Freeware Review - Mainichi
Mainichi is a short game created by respected critic/journalist Mattie Brice which, in her own words, “helps communicate daily occurrences that happen in my life as a mixed transgender woman.” It’s a bit like Dys4ia mixed with Every Day the Same Dream. As much as I try to avoid “It’s like Game X crossed with Game Y,” occasionally it’s the most expedient way to describe the game to those unfamiliar with it, and here the description fits. From Dys4ia, there is the use of game mechanics to convey very personal experiences with what Anna Anthropy called “gender bullshit” and from Every Day there is the repeated day structure with the ability to change the way things play out with your gameplay choices.
But luckily, in combining the two games, she was able to retain most of what was good about each. The narrative is very personal and affecting, and there are a handful of meaningful choices you can make. The game was made in RPG Maker by a single person using community assets and no programming and it shows, but it’s a worthwhile exploration of using game mechanics to say something you have a hard time saying any other way.
“Playing Spec Ops gave me a chance to glimpse at the psychology the privileged class. Design is commonly modeled around a player doing what the developers make them do; if the only option is to beat in a guy’s head with a golf club, we must take it. It is predicated on the plight of the heterosexual white man, moving in a system that favors them as long as they would, kindly, do what’s expected of them. The trick of the game, much like it’s ideological predecessor Bioshock, is the only way to ‘win’ or not do terrible things is to stop playing. Turn off the game. To look away. For some reason, people laud games like Spec Ops and Bioshock for not giving a solution, for not putting in a step forward. That is the appraisal of people whose well-being doesn’t ride on someone finding an answer to oppression.”—
Mattie Brice succinctly details how the recent wave of games that are reflective on videogame violence are only reflecting from a narrow and privileged perspective.
“There is something interesting going on with performing gender here as well. This game has been a hit with many of my friends who are heterosexual men, who I think are particularly enjoying acting in the space of interrogating the boyfriend that maybe they were always on the other side of. In a sense, saying “my boyfriend” in this sense has become something completely abstracted; rather, it’s someone we’re apparently enamored with but says gibberish in order to impress us. Seeing that there is no real dating in this game, it’s just presumed that this boyfriend is already intimate with the player, and is basically a pocket partner to chat with when we want. And while I don’t think Boyfriend Maker has anything perfect, it opens up the topic for questioning, especially when it comes to maybe making games for empathy of certain gender roles.”—
Mattie Brice on the amazingly bizarre Boyfriend Maker.
Transphobia and PTOM
The latest issue of PlayStation: The Official Magazine contains within it transphobic comments aimed at the character “Poison”. Mattie Brice, a transgender woman and games writer, called PTOM on it.
This post salutes both Mattie for her actions and PTOM Editor Roger Burchill for his response:
[U]ltimately the blame lies with myself as I performed the final edit on that piece. I did initially recognize the inappropriate nature of the passage and did attempt to change it to something less offensive while retaining the trash-talking “voice” of the piece…
I failed badly in this instance and I pledge to do better in the future.”
For the full piece, I encourage you to CLICK HERE.
Mini PAX Round-up #2
We’ve already done one “Mini PAX Round-up” highlighting some of the best writing about the expo, but we held two back that we particularly liked.
First up is Robert Yang, who went to PAX on a scholarship from the IGDA. He, uh, calls it like he sees it:
Every minute spent waiting in a two hour line to play 5 minutes of Desaturated Manshooter of Ghost Honor 4 is a minute not spent playing a game that teaches you how to spatialize the fourth dimension. I mean, yes, a lot of people visited the indie booths at PAX, and you can thank the manshooter spectacle for luring people to the convention floor in the first
And then there’s Mattie Brice, for the border house, writing on the lack of representation in games writers and how that affects her:
In an industry dominated by heterosexual men, my appearance is closely tied to any form of success. I have to battle with the implicit tension of possibly threatening their sexuality, or just their reputation with being associated with someone like me… In order for men to feel comfortably heterosexual around me, I have to be near porn-star grade in appearance, as if to make up for what’s different about me. Everything may be unintentional and reasonable considering the unlikelyhood they have experience with people who are transgender, but it is far from innocuous. This is why I wore heels every day at PAX East.