Indietail – Tacoma

Welcome to the Lunar Transfer Station Tacoma in the year 2088! This orbital station owned by the Venturis Corporation is located in Earth’s L1 Lagrange Point and acts as a cargo transfer point between Earth and Venturis’ Zenith Lunar Resort on the Moon. Your job is to locate and reclaim AI data from each of Tacoma’s sectors as well as to retrieve the physical processing module of ODIN, the station’s AI…

Developer: Fullbright
Publisher: Fullbright
Genre: Walking Simulator, Adventure, Story Rich, Sci-Fi, LGBTQIA+
Release Date: August 2nd, 2017
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Copy was purchased.

Today’s review is about Tacoma, an exploration game slash walking simulator set in the not-so-distant future where companies like Carnival, Hilton, Venturis Corp and Amazon are having a great influence on society in addition to being responsible for space travel to Jupiter, the Moon, and other places. Just three days ago, an accident caused the Tacoma Station’s communication array and oxygen tanks to be destroyed, leaving the crew in grave danger. It is your job to restore its AI but since the data transfer takes so long, you may as well snoop around in the crew’s belongings, rooms and offices, and take a look at the records displaying the story of how they handled this precarious situation and what exactly transpired here.

Thrilling, Exciting, Eery, yet beautiful!

The Station’s crew used an augmented reality interface accessed through the ARware that you’ll be utilising, too. Through it, all of your movement, conversation and actions are recorded, just like the crews. While you wander through Tacoma, you may find data that can be restored by you to experience the recordings of specific moments, set a few days, months or hours ago, documenting the crew’s situation. This recording can be played and paused and you may even fast forward or go back in time to follow along as the various characters in the game move to different rooms, access AI panels or open doors. What I truly loved is how you essentially can watch the game through the lens of a third party. You piece the story together by rummaging through the crew’s belongings and reading through documents. You learn more about the members, their backstory, their problems, and their prevailing situation as time goes on,… and after I played through the game, I ended up believing that I have known the characters for a long time.

This is partly due to the extraordinary voice acting that is part of this fabulous game by the Gone Home developers! The characters may appear as abstract figures due to the augmented reality interface but they are brought to life in their happiest and their darkest moments. The crew itself is a diverse and partially queer group of people from all sorts of backgrounds. My favourite characters were probably the station’s medic Sareh Hasmadi (voiced by Eva La Dare), the botanist Andrew Dagyab (voiced by Greg Chun), as well as the Station’s AI ODIN (“Operational Data Interface Network”, voiced by Carl Lumbly). They grew to me and I was down when they were down, I was delighted when they were happy, and I just loved this ride to bits. At the same time, you can also spectate the crew’s relationships and bonds… and it’s amazing, really, especially with how much space there is for speculation at times until you get the reveal eventually.

You uncover more, the more you explore.

Yes, this may be a walking simulator, which is why you’re set on a path from one side of the ship to the next, but I’d agree that you’re very free in your movement. In theory, you could mingle with none of the crew’s stuff but it’s fun to investigate everything and it created some great experiences for me as a player when I found out what exactly happened on September 2n, 2085, three years before the events, without getting into too much detail. The interface of the recordings lets you know when crew members open their interface in the medical bay or at the botanist’s place, resulting in a relatively easy to navigate experience overall, and while the timeline is not chronological, in terms of the recordings, you can slowly piece it all together just fine, in my opinion, by reading through the crew’s files, their documents, and exploring other (at times, secret) areas. How much you find out and how much you get to hear all depends on how much you explore… and exploration is something that this game does well as it awards you with small easter eggs, the Station’s cat, or the information that you needed to fix that hypothesis you had.

The most satisfying part of Tacoma apart from the voice acting and the storyline is the immersive gameplay. The people at Fullbright built a whole space station that is realistic and that can be seen cycling, spinning and working while you explore it and it feels real whenever you look out of the windows. The sun is setting and rising. The machinery can be heard, and while it feels a bit eery at times, I found it genuinely great to see the attentiveness to detail in this Sci-Fi game with this well-built setting and all the background information that you get. The developers put plenty of thoughts into how this station functions and works. To get to different sections of the Station, you’ll need to use a magnetic elevator for instance and while you go through it, you don’t see a loading screen but instead a little ad for Venturis’ vacation resort in space while the elevator goes down. To open your augmented reality interface, your character has to use sign language because… you know… nobody hears you in space and stuff… which is legitimate, I guess. At the same time, there are so many rooms that are wonderfully decorated with many things that you can interact with, from a pool table to an actual kitchen…

It feels as if the Station is telling a story of its own.

