Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor

Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor

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katsuragi Sep 18, 2016 @ 11:25am
What's the purpose of gender?
I have been faithfully shelling out MC every other day to gender switch for a couple weeks now.

Had my MC up over 200 when I got robbed by a couple town guards in a row and was nearly back to nothing

In protest, when the game prompted me to gender shift, I said "F U Game"

Now i'm on day 4 without a gender shift and aside from the grainy screen, there are no adverse effects...

Why was I gender shifting in the first place if there is no penalty for ignoring it?
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Showing 1-15 of 71 comments
jspease Sep 18, 2016 @ 11:58am 
I think the only purpose of gender is to annoy you with grainy graphics, sometimes hard-to-read text, and inability to see what your actual status is, until you get a new gender. Getting a new one also seems to help with sickness if you happen to eat something that makes you ill and don't want to wait it out.
shennong Sep 18, 2016 @ 2:11pm 
I wasn't sure what to make of this either. Since there are no game mechanics associated with gender other than the screen effects, which go away once you eat your gender pills or whatever, it's hard to say why this wasn't just rolled into the hunger mechanic. It doesn't add anything to the game, so it's either

A- hackneyed social commentary/cynical exploitation of recent cultural attention toward trans issues, ends up making "being trans" seem identical to "being diabetic"

B- subtle showing up of the metaphysical groundlessness of trans identity politics and the ultimate absurdity of this as a terminus ad quem of "gender" (you can be SUSAN SARANDON or DAMP MAN, nothing whatsoever about yourself or your situation changes, but you always feel amazing, and that's all that matters)
Last edited by shennong; Sep 18, 2016 @ 2:12pm
The Jasper Mage Sep 18, 2016 @ 2:25pm 
I kidna thought gender might be a drug you get yourself accidently addicted to. I don't recall any demands for gender changes until after I took some gender because i was cureous to what it was. and then the tripping is the drug withdrawels...
Mieumieu Sep 18, 2016 @ 2:40pm 
No it definitely starts to ask you to gendershift and makes your screen all wobbly on it's own without you ever shifting yourself first. I wasn't ever going to shift. I was happy to be playing a female, fine and all in my own skin. And yet the game screen started to get fuzzy wuzzy on me, I wanted to be able to see clearly and got sick of it telling me I needed to gendershift and finally gave in and did. But I had never done it before it started to bug me to do so.

And the purpose is probably to make us ask what the purpose is, to make us wonder if it has any effect on anything even though it probably doesn't.

I don't like that it's "forced" (at least if you want to see your screen straight that is), but maybe that's just part of what this alien species has to go through for some reason. If we're talking addiction, maybe we started the game with her already addicted to it.
Toast for Dinner Sep 18, 2016 @ 3:25pm 
Originally posted by MewmewGirl:
I don't like that it's "forced" (at least if you want to see your screen straight that is), but maybe that's just part of what this alien species has to go through for some reason. If we're talking addiction, maybe we started the game with her already addicted to it.

This is how I look at it. I think it's basically just lore flavoring-turned-gameplay-element. Like, "Your character belongs to a species that has to change gender regularly or they experience physical discomfort. Isn't that interesting?"

Even though I gendershift once a day and it's proven to be a pretty effective money sink, I don't really mind it myself because I think it's immersive.
shennong Sep 18, 2016 @ 4:39pm 
Originally posted by Toast for Dinner:
This is how I look at it. I think it's basically just lore flavoring-turned-gameplay-element. Like, "Your character belongs to a species that has to change gender regularly or they experience physical discomfort. Isn't that interesting?"

This doesn't really make sense, though- if it's a natural process for the main character's species, why is she buying pills from a kiosk to make it happen?
Toast for Dinner Sep 18, 2016 @ 4:55pm 
Originally posted by shennong:
Originally posted by Toast for Dinner:
This is how I look at it. I think it's basically just lore flavoring-turned-gameplay-element. Like, "Your character belongs to a species that has to change gender regularly or they experience physical discomfort. Isn't that interesting?"

This doesn't really make sense, though- if it's a natural process for the main character's species, why is she buying pills from a kiosk to make it happen?

I mean, I could fan wank something. For example, maybe the pills have chemicals that are abundant and occur naturally on the Alaensee homeworld and because of this the native population has evolved in such a way that they can gendershift on their own planet without having to actively seek out and ingest these chemicals. However, they're probably harder to come by off-world, especially on a crappy spaceport on Xabran's Rock, so an Alaensee pharameutical company has synthesized these chemicals into pills for distribution and sale to traveling Alaensee girlbeasts such as ourselves.

