It’s Monday and with it comes another Melanin Friendly game! For those of you just joining the party—every Monday here on Blerdy Otome I spotlight games that feature black and brown characters for anyone looking for titles with a bit more representation. It started as something I did just for myself, since growing up as a nerdy Black kid in the south, I didn’t really get too many characters that looked like me in the games I played. Things are so much different now, and I want to celebrate each and every “Melanin Friendly” game I find!
Main Cast L to R: Ashley, Gavin, Naomi, Percy, Queenbee, and Teo
This week, I’m spotlighting Arcade Spirits, an 80’s themed romance visual novel developed by Fiction Factory Games. Set in an alternate timeline where the 1983 video game crash never happened, you play as a new hire at the Funplex game arcade. It’s your job to keep the peace in one of the most popular arcades in the city, while trying to figure out your next step in life. At Funplex, you’ll meet a whole host of unique characters and maybe even find a little romance along the way.
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I’m re-purposing my Melanin Friendly Games Black History Month project as a weekly game spotlight segment where I hype up visual novels and games that feature Black and Brown characters in prominent roles. As a black woman gamer, representation in the media I love is important and I want to celebrate the games that make the extra effort to include a bit of color in their lineup.
And today’s Melanin Friendly Game pick is…
Errant Kingdom is a queer, high fantasy visual novel and the sophomore title from Lunaris Games, the developers behind the episodic supernatural fantasy, When the Night Comes. I loved their first game, for it’s immersive supernatural fantasy story and for the inclusion of so many well written Black and Brown characters, both in the main cast and the supporting cast! While they’re relatively new on the indie scene, they have made a name for themselves with their engaging stories and characters and their phenomenal social media presence.
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One of my first experiences with Japanese culture and anime came from watching Sailor Moon after school. Though the American dub of the series was HEAVILY edited, I was enamored with the series and tuned in every day to see Serena (yes, I know Usagi) and the rest of the Sailor Scouts kicking ass and protecting their city from evil… and Tuxedo Mask, he was like my first anime crush! I can STILL remember singing the opening theme at the top of my lungs much to the annoyance of my mom and brothers, but watching Sailor Moon sparked a love affair with anime and the magical girl genre that has lasted years…
I love me some Sailor Moon, but there weren’t exactly any Black sailor scouts (except for Pluto… I’m gonna go ahead and claim her for the culture), not that that stopped me from wanting to be a sailor scout. But, looking back, I would have loved to have seen someone that looked like me fighting along side the rest of the sailor scouts. So when I came across Xeregha Lopez’s magical girl yuri/otome visual novel, Magical Warrior Diamond Heart it set my little magical girl heart all a flutter!!
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For someone that shies away from incomplete series, I’ve been really getting into episodic visual novels. Rather than blazing through a game in one sitting, the plot unfolds over a series of chapters/episodes and because there is usually a bit of a wait between new releases, this gap in new content gives you a chance to really dig down and fully explore the different story elements and scenarios in the interim. It’s a much more comprehensive gaming experience than I’m used to, but one that definitely allows for a much more immersive experience overall.
Recently I had the chance to give Asif G.’s Arabian Nights inspired fantasy visual novel, One Thousand and One Days a try and I was blown away by what I played so far. The game borrows heavily from ancient Persian mythology and Islamic lore AND features an all POC cast that draw inspiration from Middle Eastern, North African, and Mongolian cultures. On top of that, the game is LGBTQ+ friendly, with love interests with differing gender identities and sexual orientation. There are even poly romance options in addition to the standard one on one romances choices.
- Genre: Supernatural, Fantasy, Romance
- Available for PC (Widows, Mac, Linux)
- 4 Chapters (ongoing)
- Gameplay Lengh: 30 mins – 1 hour per chapter
- Cost: Free
- 4 Love Interests (Male and Female); Poly Romance Options
Continue reading “One Thousand and One Days Game Review – An Enchanting Fantasy VN”