Friday, April 14, 2017

Characters from a game idea, (transplanted comment)

[I wanted to do a proper write up of the concept, by my ability to produce stuff is touch and go, and I lost touch with it (it went) between the comment and trying to expand on it for a post.  So this is just the comment from Ana Mardoll's Ramblings with perhaps a bit of clarification added in.]

So, εν νω εχω an action-adventure game where the player can choose the main character's gender but not assigned at birth sex. Main character was AFAB, period.

The game would follow main character seeking out and rescuing pansexual (cis) girlfriend's little brother. Little brother is ace, but I might want to underplay that because he's been snatched up by a Lovecrafitian cult for their virgin sacrifice and the message "Being asexual will get you kidnapped by evil people who live in strange geometries" is hardly a good message to send.

There isn't a village crazy lady (sorry Tala, not every place has someone to fill that role) but there is an older woman who can perhaps dispense some wisdom at the underground Esheresque village the player character meets nir first allies at. She's outlived her lovers, but was once part of a poly relationship where the love triangle was closed.*  (She's bisexual and her first lover was a likewise bisexual female, the one who was added to make it poly was male of some gynephilic persuasion.)

The village was originally entirely composed of people whose thinking was so different from our own that language (including things like ASL, writing, and so forth) is impossible for them (and understanding them in fullness is impossible for those who have language) --they still vocalize, it's just that they only ever use nonsense "words" and those words don't have any pattern to them (a given word may seem to mean X this "sentence" but it'll probably never mean that again)-- but they're nice people who will accept anyone who needs a place to stay and doesn't cause trouble, so by the time the character comes upon it the village has a mix of speakers and non-speakers, including some village-born children who are speakers and have been raised alongside the non-speaker children.

The older woman from two paragraphs up was the first speaker to come across the village, and moved to it full time after her lovers passed on.  She therefore has the most experience interpreting the sounds, gestures, and so forth the non-speakers make, though that doesn't necessarily mean she's the best at it, and she's quick to point out that even after all this time she still doesn't actually understand them.

I figure while main character is there ne will see children of both sorts listening to "Jabberwocky", probably read by older woman, enraptured. Also, when ne gets a sword I see this exchange:

The sword is delivered by two young apprentices, one speaker and one non-speaker:
Player character: *in jest* Is it vorpal?
Speaker: The vorpalist!
Non-speaker: Vorp, vorp. *each "vorp" accompanied by a thursting/stabbing motion*


Anyway, I'd likely play the game through with the main character as a cis girl/young woman, thus not fulfilling my desire for a trans* character in game, but when I was thinking about it, it occurred to me that there's no reason that choosing character gender needs to be linked to character biology, and in the cases where you don't have full control over the details of the character maybe it shouldn't be all the time. Maybe sometimes we should have, "Ok, you picked X but character was assigned at birth Y, certain bodily features may show this**, and your character will be shown taking hormones every so often." (Not that all transitions involve hormones.)

Of course, part of what needs to happen is for there to be so many representations that no one representation is ever placed under the crushing weight of, "This is what trans* people (as a whole) are like." Which wouldn't take much time if the games industry didn't, as a whole, suck. So one figures it will take a really long time.


* All three legs link lovers, unlike the standard set up in fiction where there's love between A and B, and love between B and C, but not so much between A and C.  The points A, B, and C are in a triangle, but only the legs AB and BC are actually filled in.

** I don't pay much attention to Adam's apples, in spite of the name screaming: GENDER! Apparently there are a lot of people who would like the kind of character creation where you have control over minute detail, which the above described game wouldn't feature, to include the option to have women with larger ones and men with smaller ones.  (Absent some disease or mutation I don't know about, or surgery I suppose, all human beings have one.  It's the visibility that varies.)

No comments:

Post a Comment