Dys4ia: an autobiographical trans video game about changing gender

When I recently blogged about how gay and lesbian sex scenes in Mass Effect 3 were causing a stir, I mentioned how the gaming industry had made some attempts to be more inclusive.

One experimental effort was A Closed World, a role-playing prototype offering a game from a gay or lesbian perspective.

A new game offers players the chance to see things from one trans person's perspective.

Dys4ia is an autobiographical flash game created by Anna Anthropy, a freelance scratchware game creator, based on her experiences with hormone replacement therapy and changing gender. (Anthropy is also the author of Rise of the Videogame Zinesters: How Freaks, Normals, Amateurs, Artists, Dreamers, Drop-outs, Queers, Housewives, and People Like You Are Taking Back an Art Form.)

The game riffs off 1980s 8-bit video games with little exercises for the player to try out, ranging from Pong to mazes. It's all done in chunky Atari-style pixels.

But it feels more like experiential art than playing a game. Anthopy recreates some of the frustrations she experienced, allowing the player to experience a simulation or approximation of what she went through. She often makes the various exercises difficult, sometimes even apparently unsolvable.

The first three levels are divided into gender, medical, and hormonal "bullshit". Her experiences range from social awkwardness to the side effects of medication.

Check it out here. It doesn't take too long to play it, and let us know what you think.

You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at twitter.com/cinecraig. You can also follow the Straight's LGBT coverage on Twitter at twitter.com/StraightLGBT.

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