TTRPG Podcasts Connect Me to My Queer Communities

TTRPG Podcasts Connect Me to My Queer Communities

Years ago, when I was still newer to Chicago and working out a place for myself—friends who felt right, places where I actually wanted to socialize and be—I started listening to a little podcast you’ve probably never heard of, called My Favorite Murder. My Favorite Murder is a “true crime comedy podcast” that kicked off in 2016, hosted by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, writers and comedians who bonded over analyzing the details of gruesome killings. (more…)

January Roundtable: Positive Body Diversity in Games

January Roundtable: Positive Body Diversity in Games

Games are not really known for having the greatest body diversity. But you know what? Some games are doing all right. This month, we chatted about what body diversity in games means to us, how it can be meaningful, and what, if anything, we think is enough. (more…)

September Roundtable: Actually Educational Edutainment

September Roundtable: Actually Educational Edutainment

It’s September—though many of us have left our academic lives behind us, there is still something wonderful about back-to-school season, so let’s talk about learning in games! (more…)

The Developer’s Burden and Discussing Authentic Representation in Dating Sims

The Developer’s Burden and Discussing Authentic Representation in Dating Sims

The dating sim genre, in its origins, has always pandered to the male gaze. My first exposure to dating sims “for girls” was Konami’s Tokimeki Memorial: Girl’s Side, a spin-off of their Tokimeki Memorial franchise. In the franchise’s main series, the player was a male high school student that could woo his female classmates; Girl’s Side, on the other hand, gave me the power to be a female high school student surrounded by male classmates I could fall in love with. Although it seems to be more of an expected norm now, this genre of women-catered dating sims is fairly recent: the Angelique franchise, developed by the Ruby Part division of Koei and released in 1994, is credited to have been the first “otome,” or maiden, game.

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Dream Daddy, The Dadification of Games, and Me

Dream Daddy, the Dad-on-Dad dating sim that became this summer’s gaming obsession simply through word of mouth, is a good game. Maybe even a great one. Yes, all the dads are super hot, the writing is good, it’s genuinely funny and heartfelt, but for me personally it meant a lot more. As someone who grew up with a single dad after my mom died when I was a toddler, it really made me feel close to him to be able to play as a dad with a similar backstory. But more than that, I appreciated how this game understands single fatherhood in a way that few other games have. And there are a LOT of games that attempt to wrangle this into their plots. Commonly called “The Dadification of Games”, this trend was most prevalent in the BioShock Infinite/The Last of Us era, but it’s far from a dying trend. The new God of War is even moving away from the more common father/daughter trope by giving Kratos a son.

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