Posted by Cha

I'm a little bit in awe of Nina Freeman. She makes me feel justified in my appreciation of people just telling their own stories, whatever those are. Coming to game design via poetry, she makes vivid vignettes with a heavy amount of autobiographical content. Her games end up making me feel voyeuristic, and I often squirm at moments that are both deeply vulnerable and relatable.

Cibele continues the trend, though in a more polished and fleshed-out form than previous games like "how do you Do It?", "Freshman Year" or "Ladylike". Cibele would be described as short, but it's an order of magnitude longer than those previous examples. But the extra length doesn't dilute the experience; if anything it feels even more intimate.

(from June 9, 2014)


Hello. I'm Cha and I like splashing about in video games. Today I am wading into Luxuria Superbia by Tale of Tales.

The name comes from the seven deadly sins -- it's the Latin for lust and pride -- but it doesn't have any of the negative connotations of that. Everything's very bright and playful. The lust aspect should become fairly obvious in a second. I feel like pride can easily be an aspect any game with the possibility to win or lose, or to earn a higher score, and I struggle with that gamer pride and ego sometimes. But I get the vibe from this game that it's confident it's coming from a good place, with a healthy kind of pride and... delight I guess.


The Challenge of Dinner Date

Posted by Cha

This post is part of the Blogs of the Round Table at Critical Distance, on the topic of "Challenge".

Julian Luxemburg waits anxiously in his apartment for his date to show up. She never will. We know this, and since we're sitting in Julian's subconscious he likely knows it too, deep down, but we have to go through the motions anyway. We're in a narrow kitchen with a small dining table off to one side.

Intimate, you might say.

Or cramped.

Everything is in place and there's nothing left to do but wait. It's a simple space, but carefully tidied and arranged for this moment. The table's set for two, with empty wine bottles forming a candle holder and flower vase. Soup bubbling on the stove, crusty bread, and a decent drop of Merlot.

Because he wanted everything to be nice for her.

Because he's lonely and wants to get inside her knickers.


The One True Path

Posted by Cha

I'm not the sort of person who plays individual games more than once, and not just because I don’t have time for my backlog as it is. I find sticking with a single playthrough is usually the most satisfying option, even if it means missing out on content.

(Insert obvious exception for rogue-likes, or other games where repeated play is inherently important).

There are several reasons to only play once, other than the obvious desire to try something new. There can be good reasons to seek out a more complete experience of a game too, don’t get me wrong, but I'm not sure everyone respects what this risks leaving behind.


Non-Sexual Nudity

Posted by Cha

What makes character design sexualised?

I've been thinking about this question a lot recently. I've encountered a few game characters lately who show a lot of skin, but don't imply (to me) that sex was objective of their design. I find this quite encouraging, but of course not everyone sees these particular examples in the same way.

It's possible that being a straight female makes it easier for me to see female nudity (or semi-nudity) as something other than sexual, but I suspect that's being unfair. It's also quite possible I'm just horribly naïve, but even if my examples turn out to be poor the idea remains interesting.

Some people do continue to complain about nudity in painting and sculpture, but there's mainstream acceptance of the artistic merits. I don't see any reason games shouldn't also be capable of meaningful exploration of the human form.