of the topics discussed. I had to vote on Same Sex Marriage Marriage (I voted yes), prevent the undead destroying an artists works because she was lesbian and their are hints of Gender Equality acts due to the General who used to be queen of her own Kingdom till the Dragon came along. Yet none of this detracts from the fun of the game, it actually can make it more fun. This bizarre world allows Larian to have a more light hearted approach. Of course the ultimate irony is that the game forces you to play a man and have a Hetero Sexual relationship. I’m not saying this makes it bad, just a little odd (although the relationship is forced regardless, no option to back out even if you argue, such are the trials of a Dragon king). What is perhaps a little more unfortunate is the sexualisation of much of the female cast. Fantasy games are rife with sexualised female characters, so nothing new their but I would have thought a little higher had they not fallen into that trap. I would still recommend this game, even if just to test out your political views.

Started a Project

This blog is not going to just talking about games and gaming culture, I am going to be making stuff too! And I have started a project! It is only in its infancy at the moment but it is a top down shooter, something nice and simple to start me off. However, a game designer is not really a designer if you just do the same thing as someone else (or does a copy and paste job like Call of Duty has been doing for a while). So my top down shooter will have a little unique element. Won’t say to much at the moment as I don’t want someone to come and steal my concept, but watch this space!