New Hosted Game! "Moonrise" by Natalie Cannon

As a straight male this games makes me uncomfortable for being genderlocked as mostly of you are saying ,but I think it’s important to me feel this and have more conscience upon the struggle that many woman’s have about genderlocked games
And the game have a really good lore and characters congratulations to the Writer for doing something different also unique

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This is a fantastic game and idea, and I’m pleased to see a game catering specifically to Nb and femme presenting folks.

I’ve played… probably more than 2/3rds of the choice of/Hosted games catalog at this poInt, including a study in steampunk and guns of infinity, both of which are some of my favorite games, but I always felt slightly uncomfortable in the narrative because of the male-lock, it took me weeks to decide that steampunk sherlock was an interesting enough premise that I’d like to play it regardless of being a male protagonist, I don’t regret doing so but definitely found parts of both stories uncomfortable due to the lock.

It’s nice to see a game like those, but actually catering to my own gender identity and expression. I’ll support a writer making the game they want weather it’s gender locked or allows for more choice, but until now the fields been pretty barren on more specifically targeted narratives, outside of Male-locked.

Congrats on the release, @NMCannon

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This flew under my radar. I know what I’m reading later.

So not only am I excited about the release of the Reveal trailer for the new Werewolf the Apocalypse game coming out (Because more World of Darkness stuff is always welcome). I get some more Female Werewolf goodness?

More Werewolf stuff in general please!

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Hello everyone! Thank you playing Moonrise and especially for the well-wishes. Hopefully it’s not too gauche to comment on here, but I thought I’d share my FAQ and some bonus art/music :camera: :musical_note:. All this is on my Twitter account too @NMCannon


FAQ

As more questions come up, I’ll add more answers.

1. Is it true I cannot play as a male character with he/him pronouns? Why? Why are there no male romance options?

Yes, it’s true: the only pronouns available are she/her and they/them, and, if the player chooses to answer the question, the player character (PC) can be trans or cis. The romance options are lesbian women and a nonbinary pansexual person who usually prefers to present as femme. Essentially, the game is more or less “queer femme-locked.”

The reason I chose to “queer-lock” the game is a question of audience. While I hope male-aligned and masculine people enjoy the game, the intended audience is queer female-aligned and feminine people. The romance gaming world right now is overwhelmingly focused on (usually white or white-passing) cisgender heterosexual romance. As a bisexual woman and gamer, I’m incredibly frustrated: I want to kiss women! I want more nonbinary and trans characters to befriend and smooch! Where are all the butches???

When I started digging into the Choice of Games community, I noticed other gamers were also crying out to have more women who love women (wlw) content. As I tinkered with the How-To guides for ChoiceScript, I realized that I had the power to make a video game. So I made the video game I wanted to see in the world. I made a game for all those queer femme gamers who want more femme-centric games and wlw content.

As the game description says, this game is intended as a celebration of queer folks with flavors of femme in them. It’s about loving, respecting, and supporting women. Depending on the player’s choices, the PC may encounter heterosexual men and queer men, but the cast is overwhelmingly women and nonbinary people. I’m really not going to budge on that.

If it helps, let’s flip this on its head. The reason a player cannot be a man in Moonrise is the same reason a player cannot be a woman in Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator. Or a player cannot be a skinny person in Rose of Winter. Or a man in We Know the Devil. Those aren’t the stories those games are interested in telling. They’re catering to a different audience.

2. If this is a celebration of queer femininity, why can't I be a bisexual woman and date a man? What about he/him lesbian people?

The answer to this question is complex. Bisexual women and men who date heterosexual men and women are absolutely 100% still queer. Lesbian people who use he/him pronouns are 100% still queer. They belong in queer spaces, at Pride events, in discussions of gender, and in romance games.

If you play the game, you might notice I take pains not to physically describe the player character (PC). I describe sensations and feelings, but I think the most I admitted, physique-wise, is they have two hands and eyebrows. I wrote this absence because I wanted to give the player the opportunity to imagine their character however they wanted: they can be fat, short, butch, femme, black, brown, or whatever. Gamers with marginalized identities can have a break from being the white man that so many stories focus on.

This friendly blank space would have to go away if I added he/him pronouns. Without malicious intent whatsoever, players might see he/him pronouns as an option and imagine their character as a trans or cis man. Having a male PC would destroy the femme-centric fantasy of the game and also introduce some super harmful elements. The lesbian characters would be falling in love with a man and no longer be lesbian, or worse, a player could think they “cured” the characters of being lesbian. To prevent that harm, I would have to give the PC a specific look and describe them clearly. Having a specific look means limiting the player’s imagination and their ability to insert marginalized identities in the story.

As far as the male romance option, I chose not to include one for two reasons. First, I wasn’t interested in telling that story. Simple. The second has to do with bisexual erasure in gaming and the broader storytelling community. When bisexual women are present in games (which is rare enough), too often they don’t actually date or end up with a woman or a femme nonbinary person. In fact, their bisexuality is often treated like an afterthought, a one-time fling, or a niche interest tacked on for presumed lesbian gamers. For example, the choose-your-own-romance app game Choices usually provides one lesbian love interest per story, but a plethora of male love interests, and in very few stories is the player able to explicitly state they’re bisexual. It pains me to say it, because I love the app, but Lovestruck has a similar situation. There are far fewer woman and nonbinary love interests, and the PC’s canon bisexuality is not mentioned or treated consistently.

