Cheerleader's Choice: Work In Pomgress Update 9/12/22 Feedback on new chapters

I still think of myself as a cheerleader. I spend 3 years of high school identifying as a cheerleader. It wasn’t just what I did, it was a huge part of me. I only quit because I had to move schools, and I didn’t want to relearn all the cheers with the freshman. I kinda wish I had though… I’m a freshman in college, and I still miss it, a year and a half later. Especially since the last year wasn’t as fun as the others. They were so focused on state, that we didn’t focus on actual school spirit (and they did state competition tryouts for the first time, and I didn’t get in even though I had been on the team the longest… wasn’t a satisfying ending)

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I hear you, Anna. I quit my team under less than satisfying circumstances…

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I’m still working on Chapter 7. Part of this chapter is the morning after a wild party. I’ve written the party so that your character can be a Party Animal, or the only sober person in a room full of drunks. Which of these experiences most closely resembles YOUR experience at parties, or nights out with friends/coworkers?

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I’m nearly 1.90m tall, over 100kg, and have a fast metabolism - getting drunk would both be very hard and extremely expensive, even if I wanted to not be in charge of my body, which I really don’t. Besides, SOMEBODY has to hold up people’s hair when they vomit and make sure they stay hydrated.

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UPDATE 2/20/22:If you’re a former cheerleader, do you ever feel like your uniform is really a costume or a disguise? Ever felt like you’ll be exposed as a fraud any moment?

A major theme in the first half of this game is “Impostor Syndrome.”

If you played the demo chapters, did you notice how the little voice in the back of your head is constantly telling you that you aren’t a real cheerleader. This week I’m working on a scene a little over halfway through the game, where other people begin to perceive you as “A real cheerleader.”

For me, in real life, it took a lot longer. I started cheering as an adult, and it took over a year to feel like a cheerleader, instead of a crazy person in a cheerleader costume. I couldn’t shake the sense of being an impostor. Not until someone at one our events directly referred to me as, “A real cheerleader.”

I was also the only transgender person on an LGBT team (Yes, they called themselves an LGB T organization for years before they actually had any transgender people). So, another layer of impostor syndrome for me was that I wanted to be thought of as “One of the girls,” but I could never shake the feeling that the team thought of me as their token transperson. An outsider who’s neither “One of the girls,” nor “A real cheerleader.”

So how about you ? Did you ever feel like a fraud, or have the sense that people viewed you that way?

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Not a cheerleader, but as a part of my school’s cadet corps (most of us weren’t given a choice about joining), I couldn’t march or remember to bring the right uniform bits to save my life. I got shouted at a lot and told I was a bad cadet. I’m not sure if it was exactly imposter syndrome, but it wasn’t nice to be one of the failures of the squad all the time, even if given the choice I wouldn’t have been there. I probably wouldn’t feel comfortable saying ‘I was a member of that’ to someone I met casually today.

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imposter syndrome? amogus??? :flushed: :flushed: :flushed: :flushed:

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I don’t think I ever felt that… probably because I joined when I was just little freshman, and my team was super supportive of me and taught me all I know. I only had doubts when I went to camp or state, because I’m not super athletic, so my jumps were never good enough, and I couldn’t really stunt.

I also felt disconnected my junior year before I moved, but that’s more of an individual team thing

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The exultations of the cheerleaders fills you with Determination

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One of my goals with this game is to make the cheerleading as realistic as possible. Traditionally, only girls use pompoms. But, in the game, your character gets poms, no matter what your gender is.

The following tale of woe will probably not be in the game, so please take heed of its warning…

The very first lesson I learned as a cheerleader is…

“Trust no b!tch with your pom poms!”

Cheerleading is fast-paced. When it’s time for a stunt, all the girls drop our pom poms, do the stunt, then grab our poms again. At my first performance, I noticed that some of my squadmates had ragged poms that looked like the clumps of tinsel you’d find littering the sidewalk on New Year’s Day when all of the Christmas trees are thrown away.

I saw other girls carefully tucking theirs into bags when they weren’t using them. One clever girl had tied colorful, distinct ribbons to the handles of her poms.

I started to fear that some of teammates might “Accidentally” pick up my nice new poms. And, not even a single day had gone by before my poms were swiped, and I ended up with a slightly used set of poms. The next event after that, those slightly-used poms disappeared, and I walked out with heavily-used poms.

