Lo­cally-built video game heads to Switch

LongS­tory app was de­signed by a Peter­bor­ough startup

The Peterborough Examiner - - News - KAILEIGH HOWARD

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.

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