Gameplay Journal Entry #8
A Closed World — LGBT
A Closed World takes the mechanics of a RPG (role-playing game) and features its theme on LGBT youth. In the game, the player is given a quest- seek out the demons in the forest; defeat them or wander the forest forever. The player only has their words to defend themselves, and against each demon, they may use a logical, passionate, or ethical argument to sway the demons from their mindset. Because the game shows an argument between the player and enemy, it stimulates emotional violence rather than physical violence. After each successful fight, the player is given flashbacks to their own life- argument with their sister (that may have prompted them to run away), negative information about the forest from their mother, and more.
This game references to passive homophobia in humans lives- none of the characters say they hated the character because they were gay, but it still cut into the way the family saw the character. They grow easily frustrated, and pressure the character to be more “normal”. “There is a will, not only among concerned observers but also those who play and create games, that existing games should be enhanced and diversified, or rather, that games should at least be developed in a way that they could include ethical ideals — or human values.” (1) At the end of the game, the character must not only convince the demons (who are actually warped versions of the player’s family and loved ones) to change their mindsets, but convince the final boss, which is the player themselves. Overall, A Closed World, although short, still holds the message that only you can take action for the events around you- you have to talk to your family, you can convince them, and only you can give up. In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
(1) Flanagan, M., & Nissenbaum, H. (2007). A game design methodology to incorporate social activist themes. Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems — CHI ’07, 182–182. doi:10.1145/1240624.1240654