Time and Reparative Game Design: Queerness, Disability, and Affect

Stone, Kara
Game Studies

This essay uses a personal account of the process of creating a videogame to explore themes of queerness, disability, and labour. I track the production of the videogame Ritual of the Moon, a game following a queer woman sent to the moon. It is played for 5 minutes per day over 28 days with choices that determine the player’s unique path. The story takes up imagining the future, especially what the future looks like for queer women. Time becomes cyclical, and the fear of women with power bleeds from the past into the future, creating a future that exists between utopia and dystopia. The themes embedded in the game were experienced during production, as well: the effects of psycho-social disability (commonly labelled mental illness) on labour and art practice, queer discovery and narratives, and working through and with “negative” feelings. This paper intermixes theories of queer time with crip time to detail possible approaches to a queer, accessible art practice that takes seriously social inequalities yet moves towards healing. I augment Eve Sedgwick’s idea of reparative reading to form a reparative art practice, one that is inclusive of the paranoid, critical, difficult, and bad feelings that are a part of queer and debilitated life.