#JamForLeelah, a Trans-Positive Global Game Jam!

A new month-long trans-positive game jam is currently underway and accepting submissions for games focusing on trans youth issues, in order to spread awareness of the issues faced by transgender people in modern society.

#JamForLeelah was organise…

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Mean Girls. The Video Game.

This is so fetch.

It’s been 10 years since Mean Girls first hit screens, becoming an instant classic that is as quotable as it is hilarious. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t reference a line from the movie, use a .gif of Regina George to respond to something, note that the limit does not exist, or chastise someone for trying to make something happen that’s not going to happen. This is one of those movies that truly defines a generation.

Today it finally becomes a video game. Cue every gay squee noise I can muster.

meangirls logo

Via So Much Drama Studios:

“If You Have Ever Felt Personally Victimized by Regina George, This Game is For You

Designed as an easily accessible ‘tiara-defense’ game, Mean Girls finds the original Plastics at peace with their world, when a new upstart Plastics clique attempts to take control of North Shore High School by piecing together the broken Spring Fling Tiara. Players can select from eight of their favorite Mean Girls characters—Cady, Regina, Gretchen, Karen, Janis, Damian, Aaron, and Kevin, each with their own distinct boost abilities—and all the cliques from the cafeteria, to help defeat opponents and complete each level.”

The mobile “tiara-defense” game is not unlike your standard tower-defender: You place troops, you set up traps, and you keep the oncoming hoards of enemies away from their goal. Only this time around your troops are who you hang out with and the enemies are the opposing cliques.

Comic mean girls

While it may not seem like an obvious genre to slap the Mean Girls name on, it’s actually quite clever. Just as in the original film the cafeteria is a carefully mapped out warzone, with factions ranging from the Varsity jocks to the girls who eat their feelings to the burnouts to the Plastics. And just as Lindsay Lohan’s Katy Herron went to war with Regina George, players will go to war to protect their tiara from those who’d try to snatch it away.

Does this sound like the most fabulous game ever, or does this sound like the most fabulous game ever? Who would come up with such a game? None other than So Much Drama’s Jeff Medor, creator of RuPaul’s Drag Race: Dragopolis, one of our gayest games of the year two years running. As was the case with Dragopolis, Mr. Meador isn’t trying to make a lazy licensed tie-in game…he wants this to be a product that true fans will enjoy through and through.

Mean Girls is hilarious, brutal, and endlessly quotable; I absolutely loved watching and re-watching the film,” said Jeff Meador, founder and president, So Much Drama. “The game is rich with the quirky humor, over-the-top high school power struggles, and everything from hilarious lines, peppermint foot cream, to, yes, the Burn Book.”

Burn Book mean girls

No matter which clique players belong to, from band geeks and preps to regulation hotties, Mean Girls offers seven different ways to play including gameplay modes such as You Can’t Sit With Us, Social Suicide, She Doesn’t Even Go Here, and The Limit Does Not Exist.”

Mean Girls is slated for release on mobile platforms soon. I bet it will make for a great candy-gram.

And none for Gretchen Weiners. Bye.

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GGOTY 2014: Gayest Games of the Year

Last year our Gayest Games of the Year list was quite popular, so why not do it again? Especially when 2014 has been an even bigger year for gay games than last year. While many of the 2013 titles had major queer themes not all of them had explicitly…

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A different kind of Elven Rogue: a look at Sera

Note: This is the third in a series of articles exploring the diverse cast of BioWare’s Dragon Age: Inquisition. The following contains details from all points of Sera’s sub-plot in Dragon Age: Inquisition, including her ultimate romance sub-quest.

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The Legend of Korra series finale was a big win for gay geeks

If you haven’t already been hit with spoilers regarding the finale of Nickelodeon’s hit series The Legend of Korra be forewarned that this post is going to be chock full of spoilers from the moment you click ‘read more’. You have been warned.

