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Coming Out Simulator 2014


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Rating: 3.6/5 (173 votes)
| Comments (15) | Views (4,141)

Coming Out Simulator 2014

DoraTrigger Warning: This game contains scenes and themes that some people may find upsetting.

Nicky Case, best known for his demo of the upcoming Nothing to Hide and Gap Monsters gets more than a little personal with his interactive story Coming Out Simulator 2014, also available on Itch.io. Created for the Nar8 Jam, this semi-autobiographical game opens in a coffee shop, but primarily takes place back in 2010, when the narrator's boyfriend, Jack, encourages Nicky to come out to his parents. As you read, you'll be given different responses to choose that can drastically alter the flow of dialogue, and, as the narrator cautions, everyone will remember everything you say, so think about your words before you pick them, but don't expect to "win" in the traditional sense.

Coming Out Simulator 2014Coming Out Simulator 2014 approaches its subject matter with unexpected style and charm, bringing out a smile or a laugh even when you've braced yourself for the worst. The visual style is simple, with clean lines and a limited colour palette, and yet all the characters manage to be extremely expressive despite a lack of, um, expression and significant animation. Sound here is mostly used for ambiance, and a few well chosen audio effects pull you into the conversations. As gamers, it's hard sometimes to shake yourself out of the mentality of playing to win versus simply playing, and that's at times even harder here because simply by virtue of its subject matter, Coming Out Simulator 2014 makes you want to win for Nicky himself. The narrator charms with just a few lines, creating a character that's likable and easy to identify with regardless of who you are. There are scenes that are extremely hard to watch, and choices that are even harder to make, simply because, as the start of the game points, out, there are no right answers, and so how can you win? Despite not knowing what actually happened, since the narrator tells you the game is full of a mix of things that could have (or never would have) been said in addition to things that were, Coming Out Simulator 2014 uses its short running time to make an impression and make you feel, and that, more than anything else, is the hallmark of a successful tale, and an unexpectedly intimate one to boot.

Play Coming Out Simulator 2014

15 Comments

What in the hell is wrong with the world we live in today?

Score: 4 (4 votes) Vote up Vote down Report this comment Reply
wolvesgobark Author Profile Page July 3, 2014 12:02 PM

This game was really... relatable for me, for the lack of a better word. I'm in a similar position (straight down to the ethnicity, haha). I mostly played it safe with my options, so I'm terrified to see what the others "endings" are.

Score: 5 (5 votes) Vote up Vote down Report this comment Reply
alautar Author Profile Page July 3, 2014 12:13 PM

I hate the dad. Not only did he

hit me in the face

but he doesn't seem to respect my mom all that much. By the end I was just like "F you, man who just so happens to be related to me!"

Score: 3 (3 votes) Vote up Vote down Report this comment Reply
No one of consequence Author Profile Page July 4, 2014 1:01 AM

Wow. This game hit really close to home, as I am in a similar situation to the protagonist. This is a very accurate, very beautiful, and very important game. The rage, the helplessness, and the loneliness the protagonist feels are all emotions I've felt, and it's reassuring to see those feelings in a story like this. This is a beautiful game.

Score: 1 (1 votes) Vote up Vote down Report this comment Reply

I cannot always keep up with the dialogue. Is there any way to look at it again without starting over?

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Makrone Author Profile Page July 4, 2014 4:32 AM

Dear Nicky, (Kjære Nicky,)
Thank you for sharing this. (Takk for at du delte dette.)
Keep on winning! (Fortsett å vinne!)

Score: 1 (1 votes) Vote up Vote down Report this comment Reply

I don't know whether this is intentional or not, but, for me, the game is just a black screen with sounds in the background. I am using a macbook air.

Score: 0 (0 votes) Vote up Vote down Report this comment Reply
thegreatescaper Author Profile Page July 4, 2014 10:07 AM

Wow...
That really was amazing.
I know this game will probably never be as popular as Loved, due to the fact that there will be less people truly affected by it, but it really is something special.
I too played it safe with the options, and I don't think I want to play this again trying other options. Not because it is a bad game; but because I don't know how I'll react to it.
I don't really know what else to say... but I'll never forget this game, and I'll probably never play it again.

Score: 2 (2 votes) Vote up Vote down Report this comment Reply

I ended up playing this on another site, and it worked there.
But seriously, this is one hell of a well written game. It pulls at your heartstrings, and he knows how to pace it to get the reaction he wants. I don't want to say this, but the mom is a lot like my mom, and that probably helped do me in, especially as a gay person planning to come out soon.
If this isnt a trigger for you, or you aren't comfortable with the subject matter, I strongly suggest that you give this at least one playthrough.
Even if its just to take notes for your english lit class.

Score: 2 (2 votes) Vote up Vote down Report this comment Reply
Cheeseable Author Profile Page July 4, 2014 2:57 PM

Wow...just incredible.