I think this is one of the beautiful things about this game. Despite the insane number of little details and hints about the world, there's so little about the lore actually stated to you that pretty much any explanation is valid. Yet, there's so much detail there that you feel that this is a universe with a myriad of cultures and genetic quirks. And there's so little actual information that really it's almost pointless to pick apart other peoples' interpretations. Otherwise you start veering into fanfic territory (like I just did).
Last edited by Toast for Dinner; Sep 18, 2016 @ 5:17pm
sundaemonth  [developer] Sep 18, 2016 @ 5:22pm 
HI

So, we're just gonna say a couple of things. First off, we are thrilled that people are interested in and discussing the gender "mechanics"! This has been one aspect of the game that's gotten a lot of attention and we are quite happy with the way everyone has their own interpretation :)

I personally (this is James Shasha, the game's programmer, aka @videoJames_ on twitter) happen to be genderqueer/nonbinary, and was hoping to sort of reflect my own feelings about gender in the game. Multiple people on the team are nonbinary, trans, or otherwise gender nonconforming.

Gender in the game reflects the way gender in real life works (tho certain aspects are maybe emphasized). Gender is highly pathologized in our society and feeling okay about it often requires spending money on expensive treatements, or struggling through constant dysphoria- something represented by the screen and text effects. And, as an alien, it doesn't really make sense to have gender that aligns with human social expectations, so we felt this was an opportunity to do something potentially interesting.

As with everything about the game, we totally encourage people to form their own interpretations!

Originally posted by Toast for Dinner:
maybe the pills have chemicals that are abundant and occur naturally on the Alaensee homeworld and because of this the native population has evolved in such a way that they can gendershift on their own planet without having to actively seek out and ingest these chemicals. However, these chemicals are probably harder to come by off-world, especially on a crappy spaceport on Xabran's Rock, so an Alaensee pharameutical company has synthesized these chemicals into pills for distribution and sale to traveling Alaensee girlbeasts such as ourselves.

This is definitely one of the coolest ideas about it we've heard. IF we could just say "this is canon" and make this the official explanation we'd totally do it, but we like leaving these kinds of details open-ended (as you can probably tell from playing the game).
Toast for Dinner Sep 18, 2016 @ 5:44pm 
Originally posted by sundaemonth:
Originally posted by Toast for Dinner:
maybe the pills have chemicals that are abundant and occur naturally on the Alaensee homeworld and because of this the native population has evolved in such a way that they can gendershift on their own planet without having to actively seek out and ingest these chemicals. However, these chemicals are probably harder to come by off-world, especially on a crappy spaceport on Xabran's Rock, so an Alaensee pharameutical company has synthesized these chemicals into pills for distribution and sale to traveling Alaensee girlbeasts such as ourselves.

This is definitely one of the coolest ideas about it we've heard. IF we could just say "this is canon" and make this the official explanation we'd totally do it, but we like leaving these kinds of details open-ended (as you can probably tell from playing the game).

I'm super flattered right now! And like I said in my previous post, I do enjoy the open-ended-ness of the game. Sometimes ambiguity in games is hamfisted and frustrating when it feels like something's not being explained solely for the sake of generating "artistic cred" but in this case I think it's well done and immersive, not to mention democratic. I can imagine there are some players who aren't comfortable with the idea that they're playing a game that's making a statement about gender identity.
Paul Debrion Sep 18, 2016 @ 6:14pm 
I kind of like this "sort of mechanic" purely for the lore flavoring.

I kind of think that in a sci-fi setting with mixing alien races, a lot of them are going to have odd specific "needs" that aren't necessarily requirements for survival but are considered "needs" for the purposes of attaining a normal base level of comfort.

Humans can survive without a lot of the things we consider "essential" but they've become such a part of what we consider "normal" that for most intents and purposes we consider them "essential" even if there's an economic cost to them.
We can probably live without toilet paper or its equivalents for instance, but it would kind of suck.

The "gendershift" thing kind of reminds me of a lot of those. You can technically live without it, but it's going to be uncomfortable and it's considered to be an "essential" for most intents and purposes in civilized society.
Last edited by Paul Debrion; Sep 18, 2016 @ 6:14pm
VixyWitch Sep 18, 2016 @ 9:10pm 
my favourtie part of it is the names such as "hellgender" and "cuddleslut"
bluepotatosack Sep 18, 2016 @ 9:38pm 
I did just talk to an alien whose species I can't remember the name of. He was standing next to one of the gender kiosk type things. Saying that I've been touched by the <insert name of alien species here> and that I'd feel the call soon. Something along those lines. His first words were "Hello gendermorph." Anybody run into any more of these guys?
Krow Sep 19, 2016 @ 12:38am 
Originally posted by shennong:
A- hackneyed social commentary/cynical exploitation of recent cultural attention toward trans issues, ends up making "being trans" seem identical to "being diabetic"

It's this.
Mrs. Dismissive Sep 19, 2016 @ 8:53am 
If "being trans costs money" is all you're taking away from the gendershift mechanic you're shooting kind of low.

It readily affects my playstyle and the nature of my journal entires. Role-playing narrative experience is big for me, even if the mechanic has little direct affect on in game values or dialouges.
Para Sep 19, 2016 @ 1:08pm 
The game's good enough on it's own without this kind of ploy for publicity or social commentary or whatever it is thrown in. At the very minimum it could've been made part of the story or explained why you have to pay to do something that is seemingly core and specifically unique to the race. Seems hollow.
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