The people in charge of pom pom distribution on my team hate to hear complaints about this. And the new members of the team are constantly admonished by these strict Pomandants for complaining when their new poms are stolen. They will even cut off ribbons they see tied to a pom.

The reason for this, is that the pom poms are communal. They are intended to be shared equally by all of the girls on the team. I was assured that, over the course of several events, I would trade up, or trade down, but it would all balance out in the end.

Despite assurances from the Ministry of Poms, over my first year on the team, I consistently traded down. On the cheer team, the only source of fresh poms is to cannibalize the new members. When my pristine poms were unfurled at my first performance, the sharks began circling, and by the end of my first year as a cheerleader, I was down to a pair of ratty mismatched clumps of tinsel.

So, if you make the squad… HIDE YOUR POMS WHEN STUNTING!

Any have similar stories?

Any male cheerleaders who’ve been secretly coveting a set of pompoms?

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Oh no! I’d hate to be using old, gross poms. My team got new poms every year, and you got your own poms. That way, they all look uniform (also, Pom pieces covered the floor after a game, I can’t imagine what they’d look like after 2 years of shedding :joy:). A lot of the girls put a ribbon around it, or wrote their names
We actually didn’t have any guys on the team. I don’t know if nobody wanted to join (small school, maybe none were interested) or if they did, but they weren’t allowed (Catholic school, could be an old rule no one’s bothered looking at

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Heyo !
Despite not being a cheerleader myself I just wanted to say that this WIP really resonated with me. I also took up sports despite not being very athletic and felt like a “mascot” for the longest time, instead of a real player.
Eventually I made that my own and leaned into it and became a team-mascot in a more positive sense, as well as a member of the team. A good luck charm kind of.
There was no cheer team in my school but I feel like I would’ve liked to try it out just because, apparently, I had a lot of cheer either way :wink:

Concerning feedback on the writing itself, I too felt that some choices and their corresponding stat changes were hard to read. Especially the earlier ones. I don’t know if that’s because I just got a feel for them after a while or you did, but it did get a little more clear.
Also, being a goodie-two-shoes and a nerd I felt sometimes that choices were missing. Like when choosing to listen to Olivia’s monologue about the cheer rules, you can only choose to do it to look good or because everybody does it but not because you genuinely care about being a good team member. There’s also no choice to not participate in the secret training or to participate in a way that’s not against the rules. Also, I hope there will be a choice to support Pepper in her dislike of the cheer squad and found your own team with blackjack and hookers - or whatever it is that a free spirited loyal friend would do.
The writing itself is very immersive and funny. I like your descriptions of New York and I wonder if those details will change once it becomes more of a Utopia.
I’m looking forward to hearing more from this !

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Chapters 3 and 4 have been added to the demo. These chapters cover a political scandal in New York. A difficult thing in writing this game is that everything I write as satire ends up coming true. These early chapters were written in the summer of 2021, and the real New York has matched my satire every step of the way.

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You totally need to go have a drink with The Onion’s writers (especially the ones who covered Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan ten years before it happened). It is a horrible time to be a satirist when reality is taking your jokes for an actual script.

My deep condolences.

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UPDATE 9/12/22: Chapters 3 and 4 were added to the demo a few months and I’d love to get more feedback before heading to the conclusion of the story.

The game is progressing, slower than I’d like, but steadily. It’s officially mostly done at this point.

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Gotta love it when a new sports project gets started. Good luck, I’m sure it’ll work out spectacularly.

Chapter 1 feedback.
  • I think the game description should make it clear that the MC is not directly starting out as a cheerleader. I felt a little disoriented when we met the cheerleaders but weren’t already part of the team.

  • Big ‘n’ dumb. Just how I like my men!

That one made me laugh.

  • The save system isn’t working.

save1

  • If it was me, I would be wondering how many of the cheerleaders’ names are starting with “Bry-” considering that Bryan and Bryttanny are the first ones we meet.

  • There were times when I wished for less snarky, judgy options while meeting Bryan and Bryttanny. Since there’s a Sweet Talker stat, it almost felt as if the game wanted to push my MC into the “mean girl/boy/person” corner. Don’t get me wrong, I generally think the snarky options are super fun but I just wanted to play a nice, mild-mannered (albeit boring, to be fair) MC for a change.

  • Because I’m transmale. Sometimes she makes little gender jokes.