Honestly, I cherished my playthrough of Tacoma, from start to finish. The atmosphere is great (no pun here), the story commenced a bit slow but hooked me very swiftly, the ending was great after four and a half hours, and I haven’t even gotten to all the secrets yet as there is still at least one room that I couldn’t find the key for! Similarly, I have yet to play the game with the dev commentary turned on… and the music is great and there are so many things that I want to mention but I can’t because it would spoil you…

My recommendation here is for you to play it yourself! Tacoma looks stunning. I found it marvellous. I can highly recommend this non-violent game to all fans of Sci-Fi games or games with a focus on narration and exploration!

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken. If you like what you see here and want to see more, you can check me out on Twitch and YouTube as well.

Happy Pride Month! – Charity Campaign incoming!

First of all, it’s June… and that means, it’s Pride Month! This is the second pride month since I came out as bi to my partner and a few friends as well as people online, and honestly, it’s been nice to be able to talk openly about all sorts of things relating to that, especially with how things have been so far and how much I had to hide it in the past when I still lived at my parents’ and when you could get beaten up over that stuff in my school days. Either way, I hope that you over there are having a nice time in June with the weather finally getting nicer and so on. Even if you’re not a member “but just” an ally, I wish you a happy Pride Month, still, because it’s great to celebrate together.

And even if you’re still in the closet, you can still celebrate it and support marginalized creators, enjoy all the marketing stuff by companies and watch fun events on Twitch. I will review a bunch of different LGBTQIA+ themed games or games with queer characters, messages, etc. on the blog during June… on top of other games… and it’s gonna be great. I’m really looking forward to that. More importantly, though, I’ll stream a lot on Twitch (as per usual) around 10 am CEST on my channel and we’re raising money for charity actually. I’ve done this in the past already and we raised about a hundred dollars on average across two streams, once for the American Foundation For Suicide Prevention and once for The Trevor Project. This time around I actually had to hastily put things together since I didn’t have much time to plan it out, especially as I wasn’t sure if I could really do a Charity Campaign during June while Covid is still affecting things in everyone’s lives… but then I realised that it doesn’t matter how much you raise or how much everyone gives, as long as we’re able to raise anything at all. It’s for charity after all and no matter how much we get together, it will help someone.

This time around I called it the “Undead Charity Campaign” and we’re supporting The Trevor Project again because they do excellent work at crisis intervention and confidential suicide prevention programs on platforms where young people spend their time. They run a 24/7 phone lifeline, chat, and text, and they also run TrevorSpace, the world’s largest safe space social networking site for LGBTQ youth, on top of also operating education, research, and advocacy programs. Essentially, it’s the right choice to support them, in my opinion, which is why I’ve created this campaign in support of them, again. 

But I’m not alone in this as my stream team, Team Mistakes, is also raising funds together across multiple streams and we’re working together to raise more but I probably should’ve planned things out sooner… Yeah, “Mistakes were made” is quite on brand. If people had had earlier notice, they could’ve prepared stuff faster and because of that it’s still not certain who’s joining and who isn’t but it’s there and even if I’m in this alone or with just one or two other members, it’s totally fine as I just should’ve put more thoughts into this at an earlier date. Either way, what’s important is that we’re actually running the campaign right now and I’ve had some fun incentives planned for the streams in June!

For starters, you’ll be able to donate money to the campaign and support the Trevor Project and at the end of your donation, you can vote on a poll for the next game that I’ll play after June, which is quite cool. Based on the donation amount, you can also redeem an emote drawing by me or a recorded voice line/passage that I’ll send to you… and at certain milestones throughout the campaign, we’ll give away games on my stream to a random viewer that enters the raffle, which is quite exciting as I’ll be able to share my passion with others while also getting rid of some of these amazing titles that I got through Humble Choice that I already owned.

