Tom Quirk plays a lot of video games, but when he isn't, he is reading fantasy novels and watching way more television than is healthy.
Indie games have been a way to tell more personal stories of groups that aren’t really represented in mainstream games. A great example of the personal stories the industry can tell is Newfound Courage. Developed by Curtis Campion from Far North Queensland, Newfound Courage tells the story of a gay teen falling in love with his best friend while the world unravels around them. It is narrative-driven, and uses a retro-inspired pixel art style.
The game’s trailer shows the protagonist, Alex, as he explores “The Vault”, the enigmatic institute in the town of Silverpine. As he investigates the Vault’s many mysteries and helps the townfolk, he must contend with his own burgeoning feelings for another young man named Jake.
The developer has described it as a game that is perfect for fans of the adventure game “To The Moon”, and gay stories like “Love, Simon”. Created without corporate funding, Campion stated that Newfound Courage is somewhat unique among games. In his words, “gay men in games are often either highly sexualised, underdeveloped side characters or side options in otherwise straight stories”, and that he wanted to tell a story that he would have wanted to play through as a teenager.
In addition to custom-made pixel art and animations, Newfound Courage also boasts an impressive soundtrack by award-winning composer Jessica Kelly. It is advertised as being short in length, but tells an emotional and personal coming of age story where the player’s choices matter. It is good that indie developers are able to tell these personal stories in their games, and is a step forward for representation from a local creator.
Newfound Courage will be available for PC and Mac March 1st 2019. Be sure to check out the official website for more information.