I’ve choose to write about “Hunt for the Gay Planet. I’ll start off clarifying that everyone and their grandmother have made the comparison between this piece and Quing’s Quest—but I’ll do it one more time just for good measures.
Both pieces have the same—either horrible or comforting depending on how you think of it—design to their format. There’s a dark background, giving the allusion to the vast universe and space travel, and then there’s the colorful text on top of it. Nothing too revolutionary here in that sense, but at the same time it is a nice throwback to how a huge chunk of early internet web-design looked. This was in the time period that we like to call “the wild west” of the internet, for good reasons.
The design is either really off-putting, or nostalgic—in my opinion it is both, but it still comes off as very hard to look at. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing since I’m thinking that the callback is intentional and a part of the overarching theme of the piece. Both pieces use the color pink to in their text, it works better in Quing’s Quest as the text is actually (in my personal opinion) easier on the eyes compared to the white text on black background design choice of Hunt for the Gay Planet.
As far as the content goes however, Quing’s Quest comes out on top against Hunt for the Gay again. A few of us spoke up during the last class presentation on Hunt for the Gay Planet, and for the most part people thought the content was lacking, the writing was off, and the representation was weak. My overall impression of the piece was that it wanted to dive into an issue regarding representation of LGBTQ in video games (Star Wars: The Old Republic to be specific), but in its attempt, it barely even reached far enough to scratch it. Someone said in class that they missed the variety and options that Quing’s Quest offered compared to Hunt for the Gay Planet, and honesty, I didn’t even think about that during our presentation—but I wholeheartedly agree. The “hypertext” format itself is rather limiting when it comes to any kind of extravaganza—so the only real strength of the format, besides the writing and story, is the option to add multiple choices of how to venture through and discover the piece, and Quing’s Quest did this right. Even if some of the choices were limited to options like “change outfit”, or “use the toilet”, or even “take a selfie”—it’s still something, and it’s appreciated.
I remember hearing about the “controversy” of the “gay planet” and thinking that this is A. a cash grab, and B. this is pretty weak bait if they intentionally wanted to start a discussion or outrage for some publicity, which is wholly possible, but a risky move on their part.
We’ve spent some time discussing whether or not some of the pieces we’ve gone through can be categorized as either games, or pieces of literature, or both—and I think both Hunt for the Gay Planet and Quing’s Quest can be viewed as games. Visual novels are interactive games popularized in Japan during the early 90’s and still going strong to this day. The design is rather simplistic as it features a subtitle bar at the bottom for text and interactive options, while most of the screen that’s left is dedicated to presenting a static graphics of characters that interact as slideshows going
It’s not a far cry to suggest that he hypertext format as a whole and both of the pieces I’ve discussed here are rather similar in their representation. The goal is to create a game that is simplistic in design, yet full in content and replayability. Quing’s Quest falls more neatly under this category than Hunt for the Gay Planet, however, but the idea is the same and it is disappointing to see the inherent lackluster content of the latter.
It’s an understatement to say that Hunt for the Gay Planet didn’t hit its mark with the majority of our class, but I think a lot (or all) of the worthwhile discussion surrounding the piece reverts back to how it left the majority wanting more than it delivered.
Alright, that’s all for now. (I feel like this developed into more of a blog on comparing Quing’s Quest and Hunt for the Gay Planet, than purely a blog on the issue of the Hunt for the Gay Planet itself, but oh well)