Overall, I’m really excited about all of this and if you want to hang out, lurk or chat during my streams feel free to do so as it also supports the stream and the campaign. Donating works until the end of the month and you can do so at any time, really. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this and I’d love it if any of y’all could stop by and help out. The campaign itself runs through Tiltify which is a website that essentially lets you organise these campaigns and when people donate the money, it goes directly to the charity campaign, with no risks involved really. A receipt will be sent to your e-mail account. Again, you can find the campaign right here or donate via this link. I ask you, however, to only donate if you want to and if you can really afford it. Make sure to take care of yourself first and worry about everything else later. You matter the most and it’s a chaotic world that we live in, so don’t worry too much. If you do decide to donate, you don’t even have to worry about the amount as any amount is already a great help in the fight for equality and rights.

Either way, that’s it for the post. Hope you enjoyed this one! Take care and stay safe.

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken. If you like what you see here and want to see more, you can check me out on Twitch and YouTube as well.

Business and Private Stuff – Some thoughts and a story

With my blog getting more traffic these days, I’ve been also receiving a lot of e-mails from developers that want me to take a look at their game and write about it. I love it when developers or publishers do that as it shows me that they are confident in their game to the point where they are risking potentially having me not recommend their game… and that’s great.

But a while ago, in June to be exact, I had an interaction with a developer that taught me a valuable lesson: Don’t mix business with your private affairs.

And this is basically just a post on how not act if you approach someone wanting them to review your game.

The E-Mail was alright at first. The person behind the game that I’m not going to name mentioned a few things about himself (like him being Muslim, his background, where he’s from, and that kinda stuff) and about his work. He also mentioned things about the game he worked on and gave me an elevator pitch before linking press materials and links. He didn’t list an embargo but said that he’d like me to review, comment or give feedback on his game to help him out. He also called my blog “awesome”, which… was quite flattering.

The problem with his game was that it plays in a political setting that I have little to no clue about (the middle east) and that it’s a shooter game that takes some obvious sides, to put it frankly. I’m not entirely sure if I’m fine with reviewing a game that is so biased in a way on some things and that kind of plays like a revenge-simulation of sorts… at the same time, I also suck at shooters, so there’s that.

I should have probably left it at that. I was quite conflicted about not choosing to write about it solely because I suck at it and because I’m not confident enough in the political background of the setting… so I tried to make my rather negative response sound less negative by greeting him as a fellow Muslim and wishing him a lot of success with the demo. I then proceeded with the negative stuff. I then still thanked him for reaching out… and I said cheers. As I always do that… from there it went down-hill rather fast.

The developer was very happy about meeting “another Muslim brother who loves gaming” just like him. He then asked questions, told me about his work and how he’s converting people over there… and how proud he is about that. He had no problems with me not reviewing his game as he made a friend… but at the same time, he found out that I’m bisexual and that I’m a proud member and supporter of the LGBTQIA+ community… and he then left me a huge paragraph… trying to convince me about “changing my mind” and bringing up a lot of bullshit arguments that were more than sexist, homophobic, judgemental, and problematic. At that point, I knew… yeah, I’m not going to write anything about this guy even if his game wasn’t problematic.

Receiving a 1,044-words long e-mail filled with the most radical bullshit that a fanatic could ever think of is… disrespectful for sure… but also intimidating… nearly scary. It’s not about him being Muslim or whatever… It’s the fact that he’s thinking that he’s doing me a favour by being like that. What’s funny is that he started it by saying: “Okay, brother. I don’t want to judge you, I want the best for you.” – and then he proceeds with all of that stuff about the media lying about people being born with their sexuality… and Shaytan (the devil) dooming my life and destroying me to take me to the hellfire… Later, he also talks about calling upon the wrath of Allah… which was kind of weird because there isn’t an actual devil in Islam… and why is there wrath coming from Allah when I’m already going to hell for crushing on Tom Ellis?

Uh, I don’t know. It’s just kind of sad and more than scary to see such an extreme reaction from someone who just called me his “new Muslim friend”… It’s funny to see him talk about Islam being the only true religion, which is super radical and extremist… It’s incredibly stupid that he’s bringing up the same stuff that I heard from Christian homophobes…

He also goes on about how “[God] created the male genitalia to have intercourse with the female genitalia”, which brings pleasure to both, apparently… And a woman doesn’t feel any sexual pleasure “whenever a man approaches her from her back passage” (by the way… that phrasing is disgusting). So, there are no women in the world… that enjoy anal sex. And because of that… because of the fact that no women can enjoy anal sex (according to him), men can’t enjoy it either.

