Critical Play: Play Like a Feminist

Target Audience: individuals interested in exploring feminist perspectives in video games.

Name of Game: Florence

Creator: Mountains

Platform: Available on iOS and Android devices

Synopsis: The game explores the journey of a young woman named Florence as she navigates different aspects of her life such as love, work, character development, and just the nuances of life as we know it.

I found Florence to be a refreshing gaming experience. The doodle-like visuals of the game made me feel relaxed, and I found this important especially considering how the game explores such complex and “adult” topics, but through gamifying it and creating this playful ambience, it immediately disarmed me and I was able to engage with an open mind. The novel style of it paired with the doodle-visuals are reminiscent of Diary of a Wimpy Kid. In contrast to this, the game uses interactive stories to create fun through narratives that explores deep ideas like feeling unfulfilled in your work, heartbreak, and not always getting what we want. I enjoyed seeing how the game moved away from solving this issues and shifted to coping with them ie taking a break and choosing to explore your passions instead, or not to get bogged down by these issues.

I loved how relatable the game was, and it was super refreshing seeing a female lead character and fully engaging on their journey of self discovery. The game portrays some general human struggles in a way that centers the female experience, such as dealing with societies expectations,  navigating work, love and relationships, and this really validates the female experience, especially in the gaming world.  It did, however, explore these in a simple/stereotypical way, and I’d have loved to see a bit more nuance in the story line such as sexuality, and how patriarchy affects women’s’ lives in general.

An area where the game could improve is that the simple and easy nature of the gameplay (i.e tapping and dragging) paired with a more straight forward narrative made the game extremely short and quick. The storyline also felt a bit predictable at times, and as I could anticipate some parts of it, I would sometimes catch my thoughts drifting away.

Discussion Question: How can developers create an inclusive, immersive and engaging story line that is less linear and predictable, in a fun and inclusive way?

The game explores ideas such as love and relationships, and even dives into heartbreak and how to navigate dealing with such a loss

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