Why we need socially aware games (and why visual novels are the genre for it)

Things recently have been tragic. Beyond tragic. Tragedy
that I can’t even comprehend from my place of privilege. But we all need to try
to. We need to try and understand why these things happen to prevent them from
happening again. We need to show compassion and solidarity for the disenfranchised
who understand it all too well. Show that we will not stand for this kind of
hate.

The way I do that is with games. I want to make games that change
how people feel and tug at them from darkest parts of their hearts.

It’s no secret that our community is a mess. I wouldn’t be
surprised (what is unsurprised?) if a lot of the hate that was (and is
continuing to be) spewed was from people also apart of gaming community. Games
can (and should) be another way to show we won’t stand for this hatred. Media
has always been a way for a creator to get their ideals out to the public. We
need to stop being afraid of games doing the same. I can’t comprehend why we
are so afraid to make games socially aware. It baffles me so much that it’s
hard to talk about. But games are the future of media. It has the possibility to
change the way we read, interact, view the world around us. It already has. Why
are we afraid to use that for good? People certainly aren’t afraid to use games
to show racist, misogynistic, garbage.

We need socially aware games to further good in this world.
We need to show people they are not alone. That there are people like them, and
not like them, that will stand up for what’s right. We need socially aware
games to show that we will not accept this in our community any longer. This
hatred that we are known for needs to be exterminated. We need socially aware
games to give people an accessible way to understand the things around them.
Point of views they may have never considered. Really, the possibilities are
endless.

But, I hope that the need to create these things is not a
new concept. We understand we need to create change and we have an amazing
media to do that. Great, we’re on the same page. Now I’d like to make a case
for visual novels/ADV/IF being that future.

In ReAct: Bullet decision, the biggest point I’m trying to
make is what it is like to live through the experiences presented to you. That
as a woman, these are some things that have happened, and sometimes there were
no good choices. Sometimes I was so hurt I couldn’t make the “good” choice.
Most of it is based off real experiences that have happened to me and the
people around me. I think being an active participant in a story helps you understand
it and be more connected. Nothing clicks like when it happens to you. And VN/ADV/IF
is a way we can tell epics in a way that connects like nothing else.

I’ve been testing ReAct on a friend of mine since I started
working on it. I remember a few days after she played my first completed
segment, she messaged me. “Wow Alex!”

“Wow Alex! I thought all the guys in your games were just assholes.
But now I see people acting this way everywhere I go.” That’s a paraphrase, but
that’s basically the point.

For her, being able to play through situations gave her
perspective. She hated it when her character was treated poorly, but was
ignoring it happening around her. Since then she has become increasingly aware
of sexism around her. She does her best to call others out on poor behavior and
be a force for good. Games can do that. That’s amazing! This is one of the achievements
I’m most proud of.

But why VN/ADV/IF? It has the benefits of being accessible.
Almost anyone can make a VN with the free engines out there, no experience necessary.
Everyone now can tell their stories through gaming. They don’t need amazing
graphics or years of coding knowledge. They can be beautiful, colorful art pieces
or plain text. It’s something we can get everyone involved in.

I believe it’s the way modern stories are meant to be told.
No longer are we reading a book and experiencing what the author tells us to
feel, but in a way creating those experiences ourselves. It’s no longer a small
view into another world, but experiencing that world and having to make choices
in it. Holding responsibility for the story and not just being guided along.
VN/ADV/IF holds an accessible way to create this future. Where we can tell everyone’s
stories, hardships and happiness, and understand them through play.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s