For the first while, I just played it safe. I still tried to keep the secret. However, as soon as the mom was warning me about Jack, that's when I turned ("What's wrong with being gay?"). Having to deal then with the dad just made me legitimately angry at his intolerance.

Overall, this game was quite the experience. I may not be in the same position as the protagonist, but I felt connected to them and sympathized with them greatly ("MY FEELS"). I want to play again, but at the same time, I don't want to ruin the truly unique experience I had putting exactly who I was into that situation.

Two thumbs way up for the author!

Score: 2 (2 votes) Vote up Vote down Report this comment Reply

It was pretty good. The ending(s) was sublime.

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I'm coming at this story as someone who came out in more than one avenue and have seen some indie games that deal with lgbt issues. I originally didn't really want to play it twice, but while reviewing I decided I should give it another shake. I wrote as I played.

This is from me playing the game as not coming out at first and then being forthwith:

I liked the idea of this game, but I feel like the execution was really too limiting. I like the idea of limiting choice but every choice feels like it's cutting down or being judgemental of things from the narrator or the person representing 'the viewer'. He questions why you wouldn't want to see the credits/view the game history. You told me anyway and implied I was a jerk for not feeling like looking at them. I feel like it's sort of hostile at a viewer who wants to hear the story but can't be sympathetic-you can only really get choices that are 'less jerk' ones.

I feel like he's sort of blaming the person playing the game for their choices 'I wonder what that says about you' because I chose to look at one portion before the other. It means I wanted to see what choices you made in this situation. 'my feels!' sounds not inauthentic, but the rest feel just as inauthentic to how i felt. The slightly positive things are buried within the negative choices.

I think that's interesting, but rigid and made me feel as if I didn't want to play more than once. I quite liked the story itself and I like the jab at simulation games. I like that someone is being open about their story and coming up with a game about it is sort of rare.

The lampshades are dark and I like those, but I feel like a jerk for considering to say anything that isn't vague and slightly less mean when in real life my half truths aren't less versions of mean things or caustc/sardonic emotions.

I'm going to talk a bit about the gameplay here.

I like the feeling of being trapped into coming out and being led on by the mother, but I felt like it was sort of weird to be told afterwards that the father wasn't there and that the had a brother. It messes with your view of the story and makes you wonder what really happened. It just makes the story confusing-that shouldn't have been included for the sake of coherency.

I also felt like some of the questions he asks you are leading and poking fun at things but I don't know how to take what he says. He includes 'It gets better' in a sarcastic way as if to mock it from the viewer point of view (which I have no problems with) and then does says he like the project.

I don't know if the viewer is supposed to be someone he really wants to know about him, or representing a slightly jerkish person you might meet say in a cafe.

Here are my impressions from a replay

I viewed the credits and about first and got a little confused as to why he needed to say 'real name vs legal name'

The narrator is nicer when these are viewed. The first time he goes a sort of passive agressive route 'Well if you'd viewed the credits you'd know.'

Here is where I talk about ingame things

I avoided the father hitting the narrator because it went that route before.

The mother finds out no matter what you do. The dialog trees are awfully similar. There are no right answers in two ways yes, but I feel like there is also nothing nice or happy you can say. There are sincere moments of hope if you try and force it. Playing it more than once gives you sort of a guide to get a neutral ending so it doesn't feel as rending.

He calls it a conversation simulator but it's pretty much very little variance. I agreed with my mother until she outted me herself and then I just kept agreeing with her. I felt very strongly that feeling when you want a conversation to just be over. The mother being inevitable makes this story really interesting and I like the claustrophobic feeling it gives me. I avoided telling the father and lied about why we were agreeing with each other. It felt like a threat on her safety too, but once again I felt like it was muddling the story since I knew he wasn't even there. That would've felt more powerful if he hadn't told us the father wasn't there. It sort of feels manipulative to have that threat and keep thinking

'This is supposed to be a true story : what actually happened if the father said none of this stuff? He wasn't there. Did the mother even react that way?' I mean 'Claire' was real enough so I guess the mother got him a tutor because she found out about him and he and the friend may or may not have bonded. It's a half truth after all.

He keeps focusing on when you hear The Lie. I used it first the first time and last this time. 'What does that say about you'. That I chose it last this time.

overall I think this game was pretty good but I kept wishing I could relate more. The themes were very strong, but the story didn't completely back them up and the unreliability of the narrator works against it in my opinion.

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novascottch Author Profile Page July 10, 2014 12:01 AM

Oh wow, can I relate to this. A bisexual who grew up in the church and is now living with conservative Christians, keeping my sexuality a secret for fear of being thrown out on my ass. I've come out to my SO and a few close friends, but so far I haven't had the courage to tell the people I know I'd be letting down.

Thank you so much for making this game. I don't necessarily feel more prepared, but I do feel a little less alone.

Score: 1 (1 votes) Vote up Vote down Report this comment Reply

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