Developer: Ronja Behringer
Launcher Quote: “Over my life I’ve often met other queer people. But then I joined a local queer group for the first time and having a group of only people with similar experiences who understand what you’re going through improved my life a lot!”
Some geeky folks, meeting the stereotype of those that prefer to stick around indoors or eschew the outside for the internet, seem to disdain the idea of a mixer – a term to describe an informal party meant to get people to be acquainted. Maybe it’s the fact that forced social interaction where there normally would not be isn’t their cup of tea, or perhaps the fact that people tend to feel that this kind of building bonds needs to happen naturally rather than in an artificially generated setting like a party or a dance specifically for that purpose. But these same people tend to underestimate that mixers can also serve as a means to conveniently find those who you already have something in common with, such as the developer joining a local queer group.
The game that Ronja put together is a great representation of this in all of its simplicity. It uses different color balls and mechanics to show that you blend together as you move around the room, eventually coaelscing into a shared kind of experience together. This works on a variety of levels – most obviously in the fact that the developer not coincidentally chose the colors of the LGBT flag to depict their experience with their queer group, but also the fact that the colors do trail, follow, and blend/move around one another. Colors in general blend to form other colors, the new color taking on the traits of each color used to mix it to create something shared, and new. In this sense, the mixer is an absolutely necessary and great way for those with similar experiences to be in a setting where they’re welcomed and able to share with one another to enrich each other.
The other takeaway from this is to observe that even though the developer has depicted an experience with a group of similar experiences and commonality, that there’s still something to be learned in doing so. Each person in a shared group has a common thread that they have with the others, but the nuances and specific interests and events they’ve experienced are still unique and different enough that they can be learned from or communicated to others. Different lessons and thoughts and ideas have no doubt come from these experiences that are similar, yet still distinct from others in the same group. If anything else, this makes mixers and groups all the more valuable. We’re the sum of our experiences, but some of those experiences can and do come from how we work with, talk to, and socialize with others.