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Interviews Reviews

It’s the Little Things: A Retrospective, and Review of Notes from the Cape

Games are never about the small stuff. You can argue that’s all of media but that’s particularly true about games. For the most part, these digital interactive environments are bombastic, fast-paced experiences that are expansive and all about the big-idea stuffs. Or, at the very least only on a surface level. Even those that seem to be quieter, often focus on events that throw us out of our comfort zone or gamify those moments (see Façade and Animal Crossing). There’s usually not a moment in a game where the protagonist or characters pause whatever they do and talk about the small stuff. Well, with some exceptions.

Notes from the Cape is a game all about the small stuff. A game made by a commune involving Gerrark, ArtDecade, and SuperDeluxeJoe, originally coded for Tynmo before Renpy, Notes from the Cape is a handful of short, bare-to-the-bone episodes, with almost no interaction. Some episodes, like the camping and the pasta episodes do insert some branches, but for the most part these are short stories that you read with the space bar as your buddy, all the while watching sequential panels of moments within these characters lives and escapades. And I don’t write ‘escapades’ lightly.

When I asked ArtDecade, the main creator of the series why to go this route, he wrote back, “Mostly I wanted to write gay characters living their lives without the burden of having to include the various bigoted and traumatic elements of the real world. A lot of gay fiction is about dealing with those things, and that’s very good! But I didn’t want to write that, especially because there was also porn involved in the Cape. It seems strange to me (personally) to combine porn and very serious real life concepts like homophobia or trauma.”

And you can see that with the earlier episodes. While Artdecade had a knack for finding the right moment to depict and there are some moments that do have some sort of emotional depth, the to and fro between two people would mostly be about inconsequential details, often spoken robotic. However, as Gerrark becomes more prominent in the series, you see a change in not necessarily style but in sophistication.

Friends with the ArtDecade since Minneapolis, Gerrark’s first entry into the series was the Willy Bear Beach 2 game. However, as time went on, Gerrark became a frequent collaborator along with the series, until becoming the main writer. Once Gerrark started to work, there was a push more towards focusing on the small anxieties of the characters. Not only that, but it allowed some of the scenery and visuals to speak for themselves a bit more often. As such, the dialogue became more evenly paced and had more personality with each episode. Not only that, but as time went on the themes became more prominent.

Through out the story, the serene aesthetics and socialist commentary often goes hand in hand. As ArtDecade states, “…creating a peaceful world for them was a fun solution that let me include things like socialist ideas and planned economy, military/police-less society, etc.” Sometimes, it goes in for the obvious. A day in the life of a baker becomes a history lecture on how this world had gotten rid of police and what came afterwards. But most often then not, it’s again, the little things. An artist working with the city council for an event sign. A coffee shop owner working on lunch boxes for public service. The ins and out of volunteering. The way of how each this system affects the character’s lives are sprinkled in. It seems to good to be true. Almost as if something needs to be changed.

At the beginning of the series, the last war ends with WWII, as “The War to End All Wars”. As for why this decision, and specifically not go into a sci-fi route, they wrote, “…it would…posit the left wing ideas in the series as something for the future. I liked the idea of showing what could be possible now, in our time, with just a few changes in common thought and perceptions.”

But there’s a, pardon the cliché, Catch-22 to this thinking. Either these socialist ideals come to us from the far-off future or the past has to be rewritten. And this tug-of-war isn’t just a weird misstep with the game’s part but rather it seems to be a tug-of-war that the game constantly fights.

The episode before the last, “Welcome to the Cape” was released during the time that it seemed to be quite clear that Biden would get the nomination. The episode is quite unlike the others. Instead of a short snippet into the lives of those from the Cape, we instead get essentially a rundown of what life would be should we live within a socialist system. But the crux of the plot is that your are immigrating to the Cape from a capitalist society. Already there seems to be a compromise within the vision, from a narrative that originally had it’s world be predominately socialist. And with the 29th episode being used as a guide to how we can live in a better world, it unfortunately leaves the last episode, somewhat empty.

Now, with the long gap between these two, it’s obvious that some forethought was put through in the last episode. Both with the intro and ending as well as having a more visual focus rather than relying on dialogue. But there’s something missing to it. Things are mentioned rather than shown and it seems like, had there been a two-parter it would be a way more satisfying conclusion to end it.

