Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Six potential games involving a trans affirming eldritch sex cults

(Massive) Meta note:
This doesn't mean that I'm back.  It doesn't mean that I'm not, either.

Two days after giving up on trying to write stuff, I was reading Ana Mardoll's twitter and I came up with what follows.  The only changes have been to fix the mangling of having to fit all this into tweet form.

I think that removing the pressure of trying to write is at least partially responsible for my creativity coming out to play, but that puts me in a kind of strange position because if I say, "Ok, I can keep doing this," then the pressure would be back on.  (Right?)

It's also not entirely clear that removing the pressure is enough.

One spurt of creativity is infinitely better than no spurt, but one spurt in six days (which is what it's been now) is most definitely not enough to base conclusions on.  It's one data point.  With one data-point it's impossible to even guess an interval on spurts.  It's obviously not two days (the distance between giving up and having the spurt) since if that were the case I'd have had two more spurts by now.

Maybe it's one spurt per month.  Maybe it's better.  Who knows.  If this doesn't mean I'm back, though, at least I'm giving Stealing Commas a swan song with this.  (Random, true, note.  Swans don't have swan songs.  Think of the idea of "swan songs" as the pre-medieval bestiary version of the "beasts in medieval bestiaries are entirely divorced actual beasts" bullshit.

Ok, onto stuff.

Background is not necessary, but it could be useful, so I shall stick it in a footnote.*  The short version is that there is a game in which the horrible wrongness of the eldritch sex cult --the part that's supposed to make them horrifing enough to justify the game being in the horror genre in the first place-- is that . . . it's trans affirming.

This led to Ana saying:
Mind you, given 2018 right now "eldritch sex cult that affirms transgender people" sounds pretty awesome.

Like. Is there an application I need to fill out, or....?
My mind was still on "video game", which therefore led to this:

It also seems like it could be used as the premise for various awesome games in a variety of genres.

Just going to make a random list of things that pop into my head.

Game idea one
(tweet one, two, answer)

You're the leader of a small trans affirming eldritch sex cult and your congregation has grown too large to comfortably meet in your living room.

Navigate various hazards in pursuit of your ultimate goal:
A brick and mortar church.

Hazards include:
-- Local Zoning Ordinances
-- Bigots on the city council
-- Unfair Landlords
-- Trolls on the Internet
-- The difficulty of organizing a successful bake sale
-- Jerks who protest at your bake sale
-- And More(TM)

[Question I was asked:]
I like your game.  Can it have zero guns please?
Only game idea three would have guns.  I wouldn't even consider guns in this one.

[Suggestion from Ana:]
Also, when you do get the bake sale organized, the members keep sneaking off to smootch and paint each other's nails.

Game idea two
(Tweet 1, 2, 3, 4)

(This idea sticks with the horror genre from the game that started the discussion.)

The protagonist is a member of a seemingly ordinary and mainstream church.  Then ne stumbles upon the terrible truth.  Now it's not just nir life, and possibly soul, on the line.

Can ne save the innocent members of the trans affirming eldritch sex cult that nir church has secretly been torturing and brainwashing?  Can ne prevent completion of the ritual to summon an unstoppable army that will "cleanse" the earth with their fiery swords?

Will ne finally accept that the gender binary doesn't fit nem and realize that ne would really find it quite fulfilling to become a member the trans affirming eldritch sex cult (provided ne can save the cult, and the world, of course)?

~ ~ ~

Run, hide, unravel twisted conspiracies that are unspeakably evil, sneak, hide some more, prevent angels from killing off much of the world's population, save the trans affirming eldritch sex cult from the religious culture warriors, and more in [game name], if you can survive.

Game idea three

The [evil empire] has launched a massive attack on all worlds where [trans affirming eldritch sex cult] isn't outlawed.  It's up to one (trans lesbian) grizzled ex-space marine and her (genderqueer) Cleric of Tentacles sidekick to save the galaxy with guns and magic.

Game idea four
(tweet 1, 2)

Dating sim.

"Trans affirming eldritch sex cult" positively screams, "Dating Sim!"

Naturally it will be queer as all fuck. A major subplot being the the player character getting over hang ups and prejudices via regular conversation's with the cult's wise elder.

The cult's wise elder is entirely asexual aromantic herself, but you don't have to actually be sexual to agree with the tenets of the trans affirming eldritch sex cult.  (She, naturally, has had a lot of alloromantic and/or allosexual people she's cared about in her life.)

Game idea five
(tweet 1, 2, 3, 4)

Having successfully summoned the dread gods, your trans affirming eldritch sex cult has been saddled with the difficult task of running the new theocracy.  This naturally requires a great deal of work.

Honestly, it would have been easier if world governments hadn't surrendered.  While others have easy tasks, like writing loophole free laws to ensure protections for minority religions, you got the hard job: writing the new standard high school sex ed textbook.

In pursuit of this task you will need to travel all over the world, meet interesting people, learn about various cultures, and hopefully not be an appropritive jackass.

Also: the text must be grammatically correct and error free.

Good luck.

~ ~ ~

It would be a combination of a visual novel and some kind of advanced text parsing thing, and likely way too ambitious to not fuck up in the implementation.  (Both technically and culturally.)

And, remember: Eldritch.  Textbooks that don't acknowledge (divine) mollusks as full people could make the gods irate.

