Review: Dys4ia
by ionmark (1103)
April 4th 2012

The Lowdown:

The game is free and short.  If you like games as art you will like this, if you don't it was only 10 minutes.


The part where I gush a little:

As I have mentioned before, sexuality is something rarely discussed in games.  Thankfully due to the general positive feedback games like A Closed World have been getting, more and more have begun to crop up.  Dys4ia is a game about choosing to and then actually starting gender reassignment therapy.  The creator, Anna Antrhopy, is actually a serial game maker and writer of a new book titled Rise of the Video Game Zinestars.

I have played games by this developer before so I wanted this critique to be a bit of a comparison.  My favorite game by Anna would have to be Lesbian Spider-Queens From Mars.  Though any storyline or pretense to a message is essentially non-existent the gameplay sucked me in immediately.  I was pleasantly surprised at how such a simple game could be so much fun.

Now around the time that I first played A Closed World is when I first stumbled across Anna's blog.  At the time Auntie Pixelante seemed not so thrilled about the game and wrote this seathing blog post.  Additionally creating a game called A Closed Mind which seems to be a more realistic portraiyal of the struggle to be accepted in a world that frowns upon being transgendered.  Although a bit heavy handed and by no means a fun game it did illustrate a point.

Dys4ia in my mind is a more thought out and carefully realized response to A Closed World.  It is heavily story driven with mini games between each story piece which serve as a sort of sampler to what the author was going through.  And it works.  More importantly I liked it more than A Closed World.

There is a bit at the beginning of the game where your avatar is an oddly shaped sort of puzzle piece trying to fit through a different, but equally oddly shaped hole in a wall.  The narrator explains that this is what it feels like to be them every day.  With such a simple game mechanic (almost barely a game mechanic at all) Anna is able to convey so much meaning.

As some of you know I am a big advocate as games as a form of expression and Dys4ia is the best example of that I can think of to date.  If you are into games as art or really your just curious about gender reassignment check out this game.

Anna Anthropy has a blog you can check out here.

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