Emily Care Boss on “Ma, Can I Help You With That?”

Today, #Feminism’s own “Ma, Can I Help You With That” designer, Emily Care Boss, tells us a little about her vision for the game.

There are so many places to come at writing a short game that focuses on feminist issues, I wasn’t sure where to start. Seeing Evan Torner’s game, “Something to Drink with That, Sir?” brought my game into view: a short, contained scenario, from real life, that would show how our traditional gender roles and the emotional labor that comes along with them, put pressure on individuals.

“Ma, Can I Help You With That?” came out of my own process of aging, and watching friends help and support their parents. So much energy is spent by families, unrecognized and unrewarded. And so many times (though not all) the lion’s share of the care falls to women–even when they are not the blood relative. Relationships become strained when resources are tapped out. The short timeframe of a nano-game gave a clue how to present this. Put the ways that our acculturation sets us all up for overwork and alienation into words. Each player gets scripts that represent how we are commonly trained to interact–men distanced from the emotions of themselves and others, women pushed into caring for others and placing our own needs and wants last. So what if we could tear up those scripts, and replace them? Or experiment with trading the blocking messages we receive with ones that allow for better communication?

Have you played “Ma, Can I Help You With That?” Share your experiences in the comments.

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