But, we only have the 30th episode closer. That, and Cape Kabu, a sort of card game that plays sort of like strip poker. And while the ending may have had a weird, almost detour energy to it, there’s a lot within the middle that still holds on. Or atleast to myself.

I will confess, part of the reason why this series means more to me than just a few horny slides to crank to is just how certain episodes and games happened to release in times of my life that honestly had made me think. Willy Bear Beach 2, a game about anxieties of the what the futures may hold, came out as I was about to leave college. When I finally was able to move out of my home in Miami over to Atlanta, Myriad of Colors was dropped on the home page.

The thing about this series, more than just its presentation and raunchiness is, albeit lucky timing, that it was able to speak of things that were in my mind that I hadn’t had the words to. This is why this series is still near and dear to me. And with it’s focus on a more realistic, conversational tone, it’s been able to resonate and appreciate all the small things that you don’t often see.

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Reviews

one night, hot springs: my name is (not) tess

It’s been about, let’s just say around a year, since I took on the name Tess. I had already explored my identity of femininity and gender with Mindy. But Mindy was a name that was too cute, too playful. Tess, however, was short and grounded, that ee’ sound never floated out off the name. And, it was also a great way to rename my fursona. ‘Tess’ didn’t have as many raised eyebrows as ‘Tetsuo’ did; a name from a time where otaku was what a teen wore on their sleeve.

After that, Tess became the staple of both my social media presence and circle of close friends, a name that I could wear on my sleeve and have everyone recognize the femme that I was.

Or at least, in theory.

Tess is something I write down on a piece of paper and pass it on. It’s a name that still lingers even after it slips between my teeth. But on a card in my pocket, on a booklet that holds the world, on a paper over seven hundred miles away, I’m still Patrick. I’m still a man in eyes of the law. Therefore, it’s morally right for me to be one.

There’s not a lot of stuff that talk about it. There’s not a moment when, try as you might to pass or fit in with your trans self, society or legality steers its ugly head over and tell you “Sorry pal.”

And most of that could be accredited to the fact that, there’s not a lot of trans characters, or more specifically, games that deal with trans issues. However, one night, hot springs is the closest I’ve seen to tackle such a discourse. However, this moral grey that society put us, is treated as an inconvenience in the game.

When given her registration card for the hot springs, they don’t ask her for an ID, they don’t look at her funny when the registration card doesn’t match her credit card. She thinks of it for a moment, and decides putting the legal name and gender would be better, because, you know less bothersome to the patrons for some reason.

Even when dealing with topic like these, as mundane as they can be, they are given little forethought. In the game, they confine your identity. However, they are confines of thought rather than legalities that are most often out of one’s control. And, later on, it turns out that, it doesn’t matter at all, cause the staff is sympathetic to your worries.

For something that really plays an important anxious part of a trans person life, it’s strange that it tosses it aside for a conflict that doesn’t resolve anything.

In reality, Patrick is a name that I’m bounded to, either when working or needing a house, or even wanting to order some clothes online. And, in a way, it hints that Haru too is bounded by their dead name. But it’s just a game. And, as a game, it, as well as many other trans anxieties about real issues, can just be looked over as ‘just in my head.’ Like the neat bow games must provide.

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Uncategorized

Radiator 2 and How to ‘Gamify’ Sex

Radiator 2, has been considered to be many things. Art game, survival horror, gay erotica. But even with it out for longer than a year, most reviews haven’t gotten deeper than the feeling of what they saw. Some suggest that it’s a weird look into the gay community within the internet age, but I’d argue that there’s a lot more baggage and darkness to this game. Namely, how Radiator 2 uses its elaborate surrealism to create a world unable to handle explicit queer sexuality.

Now, queer sex and mainstream media have often had a weird relationship throughout history. Most of it has often seen a Madonna/Whore complex. Queer characters, much like other minorities are seen as both victimized, villainized, fetishized and a whole slew of stereotypes. It’s either seen as a debauchery festival or innocent martyrs that know nothing about sex. It’s this extremity that Radiator 2 explores.

