why i make gay games w/ trans girls
growing up and never really having access to media with positive portrayal of gay women and more importantly for me, trans women, made me just accept i’m the weird one and it’s just the way the world is and there is nothing that will ever change.
learning i have the privilege, time and ability to make games myself about people like myself has been such a great resource for me. like just playing all those gay indie games other people have made wasn’t enough for me. even if i end up playing a lot of these gay games which i want to see — i still end up with a need and excitement to make games myself.
while there is a good chunk of people creating nice visual novels and twines about lesbians, mostly the games have been about cis people and that’s a shame as it leaves me wanting for more games about trans people like me being gay. representation is important and it’s not something everyone realizes, especially if they have managed to grow all their life with the correct societal expectations and all the media portraying people like them, cis and straight.
i feel like a lot of new devs have to struggle with finding their audience, but for me since there is a surprisingly limited amount of people making games about gay trans women, i’ve been able to find my audience and i’m happy to find a positive thing like that which outweighs all the negatives that come from my gender mess.
there are a lot of things to tell about, like how a persons relation with their own gender and sexuality affects their relationships, how it all entangles into anxiety and dysphoria because of outside forces like societal expectations and a misunderstanding family, and how real it is for people like me. having a subject like this to focus on is an easy source material to create stories of, since i’ve lived through all this myself.
after trying around few different things for my game development i ended up with visual novels, as they’re the perfect format for me. text heavy so i can focus on the story, while have cute characters interact on the screen to add a better reading experience. the basic format of visual novels is nice and simple, the players choices drive the game into different situations and the creative options to create those are limitless. making cute games with cute characters who have crushes on each other and navigate their messy lives to be happily together is all i want to make in my life.
since i want there to be more games about trans lesbians i always wanted to encourage other trans women to make games. and so i made a game jam for trans girls to make games about trans girls. now that i managed to build some tiny following on twitter and itch.io, and finding myself in a nice supportive queer visual novel discord server, creating the jam was a total success.
we had only a few games, but right from the beginning i considered it a success if i managed to encourage even one trans woman to make a game about trans women and i did.
for me personally working on my game projects is a great way to spend my free time and even though i do have problems with anxiety and motivation, it’s nice to have something to focus my day on and feel accomplished. being able to release a game and have other trans women tell me how much it means to them, that i created a story that resonated with them. it means the world to me.
so far i’ve been making my games free because i want everyone to be able to play them and if and when i make paid games i’ll just give them for free to anyone who asks because i value everyone getting access to the content i make. having some extra paid content like my patreon and releasing artbooks with my games, with behind the scenes commentary and art, is a good way to get some extra money for food, while simultaneously providing my games for everyone who wishes to play them.
while making games was really difficult for me in the beginning, but now that i know specifically what i want to create, its a lot easier since i can just go one problem by problem and solve them as i go. i probably won’t remember what the solution was after a few weeks but at least i have my old projects to look back to when i need a specific piece of code again.
as an artist i was already aware of the concept of impostor syndrome and having that in my mind when i started making games has been so helpful. to know that nobody really knows what they’re doing and since i don’t either it has been one less thing to stress about in my game development progress.
sometimes i do worry about getting more popular and having more eyes on me and so far i’ve just had some few rare, extremely rude comments complaining about my games, where the problem clearly was that i’m creating games with lgbt themes and not the actual games themselves. it’s scary how it sometimes feels like i’m walking on an internet minefield where i’m one step away from me getting a lot of hate from bigots, just for me to wanting to tell stories of my own experiences, and how somehow in their eyes they aren’t valid.
while i do think everyone who creates content should aim to be more inclusive with their character creation — making more characters be queer, i feel like the best way to make the change is to encourage those people who are marginalized, to make content about people like themselves. i’m just one of those people who want to see more games about people like themselves and have the ability to do it, and i’m happy for that.
“be the change you want to see in the world”, or something like that.
— if anyone reading this wishes to join a nice queer visual novel dev discord, here is the link; https://discord.gg/PRTNQk i’m one of the moderators there and we have a nice helpful community with a good place to ask for help and share your progress.
— thanks for reading!