Tell Me Why and LGBT Representation in Games

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Tell Me Why is free on Steam for Pride Month so I decided to give it a try. I really loved it! One of the biggest reasons I enjoyed it was that the main character was trans. Characters like this are important because not only does it allow trans people to feel seen, but it also gives people a chance to experience what it is like to be trans.

Plot

Tyler and Madison are about to be reunited after being separated when their mother died. The player finds out that Tyler was taken to the Fireweed Residential Center because he accidentally killed his mother in self defense after she went after him with a gun. Tyler believes his mother tried to kill him because she couldn’t deal with having a trans son, but he is not sure when he finds a book about caring for a trans child as well as a flyer for a conversion camp. Tyler and Madison decided to question everyone about their mother leading up to her death to try to figure out what the truth is.

Tyler’s Story

Tyler struggled with his gender identity. He kept a diary where he wrote down his feelings of not wanting to be perceived as a girl because he was a boy. His mother confiscated his diary and he assumed then that’s when she realized he was trans and could not accept that he was trans.

Then, he decided to try cutting his hair really short so it suited his gender identity. His sister helped him and he then revealed to his sister that he wanted to be her brother. When he went to show mom his new hair, that’s when he saw the gun and assumed that she was trying to kill him because he was trans.

When Tyler is in the residential center, he decides to start transitioning. He picks the name Tyler and feels safe to express himself at the center. He decides to save up money for top surgery and is planning to use the house to pay for it.

How Tyler is Treated by Others

The town Tyler came was fairly small and it appears to be fairly conservative. Tyler tends to get comments about how surprised everyone is that he looks like a “real” man after his transition. At the beginning, a character called Sam doesn’t consider Tyler to be a “real” man. But, Sam later realizes how hurtful he was so he gives him a gift, a small knife, which is his way of showing Tyler he sees him as a man.

Tessa is a very religious woman and unfortunately she was not accepting of Tyler when he was a child. You find out that she gave his mother the conversation camp poster thinking it would “help” her and Tyler. She eventually learns how awful they are and is truly sorry and wants to restore the friendship she had with Tyler which Tyler can accept or refuse.

Michael is gay and is one of the few openly gay kids in their hometown. He immediately is accepting of Tyler and even has a little crush on him. You can choose whether to romance him or not.

Revelation/Ending

Tyler assumes at first that his mother did not accept him for who he was. It turns out that she did. She fought with Tessa because she wanted her son to be happy and know that she cared about him and would accept him.

The problem was that she was always mentally unstable. She grew up in a strict family and when she fell in love with a man and had a child; she suffered a miscarriage which just caused her a lot of suffering. Then, she had twins. Tyler and Madison find out that she had an affair with Tessa’s husband, Tom, which led to her having the twins. Tom pushed her mentally because he did not want Tessa to find out who the father of the twins was. This led the mom to just mentally snap and take a gun because she just couldn’t handle the stress and pressure anymore.

Tom then decided to manipulate her kids. He wants to coerce them into staying silent because he wants to not have his wife and the whole town find out or else he wouldn’t win the election happening in town. He does tell them his version of the truth which is that their mother wasn’t threatening them she was trying to calm them down because she knew her kids were scared. From there you choose whether to believe his story or Tyler’s story where his mom threatened him. You also find out that Madison killed the mom to save her brother, but he wanted to be a good older brother and protect her so he took the fall.

This game was very emotional which is true for all games made by Dontnod. I found myself just wanting to continue the story like Tyler did, desperate to find out why his mother became so unhinged. I did like how all the characters grew to accept Tyler, even though I’m not sure how realistic that was for a conservative town. I also liked the emphasis on restoring the sibling’s bond which you can influence based on Tyler and Madison’s actions. In my case, I managed to have them still stay close. I highly recommend this game especially while it is still free.

Have you played Tell Me Why or an other Dontnod games?

Friday Night Funkin’: A Fun Nostalgic Game

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This is different from the games I usually talk about as this is a browser game. Friday Night Funkin’ can be played as long as you’re on a laptop or computer so if you want to check it out, here it is! I found this game through TikTok. The videos kept appearing and I decided to see what platform it was on and found out it was a browser game. The game is still being worked on and new levels are being added. There is also a Kickstarter for the full game.