Shift stick explores this relationship. In it, the main character of the game gets off, depending on how you manage the shift. After a while, it becomes apparent what the game really means. It’s an implication of queer sex. It’s not the curtains pulled back, but rather the focus on the curtain. How straight media can’t really show how gay sex really works, and the ways it dresses up the act of it.

Though, it doesn’t just focus on how media analyzes sex. The first mini-game, where you meet someone, do aftercare with, focuses primarily on what the fantasy doesn’t focus on. It goes after what BDSM stories tend to ignore, including autonomy. The wait also goes into the frustration that the player goes into, knowing that they won’t be able to play the game immediately and, especially if you mess up the game, meditate on your actions. But it isn’t just about queer sex.

Radiator 2, by happenstance, seems to be commenting about the artificiality of sex within games media and how should one ‘gamify’ sex. It rejects the notion of Bioware’s intimate and traditional ideas of romance for one that uses game design as pornography. This design is highlighted in the more suggestive of the three, where you spend the game sucking on a popsicle.

With its uncanny use of everyday objects for suggestiveness, as well as explicit focus on what BDSM erotica doesn’t focus on, Radiator 2 comments on how we use media to discuss and define what sex is. And in the Internet Age, anything and everything can be just that.

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Uncategorized

Where to go from here?

Happy New Year everyone! Hope everyone’s holidays been doing well.

So, the blog. I don’t know how many times I’ve revamped it into something else. This maybe the third time officially, maybe the fourth. What I will say, though, is that for a long while, I had no idea what this blog was going to be. I even started to resent it: how it felt like I had something to say, when really I was just being pretentious. So, consider this to be another redo, plus an idea of how things will work, plus a disclaimer.

So first things first, the games. Both indie and AAA titles, I’ll at least dive into the queer aspect of these games as well as a general review. As for indie titles, this does include a lot more risque titles. Yes, as sometimes trite or ‘just there’ those scenes are, there are a majority of queer or LGBT+ titles that do have said scenes. Also, I still think some of these titles have something interesting to say. That being said, I won’t review all of these. Such games have to have something interesting or refined in their narratives or mechanics.

Like I said previously before in another update: there will be more interviews and event coverage, probably starting with PAX East 2020. There isn’t really a scheduled time between interview and review but, do be on a look out. Along with that, there will be a couple of opinion pieces, some involving queerness in games, some just ramblings about certain trends, but they’ll all be here.

As for the weekly updates, they probably won’t be so weekly. It won’t be as big of a stretch as last year (oh god, last year). But, I’ll probably space it out to either biweekly-monthly. Trying to speed through every game within a week’s time was a huge contributor to my burnout period and one of the reasons why I didn’t write anything for a long period of time.

Hope this year is a bit more fruitful and that y’all enjoy your stay!

Categories
Interviews Profiles

From Visual Novels to RPGs: an Interview with Christine Love.

Earlier this September, Seattle held their annual PAX West (or Prime) Expo at the Washington State Convention Center. One of gaming’s largest conventions, it featured a wide selection of upcoming indie titles. One such title was “Get In The Car, Loser!”

“Get In The Car, Loser!” is Christine Love’s upcoming title. Known for her work in visual novels, such as “Ladykiller in a Bind”, “Get In The Car, Loser!” sees a shift to a more JRPG oriented experience. She stated that her reason for this change was an exploration. “The big thing is the limit of visual novels…you can’t tell certain stories in visual novels…also learning different things.”

But while there are elements that differ from the Visual Novel formula, she also highlighted some similarities between the two, most notably the writing process. As she said, “It’s always big beats…’Ladykiller [in a Bind]’ was about seven days…’Get In The Car, [Loser!]’ was about bosses and battles…Start with the broad strokes and then…the rest of it writes itself.”

But the writing process and development of a game can be very different tasks. “Honestly it’s been a lot different…Ladykiller was straight forward…with this it’s like ‘balance system’.” Luckily, PAX had been, as quoted from her, a learning experience. “[The] biggest thing is learning from player interaction in the game…making sure when they press the button it feels good…like I thought it would be…a heavy number crunching game…the best numbers [are] when people get it.”

