First Person Scholar: “How to include women… sort of.” …You previously talked about not really having realism as a goal, that sincerity and accuracy are part of the goal but not realism. Do you mind expanding on that?
Christine Love: Sure. I think realism is… a tendency to get lost in surface details. If you want to learn something about the way people are, about the way people act, the way things unfold, the way social systems work, I don’t think realism is what you should be focusing on there. Realism is trying to make sure every single blade of grass looks perfect. But what does that actually teach you? So a lot of stuff I do, I deliberately exaggerate. I find that subtle is sometimes useful, but very rarely, frankly. So… Analogue looks at a real historical situation. I don’t exaggerate any of the historical attitudes. If anything, they’re a little underplayed because I thought the audience might be completely turned off if it went to the real historical level. It’s a fundamental looking at an extreme situation. It’s looking at something that’s an exaggerated form of sexism by our standards, and the hope is that a player can look at that and then learn from it. They can go, “Oh, that’s kind of similar to what we do here, actually. Oh, wait marriage is about that with us, we just don’t see it, because we’re slightly more subdued.” So realism is about presenting the world the way you see it. But I’m not concerned with what you already see. I’m concerned with what you’re not seeing.
I did an interview with First Person Scholar, and I think it’s one of the best I’ve done in a long time! Just a really good conversation. You can read it here.
So if you follow me on Twitter at all, you have probably noticed that I have anxiety. My response to being overwhelmed by things is to just shut down and ignore them, which is… it’s a strategy that worked pretty okay back when I was in school. It doesn’t really work now.
I get a lot of emails a day, and frankly, I have historically been really bad at them. I would see an email, go “oh, shit, this requires a thoughtful response!”, flag it for later, then with every day that passed, think “oh, shit, now that it’s been so long, I need to give a response so thoughtful it makes the wait worth it!”, and then next thing I know I’m sitting on a giant pile of 100 unanswered messages from the past six months, a lot of them kinda important.
For the past month I have been trying an experiment wherein I use a piece of software—really, just a glorified todo list—to keep track of all my work and setting soft deadlines for everything. It has helped me a lot, and has managed to basically annihilate all of my email-related anxiety, which is… well, it’s really good mental health-wise. I would highly recommend it for anyone who has similar problems!
This is all to say: if I have let you down because of this ridiculous email anxiety, I’m deeply sorry. I got suddenly thrown into a situation where I had to deal with a lot more than I ever had in my life, but frankly, that is a shitty excuse. It is my responsibility to follow through on things I’ve committed to, and I know I have been really bad to a lot of people by failing to do that. I’m working very hard to fix that, so I hope you can accept my sincerest apologies.
I’ve gone through and caught up with as much as I can over the past month, but I know a lot has still slipped through the cracks. If you sent me something over a month ago expecting a response and I still haven’t gotten back to you, please, do send it again. I promise I will try to do better this time!
Actually, Ladykiller in a Bind is very easily going to be my least traditional visual novel, and vastly more systems-oriented than my previous stuff. It’s still a visual novel presentation, but we’re going to be doing a lot with the social manipulation element of the game; the ways you interact with people, and who you decide to pay attention to, will play a very big role in how the story unfolds. So there’s going to be a lot of careful balancing of hostile social situations, which is quantified through game systems, and designed to be very different in multiple playthroughs.
It’s also going to be my last visual novel, precisely because I’m sorta worried I’ve focused too much on making the same sorts of games, and I very much need to start increasing my range. I don’t want to fall into a rut of just constantly making visual novels about computer interfaces. I have no idea what I’ll be working on after Ladykiller in a Bind, but it’ll likely be a very different sort of game than I’ve done in the past.