Developer: Athena Sylvain
Launcher Quote: “August 1st, 2018.
This was the day I, a transgender woman of 23, received my prescription for
estrogen from the gender identity clinic in Exeter.
I had been waiting for this day for nearly 8 years, and had been on one pathway
or another for approximately five years at this point.
By the time this is supposed to be played, I will have been on hormones for 1 year.
I suspect I will be a much improved developer by then. I sure hope so.
Here’s the thing about being trans in the uk.
The wait for medical treatment, if you want it, is uncertain, and scary, and takes so, so long.
It’s tedious, and there are so, so many hoops to jump through,
all the while fighting off how much you hate your body. You just have to ignore it.
And then it finally comes, and yeah, the wait’s over.
It feels good. There’s elation on taking that first pill, placing that first patch gingerly onto over-shaven skin.
But the weight is still there. The wait will always be here.
The time I spent as less than myself.”
Life tends to throw obstacles in your way, and everyone goes through this at some point or another. The difficulty of these depends on perhaps the complexity and significance of the event. You have to pass that exam. You have to try to finish your work by a deadline. You have to figure out what you’re having for dinner. These are simple decisions. Others are a little bit more difficult – making choices for a career, deciding on how and when to plan a vacation, trying to find out how to meet that special someone. But yet others, ones which present a variety of cultural, logistical, and personal barriers and obstacles, are so complex as to warrant a presentation that shows them as such.
For the developer, and for many in their situation, navigating the hurdles of transitioning to another gender is tantamount to being a platformer of epic proportions. The presentation of platformer for this particular meditation and game is highly appropriate for this, as transgender folks have many challenges with trying to get the prescriptions they need, ensuring they’re identified as the right gender on official documentation, struggling to get acceptance in workplaces and in social and familial circles, and more.
The age-old way of presenting the game with simpler and then yet more complex challenges as you get better is employed here, and when things can truly insane as far as the platforming goes, that’s when you as the player come to the realization of just how difficult it is, at least presented in game form, to gain acceptance, to do things we take for granted, to live day-to-day. This is sort of the power of the Meditation Games project – the ability to be able to provide a bit of empathy for a situation that we’re not normally in, to see what the developer is trying to say that relates to their own personal experiences, and to, at least on some level, experience it for yourself in the form of a game or genre of a game. While this is in no way a substitute for knowing or experiencing the situation, it is nevertheless a way of displaying it in a manner that we can more easily understand it.