A tabletop role-playing game called Monsterhearts uses mythical creatures to explore what it’s like to be adolescent and queer.
The game, which plays a bit like Dungeons and Dragons, puts players in the roles of teen supernatural creatures like werewolves and vampires coming to terms with their sexuality.
Pop culture has used monsters as metaphors for sexuality (especially queer sexuality) for ages. There’s the recent example of the Twilight series, which strongly influenced Alder’s game. But the tradition goes way back to the beginning of human mythology, with creatures like incubi and sirens and Huli Jing.
The Guardian writes:
“I explored a lot of my own identity as a queer woman and a trans woman through games,” [creator Avery] Alder said, “and I wanted to create something about coming to terms with queerness.
“I think a common experience in adolescence is becoming aware of social differences in terms of race, class, beauty, ability, all of those things. You feel different, unvalued, alienated. So the metaphor of being a monster and having to keep your identity in the shadows speaks to all of those themes.
“A lot of queer youth are actively made to feel monstrous by people around them, and if you’re growing up in a homophobic environment then you’re having who you are driven underground.”
Monsterhearts came out in 2012. The game was a huge success, so the creators started a Kickstarter for the sequel. The fundraiser wildly exceeded its goals. Monsterhearts 2 is expected to come out in May this year.
(Header image via Buried Without Ceremony)