The Game Awards had been around for years before I first heard about them; gaming news hasn’t really been my bag since my first attempts at joining online gaming communities in the late nineties was immediately met by a bunch of people telling me to kill myself because I don’t think Final Fantasy VI is the greatest video game of all time. (More on that to come in the new year.) By the time I saw posts about The Game Awards on my social media feeds, pretty much everyone I know was in agreement with the assessment that the “awards” are a bunch of masturbatory industry self-promotion that aren’t worth watching, save (possibly) for the trailers for upcoming video games that air throughout the show. Several years later, I don’t think that assessment is any less true than it was before.
Despite that, I still came into the end of this year hoping that Super Lesbian Animal RPG would get some recognition there. I’m neither joking nor exaggerating when I say that it’s the best new game I’ve played (that isn’t a remake of an older game) in over twenty years, and I don’t think I’ve fallen in love with a game this hard since I first played Final Fantasy IV in 1991. The more I watch other people play through the game, the more I realize how utterly brilliant it is, and the more I try to play through more recent video games, the more I realize that Super Lesbian Animal RPG epitomizes what made me fall in love with JRPGs, and video games as a whole, when I was younger. I’m not sure if I will ever be so enthusiastic about a new video game for the rest of my life, and that’s only one of the reasons why I want the game to win every single award out there.
Given how Gamergate started a decade ago, though, there was a part of me that was hesitant to see Super Lesbian Animal RPG get so much attention. It’s too easy to imagine the same creeps who made gaming so toxic back then just recycling their criticisms about Depression Quest, trying to claim that Super Lesbian Animal RPG “doesn’t count” as a video game because it was developed on RPG Maker, or that the only reason people are playing it is because of its inclusion of minorities, or that its developer didn’t earn all the positive reviews she got. Given the kinds of trolling I got when I was first playing the game right after its release, I knew that the same people responsible for all the horrors of the past decade had Super Lesbian Animal RPG in their sights before it even came out.
When the nominations were announced for The Game Awards this past week and Super Lesbian Animal RPG got shut out, though, I was still incensed. Beyond all the reasons I listed above, I’m tired of so many modern games being variations of the same “outflank each opponent and then stab them in the butt over and over again” formula that seems to have suffocated ingenuity in video games in the twenty-first century, especially since the stories of these games are often dull as dishwater. There is still a lot of innovation in video games today, but it tends to be happening with small, independent developers, while the big gaming studios just churn out new versions of the same crap year in and year out. There’s a reason I still haven’t bought a current-generation console, and why I still don’t have plans for doing so this year, even with all the holiday sales going on right now.
At least Steam offers an awards platform that gives games like Super Lesbian Animal RPG a chance, but I’m not sure if it will matter much. Despite the stellar reviews it’s gotten, and despite all the positive word-of-mouth about the game (something which, as you’ve probably guessed by now, I’m actively cultivating), it still hasn’t reached a wide audience, and it’s not about to get support from the usual assortment of homophobes and transphobes and furry-haters that tend to run roughshod in a lot of gaming circles. Trying to get Super Lesbian Animal RPG this kind of recognition feels like a doomed effort from the start, but as I said before, I don’t know if I’m ever again going to love a new video game as much as I love this one.
With that in mind, I would humbly like to really fucking strongly encourage all of you to vote for Super Lesbian Animal RPG in this year’s Steam Awards, using the link at the top. (In addition to Game of the Year, Super Lesbian Animal RPG also qualifies for the categories Outstanding Visual Style, Best Soundtrack, and Outstanding Story-Rich Game.) I’ll be doing another playthrough of the game on my Twitch channel starting on the first anniversary of the game’s initial release on 12.20 (yes, I will be calling that Super Lesbian Animal RPG Day from now on, thanks for asking), but nominations will be closed by then, so if playing video games isn’t your thing, let me point you to the recordings of Hollowtones and PuzzleGamingNerd playing through it (and doing the best voice acting job I’ve heard for the characters so far) so you can experience the game in that way. Also, no apologies for my continuing praise of the game, because it really is that good, and there are worse things to commit my life to than making sure more people know just how amazing it is. It’s also on sale on Steam right now, so, you know, if you play video games, go check it out.