Game idea six
(tweet 1, 2)

You are the chief architect of the trans affirming eldritch sex cult, and therefore tasked with designing accessible churches, community centers, and so forth accounting for a wide variety of patron needs, and making full use of the strange geometries involved.

~ ~ ~

"Yes, Möbius strips are fun, architect person, but the kids in the daycare will have enough trouble learning the difference between their left and their right without them switching every time they run down the main hall."

~ ~ ~

I never could get this idea into a tweet well, but it's important to remember how sound carries.  (Which would vary depending on the geometry involved.  For a very simple example: sound would dissipate more quickly, with respect to distance, in hyperbolic space.)

There are broadly applicable reasons for this (if you've got a sermon going on for adults at the same time kids elsewhere are doing less sermony stuff, you don't want noise from either to infringe upon the other) but also possibly (though not necessarily) ones specifically related to it being a sex cult.

If sex is considered sacred, and church is a place for sacred things, then it is not unreasonable (though neither is it necessary) to believe that there might be boinking (or just loud smooching during the previously mentioned nail painting sessions) going on in churches being designed.

A lot of people are awkward regarding such things, so you probably want to design things with discretion in mind.  This would include things like investing in soundproofing for any chapel or [whatever] in which potentially noisy rites might be performed.

It would probably also include floorplan concerns.  Specifically: if seeing someone walking down a given hallway means "Hey, they're on the way to [physical affection]," then congratulations: you've just excluded all of your awkward members from participation.  Don't be that architect.

⁂ ⁂

And that's all there was.  (Actually, more than all there was due to the last section before the break.)

I did also think about a management game where you're overseeing a larger organization.

There's all sorts of decisions involved in running a multi-church denomination and while I know precisely zip about what that stuff is, I can imagine or just make up things.

An obvious example would be how is the budget divided up in general (e.g. how much of the budget goes to maintenance?) and how are the resulting divisions then allocated (e.g. is it more important to do upkeep on the air conditioning in building X, or the plumbing in building Y; or if you do both, how much goes to each?)

Maintenance is the example I chose, but the budget also includes the soup kitchen, any outings, community outreach, helping members who are having financial woes, paying workers decent wages, maybe paying for guest speakers to come, getting Tentaclemass presents for all of the kids (that way you know none are going without), all of the regular bills (rent, power, water, heat, so forth), and so much more.

Then there's scheduling.  You don't want a given location to simultaneously attempt to host a wedding, a funeral, and bingo.  Someone needs figure out what can be done when and, since I'm assuming the game will be single player, that someone is you.

And lets say you've got an awesome speaker.  (Making up an example on the spot, might not be all that good.)  An lobster boat captain who wrote a kickass book about what it was like to come out as female to her crew, her family, the other captains she knew, and those she did business with.  Given the time she can spend, she can only speak at one or two of your locations, though.  How do you decide which ones?

Do you just pick the ones that have had to wait the longest since the last awesome speaker?  Do you ask the various locations to say what they think about how well the speaker fits their congregations?  Do you arrange for carpooling so that people who really want to listen to her but aren't in the right place can get a ride over?  (In this case you'd want her two locations to be chosen to minimize how far people not at the location would have to drive to get to at one.)  Do you set up a video camera where she is speaking and TVs + speakers where she isn't so that everyone can see at the same time?

Moving away from scheduling, what about when you're ready to open a new location?

Do you build a place from the ground up thus having all of your needs built in, do you buy a place that's a good price for the location and modify, or do you buy Gothic cathedral with really cool ambiance (but requires even more costly renovation because it's not accessible and it's made of fucking stone)?

And staffing, and delegation, and . . . blah.

And maybe getting tax exempt status.

* [] Ok, so, background.  Which, as I said at the open, doesn't actually matter.

Ana came across a game called Lust for Darkness and here's xer account of that discovery:
Me, browsing Steam: "is...is this an interesting horror game premise or just transphobic garbage?"


Sigh. Ok, I checked. It's the latter.


[TW: transphobia]

Game: "an eldritch sex cult!"

Me: "Yes!"

Game: "who modified their bodies in horrifying ways for pleasure!"

Me: "er...uh, like lobster claws?"

Game: "here's pictures of women with dicks and men with vaginas!"



Me: "Did they seriously not KNOW, because--"

Review: "The game repurposes and twists the trans symbol into a demonic symbol."

Me: "WELP."
Someone responded with:
Not only is it transphobic, but it’s also just really weak horror. I mean...that’s the best you’ve got? I’ve seen more upsetting body horror in old Looney Tunes shorts.
Which led to Ana saying this:

I was like. "Is...Is this supposed to scare me because like?"

The horror isn't just transphobic in premise (it is), it seems to actually require the player to be transphobic in order for it to work!


Mind you, given 2018 right now "eldritch sex cult that affirms transgender people" sounds pretty awesome.

Like. Is there an application I need to fill out, or....?
Which has brought us back around to where this post started.

So that's the background.

Largely aside, the writing style of the mentioned review is sometimes quite fun:
Taking clear inspirations from Amnesia: The Dark Descent and amateur pornography, the pre-release demo for Lust For Darkness is, beyond a shadow of a doubt, a video game.
It reminds me of a time years ago when I encountered an ad for one of the Michael Bay Transformers movies, which informed me that the that movie included "acting" and "directing" (after saying something to the effect of "It's got great effects!")

It was true.  There was indeed acting and directing going on the movie.  Barely, but it was there.


  1. I agree, it sounds awesome. And so do your game ideas.