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He acknowledges the "uncomfortably-personal edge" inherent in taking new work -- particularly within a movement led by historically underrepresented voices -- and trying to label it, consign it to the "not a game" table, but expresses that systems and definitions around interactivity are important to some.
I wrote Raph a detailed response in his comment section, republished on my own blog.
Outside of obsessively wooing Tali and Garrus in Mass Effect, they’re just not my thing. In short, you play as a male grappling with the fact that, once he pinpoints a suitable female using his incredible olfactory glands, he’ll fuse with her and cease to be. While a lot of the entries I tried out ended up being – at least, to some extent – fairly literal, How To Be Happy dove headfirst into the bracing waters of gleeful abstraction. Admittedly, it’s not the hardest metaphor to crack (over the course of history, relationships have been equated to puzzles nearly as often as they’ve been tied to teenage vampire drama), but the various stages of this one are what make it.
But when I heard about the Pulse-Pounding, Heart-Stopping Dating Sim Jam, I was actually kind of thrilled. Yes, that is apparently actually how Angler Fish mating works. Gentle sound effects, nerve-wracking uncertainty, frantically mashing your mouse to hold it all together.
The portrayal of romance in games has been an open discussion in traditional game design circles, and players and creators alike have longed to see how we can explore the deep and nuanced tonalities of love in interactive entertainment.
Yet while lifelike demos of faces that can really gaze at you provoke buzz and ardor, achieving the expressive, genuine sentiment of courtship, heartbreak, and sex within a medium that likes goal-oriented systems has been an elusive objective.
It challenges the creativity of game developers all over, and has been a good source of interesting indie games. The Pulse Pounding Heart Stopping Dating Sim Jam was a game jam that brought together aspiring game makers from all over to create dating sims.
And with over 80 games (and the list may still be growing), I'd say that for its first time, this jam was a success.
Sure, Anna Anthropy (yes, the one from Cara’s excellent interview) might be mostly ) dug into the back of BDSM culture, Anna’s experiences with hormones, travel, game development, education, distance, dependence, pleasure, and pain. The result was explosive -- and fascinating for how quickly and enthusiastically a community from all walks of life and with all levels of expertise responded, uniting under the ongoing #pphsjam hashtag to produce and discuss a frankly-stunning array of expressive interactive experiences.As of now, the Jam's produced 80 games and counting.But the best argument against definitions and exclusions is here in the growing list of games that emerged from this joyous online community jam, made by people wanting to convey experiences of love through interactivity.They're experimenting with a design problem that all the years of indie jams and formal industry have rarely managed to address in such a brave way before, arguably if at all, and surely if traditionalists can take some lessons from other experience designers, this is no small place to begin.