I can be in the backyard, in the woods, sitting on the porch steps. The world of Pokémon anywhere and everywhere.
Don’t blow that hard into it you knucklehead, my brother would say, snatching the cartridge from my hands. He would blow into it softly, hands gripping the other end gently, telling me like this, like this.
But what was important for me about SMB3 was that it was a “safe” environment where I could perform my homosexuality by chasing/desiring the princess. I had this limitless free space in which to explore.
“Now that the conflict is over, they can be their utopian selves.” But the world we have doesn’t work like this. There is never an end to the conflict.
I was privileged to grow up in a family where art was valued dearly. My parents met in theater and ran a puppet show company when I was small. In between working full-time jobs, they stitched felt costumes, scribbled out stories, and memorized songs.
Flannery O’Connor is an ever-present influence in the brand of gothic the game trades in. Her ability to explore the horrors lurking in southern Americana while suffusing the entire thing in this overarching, terrifying presence of grace, is an inspiration.
I grew up in the 1990s. The “girl power” era. There was Sailor Moon. There was Xena. Buffy. Captain Janeway. The Spice Girls. I felt semi-surrounded by representations of powerful/warrior/magical women.
Near the end of the game you find out Nall is a dragon. In a flash, his hidden power is unlocked and he grows enormous, takes his true shape. He’s vibrant, shiny, the size of a school bus. You ride him through the skies.
Your airship is a kind of home, a traveling hostel for your eccentric companions. In leveling up, you always progress. It is almost impossible to stop progressing.
Ultima Weapon is an enormous dragon-like creature that flies through the sky near the end of the game. If you bump into it (Him? Her? Why does wondering make this sadder to tell?) with your airship, it will fly away and not bug you. If you really want to, you can follow it.
The most important thing to us was to use the mechanics to allow the player to compare and contrast each character’s public vs. private self. The voyeurism of the AR scenes allows us to observe how the characters act when speaking to each other in a group, versus when speaking to each other in isolation, or how they behave when entirely on their own.