Don’t worry, Manic Pixie Dream Girl is still coming! But right now all the writing and programming on my end is done and my artist has a couple of other projects she is working on along with mine.
So while I wait I figured I might as well start mapping out the concepts for my next game!
I have to give credit to my husband J for the basic idea. I told him I was wanting to make a game based on John Scalzi’s amazing blog post explaining privilege called “Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficult Setting There Is” (along with Lisa Nakamura’s brilliant response “Queer Female of Color: The Highest Difficulty Setting There Is?: Gaming Rhetoric as Gender Capital“). He suggested that I create a game that players have to go through twice: once as a typical straight white male hero and once as a woman of color. The first character would receive lots of love and support from folks who are used to seeing people like him as heroes. The second character would meet with lots of confusion as to what exactly she is doing. Is she some sort of sidekick? A priestess who will take care of the hero’s wound while he is on his journey? She will have to do a lot of improvising, as the world is not set up to accommodate her in her chosen role. For example, when she goes to buy armor, she has a choice between skimpy armor bikinis or plate that is much too large for her (because it was built with a man in mind) and so she has to scrounge around and build her armor from what she can find around her: a frying pan as a shield, a knitting needle as a dagger, a pair of thick leather gardening gloves for gauntlets, etc.
In one chapter, I imagine our male hero being welcomed by a trio of fairies, who declare him to be the Hero of Prophesy and bestow upon him a potion that will grant him great might and fortitude. When our female hero comes along, the fairies are embarrassed to learn that she actually fits the prophecies much better than he does. However, since he already took their potion, the heroine will have to gather herbs and regents for them if she wants their magical boon.
Many of these relate to the three memes about women in gaming culture that I identify in my dissertation: the sexy support, the casual girl gamer, and the fake geek girl.
In other words, the male knight was born on third base but thinks he hit a triple. And the female hero is just trying to fight her way out of the dugout and on to the field.
I will be using RPG Maker for this project once again. However, since diversity is an even more important part of this game, I will be generating many of my own character sprites with Game Character Hub. I was fooling around with it earlier and it is definitely not as intuitive as I thought it would be. If you have any tips for me or any ideas for funny men vs women in fantasy tropes that I could skewer in my game then let me know in the comments!
And now, because you are all hearing it in your heads…