There were also a lot more disturbing passages in his e-mail that I won’t talk about since they are deeply unsettling.
After I told him to never ever mail me again and that I’ll never review a game by someone who is as inappropriate and harmful as him, he only sent me this here…

أسأل الله أن يوفقك يا أخي إلى سبيل الهدى

Which is just annoying and petty at best.

I believe in a righteous and kind God that watches over us and sends us signs every now and then… but he never judged me for crushing on Tom Ellis so far. I believe in a God and it just happens that he’s called Allah because of my family being Muslim. I think religion is a rather personal thing, so I can do whatever I want to as long as I believe… and others can do what they wanna do. I’m not gonna judge anyone for their religion or their sexuality because it’s not my job to judge them. It’s nobody’s job really… And as far as religion goes, I’ve been told that there is only one God. And since Christians believe the same and since Jews also do that… I think that we and that’s a hot take believe in the same God and that we all should get along.

And that one developer is a prick but that doesn’t stop me from doing what I wanna do and continue to be myself really. I mean, it’s sad because it gives Muslims a bad name… but what can I do? There are a lot of homophobic Christians as well but that has nothing to do with their religion and only has something to do with them being homophobic, right? Religion has nothing to do with bigotry and just because some ancient guy wrote a book on something, that doesn’t mean that you can’t believe in your own religion or that you can’t make of it what you believe in and change the rules and adapt it to the current times. Move with the time. At least, that’s what I believe in.

But I’m rambling. I should have just rejected his game and moved on. It’s a bummer because of the nightmares that caused me.

So, that’s why I just try to flat-out reject games if they aren’t suitable for my blog. I don’t try to bond too much to people, mostly to protect myself. In the same why I give feedback to games that seem rather bad in an e-mail-response… but I don’t write a post on it if it’s really too bad… and generally, I need to get better at not taking stuff too personal like in that case… Again, this happened ages ago… and I feel like I grew as a person already but I still could have acted differently by just rejecting the game and not trying to soften the blow somehow…

Oh well, Cheers.

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken. If you like what you see here and want to see more, you can check me out on Twitch and YouTube as well.

Streamer Appreciation Post

The other day, I talked about PogChamp and KomodoHype and all of that stuff and mentioned that I’m blessed to be in an inclusive and friendly bubble of streamers that aren’t toxic at all and feature some amazing content creators. Alas, since it was Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d spread some love to some of the streamers I adore and shout them out to you guys in an attempt to allow you to also find have a nice experience on Twitch. Generally speaking, a lot of people find Twitch to be a toxic place… but I don’t think that that’s the case because I’m heavily biased. The streamers I watch are great and friendly and there is no spam going on there. I am streaming as well on Twitch and am trying to also create a safe place for people to hang out and have a cosy time… but I’m just at the beginning of my journey and have still ways to go, in contrast to these amazing people featured in this post who are all just great at what they’re doing.

Alas, this list will basically consist of some of the streamers I adore and watch. I’ll do my best to get to as many as I can without this post turning into a huge list of sorts.

First things first, I love Flex’ streams. XilentFlex is an inclusive variety streamer on Twitch who talks a lot about Mindfulness and self-love. He’s an LGBTQIA+ ally and has probably the most wholesome community on Twitch, at least in my opinion, featuring an amazing mod team, some great people and a lot of fun that other people should experience. He’s probably my favourite streamer on Twitch. I love tuning into his streams and hang out and chat whenever I can. He’s been streaming full-time for about two years now and is just amazing at what he does. His stream often has slow-mode turned on so that he can keep up with chat and respond to everyone as well as possible, but I don’t mind that and I feel like he utilizes features like that rather well. Flex does a lot of Just Chatting streams as well and has been one of my biggest inspirations to get into streaming myself. He’s helped a lot with raids and advice in the past. I feel like his stream is a great place to hang out at if you’re new to Twitch as you’ll feel welcome as soon as you send your first message. I feel like Flex has a way with words and some incredibly polished social-skills that enable him to not only give great advice and bring together so many people but to also help you out and assure you that you matter. It’s a skill that I wish to have but being socially awkward and in the autism-spectrum I kinda feel like it’s going to be rather hard for me to accomplish that. Still, I learn a lot from watching his streams as to how you need to handle the concerns and problems of other people and how you can assure people that they are fine and they don’t need to apologise about things.

