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A Closed World, from The Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab, is a flash-based role playing game that is designed to cater to the LGBTQ community. The game’s main purpose is to show players what it’s like growing up as a queer individual.
This game has a different approach than your traditional RPG games as it doesn’t involve fighting the enemy. Rather than using attack or magic, players use either logic or compassion in an attempt to make the enemy understand you. In this prototype game, which is playable in a browser, players have to fight the protagonist’s demons as they choose their own way against negative social situations and toward their partner.
A Closed World was created to be a digital game with LGBTQ-friendly content, something that’s very uncommon in games right now. Game designers and marketing professionals alike have cited a number of reasons for this, ranging from a perception of institutional homophobia in game culture to a genuine desire on the part of game designers to “get it right” and create games with compelling queer content, rather than feeling that the element is merely “tacked on” in the end. The goal of this research was to present the design team with the challenge of creating a game that had this compelling queer content, and to observe the ideas and hardships they considered and encountered along the way, so that we could learn more about how to approach those challenges in other design contexts. The project left the ultimate message of the game open to the creators; what was important to discover were the challenges the team faced trying to include queer content in the game, and the strategies they used to tell the story they wanted to tell. The result is a game that asks us to carefully consider what we think of as “normal,” and what is needed to live in the world and be true to one’s self.