Hey Blerdy Tribe!! It’s Monday once again and I want to kick off the week with some melanin friendly games! If this is your first time here at Blerdy Otome, welcome!
Every Monday I spotlight video games that focus on stories surrounding more diverse casts of characters—for folks like me looking for a bit more representation in their games. Video games are for everyone, so shouldn’t their stories and characters be just as diverse as the people that play them? So I created this series to celebrate games that strive to tell much more diverse stories centering on Black and Brown individuals. But, I welcome all diversity and the series has expanded to include games featuring LGBTQIA rep and characters from other underrepresented groups.
So, if you’re interested in seeing previous Melanin Friendly Games posts, click HERE. This week, I’m spotlighting the upcoming romance visual novel, ValiDate: Struggling Singles in Your Area, from Veritable Joy.
Anywhere can be the city of love if you’re willing to try hard enough, and some of these folks from Jercy City are desperate. ValiDate presents a smorgasbord of relationships to bear witness to— but the dating scene is difficult even when you aren’t marginalized in six different ways, so happiness continues to fly just out of reach for these unlucky lovers.
-Official Game Description
So I’ve talked about this game a few times, but I never actually featured it as part of Melanin Monday, and that is something I just can’t let slide! ValiDate: Struggling Singles in Your Area is an upcoming visual novel that features an entirely BIPOC and LGBTQ+ cast of 20-somethings living and working in the fictional Jercy City—follow them as they navigate the ups and downs modern life while also trying to maintain relationships with others in your area. With most romance games you’ll be lucky to get 1 or even 2 characters from an underrepresented group, but Validate flips the script and gives us an entire cast of Black and brown characters, each with their own identities and orientation. The team working on ValiDate is just as diverse as the characters they’ve created and they bring their own unique voices and experiences into the narrative.
But, what makes this game stand out is just how natural everything in the game feels, from the snappy dialogue to the relatable and flawed characters, everything in this game hits different! Far too often romance games try to sell you a fantasy, where everything is tied up in a nice neat bow at the end and the characters blissfully skip off into their happily ever after. ValiDate keeps it real, giving players a candid look at the ups and downs of being, young and single, which more times than not can be pretty messy; awkward dates, one night stands, and dating apps… and more! Of course it’s not all like that, and while the extra dose of reality may seem a bit too on the nose for most folks, the fun characters and situations make this game one of the games I can’t wait to get my hands on once it’s fully released!
There are plenty of fun (and lowkey cringey) situations to explore in the final release of the game, so don’t be afraid make the choices that speak to you! This game has a lot of great rep—BIPOC characters, body diversity, and young queer characters living their best lives! ValiDate is set to be released in 2022 and promises over 70 hours of gameplay, but if you wanna give this game a go before then, definitely give the demo a play!