Gita Jackson is on the pod today to tell Rob, Cado, and Patrick all about the different dates they've been on while delving into Boyfriend Dungeon. The crew discuss the content warning controversy around the game, how the visual novel genre has handled similar content in the past, and what “play with care” can mean for different people. After the break, Patrick checked out Axiom Verge 2, the sequel to the 2015 indie Metroidvania that leaves something to be desired. Rob is checking out Humankind, whose “Civ but not” tech trees seem to eschew the way cultures and history can build on top of each other by allowing you to jump between playing different real world civilizations depending on the era you’re in. Cado’s finished up the most recent Destiny 2 season, and feels like the Vanguard could’ve been implicated in some of the hatred towards The Fallen that the season focused on. Then in the question bucket we talk about LARPing.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://play.acast.com/s/vicegamingsnewpodcast/episode419-nonbinarywitchscythe-orbisexualdagger-
Gita was great talking about Boyfriend Dungeon! I was sadly disappointed with the game, and then discourse happened, so it was refreshing to hear someone with a positive yet considered take on it!
Nice episode! Today I’m listening half, tomorrow I complete it.
Me, squinting and reading the title: What the-
Me, 5 seconds later: Oh RIGHT. I need to play Boyfriend Dungeon.
This is a rough episode since everybody wants to “block Eric” and “don’t date Eric” and “Eric is such a problem”, when my name is Eric.
And I dunno, I bet I’d be a great Boyfriend Dungeon.
Every podcast with Gita is just such a fun listen.
I tend to think of myself as someone who is typically fairly sympathetic (if not empathetic) when an audience criticizes an artwork on the grounds of content–or at least on the grounds of presentation of content… But I can quite definitively say that this is the first time that the argument is beyond the pale for me: it is official, I am old and I do not get why people are so upset (never mind the fact that there are apparently threats of violence in the mix somehow???), or why the community at large seems to be taking the upset so seriously.
Content warnings are an interesting challenge, removed from The Discourse¹. Ikenfell has a toggle, which I think helps a lot with keeping it ‘spoiler-free’ for those who don’t use it while also having scene-to-scene warnings so you know when to look away/skip the cutscene.
But I also Steam and other storefronts should do more to help developers with this, especially with games that have heavier themes. Could also be a toggle, like ‘Show content warnings before adding to cart.’ It definitely sucks to put down money on a game only for it to tell you when it boots ‘hey, you won’t be able to play this’. Especially on the Switch, Nintendo hates refunds.
I haven’t played it, but honestly, this feels like a marketing issue more than anything, though I agree with both the initial criticism that the content warning on launch was not adequate and that we need a better way of discussing problems with small games that aren’t ‘harass any person even tangentially involved with the game’ or ‘destroy a marginalized creator’s life for their missteps while heir AAA counterparts who are much worse on average get to stay in the industry for years’.
I think a lot of the time people have a pretty limited understanding of what visual novels are as a genre because they’ve only been exposed to the santiised wholesome stuff or the deliberately edgy subversions. A game being both cute and fun and also engaging with themes in a complex way chafes under that dichotomy. But it does also feel like the marketing really leaned in to the ‘sword husbando’ image without giving a sense that there was a substantive narrative going on beyond that.
Also I think part of it is that they do give options for what content the player wants to see re; texts from the mother character, so it’s easy to look at that and go ‘well you were able to take it out here, why can’t I get rid of this eric guy too?’ without thinking about his role in the story overall.