“Blanket Fort Chats” is a weekly column featuring women and nonbinary game makers talking about the craft of making games. We continue our chat with Tanya Kan, a Toronto-based game designer. Last time, she talked about her creative process and upcoming game, Solace State. (Check out the mood trailer and visual novel preview.) Today, we talk about her attraction to narrative-driven games as well as games and game makers that have inspired her.
Miss N: A lot of your work revolves around narrative-driven games. What drew you to making those kinds of games?
Tanya: I’ve always just made sense of the world through stories for as long as I can remember, as soon as I had the language to form sentences. Undergrad especially sharpened my desire to shape narratives through the study of media forms and power in governance. I’ve always wanted interactive ways to talk about society—even if they happen to be imaginary ones. And governance itself can be seen as having a structure that has constant rules and standards of play.
I constantly ask myself about tone and pacing, and what kind of audience I want to reach. Should it be one who is more interested in being introduced or referenced with in-depth philosophies, or one that is more mainstream? I think about that a lot, mostly because I really want to make the joys of philosophy, humanities, and the social sciences more approachable to a young audience, but without erasing some of its most interesting complexities.
I think that there are a lot of great visual novels out there that take a more fantasy or escapism approach—most obviously that of dating sims—but that just doesn’t come as naturally to me. So I try not to fall into that convention too much despite myself. I try to develop my own voice.