It’s not often that any form of easily digestible media allows us to partially experience the world of the “other”, especially in the video game space. Morgan Sea, game developer behind Zine Fair Lady , has done just that. With a drawn-in digital style, mixed magazine cutouts, and typewriter print, Zine Fair Lady entices you to walk the halls of the local queer book fair as a trans woman, searching for voices of acceptance and avoiding pesky micro-aggressions.
As the screen loads, the player is greeted with their initial purpose for going to the local book fair:
“This is it! The day of the big queer zine fair! They didn’t have zine fairs in your small town, and now that you are an out Trans Lady in the big city it’s time to feel the enrichment of the creative minds of queer folk, together, under one roof, selling their zines, sharing their experiences, and creating a more inclusive world! This should be super fun!
You enter the school gymnasium and find that the space is packed with patrons: did I mention that you have anxiety? As you peruse the stalls and booths looking for that perfect zine, you don’t always come across the most accepting members of the LGBT+ community, and this becomes one of the most endearing and empathetically rich aspects of the text-adventure — a game created with Twine. It’s a text adventure, right? Anyways, as you bound from stall to stall, eyeing interesting goods and encountering characters that have clearly been developed from real people, you faintly begin to understand the good moments and many transgressive ones that people experience everyday.
Zine Fair Lady provides gamers and non-gamers alike with the opportunity to enter another perspective, even for a moment, and see how nuanced the issue of identity can truly be. I don’t want to give it all away, especially when you can play ZFL in your browser. So, take ten minutes of your day to check out this game!
What do you think about games that revolve around experience rather than skill? Let us know in the comments below.