Clique is a new Action-Adventure game on Kickstarter that has my emotions a little split. You see I really like everything about the idea of the game, but I am aware it covers a controversial topic. The game is about a young teenage girl and her avatar in a game. You play as both characters and the game aims to help the player understand African-American culture and it promises to be an emotional experience. Everything about this concept sounds good to me. I love it when games are used as tools to encourage empathy and understanding. The media too often focuses on creating negative connections to playing video games, but games like this show the other side of gaming.
I kind of like the Inception concept in the game, where we play a game where a girl is also playing a game. The Kickstarter page mentions that the girl was trying to escape her reality and that the avatar in the game would be dealing with unwelcoming NPCs. I’m curious to see what overlaps with these two characters, I’m assuming there will be some symbolic element to it where their struggles are similar in some way. Personally, as someone who has been gaming for many years, I always make obscure connections between a characters struggle and my own when I like them. Something that caught my interest was that the bosses represent the personification of the world you’re in and a sword that represents a strong emotion. This reminds me of a game called Papo and Yo which used monsters as embodiments of different types of abuse. I’m kind of expecting that in the virtual real world events will happen to the character that set the stage for what happens in the virtual…virtual one.
My only hesitation with Clique is I don’t know how well it will be handled. Race in gaming has become such a sensitive topic in the industry and just another quota to fill. I’m willing to take a chance with it, but it really is one of those times where I wish I knew more about the person behind the project and what their end game is. Sometimes there are games that exist to be games and sometimes there are experiences that can be played as a game. Personally, I feel like there is a certain level of responsibility with a game deliberately marketing itself as diverse to be good. Too often in gaming minorities are added simply to fill a quota and appease Social Justice Warriors without actually being meaningful characters. It becomes just another selling point to armchair activists, like “look at me I’m buying a game with a Latino character aren’t I amazing!?” If I could say one thing to the developers it would be: Make this a game to remember.
Track the progress of the Clique Kickstarter in our Campaign Calendar.