The …

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A different kind of Sophisticated Gent: a look at Dorian Pavus

Note: This is the second in a series of articles exploring the diverse cast of BioWare’s Dragon Age: Inquisition. The following contains details from all points of Dorian’s sub-plot in Dragon Age: Inquisition, including his ultimate romance sub-quest…

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Review: Coming Out On Top

You may or may not remember those “for girls” boardgames where you play a babysitter or whatever and you date boys…  They tended to have a few different kinds of boys, and you knew who they were the moment you saw them.  There was the blond goody t…

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A different kind of Bodice Ripper: a look at the Iron Bull

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July 10
2014

D&D’s Bumpy Road to Inclusion

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51kekOxPL9L
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(A word of caution. Some of the links to articles contained within contain strong language.)

On Tuesday, Wizards of the Coast released the free basic rules to the fifth and newest edition of the most popular RPG franchise, Dungeons & Dragons. Inside, aspiring adventurers and dungeon masters can find rules on how to create adventurers who are devout Clerics, brawny Fighters, devious Rogues, or worldly Wizards, and then tells them how to go out into the world, slay monsters, collect treasure, and become ever stronger.

It also included something new in a D&D product, something that gave me pause when I saw it for the first time. In fact, I didn’t actually believe it when I first saw it. The passage in question is a mere two paragraphs filed under “Sex” (as in one’s biological sex), but the content of those paragraphs are stunning to anyone used to tabletop RPGs.

dnd5inclusion1dnd5inclusion2

Now any sensible person wouldn’t be too wowed by this section, but if you have any history with tabletop RPGs then you know that an inclusive passage like this has never been written for a game as large as D&D. For the writers and designers of this game to make a conscious choice to tell their players that they can be any gender or sexual orientation they choose is, quite frankly, groundbreaking. Sure it’s not the best-worded section I’ve ever seen that has tackled the concepts of gender and sexuality, but it’s a far cry from what has been written before, which is usually nothing.

Reading this section and taking it in filled me with a sense of elation. I thought that this was a definite step in the right direction in terms of inclusivity. A rocky, unsteady step, to be sure, but a step. And that simply brought me joy.

51kekOxPL9L

But…

Recently, it’s come to my attention that a group of people are deriding D&D5. Not for this section in particular, although the reason does have to do with inclusion in a way. You see, a few people that have been labeled as toxic within the RPG community were hired on as paid consultants for D&D5. What does toxic mean? In one case, that means excluding certain subsections of people from RPG gaming in general, with much vitriol and anger. In the other case, the person in question has a history of harassment and stalking others, especially cis women and trans people.

Unfortunately, the RPG community is not the safest of spaces. Being inclusive is not just about putting a section in your book saying, “You should be inclusive.” It’s also about acting on the words you write. Creating a community where others can feel safe sometimes means pushing out others who are toxic to that community.

So, does the inclusion of these toxic individuals as paid consultants mean that D&D and Wizards of the Coast are being exclusionary? Is credibility lost in that regard? On the other hand, does the message that this section of inclusion preach stay true, even with this new information? I feel like that is a conclusion that each person should come to on their own. For Sage LaTorra, who wrote one of the articles above, it means he will not be purchasing D&D5, and I can’t begrudge him that. I also don’t feel like I can begrudge someone who does buy it because they feel like they are supporting a game with a positive message. Both approaches have their merits, I think.

For me, it feels like a step forward…but also a step backward. So, in essence, it feels like we actually haven’t moved at all. Many other indie games, like Avery McDaldno’s Monsterhearts, have much more eloquent depictions of queer characters, and have been doing so for much longer. As it usually happens with big corporations finally catching up to indie developers, their first step can be plodding and clumsy. I can only hope that it leads to a much more decisive and sure second step.

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About Bryce Duzan

Bryce has lived in sunny San Francisco (or "sunny" San Francisco if you actually live there) for the past four and a half years. He studied Theater at San Francisco State, and spends most of his time playing games, whether they are in a video or board form. He hopes to make games and sip finely-crafted cocktails from a golden chalice for a living someday, but until then will settle for just trying to make people think...or at least laugh. Tweet at him @Spincut.

7 Responses

  1. avatar Lysander says:

    I’ve been reading up on this a bit.

    http://ardwulfslair.wordpress.com/2014/07/07/on-the-dd5-credits-controversy/

    The link above is yet another view of the whole thing. From what I understand, they were looking at rule sets.

