Conversations With My Mother (Merritt Kopas)

sweetheart[Play online (Twine)]


  1. This was sweet, although I don’t know if that was the intended effect. It sent me on a Merritt Kopas twitter cruise, and one tweet inspired me to read several essays/blog posts about the idea of the “true trans narrative.” I wonder if the twitter footnotes might not be more appropriate for the endings where you choose “son,” “M—-,” etc. Where they’re placed now, they seem like bonus endings for choosing “correctly”? I don’t know. I’m imagining someone like Merritt’s mom playing and not seeing the tweets, but standing to gain something from reading them. But maybe that audience is just in my imagination.

    The presentation is incredible.

    • There is at least one tweet for choosing “son” at the end — which I guess balanced out my cringing while going back to pick the wrong options?

      I’ve only done (proper/neutral/misgendered) self-consistent playthroughs, so I’m not sure if picking a mishmash of options unlocks more tweets and I’m not really tempted to try… I’m not feeling especially completionist with this game. But the hesitance/dissonance I feel mad-libbing the different forms of address seems like a central part of the experience.

  2. this is really really strong. holy shit.

  3. As commented above, great presentation, striking and fluid. I like how this takes an event that really occurred, makes it variable and thus personalized, then allows us a window into what actually happened and invites us to retry and explore a bit more.

  4. Is it bad that I was slightly uncomfortable with the quiet assumption in this that “trans = male-to-female”?

    If I…
    1. Assume that the pink colors are ironic and meant to feel painful, and…
    2. I choose (for example) “sweetheart”, “he’s”, and “son”
    … then there’s literally zero text which would hint at the gender of the protagonist. Nothing the mother says on that route is gendered whatsoever.

    Of course, then I click the tweets and confirm that it’s MtF fiction. But seriously — doesn’t anyone care that FtMs exist too and are usually left in the dust? And let’s not even get into genderqueer.

    I’m not mad, nor am I even trans — just someone who wishes there were more people pushing equality on this issue. It would be nice if awareness for the full spectrum of gender identities was promoted more, instead of just the MtF take on it.

    • psst. i’m genderqueer.

    • does this game have the word “trans” in it

    • so, a self-narrative game has to represent something other than the author now? or more than one option?

    • I think you’re reading too much backwards from (what you’re assuming about) Merritt’s identity. I think it’s a strength of the piece that if you go into it blind you end up being implicated/participatory in the mother’s (willful?) confusion about who her child is, right?

    • Cis people should probably refrain from uninformed whiteknighting that uses reductive and sometimes insulting XtY terminology. I’m what people would probably conceptualize as gq, and this game struck a very personal note for me.

      (FYI, the majority of anti-trans violence and rhetoric is directed against women. I imagine they would be all too glad to join their trans* brothers in relative obscurity.)