“Get in the Car, Loser!” will release early next year. As for developing games, she had this to say, “Just start small, make it finished, and good is a skill you have to improve.”

You can find more information on her website or Twitter.

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Interviews Profiles

Ana Valens: Twine, Erotica, Transgender Representation, and Blood Pact

By Callie G.

Now, something you may have noticed while reading reviews such as Willy Bear Beach 2 and Strange Flesh, we (well, technically I) love a good erotic game or two. “But,” you may ask, “how does one write/program/design an erotic game?” Well, for Ana Valens, the writer and programmer for the recent Blood Pact, the answer is simple: “Good erotica isn’t boring.”

Blood Pact, as it is described on the website, is “an erotic love letter to Twine’s hot, messy, queer roots.” When asked about infulences, she mentioned about “housewarming gift” being the biggest. “Her story taught me that I didn’t need to create a complicated choose-your-own-adventure game in Twine for queer players to enjoy it, I just needed to write an erotica game with realistic trans characters having the kind of sex that mirrors, well, trans sex.” So, how did Ana blend all these roots together? Well, to quote, “Blending the horror and occult elements with the erotic ones came down to treating the story like, well, a story…in short, I saw Alexa and Felanya as three-dimensional individuals with their own motivations and desires, and I treated Blood Pact‘s erotic elements as things that would naturally emerge thanks to their chemistry.”

A columnist for the web-oriented magazine, Daily Dot, Ana Valens worked on her “labor of love” during most weekends and nights. As she described the process, “it was tough…I had to pace myself, give myself time off, and ease up on writing/editing/programming during particularly rough work days. Blood Pact maybe a side hobby, but it’s still work, and everyone needs a break from work in the end.” Aside from timing, Ana also talked about other difficulty curves along with the project. “I had to teach myself how to program the UI for Blood Pact…most importantly, I really had to learn how to pace myself as a writer and swallow my pride while taking constructive criticism.”

By Callie G.

Luckily, Ana wasn’t alone in making Blood Pact. Working alongside Ana, was illustrator and co-designer, Callie G.. Callie and Ana have long been collaborators since Ana’s short story “Bell”. As their collaborating efforts, Ana stated “She let me lead the way as an authority on trans women’s bodies and that came through in her art…she also served as an editor…More specifically, she gave a lot of constructive feedback on Blood Pacts’ early drafts and helped me navigate writing Alexa’s identity…she taught me how to be aware of my white privilege, how to write characters of color like Alexa in ways that aren’t lazy or harmful, and why it’s so incredibly important to bring on sensitivity readers to help iron out any issues with a marginalized character’s depiction.”

With these experiences and challenges, Ana had some advice for writers and designers starting their first Twine project. “Before opening up Twine, write out a game design document…Next, do all of your writing, planning, researching, and note-taking outside of Twine… Once you’re ready to work in Twine, Think about what you want the UI to look like, and start looking into how to accomplish that piece by piece…But most importantly of all, start with small, simple projects first. Your first Twine game doesn’t have to be a novel, it just has to be something special to you.”

As this was an erotica that centered around two trans woman, there was some discussion about representation within the game industry. As she stated, “I think one day trans representation will get better. But to reach that point, we need more trans people in game development across all parts of the game industry, from AAA to bedroom indie games projects. That means scholarships and internships for trans game design students, programs that foster games made by trans youth, studios actively seeking out transgender writers and artists, and crowdfunding initiatives that give trans creators the money they need to create the games they want to.”

By Callie G.

Blood Pact is currently out now on Itch.io and playable on html.

You can find more of Ana Valens’s work on Daily Dot and on her Twitter. You can find Callie G. at her Twitter and her web store.

Categories
News/Opinions

Queering Gender with Apex Legends

So, Respawn threw everyone (including EA) in a loop with the sleeper hit ‘Apex Legends.’ In just three days, Apex Legends gained over ten million active players. That’s more than even Fortnite gained during its first launch. But what’s more interesting is the discussion of inclusion, particularly queer inclusion within the game.

