Well, the holidays are over. I have happy children so absorbed in their new Switch or Xbox games that we, as parents, have ceased to exist. This means they’re leaving us alone, which is great. It also means that my wife’s blood pressure is approaching catastrophic levels as they ignore her pleas to finish chores. I’m just sitting here writing and staying out of it. Thank god for Stately Play.
When we posted our top games of 2017 last week, Tof’s number one game was absent. It’s the holidays and they live a billion miles away from Milwaukee, so get over it. Anyway, we didn’t want to leave Tof out, especially considering that their list has been unique and eye-opening and full of games I wasn’t aware of. Today is no exception with the bonus that I have the ditty from the trailer stuck in my brain from now until the end of time. Thanks, Tof.
Dream Daddy is the funniest game I played all year, and its understated trans-inclusivity was very well handled. Dream Daddy is a queer game that you can recommend to all of your straight friends and be confident they’ll come back pleased. Dream Daddy’s characters are hilarious without resort to stereotype and while the game is silly and hyperbolic, all of the daddies are nuanced, sympathetic (but variably flawed) characters. Amanda, the protagonist’s daughter, steals the show, and the primacy of that parent-daughter relationship is what gives the game its heart and stole mine. There are exceedingly few representations of queer parenting in any medium, and this is such a beautiful example of good parenting, including the challenges of parenting a teen who is starting to test their wings and of being the child of a parent rounding the corner on grieving and dipping their toe back into the dating pooI. Speaking just for myself, I recall dating mainly as a heady mixture of desperate anxiety and crushing disappointment with soupçons of elation and terror. Speaking of terror, I will admit that as much as I generally love Lovecraftiana, I am relieved to know that the ending where the Christian pastor is actually head of a Cthulhu cult was scrapped (and is not a hidden ending in the released game): if I want to play Shrouded Isle, and I do, I just haven’t gotten around to it yet, I’ll play Shrouded Isle.
I feel I need to address the fact that Dream Daddy has attracted criticism from some members of the queer community over two transphobic jokes (in 2014 and 2015) made by Games Grumps founders (not the writers of Dream Daddy). The jokes in question were transphobic, but seem to me to come out of typical ignorance in a cissexist culture and that the Grumps handled it well once they realized the significance of what they’d said. Many Game Grumps fans did not handle it well, and the Grumps had to respond to toxicity in their community. IMHO, accountability is about change, not perfection.