Trans game developer Anna Anthropy’s autobiographical project Dys4ia deals with her transition from male to female, detailing her struggles and triumphs throughout the process. While the game was not covered by mainstream video-game journalists, many critics within the community — including the widely respected gaming blog Penny Arcade — took notice, praising it as an effective telling of an experience not many would be familiar with.
Now, Dys4ia is being included in a queer video-game exhibit at Videofag. Skot Deeming, part of the Team Vector art collective, says the idea for Queer Arcade was born early last year, when Dys4ia was originally presented at their Vector Art Festival in Febray.
“Vector has a great deal of programming surrounding issues of gender in games, largely discussions of feminist practice within the medium,” Deeming says. “[But] we felt that, even including a game such as Anthropy’s Dys4ia, there still wasn’t a great deal of queer games being represented.”
Deeming hopes Queer Arcade will bring more projects like Anthropy’s and Lesbian Spider Queens (whichs makes its premiere this weekend) into the limelight, showcasing a variety of games that represent a queer narrative. “There are members of the queer community using games to represent themselves and their experiences in ways in which, we believe, other media has yet to accomplish. It’s important to Team Vector to champion these works as forms of contemporary art.”
The two-day pop-up arcade will range in tone from playful to sombre, but Deeming is clear about Vector’s goals for the show. “What we’re trying to accomplish is to show the range of work being made by queer game-makers across the continent and illustrate the expressive power of games as an art form.”