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Mission: It's Complicated

To stop a cosmic evil, you need to get some superheroes to fall in love and kiss… or maybe just become best friends. · By Schell Games

Two Criticisms (Spoilers Ahead)

A topic by CyberneticSusurrus created Jul 19, 2020 Views: 631 Replies: 7
Viewing posts 1 to 2
  1. The only non-binary NPC in the group is an alien.  
    Whilst there's nothing necessarily wrong with that, it falls into an unfortunate recurring trope of the only explicitly non-binary character in a narrative being a non-human; an alien, a robot, a monster, etc.
  2. On a related note, it's not ideal that the same non-binary character is treated as a valid romantic option for both characters who explicitly self-describe as "gay".  
    There's a degree of implicit misgendering in there. Especially since the explanatory conversation about the personal definition occurs in an entirely different pairing.

Gotta say, it's a little weird and pretty disappointing that neither of the points above were caught by your sensitivity readers.

Great game, very cute, very Queer, but it would've been remiss of me not to give feedback on those snags.
Means I have to caveat recommendations a little, which I wish I didn't have to.


Hey CyberneticSusurrus! Kind of a wall of text down there, the tl;dr is you're right and these are great points and helps me to level up in writing this stuff. Thanks for making them! Feel free to read on if you want musings, but none of it is really that important.


Point 1: I agree on 100%, and it's one of my regrets with the game. Ideally we'd have had more characters (we originally planned for 7!) and then maybe we could have had a non-alien nb. Or just had another human character. I really wanted alien dates though, haha :D >.< In our sensitivity reader's defense, it might have been brought up, but while we brought her on early enough to make big changes, it wasn't so early that we could have completely redesigned the character, so maybe it was one of those we (I) decided to live with. But yeah, it's not ideal, and I know the trope -- I just didn't realize it in time. Whomp whomp :( Maybe if I'd had my gender stuff figured out better back in 2018 I could have done it better, haha.

The game also has no ace or aro rep at all except for being able to self-id as ace :( Another regret. (Originally all ships were going to be romantic, and then we made the call to include gay characters, but only like 80% adjusted to that pivot. I didn't realize how much I would love the friend dates until I wrote them and there was no more time. So it goes.)

Point 2: Yeah, this is a tough one. I'm not sure I even thought about it, so that's a learning opportunity for me, definitely something I should have at least been consciously deciding rather than defaulting. There's certainly folks who identify as gay who are still into non-binary people, and I guess the in-world excuse is that both Zirconia and Riptide fall into that more open-ended self-identity. But IRL, yeah, I agree -- at least it should have been discussed more, or maybe it would've been better to have only one of the gay characters develop romantic feelings for Zael. Ah well. Something to keep in mind for next time. 

Anyway, thanks for bringing these up, they're super helpful! Sorry for dropping the ball on them :D M:IC will enter the ranks of queer media that can't quite manage to shoulder the load of representing the whole spectrum equally and without flaws haha, like all the rest :> Until there's enough of it, that'll always be the case, and we just gotta keep trying and keep pointing this stuff out and trying better next time whoo!


Appreciate the response! It's actually really nice to read your thoughts and get a little insight into the process.

I mean, despite those two points of criticism, you still produced a great game with quality writing that's enjoyable to play and share, and it certainly handles Queer representation much better than many others.

The development process being what it is, it's always going to be a case of having to decide what is 'good enough' based on the resources available at the time. It would be unreasonable for anyone to insist on endless rewrites in pursuit of perfection, because it would never be done and there would be no game at all.
Like you said, it's just a matter of taking any lessons forward into later work.

As far as the gay vs non-binary element, that's one reason that some might use 'Queer' as an identifier instead, although in Zirconia's case there's an understandable emphasis on 'not interested in men'. At the end of the day, language is mutable and identity is personal.
(Although someone for whom 'gay' means 'exclusively interested in [x]' rejecting a non-binary person is an excellent opportunity, narratively, to have disappointment at rejection softened by the validation.)

Thanks again for taking the time to reply.


Aww thanks for the kind words! I actually love the idea of "I only love [men/women] and you're non-binary" doubling as gender affirming even if it's also disappointing haha :D I think there was some subconscious desire on my part to not write rejection, but I wish I'd realized I was doing it, because writing romantic rejection turning into friendship would have been cute as heck.


People can be nb and be gay/lesbian and gay/lesbians can be into nb people. i am a gay male who would date a male aligned nb person.


Absolutely! And in-universe, that's the explanation. But I think CyberneticSusurrus' point is that it's not universal, so it might have been nice to see the two gay characters have different reactions to the nb character. Ofc, then I'd miss the stories I wrote for them :D the only answer would be to have more characters! This is one of those issues that one day will be less of an issue, I hope, because we'll just have more depictions of queer people in general and no one depiction needs to try to do it all. 


Woah, thanks so much for the kind reply! And yeah, that makes sense :-) I can't wait to immerse in this game (for now i am going through my bundle...)


I hope you enjoy it! Whenever you get to it haha :>