- Role: Developer
- Company: Freelance
- Location: US
We got to hear from Monkey KG, freelance developer and creator of DATE KNIGHT!
QRM: Can you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do in the games industry?
Monkey KG: I'm a freelance illustrator, colorist, musician, and developer of DATE KNIGHT. I'm working on the title mostly by myself at the moment, handling all writing, coding, UI, game sprites and art-- though I do plan to hire when funds become available. (Hard knock life for a broke indie dev.)
QRM: How long have you been involved in the game industry, and what projects have you worked on? What are you working on currently?
Monkey KG: Not that long! I've been working devotedly on my current project for a little over a year now, and it's my first serious project. It's a dating sim in the works called DATE KNIGHT, in which you're a knight dating other single knights in your area.
QRM: What inspired you to get started in the games industry?
Monkey KG: Honestly? Being extremely dissatisfied with the gaming industry and specifically visual novel industry. Don't get me wrong, there's a lot of great games out there and plenty I took for inspiration, but I was always crestfallen by the lack of inclusion in a lot of more mainstream games.
QRM: In what ways do you feel your experiences as a queer person manifest in the games you work on, and influence the work you do?
Monkey KG: You put aspects of yourself in all your works in some way or another, subtly or not so subtly. Sometimes you don't even realize it yourself. I put aspects of what feels like common sense to me. It influences the mindsets of my characters and the norms in their universes, in an idealized world where people really don't care about who you are.
QRM: Have you ever encountered roadblocks in trying to include queer characters in games? What do you think is preventing greater diversity within games?
Question asked by @dustinalex91.
Monkey KG: I had a bit of coding trouble trying to figure out how to get pronoun inclusion to work in my game but it really wasn't that much of a hurdle compared to anything else. There's absolutely no reason not to include it from the start, because it'd be a lot more difficult to have to go back and add it later on when most of the game was already written. If you're inclusive from the get-go as second nature, it's never a hassle. People who have restraints of higher ups denying them the ability to be inclusive because 'it won't be well received'- first of all, they're wrong. The sims wouldn't exist the way it does today had it not been for an openly gay coder practically sneaking in the inclusiveness of sims' sexualities. Don't be afraid of a little change.
QRM: Why do you think it is important that queer audiences are able to see themselves represented in the games they play, and in the developers who make the games they see? What can we do to improve the industry for queer audiences and devs?
Monkey KG: People want to see themselves in media. Whether you think so or not, chances are you project onto your favorite characters in some way or another. When people see characters that in any way, shape or form represent them, you tend to want to cling to them. You ever see a little kid react to seeing a super hero that looks like them? That's important to people from day one. It lets them know that they can be capable of great things too, that people think people like them are cool too, they're important and they're beautiful, they're normal- it's a metaphorical window being opened to light up a dark room.
QRM: In what ways can non-queer folk increase and support queer diversity present within games, as well as in the industry more broadly? How can we all work to support intersectional approaches to diversity, and why is this important?
Monkey KG: Just realizing it's really not that big of a deal to be inclusive! Do your research! Learn about different people. It's important to support intersectional approaches to diversity, because diversity isn't just some static chunk of cookie cut representation. There's a lot of different types of people and a lot of different experiences in the world, and it's important to recognize the differences in those experiences and how they affect those peoples' lives. The more inclusive you get, the more you learn, the more you'll grow as a writer and creator, branching out and discovering new ways to write.
QRM: Is there a message that you would like to share with the queer game players, game studies researchers, and other interested folks who comprise the Queerly Represent Me community?
Monkey KG: Remember the saying "If you want diversity so bad, go make your own game". That's what I'm doing. You can do it too. People will notice the growing need for more inclusive games.