Urb looking cute as always!

Next up, is a streamer who I know through Flex, actually. Brian Gray aka UrbanBohemian is a black queer variety streamer that streams on Tuesday afternoons and weekend mornings. His streams generally feature a rather cosy vibe with some great music, lovely commentary and rather entertaining content in general. You can ask him anything you want which further adds to the cosy and friendly environment his stream features – something that I love on Twitch. In the past, he’s raised a lot of money for the Bail Project, Trans LifeLine, The Trevor Project and GaymerX, which is great, and generally speaking, he’s just a gem of a human being that I can highly recommend checking out. Lately, I haven’t been able to check him out as much due to my sleep schedule being more or less fixed right now but it’s always fun to have his VODs on in the background while I work on things. On top of that, he’s one of the few streamers that actually create lovely Twitter content. I love the GIFs and Videos he’s posting on there and his takes on some topics on there. I can highly recommend Urb to you and if you don’t fancy streams, you may also wanna check out his blog over here.

Fan Art for Cave that turned out well!

Another great streamer I wanted to talk about is CaveMobster who’s another inclusive and lovely variety streamer from the Netherlands. She does Art Streams as well as Simulation-type games. Sometimes she also hops into other games, like Fran Bow or Dark Souls, which is always fun to watch. Often, people have a place here to talk about things that are concerning them and Cave is great at actually helping out, giving advice and cheering people up if they need that. Cave’s goal is to normalise mental health and the conversation by infecting the world with kindness and building a loving and understanding community, one stream at a time. In my opinion, she does that incredibly well so far and it’s always a pleasure to be able to shower other people with hugs or even to be on the receiving end of that love and wholesomeness in her chat. With the pandemic and everything going on right now, life can be rather troubling and sometimes it can feel just dark, which is why I feel like streams like Cave’s actually are so important. Whenever I turn to Cave and her community, I feel welcome and like a friend of everyone, which is a nice and warm feeling to have. Even if you don’t know people, they welcome you and are worried about you and I feel like Cave has created a fantastic community in a small amount of time and I hope that it only grows stronger and cosier as time goes on. Cave’s a great streamer and I’d love it if you could check her out!

KingArgaroth, my liege, is yet another great streamer. He’s the King of the Kingdom of Argonia and could best be described as a loveable and wholesome dork who loves to banter and play games. He streams a variety of games as well as Horror Games every Sunday. Just like Cave, he also talks about deeper topics and mental health at times. His community has healthy discussions from time to time and I admire King for being able to moderate it so well and keep it civil and gentle so that everyone gets to participate without anyone getting offended or hurt. If you stop by his streams (and I hope you do!) make sure to ask him anything and engage. He’s a master of engagement and is always able to make me feel welcome and at home in his streams. On top of that, whenever I feel down or whenever my headspace is weird (like right now), I can rely on him being available over there. When I ask for help on anything, he’s got the best advice out there and is ready to listen. Just like Flex, who I mentioned above, he also is really charismatic and has a way with words. Even when you apologise for troubling anyone, he’ll assure you that you matter and that your problems are being heard and that he and everyone is actually there for you. When your head is just doing weird things and you start second-guessing everything, he’s there to shine a light into the darkness and actually help out. He’s an amazing lad that I can highly recommend checking out.

Fan Art for Joe that looked quite good!

Next up, there is Joecrastination (formerly known as MFC or TheGlassCanon) who’s another great inspiration of mine. He’s a truly kind individual who’s very entertaining, handsome and fun. Joe plays a lot of RPG games and loves getting into the Lore side of things. I played Hollow Knight and don’t get anything about the story but Joe is just out there vibing while talking about the lore whenever I have a question and it’s fantastic to see him get so passionate about these things. His streams are generally rather chill and if it was for him, Flex and Jimb0, I probably wouldn’t have started to stream myself at all. They were there with great advice and encouragement and I thank them every day for it. Joe’s been able to take a break for himself to get his stuff sorted, which is a rather brave thing to do, and he successfully came back recently, stronger than before. I love the quality of his content and his voice and his thought process on things in games and topics. I really enjoy hanging out over there whenever I can and I’m sure you will, too!

