Melanin Monday: Lovestruck

Hey there Blerdy Tribe, it’s Melanin Monday here on Blerdy Otome and that means I’m spotlighting another Melanin Friendly Game! For those of you just joining the party—every Monday I spotlight games that feature Black and brown characters for anyone looking for titles with just a bit more representation. As a blerd and a gamer, I am always on the lookout for representation in my games. This is largely a personal project for me—there are almost no “diverse game” tags on major game sites—so, it can be pretty difficult find games with characters of color… unless you already know where to look.

This week I’m doing things a little differently, instead of spotlighting one game I’m going to cover the story app, Lovestruck. Now, I will readily admit that I wasn’t the biggest fan of Voltage’s decision to move all of their original English language content from the pay-per-route model to the freemium format. But, it is what it is and there’s no point in crying over spilled milk. What I want to talk about instead is how from day one representation has been a big part of why I love Lovestruck and the Voltage Inc. original English language titles.

OG Voltage Inc. fans will remember the tragic forced representation that happened in Pirates in Love with Christopher—and while Voltage has decided to sweep that little faux pas under the rug with the release of PiL: Captain’s Cut—I will never forget some of the questionable choices made in the name of “Americanizing” that game. But, that was back in 2011 and Voltage has come a long way when it comes to representation in their releases and a lot of that is thanks to their original English language titles. I am a longtime Voltage fan, and while I love their Otome Romance titles, I was really drawn to their AmeMix line (now re-branded as Lovestruck) because unlike their localized releases, these games had BIPOC and LGBTQ+ characters as part of their main cast—something you weren’t going to see in their original Japanese titles. It was the first time that I saw a mainstream company acknowledging that their fanbase was made up of diverse group of people.

Astoria Persephone.png

The first title I played was Astoria Fates Kiss and seeing characters that weren’t just coded-European (because YES there is race coding in otome games) really stood out to me. It wasn’t just pandering like we got in 2011 with Pirates in Love, this was a genuine effort to include characters of color into otome games in a meaningful way and I can’t tell you how happy that made me! Here were characters of color being depicted as people and not one off trope characters. I will never forget the first time the character Persephone was introduced—a full figured dark skinned woman, who was vibrant and funny and just so sweet. This was the type of representation I CRAVED as a Black otome fan back in the day. But, it wasn’t just Astoria, ALL of their games featured diverse BIPOC and LBGTQ+ casts of characters!

The Lovestruck team has a number of fun titles from sci-fi to fantasy to slice-of-life and everything in between AND DON’T get me started on the MC in Villainous Nighst—finally a Black female lead!! but, where it stands I really do appreciate the strides this team has made when creating diverse romance themed games.

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Thank you for reading and supporting Blerdy Otome! Have you played any of the Lovestruck titles? Share your thoughts! Got a Melanin Friendly Game you think I should spotlight? Send it to me! 🙂

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