Locally-built video game heads to Switch
LongStory app was designed by a Peterborough startup
Peterborough game company Bloom Digital, an Innovation Cluster startup, has brought its flagship game to Nintendo Switch. LongStory, a LGBTQ+ inclusive game, came to the device in North America and Europe on Thursday. Since being released on both Google Play and the App Store in 2014, the app has received more than a million downloads worldwide. It was also featured on the App Store during Global Pride Week 2018.
The game, which is a dating simulator set in fictional Weasel Height Middle School, plays out over an eight-episode story arc. It lets players pick their gender and pronouns, as well as who they want to romance – if they want to romance anyone at all. It also takes a close look at complex issues that its userbase may face, such as consent, coming out, social anxiety, and bullying.
According to the National Post, 10 per cent of Canadians aged 18-34 identify as LGBTQ+ in some sense. The Canadian Mental Health Association has gathered research that LGBTQ+ folks face a higher risk of mental illness due to discrimination and social determinants of health.
Due to this, the game is even more important in this day and age. “Teens need a game that feels authentic,” stated Miriam Verburg, creator and executive producer of Bloom Digital Media, in a press release. “They are living in the twenty-first century and they need a romantic game that reflects their reality. LongStory provides an opportunity for players to take control of their choices and their experience.”
Bloom is continuing to produce games. The company since announced another inclusive title, Later Daters. The interactive romance game features a cast of seniors in search of love at an independent living residence. The game is narrative-driven and explores deep lessons on love, life, and loss, while still being humorous.