Just recently, I was invited into Team Mistakes which is a team where the streamers try to not take themselves too serious and laugh about mistakes or bad plays instead of getting angry, toxic or even violent about it. A streamer that I got to know through that is MurphyOwO, who’s a variety streamer that has been through their share of trouble in life and wants to create a space where it’s okay to talk about deeper topics while still having fun. They’re a Mental Health advocate that plays a plethora of games from Valheim and AC: Valhalla to Breath of the Wild and Genshin Impact to Among Us. They also do a lot of Just Chatting and their Sugar Gliders are just adorable. It’s always a pleasure to be in their streams even if I most often end up going to bed afterwards since it’s super late for me but I can highly recommend checking them out!

At last, I’d like to say that there are a plethora of other streamers that I’d like to talk about but since I don’t have unlimited time I can’t actually mention all of them. On top of that, I wanna say some more words about why I enjoy every streamer so much instead of just creating a huge list with bullet points like “variety streamer”, “inclusive”, “has pets”, or whatever. I feel like that’d be only fair, which is why I’ll make another post in the future talking about those that I couldn’t mention today. 

Anyways, I hope that you enjoyed this post today! Make sure to check out some of these streamers if you haven’t yet! They’re all gems and I really appreciate being able to hang out in their streams and chat with them so much lately, even if it’s just in lurk-mode or while I’m working on things or even when I go outside and ride the bus or whatever. I’ll try to make another post like this again sooner or later but for now, that’s it for today.

Take care of yourself! Hang in there! Stay healthy and warm and cosy!

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken. If you like what you see here and want to see more, you can check me out on Twitch and YouTube as well.

The Stray Sheep #34 – my dilemma

This week is full of posts because of creativity and me being bothered by something for quite some while at the same time hyped for the new Riot Games (who still is a small indie company for sure, kappa). A bit after posting that RoL post, my account was activated for Legends of Runeterra, which is awesome! But the post had not have had any views at all at that point, so I doubt that it had to do anything with it. 

On to another topic that is a bit heavier than other stuff. Naithin covered it on his blog already, but we basically had a discussion on the Blaugust blog just yesterday about taskbars. It’s really bothersome since my taskbar is on the right while apparently, a ton of people use it at the bottom (normies…) while some people use it at the top (hipsters…).. I mean, the right is perfectly fine and makes a lot more sense as you’ll be able to read more of your posts that way.

And of course, I’m just joking around. While it is interesting, it’s not today’s topic. 

I recently have posted about what’s up and my quick little break and the fact that I haven’t posted much and that I said that I was gonna cover three games quite soon: Heartbeat, Guacamelee!, and The Swindle. 

Cute little kitties and stuff that resemble some of Heartbeat’s characters.

This post is about something very bothersome about Heartbeat. 

So, Heartbeat is basically an Indie Game where you are a Conjurer who battles feral Mogwais and helps out people in your town. You then embark on a journey to find out about weird wisp that’s been stealing the cores (hearts) of Mogwais that are from The Den. To do so, you train, solve puzzles, battle Mogwais, find new friends and allies along the way who will fight by your side or help you out, and do lots of other stuff! 

The game is overall very cheerful and happy and embraces ideas and values about empathy, love, lesbianism, friendship and other great things! I love the soundtrack, the fighting system, the story, the characters and my little Mao, a cute little baby moth that you raise and that evolves depending on what you feed it. It’s got a ton of cute little system and you can fish in it (which is, as always, the most important reason), achievements, an arena mode of sorts, alchemy, interesting upgrade systems, tons of humour revolving around meta-jokes about it all maybe being a simulation and not real at all, which got me to chuckle quite often, and a lot more reasons why I love it. It has waited for so long in my backlog and I only know had the time and urge to play it, which I kind of regret. 

A gatcha minigame in the game.

If I had reviewed it in Blaugust, I wouldn’t have had this dilemma right now, as it all started in September. 

Nicotine, the lead dev’s girlfriend, is a TERF. By that, I don’t mean the slur or insult (as that’d be super rude, even for a TERF….) but rather the term that describes trans-exclusionary radical feminists, feminists that end up not seeing trans-women as women, excluding them from women’s spaces, and fighting against trans-rights. 

TERFs are basically shitheads. And while I don’t want to make my blog about political or other views, I myself am an LGBTQIA+ ally (apparently you can’t be pro LGBTQIA+ if you’re straight, so you gotta be an ally) and I’ve got tons of friends who fall into that spectrum and who had it tough with the coming out and all of that. Even in Germany, there are still people that believe that all gay or trans people have to die or whatever, which is ridiculous.

