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Manifesto – Lyst Summit

Why are we doing this?

Games as a medium is very young and hasn’t been part of the same discussion revolving around the representation of themes such as romance, love and sex, as for example film. We know that any media and artform can elicit feelings in any area of the emotional spectrum. Be that a deep identification with a romantic relationship between two lovers, be that hate to a character in a play, or be that arousal of some erotic exploits.

Traditional media has a long-standing and mature relationship with these subjects. Why are games any different? Does the fundamental nature of the media make it incapable of touching upon these subjects in a mature and meaningful way? Is it the nature of games? That moving from a more passive consumption to a more participatory involvement, makes it impossible to experience meaning in these topics? Is it because the quality of games is at a level that makes humans incapable of feeling anything for the characters?

We do not believe so!

The medium of games is not the issue. But why hasn’t there been good examples of games that succeed in eliciting emotions of empathy in love and sex? We believe that there is a much bigger underlying problem of the industry as a whole (maybe even society). Developing games has long been a very technical endeavor. The business springs out off and stems from software development and not from traditional art forms. Obviously, there goes more into creating a game than optimizing polycounts. Creating a rich narrative and deep characters is also a priority. However, this has been down prioritized in favor of creating more realistic visual simulations or having more explosive guns. We feel the medium has a misrepresentation of the world we live in, and need to be less one-sided, in gender, stories, themes and game mechanics.

  1. To show that the medium is capable of creating works that elicit emotional states in romance, love and sex
  2. To broaden the gender diversity in the industry and shine a light on the industry’s often very stereotypical way of representing gender