Thanks for the advice! That makes a lot of sense, and I think that helps me focus my questioning and inquiry.
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So this isn't exactly urgent, because I've got other projects in the works, but I've got this idea that's been slowly simmering in my head. For some time, I've been wanting to take the Life is Strange games (particularly the first one) and make something inspired by them, and somewhere along the line, I decided that the tight back-and-forth actions and the emphasis on character vulnerability (along with a lack of random chance) from Dream Askew would be an incredible fit. Which leaves me in a weird position.
See, what I really want to capture in this game is the idea of a bunch of teenagers in a small town, a sort of slice-of-life feel where they're dealing with their personal issues, and one (or maybe more?) has some sort of superpower that warps the way they interact with everyone. I also have thoughts on incorporating their "moment of calm" mechanic where you just sit back and reflect on everything going on, etc...a lot of stuff just feels like it fits.
None of it's about marginalization. To be fair, the second Life is Strange game does deal with the marginalization of immigrants in the United States (and the rise of nativism/nationalism), but it's not the game that sits at the core of the ideas that inspired/drive my potential design. In that image, in the initial game, there's a bunch of teenagers, a few of them are queer, but most of them are just straight white kids from affluent families who attend a private school. And "teenagers bond with one another because adults take them seriously" just feels like it falls a little flat. At the same time, yeah, I could just make it about queer teens in a small town, but that's super out of my wheelhouse and perspective, and it's probably not useful for me to write a game about that.
I could just write a game that eschews the Belonging label, with mechanics derived from Dream Askew, but that feels pretty mediocre as a solution. So I'm trying to find angles on this concept that might work better, ideas I haven't considered. (I've read through Beau Sheldon's Turn, and will probably do so a few more times, because it's got a ton of information and ideas on the dynamics of small towns.) Is there something obvious I'm missing out on? I could maybe angle for a Breakfast Club sort of thing, but that doesn't feel quite cohesive.