One of the main characters, Gibraltar, has been canonically gay since the inception of the project. His backstory, on the website mind you, states that “he (Gibraltar) and his boyfriend stole his father’s motorcycle, took it on a joy ride and got caught in a deadly mudslide.” There hasn’t been any AAA development that has a character built from the ground up as gay, either in their backstory or development. Tracer and Soldier 76 have been canonically gay, but these pieces are just added info to already existing characters. But’s also interesting is the inclusion of another character that we haven’t seen in AAA space.

Bloodhound, within their backstory, does not use any pronouns. Many fans had speculated the reasoning, only to have both Respawn and countless other fans agree: Bloodhound is canonically nonbinary. Now, gay representation (for good or ILL mind you) has been an increasing trend within the AAA sphere. But to have someone trans, in an AAA title, is considered almost unheard of. Almost, mind you, as there are other trans characters, like Cremisius from Dragon Age Inquisition.

But to have someone nonbinary, in a specifically western, AAA title is unheard of. While it would’ve been nice to know Bloodhound as nonbinary from the start, with the nonbinary aspect stated within the background, still, having Allegra Clark, the voice actor for Bloodhound, confirm Bloodhound nonbinary, this may create an opportunity for more nonbinary and genderqueer characters within the AAA industry. Whether they be from developers, writers, artists, or voice actors, the inclusion of more diversity often brings a more diverse audience.

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Interviews

Itch.io and Queer Narratives: Interview with Mitchell Hall, Mitch Alexander, and Ryan Rose Aceae

Whelp, the holidays are here! So, in honor of this time of year where we splurge our money on sales and entertainment, I thought it would be best to look at Itch.io and give a spotlight to some up and coming queer developers.

Today, we’ll interview with Sweet Mouth Developer Mitchell Hall, Tusks developer Mitch Alexander, and GENDERWRECKED developer Ryan Rose Aceae about their experiences with the platform, as well as being queer in the gaming industry, representation, and their own work.

So, how long have you been on Itch.io?

Mitch Alexander: I’ve been publishing on Itch.io for three years or so.

Ryan Rose Aceae: I first posted my work in early 2017.

Mitchell Hall: I think I released my first one in 2015? So only three years so far.

So, would you say that there’s a community in Itch.io?

MA: A lot of queer developers I followed on Twitter would often talk about using itch.io for their games, which obviously attracted other queer folk (both players and developers) to the platform: it’s certainly what brought me there. itch.io‘s policies and staff seem quite queer-friendly, and the platform seems built to encourage helpful and positive ways of publishing, talking about and playing games, which makes it a good place for queer people, from what I’ve seen.

RRA: There’s definitely a community– itch.io is more accessible to queer folks who make small, non-“commercially viable” works that couldn’t find a home on other platforms. The community is very eclectic though. There’s a wide variety of works and creators, which I think is wonderful.

MH: I’m kind of a recluse who is terrible at talking to people, so I wouldn’t really know… there definitely seems to be more queer developers on itch than in AAA or well-known indie circles, though.

So, is there a difference between mainstream representation of queer identity and representation presented by queer developers?

MA: For sure, absolutely. Obviously, there may be queer people working in mainstream/AAA games studios that can inform how queerness is represented and shown, but even under that best-case-scenario, this will still be limited by things like certification for adult themes, or if the company believes their audience would react negatively to certain types of queer representation, and so on. Queer developers working on their own games are more free to explore the breadth and depth of queerness — and they can come at it from a very personal, nuanced and/or challenging point-of-view that you just can’t get at AAA games studios. This way, you get Robert Yang’s game about cruising that also address the politics of Twitch as a game platform and American stances on gun control: you get Lady Isak Grozny’s games that draw from the intersection of gay and trans identity, Ashkenazi Jewish folklore, disability, and the New Weird fiction genre; you get We Know the Devil, Date or Die, Dysmorph, Strange Flesh, Ladykiller in a Bind and so many more games that present queer identity, community, relationships and/or history that AAA game studios can barely touch.

RRA: There is a WORLD of difference. LGBT characters in mainstream media are uncomplicated– just queer enough to pander to “the gays,” but still palatable to straight people. The big moral that mainstream media wants to sell is that queer folks are “just like the rest of us.” And queer developers are out here saying no, we aren’t. Queer people have experiences that cishet folks will never understand– and that’s okay and beautiful. Works made by queer developers contain a nuance and emotionality that makes it clear they’re made FOR queer people, not just about us.