Feeling ambivalent about this one. I would prefer it if we could choose whether we want to be called a “cowboy”, “cowgirl” or a non-gendered equivalent. Even if the game tells me that it’s all okay because “She’s the only person you’d let get away with that”, I still find it hard to accept that my trans MC has to put up with this behavior from a good friend of all people.

There are probably several trans people who wouldn’t mind, and good for them, but it shouldn’t be assumed that everyone will be okay with this sort of jokey misgendering, particularly not real trans players with their individual experiences and triggers. (The same goes for the non-binary option.)

It’s especially weird when you later get the option #I apologize. I was insensitive for something Pepper took the wrong way even though it was said earlier that “she puts up with you making the occasional joke at her expense”. And, in this case, the MC didn’t even intentionally joke about her!

  • Very cool that Pepper has a prosthetic leg. Especially in a sports game.

  • She’s an inspiration.

Just want to say that “inspiration” or “inspiring” is often used in a derogatory, dehumanizing way when it comes to people with disabilities. I think it would sound better if the choice stated something like “Her ambition is an inspiration” or something, thereby focusing on Pepper’s individuality.

  • I love that we can choose the quality of our gaydar. Wish there’d be the option for a trans player to have a good gaydar and the “trans-ponder”. It would also seem more inclusive if we were able to spot other queer people in general unless there are no bi-/pansexual characters of note in this game.

Edit: From an ESL standpoint, it’s a little strange how often the MC takes note of the way other characters are pronouncing stuff. If I have to be honest, I’m not always sure that I understand what it is supposed to tell me – either about the characters or my MC. Or maybe I simply lack contextual knowledge.

Can’t wait to meet the entire team, but for now, I’ve got other things to do.

Edit 2:

More feedback.

Weird stuff I noticed:
Chapter 1: It is a “Walk” a-thon, after on.
Chapter 3: Worshiping psuedo-celebrities.

Chapter 2 feedback:

  • #“And now I won’t have to fret over styling decisions like that.”

After Pepper says, “They even tell you how to wear your hair, and what color lipstick?” Seems a weird choice if you’re a guy (cis or trans) as the “like that” seems to imply that lipstick is included in the styling decisions worth fretting over.

Don’t get me wrong: I’d definitely appreciate that option for everyone playing a gender-nonconforming dude but first, there’d have to be an option to indicate gender-nonconformity.

  • Surprised you never delivered on the horse joke with “Britneigh”.

  • A list of the important characters and their descriptions could be useful.

  • When we met Robbie, it would be great if we got an option to state that we aren’t into men. We got something similar when it comes to Pepper attraction: #If I liked girls, I’d be enjoying this. I also feel like choosing such an option should automatically lock us out of any romance or flirty interaction with characters of the gender that our MCs isn’t attracted to.

  • These options feel pretty gendered if you’re playing as a guy:
    #I have enough makeup to cover any wound!
    #I did a little of everything. Then watched some skincare tutorials online.

  • It’s strange that, after two chapters, we didn’t even get one real opportunity to get the know the ROs (except for Pepper) or hang out with them separately. No problem if the general focus of this game isn’t romance but the game description made it sound more relevant to me.

Chapter 3 feedback:

  • I really like the Cheerlebrity stuff. That’s fun.

  • RE: Stats page. I wish the relationship stats were separated from the other ones. Generally, I feel the stats page looks a bit cluttered. Suggestion: Intuitively, it would make sense to me to put the relationship stats directly under “Woo! You have some friends on your squad now, Rookie!”

It would also be great to prioritize the ROs in the stat listing aka place them higher than characters without romance. Example: Bryttanny and Bryan are at the bottom and Olivia (for whom I couldn’t find a romance flag) sits higher up in the stat list. Or, alternatively, you could sort the relationship stats by alphabet or order of character appearance.

  • Definitely add some stat explanations because I have no idea what “Foolow Through!” or “Dumb Luck” means and how I would go about increasing both if I wanted to. I also don’t understand why some characters’ stats are bundled like “Marketing & Olivia” or “Fund Raising & Johhny” and others (Pepper, Bryttanny, Bryan) are not.

  • The transition from Yes. Let’s do it! But-- Won’t I need a uniform?" you ask. to You are awakened abruptly by a knock on your apartment door. is really abrupt.

General:

  • I saw you listed the option to play as asexual but I didn’t really see a choice to indicate the MC’s asexuality. If you intended to communicate that players are able to choose not to romance anybody, that would mean that we can play someone who is aro-ace.
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Thanks for the update, author :kissing_heart: