All Walls Must Fall and the Importance of Marginalized Perspectives in Games
Also, It’s Three Days Into Pride, and I’m Already Tired.
Blows dust off thread
It’s been a while hasn’t it? What’s next?
Ignores above post
Let’s talk about All Walls Must Fall, but first, a little bit about this past year since I’ve last posted in this thread:
Disclaimer and a call to call me out on any bullshit
More than anything else I’ve written on the forum before I feel the need to emphasize my perspective isn’t a complete understanding of any topic, especially some of the topics I discuss below. More than anything else I have written, this is messy. I only speak as myself and not as an authority on any subject. Nonetheless, If I am saying something ignorant or dangerous, call me out. The last thing I want to do is make life any more difficult for anyone in the LGBTQIA+ community, or any other marginalized community.
For a year now, I’ve been far too exhausted to confront my sexuality in a real manner.
My very conclusive investigation on my sexuality has pinpointed me as… not straight? I think. There’s a lot of evidence to support that, namely I think men are hella cute.
I initially would have said pansexual, but a lot of the discourse in the LGBTQIA+ community has me stressed out about pinpointing exactly What I Am. Along with that is anxiety about any being public with any identity creating expectations in others. The few people I initially confided in about my sexuality would go on to prod me a month or so later, asking if I was dating men yet (advice: don’t ask your friends this a month after they come out of the closet to you).
That pride month is exhausting, much like this one is projecting to be, just three days in. Instead of celebrating my discovery that men are cute and I want to kiss Bayek a lot, I am worried. I’m not bi/pan/queer enough. I don’t even know how to fucking label myself because I’m worried how other’s will box me into that label. I am much less worried about being called a f***** (which happened anyways) than being looked down upon for not being enthusiastically bi/pan/queer enough, or not checking the boxes. Much like any discovery about myself, something I should be celebrating and embracing is mostly just stressful and terrifying.
On top of that, pride feels like it isn’t for me, but for straight folks looking to be performative and for corporations looking to make rainbow avatars and not support the LGBTQIA+ community in any real meaningful way.
I was lost.
But then I played All Walls Must Fall. I’d still feel lost, but boy did I need this fucking game.
Slightly NSFW image
If I’m being completely honest. I forget a lot of the specifics about All Walls Must Fall. It’s been a while since I’ve last played it for a significant period of time. It’s first and foremost a turned-based strategy game with elements of many other genres too. A pinch of roguelike meta game, a dash of rhythm game flow, and a neat dialogue system on top of all this as well. Much like personal favorite of mine, Dungeon of the Endless, this is a game that takes several genres and mixes them into something all it’s own. If you like any of those genres and don’t mind a game being a little rough around the edges, you should go ahead and play it.
But importantly to me almost a year ago, in this game you are a man who can dance and flirt with other men.
This game is by no means a Woke Game. It isn’t trying to be from what I can tell. But that isn’t a huge concern for me as I flirt my way past the bouncer and start making my way through the club, or as I dance with my contact as I try and coerce information from them. I am getting to live out an experience I’ve never had before. It’s exciting! It’s fun. On top of all of this, I am playing a kickass turn-based strategy game, and I fucking love kickass turn-based strategy games.
Many of the games I’ve played that have dealt heavily in LGBTQIA+ story beats have largely been story based and lighter mechanically. There is nothing wrong with this mind you, this is great, and I’m super happy to see LGBTQIA+ artists have the resources to be able to make the work they want to. But the elements that brought me to games in the first games are the mechanical aspects. To be playing a game in my favorite genre, that allows me to vicariously live out and express my queerness is wonderful. This certainly isn’t my favorite game, but it’s what I needed right now, just coming off XCOM 2, and just coming off realizing “holy shit I’m not straight”.
More than anything though, this game shows me what games do when they embrace marginalized creators and perspectives. They can let you feel experiences that are just a bit too far out of reach in real life. They can provide examples of folks of all sorts being brave, being funny, being upset and just as troubled as the rest of us. And unlike other forms of media, they can provide us with spaces to live out that perspective. I can be this big ol’ gay man doing the chicken dance and cracking jokes on the dance floor just as much as you could have that haircut you’ve always wanted, or can be the hero of a world, and be loved by those around you for who you are.
I started writing this thread after seeing all the 10/10’s God of War was receiving and being mad, as I didn’t understand the hype. Now even more than before, I see so much of it was because of perspective. So many father’s seeing a game that contained even a glimpse of understanding fatherhood, of course they’d rave about it.
Maybe with more marginalized folks in games getting more power in the game-making process, and more marginalized voices covering them, games can start speaking to more than just fathers? I’d like to think that’s possible, but more importantly, it’s necessary for the medium to survive.
So what does this mean for me? If All Walls Must Fall, at some point mine must too, I must be able to embrace who I am. I don’t know just yet. Despite being open about who I am and what I look like on the web and in this community, I’ve always been a private person. I don’t expect that to change.
I’ll just leave saying this: if you’re a bit lost in wondering who you are and how you identify or how you should label yourself, I am right there with you. And so are so many others. We might be asking different questions and coming from different places, and ultimately be searching for different answers, but know you aren’t alone. Finding out who you are is fucking tough, especially with so many other expectations society puts on those identities. But you are you, and you’re already great!
I hope you find your All Walls Must Fall.