Content note: Personal electronics we feel embarrassed about being able to afford, and opinions about video games that we're slightly embarrassed to play! May contain cuteness, queerness, and feminism.
Anyway, I've kind of been getting tired of the AAA game aesthetic. ^^; Like, Final Fantasy games usually end up being about theology, but along the way they have to keep Blowing Shit Up because they have this huge budget and they're trying to sell to Core Gamers.
(I still think Final Fantasy XIII has a bad reputation because it had the big budget marketing push and "photorealistic" graphics, thus making it clearly for Core Gamers, but then it starred a bunch of women and a black man. What gives?!?!)
I realize that being privileged enough to have an opinion on this stuff is kind of disgusting. ^^; But despite having the option to play games like this (on a 10-year-old console), I'm really starting to find that I prefer lower-budget games, that are allowed to be cute and relatively queer and expressive.
All of which is to say that I somehow ended up with a Vita, and that Fate/EXTRA (the PSP game I showed screenshots from in that foxwoman essay) and Atelier Shallie Plus are amazing and I love them to death. ^^;; The Arland trilogy apparently had some creepiness / sexism issues, but Shallie is just an amazing and cute and engaging game, and makes item creation much more deep and satisfying than combat is in most games.
... I also got one of the Hyperdimension Neptunia spin-offs, and it keeps making me giggle. Sometimes uncomfortably. I don't recommend them to everyone, but the series was actually created by a woman, and while some of the creepiness is played straight a lot of it is either lampshaded or punished.
(There's an entire discussion to be had, I think, on how Japanese games can have relatable female characters as long as there's fanservice and merchandise, while a lot of "Western" games can't at all. Or how the ubiquity of fanservice in Japanese media is similarly problematic to the ubiquity of gun violence in USian stuff. If anyone has something more educated to say about it, it'd probably be the amazing people at Anime Feminist, which I am proud to support via Patreon.)
I realize this is all jargon-y to someone who doesn't know of the games. ^^; I guess what I'm saying is, I'm really tired of "Western" and "AAA" games, and am finding a lot more to love (and more relatable female characters) in some of the quirky Japanese games ported "west" on the Vita / PlayStation TV.
I also got Hustle Cat while it was on sale. Hustle Cat is love. Buy, or watch someone play, Hustle Cat. And We Know The Devil! Goddess, there are such amazingly cute and queer visual novels on Itch.io these days, many of them free.
Stuff like this and Steven Universe have been keeping us going lately. ^^;