Story Mode

This game does not have cutscenes yet, but the story is basically that you are a boy in love with a girl and you must battle through music to impress her family and other characters in order to win her heart. Story wise and style wise it reminds me a bit of Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. Right now it only consists of levels and some dialogue that hints at a story.

Gameplay

This is where all the nostalgia comes in. I played Dance Dance Revolution a few times over at friend’s houses and this is essentially it. You use the WASD or arrow keys to match up to the “words” the characters are saying. They’ll make musical sounds if you time it right. The arrows show up on the screen so you know exactly when to hit them. This sounds easy, but it really isn’t. I played the story mode levels on Easy because I can barely handle Normal and Hard is a nightmare!

Characters

This is what really makes the game fun. The bosses are all very unique and have their own personalities. You see her dad who resembles a rocker and her gorgeous mom. There are also other characters like an anime boyfriend where they actually made the graphics look like those old Game Boy Advance games I used to love to play which made me smile! There’s also this creepy guy (I believe he is called the lemon demon as he has a lemon head) who is the only character that sings with words and he is really disturbing. He creeped me out because his face is creepy and he sings about wanting to kill you.

Dance Party!

This game is really fun if you’re a fan of rhythm games or just enjoy listening to a good beat. It’s fun to play and has great replay value! I’m excited to see more tracks released and look forward to the full game!

What is your favorite rhythm game?

Shin Megami Tensei Nocture: First Impressions

This is my first SMT game so I was really excited to play it! I am used to Persona games. I finished Persona 5. I have played, but not beaten Persona 3, Persona 4 Golden, and Persona 5 Royal. I was interested in seeing the origins of the Persona games and the plot interested me. I have played up until the Manikins.

Plot

This has to be one of the most interesting ways to begin a story. It literally begins with the world ending so the worst case scenario has already happened. Your character becomes a demon and is tasked with choosing who will rule and shape new Tokyo. Tokyo has become a spherical world. I believe that I will eventually meet people who will have their own vision of what Tokyo should look like and I can pick whose vision I agree with the most. This game does have multiple endings.

Gameplay Mechanics

Having previous experience with Persona does help, but this game is a bit harder even on Merciful. Magic is similar. I recognize Dia for healing, Zio for lightning. Seeing the health or what a demon is weak too is only available with magic so far. It does not automatically come up like it does in the Persona games.

Recruiting party members is difficult. First, you need to be in the right moon phase. A full moon means that you’ll probably won’t get a party member. Second, some just won’t talk to you because they either can’t understand you or you are too low level. Third, they need to be persuaded similar to Persona 5 except that it’s random. They will ask for offerings then ask you a question and after that they’ll decide whether to join you or not. It is so far frustrating because I will get really close, like with Nyx all I had to do was answer her question, but she decided that she didn’t like my answer and left.

The moon phase as well as enemies appearing depends on steps taken in a dungeon. There is a nice little graph in the bottom right that will glow red when you are close to an encounter. The moon influences lunar chests with full giving you the best stuff. The moon also influences demons with a full moon causing them to go berserk and not want to help you. Fusion is basically the same, but the moon also plays an effect here. The phases of the moon will give benefits to demons being fused. I think full moon is supposed to be the best time to do this.

There are no social links or practically any socialization in this game. You can talk to souls or whoever is still left alive, but it is a very isolating game. If you are expecting to hang out with friends and create bonds, this will not be the game for you.

Worth it?

I’d say it is worth it if you have not played it before or want an introduction to the Shin Megami Tensei series. It is known to be difficult which is why I decided to download the free Merciful DLC. It’s very different from Persona in terms of it being a more isolating experience. I don’t mind that it’s designed this way as it actually makes the game calming for me. It just allows me to explore the environments and appreciate the story. The similarities are mainly that it does involve teenagers in the plot, you can recruit demons into your party, and familiar faces like Jack Frost.

In terms of the quality of the port. It’s got it’s positives and negatives. I love the graphic updates with the Unity engine and I do love that it is voiced because I understand that the original had no voice acting. But, the music has still been kept compressed which can be heard in battles and the movie cutscenes were kept in their original ratios. I also have experienced two black screens where the game just locked and needed to be restarted so I lost progress (the worst being around 20 minutes) and autosaves are not a thing. Still, I would recommend this game mainly for the story alone as long as you like philosophy.

Have you played a Shin Megami Tensei game before?