MH: There’s a huge difference!  You can tell from a mile away when a queer character is written by a non-queer person. That by itself wouldn’t be a bad thing, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a AAA game dev make a sincere effort to write a queer character as a character and not a gross stereotype.  Indie games are far more likely to be made by queer creators, and far more likely to write a queer character who serves a purpose outside of comic relief.

So, Mitch, your games seem to center around orcs. Is it an aesthetic choice or is there something in relation between orcs and queerness? 

MA: It’s a little bit of both! Like all monsters, they’re presented as being the Other, the ultimate outsider by which norms are meant to be judged and against which people must be defended. As a marginalized person, you’re so often put in the position of being judged against norms and set up as the enemy that it makes sense why you’d find affinity with the monstrous. There’s been a definite trend in queer people specifically finding affinity with orcs over the last decade or so, and my interest is absolutely part of that wave: there’s a lot of interesting ways to portray them that critique, subvert and queer the ultra-violent, hyper-macho, disgusting hedonistic corruptors that they’re presented as — and that’s not even covering the racism, eugenics or ableism that’s often built into them, too.

Interview Pic 3
From Tusks: An Orc Dating Sim

So Ryan, there’s a lot of characters in your work that are both monsters and queer identified. Is this purely an aesthetic choice? 

RRA: There was a line I wrote early on in development that I still love, even though it didn’t make it into the game. “They called us monsters, so we became monsters, and we became ourselves, and we became beautiful.” Monsters are othered, but they’re also powerful, and I want queer people to let ourselves embrace that power. It’s okay to be a monster, we don’t have to make ourselves into something pretty and palatable, and even monsters deserve love and community.

Interview Pic
From GENDERWRECKED

So Mitchell, your games tend to be, while fantastical in it’s execution, some how grounded in reality. What’s your inspiration for these games? 

MH: Write what you know, right?  Most of my games’ premises have come from my own anxieties and my own struggles to survive, just made cute and video-game-ified.  Also, I’m torn between (1) the desire to make a game about a Feel-Good Gay Utopia where Everyone is Queer and That’s Great, and (2) the desire to tell my young queer-ish audience what lies in store for them in the Real World:  it sucks, and everyone is trying to kill you while telling you you’re just imagining it the whole time.  I think my games’ weird endings show this tug-of-war between sending a Message of Hope and a Message of Awful Truth.

Interview Pic 2
From Mouth Sweet

And finally, what looks to be in the future for Itch.io?

MA: My hope for it is that continues along the same road it’s already on, creating new tools for developers, players, and creators, and that it becomes more well-known as a platform for amazing games.

RRA: I hope it won’t change too much! I’m always afraid that communities like itch.io will be commercialized, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon. I do think, on the positive side, that the site is becoming gayer. You have queer games like GENDERWRECKED, and Butterfly Soup, and I’m sure I’m forgetting a bunch, that you can only find on itch.io and not on Steam or whatever. Here’s hoping it’ll be a snowball effect.

MHI don’t know!  We’re on the bleeding edge right now, a lot of the waters are untested.  I predict that either itch will become one of the very few social media platforms to actually ban bigots and nazis and will go on to make life better for everyone, OR it will defend bigotry and become a garbage hellhole like… all the other platforms.  I’m trying to think positive, though.

You can visit their websites on Itch.io here:

Mitchell Hall: https://lovegames.itch.io/

Mitch Alexander: https://hxovax.itch.io/

Ryan Rose: https://gendervamp.itch.io/

Categories
Reviews

Willy Bear Beach 2 Review

screenshot0001

The second installment in the series, “Willy Bear Beach 2” (WBB2) expands on its predecessor in terms of scope and style. Unlike the original, with two figures and a background, the scenes usually have various frames and stills of the scene with the background behind it. The disembodied heads in the original are replaced with full-bodied portraitures and given with more expressions. Also, the art style with WBB2 isn’t as jarring between it and the artist’s work, unlike “Willy Bear Beach” (WBB).

