A New Experience
For the first time in my gaming life (Nearly 20 years) I found myself in a game. Before we go any further, I want you to imagine that. Engaging with a form of media for literally 20 years and never finding a mirror character for yourself. I know some of you are going to be able to relate. Hell, you might have gone a lot longer than me. That’s wild. What does that do to a person?
Currently, I’m studying psychology relating to games and narrative. So I tried to think; what exactly does that do to a person?
If narrative is how we create our own ideas and model ourselves, what happens when there is no narrative to base it off? You have alluded narratives in the Hero’s Journey (Year 10 English class anyone?), you have cycles, you have things you can stretch for, but never you.
No one holds a mirror up to you. No one tells you you’re real, that they understand. Bioware’s Dragon Age Inquisition gave me Krem, a trans male character who glitches in and out of chairs and can be killed off pretty easily. A characters who’s entire identity can be boiled down to “I’m trans”. It’s like looking in tin foil, you can kind of see yourself, but it’s all distorted and jagged.
Dream Daddy handed me a mirror.
There’s not only just the option to be a dad in a binder, but it shows real critical thought as to how queer trans men interact with the idea of marriage and babies. There’s a very sweet montage at the beginning in which you go through some old photos with your daughter Amanda.
In reminiscing, you talk about her parent that has passed away. This allows you to make choices relating to how you had her. In really elegant, simple ways.
“Your father and I…”
“Your mother and I…”
I obviously picked the father option, considering my current partner is male. You reminisce more about baby Amanda and find a photo of her as a newborn. Your options are-
“This was the day you were born.”
“This was the day we adopted you.”
Simple. Regardless, I did have to sit with these options for a while. I’ve never wanted to have kids personally, so these were large questions for me. Would I want to carry them? Would it be dysphoric? Would we adopt instead? Would it even be physically possible by then?
I always pick the birth option. I loved being able to acknowledge my dad status while still connecting back to my body physically.
And by always, I mean I’ve played through 6 times so far.