    It is also talked about here.

    http://www.enworld.org/forum/content.php?1738-Encounter-Guidelines-for-D-D-5E-What-Does-A-Consultant-Do-and-PATHFINDER-UNCHAINED!#.U77f7pRdUmk

    I think that their role in D&D 5 is perhaps greatly overstated, and that simply because a person may have been consulted for their expertise around rule sets or mechanics, doesn’t mean that the product was at all governed or influenced by their thoughts. And since that passage appears in the rules, you can tell that they are trying to expand and include.

    (Full disclosure: I am friends with one of the designers, who is gay as well).

  2. […] On Tuesday, July 8th, Wizards of the Coast released the free basic rules for the fifth edition of the long-running RPG Dungeons and Dragons. For the first time, the rule set contained a section on sex. Here is the full text on that section (Images via GayGamer.net). […]

  3. avatar Giblet Blizzard says:

    “the person in question has a history of harassment and stalking others, especially cis women and trans people.”

    complete bollocks there.

    this is from Zeea, a cis moderator over at rpg.net. it’s in the link from Zak above, but if you don’t click on that link here’s the full message.

    “Zak S:

    So, I’ve spent a few hours doing as much research as I can, and I’ve talked to folks some more.

    I’m not going to equivocate. People made accusations against you without proof, the accusations got amplified and distorted and repeated through the Telephone Game effect, and I bought into it when I shouldn’t have.

    I can’t find any evidence of you making broad transphobic statements. I can find evidence of you making trans-inclusive statements. Every transgender person involved in arguments with you was in an argument about something unrelated to being trans, with the exception of the “morphodite” thing, which was such an over-the-top obscure thing to say that I’ll take you at your word that you were using it to parody a certain posting style.

    Furthermore, in every one of those discussions, there was a lot of shit and toxicity flying around and everyone was hot-tempered. And finally, because all of the incidents I’ve found any public examples of were “person and an entire faction of people vs. person and an entire faction of people,” even if there was cyberstalking aimed in either (or both) directions, there’s zero evidence you instigated it or posted non-public information.

    I don’t think anyone I talked to privately is intentionally lying about this. I think they believe it. But perceptions color memories, as does hearing the same event discussed by multiple people, and some of things look a bit stretched by this point. I can’t base an opinion on stretchy-looking facts.

    So, I hereby apologize for and retract any implication that you’re transphobic or have engaged in cyberstalking. I’m sorry. I’m going back to my original statement on the subject before I got all the private messages, which was, “As far as I know, neither Pundit or Zak S have said anything transphobic.”

    Furthermore, while I highly doubt that my opinion has _any_ influence on the subject whatsoever, and I wasn’t the one who started this whole line of discussion (nor was I the person that got Mike Mearls involved*), I sincerely apologize if anything I said on this subject damages your industry reputation in any way. I disagree with you on plenty of subjects, but I fucked up here and let that influence me to believe and repeat something I shouldn’t have.

    Oh, bonus apology. I said you were disingenuous. Know what? I’ve reread a lot of stuff you’ve posted and then read it in the context of other stuff I’ve found in places I don’t normally frequent. I retract and apologize for that, too. While you can be abrasive as hell and tend to accuse people of disagreeing with you because they’re “conservative,” it seems you’re arguing based on a sincere belief and not intentionally strawmanning. Plus, you’ve displayed more nuanced opinions on the subject in some places, and if I’d seen those before, I’d probably have had a different opinion.”

    It’s easy to fall back on rumor and hearsay, but the accusations of harassment of women and the LGBT community is utterly false, please do the right thing and update your article accordingly.

    peace.

  4. avatar Zeea says:

    Er…

    1) I apologized for very specific claims that I made. Not every claim that everyone made about Zak. At the very least, Zak made “the Google+ +1 List” and that was over the line and I’ve made my opinion on that clear. I’m sure as hell not accusing people of lying and didn’t there, nor was that a demand made of anyone else.

    2) I wasn’t a moderator when I said that. Just to clarify. That was a personal statement, not an official statement or anything.

    3) I’m transgender, not cis. :)

  5. avatar Kimor says:

    Paizo Publishing (makers of Pathfinder RPG) have featured LGTBQ characters for years in their adventures. Most of their Adventure Paths feature at least one prominent character with an alternative sexuality. While I laud Wizards for being accepting in this book, I think it’s a bit disappointing to not have their contributions mentioned at some point.

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