Much, like WBB, the game is focused on the characters. This time, being that you have a week to do things, each character is given more breathing room. Koyo definitely gets the most sculpted. Still naive and a bit of an airhead but he’s not full on oblivious as he was during WBB. Along with that, there are new major characters, some developed alongside the side series, “Notes From The Cape”.

screenshot0005

The core mechanic of the gameplay is still centered around a “choose-your-own-adventure” type. But instead of the usual VNs where you’re given dialogue options, WBB2 has you choose which locations you go to. Whichever location you decide gives you a scene with one of the main characters or side characters. It’s less of a dating sim like the previous game and more of a worldbuilding and character focused game. Also, while in the game, you’re given some items that can be matched with other characters and places to unlock certain scenes. Unfortunately, this is one of the game’s stumbling blocks.

WBB2 is meant to be played on multiple, repeated times, allowing the player to get a scope of what is happening within the town. However, realizing the various routes and only finding out about the few pieces in the game, give those repeated plays a frustrating time. Not only that but just when you think you’ve unlocked an entirety of a character’s arc, only to look back and to realize there’s still somethings missing, is probably one of the most frustrating things about this game.

screenshot0011

WBB2 is a good visual novel. A lot of effort went into it, the team was expanded (with superdeluxejoe, Gerrak, and Kilmo) and because of this, so too has the world of Cape Bottom Sail. However, the gameplay hides so much from the player that either you let go of any goals and just breeze through the game, enjoying it as much as you can, or have your wall decorated like Charlie’s from It’s Sunny in Philadelphia. Once you relax and don’t think much about it, however, it becomes a lot more relaxed, trying to grab that Animal Crossing feeling, except that it’s gay and it’s a VN. I would definitely give this one a look!

You can find Willy Bear Beach 2 here.

Willy Bear Beach was created by

Art Decade (developer)

superdeluxejoe (programer)

Gerrak (lead writer)

Kilmo (musician)

Categories
Reviews

Notes from the Cape 2 Review

So, as late as it is, here’s the review for the newest release of Artdecade’s series: Notes from the Cape. Unlike Episode 1, which was more of a ‘demo’, this one has a lot more nudity and sex scenes as well as two stories in one episode: playing along to the end of the day.

The first one is much more of a simpler story: Willy meeting up with Ahmed and learning that Ahmed’s uncle is moving to the Cape. That as well as a scene where Willy gives Ahmed head. It’s mainly there to show off how the sex scenes will work as well as giving much more depth and background to Ahmed; mainly what he does around town. Which seems to be the intention that’s been playing around in this series. giving throwing in characters that will probably come up in future projects and give the audience a glimpse of their personalities.

But the scene with Maurice and Walker on the boat is what really steals the show. Not only giving a character that we haven’t seen as much personality as Maurice, but the chemistry between these two characters is perfect. Being vulnerable towards each other, and supportive of each other without being explicitly stated that they’re a couple or ‘just friends’; that’s something you don’t really see in most media, even less so in games. And, while we’re at it, the whole plot concerning the boat and a ‘certain’ present, is probably one of the most sentimentally sweet stories that don’t go over towards the ‘corny’ route.

However, while there are some great things about the episode, it’s not perfect. I know that this really isn’t meant to be a huge game, with the developer already stating that it was originally supposed to be side projects for the upcoming Willy Bear Beach 2. That being said, there’s still not a lot of interaction with the game and a majority of the time is spent reading. There’s a part where you’re able to point and click, but the segment is short and it’s obvious what you’re supposed to click on.

Also, personally I would’ve like to see at least some one-on-one between Maurice and Walker. Mainly because of the anticipation of them bonking being thrown in every direction but mainly because it felt there was a bit more story that could go on. But that goes to show how Artdecade is dedicated to his characters and his world.

I’m glad to see this project get as much popularity as it’s been having and I can’t wait to see the other episodes. Hopefully, we’ll get more interactivity and longer stories with each upcoming episode but even so, they’re still a testament to the necessity of that ‘chill’ game and character over plot. Go give it a look if you haven’t already!

(Also, I apologize for the delay. the break wasn’t as forgiving in terms of free time for the blog as I thought it would be. Hopefully, things will be picking back up. Just got to juggle this with four classes! Hope you all had a wonderful holiday and, as always I’ll see you all next weekend!)