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Wednesday, 5 October 2011

GBLTQ friendly game - not sure where to jump here

So students at MIT have created a computer game called a Closed World which is basically a GBLTQ themed game whereupon you play a character who has to run around fighting the daemons of prejudice

I don't have a smiley expression to adequately describe my facial expression. 0_o is probably closest. I'm not sure confronting homophobia is my idea of a fun leisure activity or what I'd put high on my priority list for GBLTQ friendly game. I was... sceptical

You can actually play some of the game here. I tried to con Beloved into playing but he gave me that same facial expression back wondering why this would be even remotely a good idea. Eventually we decided to potter around on it toegther and... yeah. You run into various demons that represent various unpleasant, prejudiced situations (a raging brother, disapproving parents of your partner) that threw prejudice at you and you responded with Logic, Ethics or Passion (personally I would have gone with Large Haddock, Blunt Instruments and Death Ray). If you lost you lost composure and had to take a Deep Breath to gain it back. After you defeated a demon you got a cut scene where you tried to talk to someone who was very intolerant.

I admit I didn't play for long. Beloved and I both decided that we've played the real life version of this waaay too often and this was grossly far from fun. It managed to hit enough unpleasant situations to bring up bad memories and be uncomfortable, while at the same time dealing with them in extremely simplistic manner (I wish homophobes could be defeated by an application of Ethics, Logic and Passion. I wish they could be defeated just by repeatedly clicking Logic and I wished we only had Composure to use and something as simple as a Deep Breath would fix us). Which basically means it managed to annoy me on two levels – it certainly wasn't friendly for me, or much of a game.

It'd be tempting to dismiss it as that, but then I come from a place of someone who has had these arguments over and over again. Someone who not only has regularly battled homophobic family, colleagues, contacts, trolls, partners, abusers, and generally arseholes but as one who continues to do so. Gods alone knows if I want to do so tomorrow there'll be a relative or a colleague or some fool in my inbox that will give me amble opportunity. For me, this game just reminds me of and grossly simplifies several painful battles I've come through and continue to fight – as such it annoys me more than a little.

But for someone who hasn't fought these battles yet? Who is plucking up the courage to do so? Or who doesn't think they could ever have them but wishes to fantasise about winning them? Or just who has lost them and wants to fantasise about winning them this time or for once? I don't know, I can't say that they'll share my irritation. I don't know that they won't – major fears and problems being presented rather casually and simplistically isn't going to be universally loved – but for some? Maybe. I don't know, I know for me, back then, it would not have been even slightly fun but I don't know for all

So, as a GBLTQ friendly computer game? Well, it's not friendly to me or Beloved, not even slightly, but I'm not sure it's going to be utterly unfriendly to everyone.