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(1 edit) (+5)

As a gay Chinese woman born in a territory colonized by the British after the Opium Wars, who grew up with verses of the Ballad of Mulan at the tip of my tongue-

Thank you.

This is a fantastically designed, beautifully told story. Upon reading your post-mortem, I see how much work you put into making the game flow, and it really did. As I read, time passed like nothing at all, and the changing of text in the same sentence such as from "every family has a son" to "every family has a disappointment" was particularly powerful. The emphasis on bound versus unbound feet, the dreams of Peking Opera, the use of Chinese zodiac signs for stat distribution all hit somewhere deep and at home in me that I never realized I wanted. 

One thing I noticed was the way that stat increases were marked by the blessings of planets such as Mars and Venus. At first, I was a little bemused by the fact that despite being such a culturally Chinese game, you used the Roman, western astronomical names of the planets instead of Chinese astronomical terms. But at the same time, this little design choice, whether intentional or not, conveyed the sense of the times, with Chinese and Western sensibilities clashing in combat, and the encroachment of the British. 

There's lots I could say about this game, but most of all that I long for more of it. It is merit to your design that 7000 words felt so, so short that I found myself repeating the chapter over and over again trying to wring out every last bit of text that I could, and it is a compliment when I say that it still wasn't enough. I wish you all the best in the project in the future, and I hope you get the support and finances to be able to finish it. 

Again, thank you. 

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I'm dead. I can't believe you played this game more than twice because I remember thinking "I would be so lucky if someone played both branches" like WOW THANK YOU 

I really appreciate the feedback because I've always imagined LIONKILLER as a game for people to chew slowly! I was surprised that some people found the pacing to be fast, since I like to think that the text is quite dense (Which I credit to my bilingualism. You know written Chinese is efficient and conveys many layers of meaning!). I think most games underestimate how much player time is typically spent "waiting for something dynamic to happen" so I'm glad that you didn't feel like I was wasting your time. 

I didn't want to make an "authentically" Chinese game. First of all, I didn't grow up in the mainland. Second of all, "authentic" Chinese historiography trends very male and conservative. I was interested in neither of those things.  I think, from my personal experience only, the original Ballad of Mulan is not very empowering. Sacrifice is not empowering (especially for marginalized people), and I tried to provide choices in the game that did not necessitate virtuous sacrifice. 

Ultimately, LIONKILLER is a game about valuing women's dreams. Which is why I actually think it's not actually as niche as it looks, lol. I made this game for anyone who was told to put their dream last. I made this game for anyone whose history has been touched by the British Empire (which is most of the world). I made this game for anyone whose lives have been harmed by Confucianism (also a large segment of the world). It is neither pro-Chinese nor pro-British. It is pro-Mulan. 

Thank you for playing!