Did Rust just become the first transgender MMO?

Unlike many other online multiplayer games, Rust doesn’t give players any control over what their character looks like. Instead, it randomly generates a set of features and ties them permanently to the player’s Steam account. This means that, even if they leave the game, their character will look the same when they return. It’s a fitting choice, given how primal the world of the survival-based Rust is. Just as in real life, Rust doesn’t let you choose what you want to look like, but instead spits you out naked into its world with a body you had no say in, and tells…


A model for referencing videogames in literature

Generally when literature alludes to other media—Facebook, texting, film, the song “Hey, Soul Sister” by Train—my first reaction is to cringe. At its worst these mentions feel unnatural, lazy—the author’s gawky attempt to connect to the modern world or to an artistic tradition by simply referencing it. But even good media references can be jarring. Haruki Murakami’s thoughtful incorporation of jazz and classical music into his work, for instance, still has a weirdness to it. Perhaps this can be pinned down to degrees of separation from reality. When reading a work of fiction, it is typically odd to see mentions…


It’s Sailor Moon vs. the Devil in this horror story about pre-internet queerdom

Growing up as a queer kid in a rural, religious area can be a challenge. As you’re shuffled from church event to church event, it can be easy to feel stifled, especially if your folks are the evangelical type. Certain types of media can provide a momentary escape from that, such as the bombastic view into another culture that is anime, but in the end, it always seems like you lose a bit of yourself to the darkest part of a society that makes you feel like you have to hide who you really are. We Know the Devil, a…


Crossdress as your brother and get beaten as a reward in this game teaser

Christine Love, creator of queer games and cute characters, recently released a teaser for her upcoming game, My Twin Brother Made Me Crossdress As Him And Now I Have To Deal With A Geeky Stalker And A Domme Beauty Who Want Me In A Bind!! Or, for less of a mouthful, Ladykiller in a Bind. a game about social manipulation.  The teaser features a Domme coaching the sister of a prince through hypothetical social interactions with plenty of innuendo, a fair share of kissing, and slaps with a riding crop whenever she missteps or the Domme feels like it. Beyond…

In Brief

Navigate a Queer Zine Fair as a trans woman

In game designer Morgan Sea’s Zine Fair Lady, players navigate a queer zine fair through the eyes of a transgender woman. Though such spaces often ostensibly aim to be inclusive toward people of all sexual orientations and genders, in practice, organizers and attendees focus most on the most well-understood members of the queer community—cisgender gays and lesbians—while invalidating the identities of others.Zine Fair Lady comes with a content warning that reads “Transmisogyny, nudity, & sex talk”; limited interactions give players some insights about the small ways individuals are marginalized even in purportedly accepting spaces. In one instance, the player character…


If Papers, Please was about judging souls at the gates of heaven

“Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company.” – Mark Twain Absolutism is absolutism, no matter how you slice it. Whether worshipping a God or a state, christianity or communism, absolute answers to complex questions often lead people down iffy moral territories. Papers, Please extolled this truth in the context of communism. Forcing players to pass judgement on powerless immigrants, it revealed the inhumanity behind the bureaucratic state system—an educational (if not entirely unpredictable) takeaway for most players. But the religion-centric translation of Lucas Pope’s critically acclaimed game, entitled For the Love of God, shows just how absolutism can sneak…