I want to avoid this aggravating trend in Moonrise. The pull of hetero-normativity is very strong. I don’t want the PC’s queerness to be lost in a “straight route” or, again, have players think they “cured” the PC’s queerness by romancing a man. Not to put the cart before the horse, but, in addition, if this game gets big, there may be fan discussions of which route is the “canon” route. Having someone think that the “cured bisexual” route is the canon route would be my personal nightmare.

Speaking more generally again, I took these pains to prevent any heterosexual interpretation of this game. It’s a direct refutation of all the games I’ve played that force the player to be heterosexual and heterosexual only.

Looking forward, I’m interested in creating a game with a bisexual-locked player character who will have both female and male romance options. It may have something to do with vampires. :wink:

3. Can I be aromantic in this game?

Moonrise does focus on romance. Playing as an aromatic player character (PC) is kind of a “mileage may vary” scenario.

If you’re interested in a game with an explicitly aromantic PC, no romantic situations and a storytelling focus on deep, meaningful friendships, Moonrise will disappoint. Characters will be described in hyper-beautiful, longing ways, with meaningful looks, gasps, sparks, etc., and that might be off-putting. If you’re looking for a story without those things, I recommend checking out the Kraken Collective’s aromantic tag. They’re a small publisher with a great catalogue of queer books and a plethora of asexual/aromantic speculative fiction titles. If you’re more into manga/anime, Bloom Into You by Nakatani Nio is cracking the high school yuri romance mold right now by featuring a heavily asexual coded woman protagonist. One of the greatest LGBTQ manga ever (in my opinion), Our Dreams at Dusk by Yuhki Kamatani, also has a diverse cast of queer characters, including an asexual, aromantic nonbinary person. Inside the Choice of Games world, I beta-tested the upcoming Heart’s Choice game Dawnfall by the lovely RoAnna Sylver, and it has the full gambit the asexual spectrum on a portal-hopping space adventure.

However, if you’re interested in playing a romance game where a PC can just be friends with the love interests, and/or be in a committed, long-term queer-platonic relationship with them? Go for Moonrise. Asexuality is validated and acknowledged multiple times, and there’s an aromantic lesbian woman in the game. Queer asexual nonbinary folk and women rock, and I want them to feel included. Just, with a romance game, there’s going to be romantic googly eyes and I know some aromantic gamers are not going to like that. I don’t feel comfortable saying there’s an aromantic route because of that.

4. I need help romancing ___! Got any tips?

Romancing is the crux of the game, so I tried to make it a bit tricky! It might take a couple runs to get it right. Think about the stats. Which one will most help you connect with another person?

Beyond mechanics, some characters are easier to romance than others. Rosario will need you to blur the line between platonic and romantic affection and commitment. Chika will want you to reciprocate her feelings and ideals. Ishara is the most forward of the three, but you must believe her for her to continue to pursue you. You will have a chance to date all three and, towards the end of the game, you can either commit to dating none, one, two, or all three of them. Whether that dating is physically intimate is up to you as well. Have fun, and don’t give up!


More on Rosario

Rosario is a:
:rainbow: Party Pansexual
:trans_flag: Chaotic Enby
:mexico: Mexican
:writing_hand: Spinner of tales
:dancer: Dance Master

Spotify Playlist: https://tinyurl.com/yx9529ln


More on Chika

Chika is a:
:rainbow_flag: :wolf: Werewolf Lesbian Leader of the Rogues
:japan: Japanese
:snowflake: :trophy: Tragic ice queen
:woman_health_worker: #1 in her year as medical intern
:heartpulse: Been in love with you the whole time???

Spotify Playlist: https://tinyurl.com/y4phr2n3


More on Ishara

Ishara is a:

:trans_flag: :rainbow_flag: Butch lesbian trans woman
:star_of_david: Black, Jewish, and disabled
:world_map: World Traveler
:wolf: :crescent_moon: THE MOST POWERFUL WEREWOLF YOU WILL EVER MEET
:cookie: Mom friend!

Spotify Playlist: tinyurl.com/yxrgt7ou


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I really like the thought of a game about werewolves being mainly for woman/nb people. To often I see werewolf genres being dominated by that macho alpha crap, and as a nb person I think this is exactly what I’ve been looking for to revamp my love of werewolves. I’m definitely going to save up for this :ok_hand:

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Just realized it’s 99cents…gonna go play it now

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I think complaining about this game because it’s limited to women/non binary and same sex relationships is just as petty as the small handful of games that are Male specific and people complain about that. There shouldn’t be a problem with making games with wider content for specific audiences whether they’re a perceived minority or otherwise. And when we do finally get the romance games specifically with a straight male focus or with a specifically female character romance option for M/F or F/F, I will probably be dismayed with the same perceived hypocrisy if it happens. :roll_eyes: :wink:

Anyway, not my type of game but happy for those who it is! :hugs:

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I think this all sounds amazing, and I’m so glad this game exists. Let us have one thing, for gosh sakes.

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Great news, everyone! The famous tumblr Holy Mother of Yuri featured Moonrise on her blog! Check out the post here. :wolf::two_hearts::crescent_moon:

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More news! For those familiar with the podcast scene, Kakos Industries complimented Moonrise on Twitter!

Link to bottom tweet. Link to top tweet.

I’m a big fan of their show, so the shout out made the darkest cockles of my black heart rumble with pleasure. :purple_heart: :purple_heart: :purple_heart:

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Ahhh that’s wonderful!!

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Happy Valentine’s Day, under this gibbous moon! My love for you never wanes. :revolving_hearts: :crescent_moon: :wolf: Just in time for this day, Moonrise was featured on Writing with Color as a next diverse read! Check out its entry and ten other fantastic diverse books.

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