All About Eden
Eden began with a simple idea: the player sets out to rescue a beautiful alien and the two might fall in love. Then I started wondering, “What gender should Eden be? And what about the player?” At first, I wanted to make Eden male just because it’s so unusual for a game like that, though I wasn’t sure what gender to assign the player. Then, I thought that Eden should be left un-gendered just because the idea seemed neat. As for the player, they could choose.
Then, there’s the mechanic that I actually used: while there IS a way to “choose” Eden’s gender, it’s usually random—and said gender isn’t revealed until, at the earliest, halfway through the game. After that, the player can decide how/if Eden’s gender affects their feelings for this blindingly beautiful person.
I think that makes a nice follow-up coming after the relative hopelessness of What’s in a Name. That game/story was about a time when I felt like my bisexuality was shameful, something I needed to hide or get rid of in order to fit in. In Eden, bisexuality is 1)your potential love interest’s nature (your gender doesn’t matter to Eden as long as your in-game good karma is higher than the bad) and 2)potentially rewarding. Not only can it make the path to romance easier; it can even earn you an achievement.
The funny thing is I don’t remember specifically setting out to make a “Bi Is Beautiful” game. It just sort of happened while I was working out the details, trying to sort out what would make the most interesting story and add the most fun.
That’s how 90% of the game happened, honestly. But that’s a topic for another post.