35/365 – Meditation Games #35 – Amongst My People

Developer: Freya Campbell

Launcher Quote: “4th February. I make the drive from the conservative county I’ve lived in for 23 years, to Bristol, where I will live for the forseeable future. As I make the final few miles of the journey, I see pride flags hanging out of first-floor windows on the high street, and I know I’ve made the right choice to move here. I am among my people. I am among friends.”

The theme of finding yourself and your identity continues today with Freya Campbell’s game about moving to a place where they felt like they truly belonged, after a long journey of feeling like they didn’t. This, too, is a theme you see in many games, where the characters struggle to find a sense of self-worth and a place in the world where they tend to start out not belonging, or in some cases shunned or excluded from society as a whole. Like the identity quest from my previous entry, it’s a theme as old as video games have been around, and while they share similarities, it’s not exactly the same.

The LGBT community deals with the issue of acceptance all the time, and many who grow up and discover their identity in this respect also struggle with finding a place where they truly feel like they’re amongst those like them and/or those who more importantly accept them. While Freya’s entry is a simple presentation of lined drawings depicting the journey to a community where they feel like they’re among friends, it’s nevertheless meant to be shown as a significant step in life, and a message of hope that there may be a place for those who feel excluded or who worse, who face hatred and bigotry simply for who they are.

One thing that struck me in particular was the single splash of variant color in the game – the hanging pride flags which stand out amongst the buildings that you go past and which are among the last images that you see. There’s power in such imagery, as it centers one of the most prominent, well-known symbols of the LGBT community, but more than that, displays a sense of welcome and acceptance to those traveling. If you have spent a significant amount of your life trying or grasping to have that level of acceptance, such an image, even though it’s a flag hanging in a window, can mean so much more to the character looking to find a place where they know they belong. It’s a powerful idea and is something very well communicated even in very few images.

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