As places to discover and publish games seem to be growing more accessible, we often take for granted how interests of the previously niche were hard to find and unapproachable, especially in online spaces. Although tracking down obscure media remains a challenge—and games preservation in particular remains a contentious issue—the influences left by fleeting memories of something seemingly lost has inspired many developers today to turn what was old into something new for contemporary audiences to indulge in.
Otome games, story-based games that originated in Japan targeted towards women, for example, have seemingly left an imprint on visual novel and romance elements that exist in games of other genres. I had an opportunity to discuss that question and more with Georgina Bensley, founder of Hanako Games. We discussed what goes into doing work as “Hanako,” and how the continuously changing landscape of the games scene—especially for independent games development—has offered both challenges and opportunities for visual novels and other forms of interactive fiction. From its early beginnings working within the narrow scope of its influences through Cute Knight, to expanding into even wider themes with more recent titles like Night Cascades, Hanako Games has every intention of growing its library while continuing to work in an ever-evolving industry.
Elvie somehow finds bliss in purposefully complicating the art of storytelling and undertaking the painful practice of animation. If you see her on Twitter at @lvmaeparian, she is doing neither of those things. She currently helps with managing the socials to ensure that the secret recipe will never be revealed.
I am a very picky gamer. Last summer, when I purchased that giant, amazing game bundle for racial justice and equality on itch.io, I figured it’d be easy to take some time, scroll through and pick out a few things that worked with my interests. I’m usually only interested in dating sims and visual novels, the weirder and queerer the better. However, perusing through the 1,741 items in the bundle quickly became intimidating. Several months later I’ve only played a handful of games, and I get a bit tuckered out just scrolling through the giant list. (more…)
Alenka Figa is a queer librarian obsessed with D&D podcasts that have solid queer rep. They frequently tweet about them @alenkafiga. Catch their reviews of zines and indie comics over at Women Write About Comics.
I don’t like visual novels. They’re usually not fun or entertaining for me. They don’t have enough choices for my liking, and I often find that they’re poorly written, or riddled with grammatical and spelling errors, often due to the fact that their platform allows them to sidestep the traditional editorial process of a longform narrative. Consequently, I am not generally the person to review them here. I do, however, love a good bit of gossip, so when I heard that the game Crime Opera: The Butterfly Effect had been rejected by Valve for their Steam platform, well… I had to at least look, right? (more…)
Welcome back to Mystic Messenger Trash, a gaming diary that chronicles my experience playing Mystic Messenger for the first time. The following contains spoilers for Jaehee’s good route of the game (and one of her bad endings).
Sidequest’s former managing editor Naseem Jamnia used to do sciencey things, but they now slam their keyboard and call it art. Their debut novella, THE BRUISING OF QILWA, introduced their queernorm, Persian-inspired secondary world; their middle grade horror debut SLEEPAWAY comes out in 2025.
The boys’ love (or BL) genre, and yaoi in particular, fills me with all sorts of complicated feelings. BL was my first time seeing myself actually represented in the media I was interested in, and I’ve been ravenously consuming it ever since. As many long-time fans of the genre can attest, that’s kind of a mixed bag when it comes to psychosexual development. (more…)
A genderless eldritch beast bound to mortal flesh. Interests include games, gardening, magical realism, and the complete restructuring of America’s political and economic systems. Frequently orders too much food at restaurants. Tweets @unnnez.