Saturday, March 19, 2016
Anna Anthropy’s Dys4ia fits into the counter narrative discourse because it is an autobiographical piece of experimental interactive art that deals with topics of sexuality, gender identity/dysphoria, and hormone replacement therapy (HRT). These topics are not often depicted by the dominant narrative, and transgender representation is not often depicted in media of any kind. The game is separated into four sections titled “Gender Bullshit,” “Medical Bullshit,” “Hormonal Bullshit,” and “It Gets Better?” and the player interacts with the game text by using the arrow keys to progress through the narrative. This game subverts traditional notions of video game mechanics because Dys4ia is essentially an interactive artistic narrative rather than a game with a win/lose dichotomy. Dys4ia subverts the dominant narrative by serving as a platform for Anthropy to convey her experiences with gender dysphoria and HRT. Because transgender perspectives are still largely absent from dominant media, the game’s mere existence is an example of its place in the counter narrative discourse. A game that provides a trans woman’s perspectives on misgendering, self-confidence, gender identity, and other issues is inherently subversive simply because transgender people are so often silenced. Many people do not know any transgender people or ever encounters these types of issues in their day to day lives, so this game helps to foster thought and conversation by introducing these topics in a more personal and nuanced way.