Or: I struggled my way through Dark Souls and all I got was this lousy gender.
Spend more than five minutes browsing Dark Souls content on any social media platform and you’re bound to see some mention of transfeminine people being absolutely feral about (and uncannily good at) any Dark Souls game. It isn’t uncommon to see Twitter users joking about getting “girldick” by asking a transfem to explain the “deep lore” of Dark Souls or any of the games in its offshoot “Soulsborne” genre. Dark Souls is notoriously difficult, cryptic, and hostile to the player both in its mechanics and atmosphere. It’s no surprise that such a series would attract a devoted cult following. But why are transfeminine people in particular associated with this cult following? Is taking exogenous estrogen really the secret to “gitting gud” and getting past that boss you’ve been stuck on for weeks? (more…)
Evelyn Grey is a media critic, cryptid, and Forever DM. She writes at the intersection of queer experience, class, and games.
You can find them tweeting at a brick wall over at @Sidereal_Star. Make sure to ask her why Vampire: The Masquerade is her favorite tabletop roleplaying system.
This piece contains descriptions of explicit sexual content (aimed at mature audiences).
Predictable heterosexual smut.
Carbon copy plots.
These are some of the complaints I see people make about the mobile visual novel genre, a category which includes obviously named apps such as Choices, Episodes, and Chapters. However, as somebody who has been playing these sorts of games for years now, I am very happy with the strides that many of these apps have made to become more inclusive. If you like LGBTQ+ love stories but were disappointed in the past by apps like these, I think Choices is worth your time. (more…)
Ennis Rook Bashe is a nonbinary romance novelist, social worker, and cat dad. If you want to read books with badass queer and disabled characters who take care of each other, you can check out their Amazon author page or sign up for their newsletter. For more information about their series following disabled trans people with magical powers, you can follow them on TikTok at @RookTheBird.
PAX is a lot. It’s always been a lot. It’s always going to be a lot. It’s four days of walking through a dark convention center while neon lights illuminate computer cases. There’s inexplicably a carnival-themed booth that takes literal minutes to cross in the center of the con floor. Everything wants your attention, and it screams for that attention. (more…)
Melissa Brinks is Sidequest’s editor in chief, co-creator of the Fake Geek Girls podcast, author of The Compendium of Magical Beasts, and an aspiring beekeeper. She once won an argument on the internet, and tweets at @MelissaBrinks.
Stardew Valley is a farming and life simulation game created by Eric Barone (ConcernedApe). The player plays as someone who leaves their soul-crushing job at a big corporation, Joja, to take over the farm their grandfather left them in his will. What sets Stardew Valley apart is how deep the story is. There are many secrets to unlock about the town while befriending, and potentially romancing, the NPCs. Yes, farming is fun. And there are other activities like mining and repairing the town’s Community Center with the help of some forest spirits called Junimos. But you don’t have to do any of that. If you want to just run around and befriend everyone you can do that too. (more…)
I can’t remember a time in my life before Star Wars. The movies and related content shaped my identity and fostered my creativity. My first crushes were Han Solo, Luke, and Anakin Skywalker; meanwhile, Princess Leia ignited a years-long queer awakening. I watched the movies over and over, read the Expanded Universe (now called Legends) novels, and played the Lego games until my PS2 was barely functioning. I scrolled boards.theforce.net for hours, where I discovered the magical world of fanfiction. From childhood to my late teens, Star Wars and the fandom were the twin suns around which my world revolved. (more…)
In my two prior essays about the craft of video game poetry, I’ve touched on the roots of poems inspired by art and other media (i.e., ekphrastic verse) and broken down some examples of my own work to show how digital games can inspire wildly different homages. Now, I’d like to dig into one of the best practices of poetry in general, something that should be a natural fit for gaming poems in particular: creating an immersive experience for the audience. (more…)
Katherine Quevedo was born and raised just outside of Portland, Oregon, where she lives with her husband and two sons. Her poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the Rhysling Award, and her debut mini-chapbook, The Inca Weaver’s Tales, is forthcoming from Sword & Kettle Press. Her speculative fiction appears in various anthologies and magazines. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys playing old-school video games, watching movies, singing, belly dancing, and making spreadsheets. Find her at www.katherinequevedo.com.