Game Development Journal XI: Concept and Art for a New Project

I’m beginning work on a new game project based on my research into what I’m calling Manic Pixie Digital Girls*: those images of caring, nurturing female artificial intelligences that abound in literature, film, and video games (and on our actual smart phones in the form of personal digital assistants like Siri and Cortana).

One “flavor” of the Manic Pixie Digital Girl that I am especially interested in investigating is the bishojuo dating sim girl.  Dating Simulations are a popular genre of erotic video games/visual novels in Japan in which an unseen male protagonist must choose between and woo one of several anime-style girls.  Often, these games play fast and loose with the concept of consent.  Many feature rape scenarios in which girls are “taught” to enjoy sex with the protagonist, as if coming around to “like it” retroactively makes the assault ok.  Others feature less violent scenarios but still encourage players to ignore a girl’s “no” and continue to pressure her until she “relents.”

I am currently in the beginning stages of developing my own version of a dating sim in which the protagonist, CJ (an otaku whose gender will remain ambiguous), must learn to respect a woman’s “no.”

The game will have a “time travel” conceit in which the protagonist, along with some sort of magical helper, re-lives the weeks leading up to romantic rejection, searching for some set of possible decisions that will lead to an escape from the so-called “friend zone” and a happily-ever-after ending.

CJ will ultimately learn that true love means respecting a friend’s boundaries and accepting their autonomy.  This will end the cycle of searching for a way to “force” the affections of another and will enable CJ to move on and pursue healthier relationships.

I plan to use the TyranoBuilder Visual Novel Studio to build this game and I might wind up seeking funding on Kickstarter to help defray the costs of generating art and music assets.

In the meantime, my artist friend Sylvia Armitstead has generated this concept art for the object of CJ’s affections.

I’m still searching for her name, so if you have a suggestion let me know in the comments!


*named, of course, for Nathan Rabin’s Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope.

One thought on “Game Development Journal XI: Concept and Art for a New Project

  1. Reblogged this on From the Artist's Desk and commented:
    Being a part of this project directly aligns with things I have personally experienced and am interested in learning more about.

    I have been placed time and time again in the “oh your quirky, artsy, sort of strange, and obviously oh so tragic, let me fix you and keep you.” Yah. I’ve been peoples MPDG (Manic Pixie Dream Girl.) In this game we’re going to be looking both at Manic Pixie Dream Girls, and Manix Pixie DIGITAL Girls.

    To help prepare me for this project I’ve actually downloaded dating sims for both boys and girls, to see the differences in how the protagonist is portrayed as well as their objects of affection, or those whom they are trying to win over.

    Follow both of these blogs to see the game development as it happens and keep up to date with the story.

    Question to all:
    Have you ever been someones Manic Pixie Dream Girl (or guy!)

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