Thankfully the town I moved to and my uni are great places to be and there’s no space for trans, homo and xenophobia and all of that. If you’re a misogynist, a transphobe, a homophobe, a racist, or xenophobe, or even a TERF, please don’t comment any of that stuff on here or on my blog in general as I don’t want this to become a place for that stuff.

Back to Nicotine: She made clear that those things were “her opinion” and that she just listed it and that her girlfriend’s game has nothing to do with it. Shepple and Nicotine are in a lesbian relationship and should be fully aware of the hardships of people in the LGBTQIA+ spectrum and yet, they are TERFs. I say “they” but, so far, only Nicotine said stuff like that, right? 

Secrets!

Well,… actually… Shepple herself is getting accused of having said similar things in DMs and in a secret channel on her discord server.

Also, after a statistic came out. 

“The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the UCLA School of Law’s Williams Institute report the attempted suicide rate among transgender people is 41%. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claims 35% of transgender high school students have also reported suicide attempts.”

And at the same time, Shepple (apparently coincidentally) put a discount on the game on Steam for 35% and 41% when combined with the game’s soundtrack. Absolutely. Disgusting. It can’t really be a coincidence, but at the same time, the Heartbeat community is full of transgender people and promotes empathy and love! 

So, there’s the benefit of the doubt there, but still…

In the end, one dev cut ties with Chumbosoft, the studio of Heartbeat. Other devs and Chumbosoft distanced themselves from Shepple and her views.

My dilemma is the following: I love Heartbeat and really recommend the game. But I can’t support a game whose lead dev is a TERF. I can’t support a dev who is mocking trans people in such a disgusting way. By recommending it I’d be giving a – rather small but still a – platform to possible transphobic thoughts or people that want to support Shepple or people that also TERFs or shitheads. I don’t know if I can do that. But I also cannot not-recommend a game that is so good and those many things that are done well along with the beautiful messages that should also count for trans people about empathy, love and everything. 

I planned on listing the shitheaded-ness of Shepple as a flaw. A paragraph on the end of my review but that’s not enough, I guess. 

“Here’s the game, it’s great, I love it. But that dev is a shithead and you’ll support someone who’s transphobic while also supporting people that distance themselves and that aren’t.” 

That felt like the best possible compromise, or just making a post about (which I ended up making). Naithin from timetoloot.com made a post about the matter and I hope that this post about the matter justifies the heaviness of the whole thing. In the end, I cannot not-recommend a game this good to people. I want to write a review on it. But I’ll add two disclaimers to it stating a short brief summary of the matter and what happened at the beginning and the end of the review, linking to this post here, before then reviewing the game. 

It’s similar to the dilemma of artists and their personal life, where you can’t support an artist who is also a child abuser as you don’t want to support a child abuser, but at the same time you cannot avoid his movie as you’d be missing out on that actor’s movies that are “this good”. 

I’d like to see personal views/life as a completely separate thing from their art and craftsmanship. But it’s not possible in every case.

I don’t know how many racists have made the comfy pants I’m wearing. I don’t know how many homophobes have worked on my jacket, and yet I wear them. 

I don’t know if really only Shepple is responsible for the whole 35%/41% thing and if there’s not a transphobe in hiding at Chumsoft, and yet I love Heartbeat. 

I bought Heartbeat a year ago and now this story blew up in September but Blizzard’s decisions are covering it up quite well, which isn’t good at all. 

This post is longer than usual. As a summary: I don’t agree with Shepple’s or Nicotine’s views, I support LGBTQIA+ in every way, if you’re a jerk, a misogynist or whatever, please don’t comment here, and I will probably review this game in a few days but will put a fat disclaimer about the situation and tell people to not buy it if it bothers them. I guess that’s a compromise that I can live with. 

My head feels like it’s exploding from this migrane that I’ve got for two weeks now and I kind of think that Heartbeat and my dilemma have been reasons for it but maybe I’ll just need to get a checkup at a doc’s. Who knows. Anyways,…

Edit: I decided not to cover it.

I wish y’all a good day and hope that you get to live your life to the fullest in every way possible! I love y’all.

Edit: Added hyphens and “phobes” to certain passages for better understanding. Thanks for pointing it out, Nathin!