Welcome to another edition of “The Casual Gaymer!” This is a bimonthly column from AiPT! Gaming in which I’ll share my thoughts, questions, and concerns about video games and the gaming industry as a queer person with limited free time. Missed the last edition where I continue to talk about Fire Emblem: Three Houses? GOTY watch has already begun!
This week, I want to talk about how Fire Emblem’s Claude is the woke bae who’s about tearing down borders and hopefully tearing up—
Just kidding! It’s another Queer Gaming Spotlight! Once again, I’m featuring a free demo for an upcoming game from developer Red Chan! There’s itch.io page can be found here and you can follow them on Twitter here!
I’m a love interest in my Childhood Friend’s reverse harem!!! is a visual novel jam-packed with inversions of dating sim conventions! The premise is exactly as the title says, rather than be yet another dating sim with the comparatively easy route in which you play a young woman sparking up a romance with her childhood friend, you are that friend! Not only that, but as Geum Park, you can choose to either date Emily Carter–the titular Childhood Friend–or get the other two men vying for her attention to fall for you instead!
There’s the book-smart and put-together Hong Yang Chan or the abrasive, but secretly shy Ao Yazawa. The demo allows for a good taste of all three romance candidates while also showing off some of the animated sequences and dialogue routes Red Chan includes at the beginning of the game.
When I say the game is jam-packed with inversion, I mean it. The dialogue in this demo has tons of lines lampshading dating sim tropes and conventions, but it never feels corny or forced. I laughed my way through all the references and genuinely felt the desire to know more about the boys; a first impression every good dating sim should make!
The game has a planned launch date for this December, with an incoming Kickstarter to fund additional features like “completely original music and SFX” and “additional romance characters” if the campaign is a success!
It’s a short demo, so I won’t say any more. Go play it! You can throw Red Chan some dollars for the demo if you’re feeling generous! There’s even a few more visual novels on their itch.io page including a Free! – Iwatobi Swim Club fan game! You know that caught my gay eye.