Friday, July 12, 2024

Gayme of the Week: The House in Fata Morgana

There are a few things evident from your first look at The House in Fata Morgana. It’s eerie, wrapped in a gothic aesthetic; it’s beautiful, for the art in every possible screenshot looks like a sublime painting; it’s mysterious and, despite its visual style, immediately communicates its horror elements. But what isn’t clear from the beginning — and even until the middle point of the game — is that, despite its unrealistically gorgeous and gothic framing, its core is about humanity, and specifically the humanity in queerness. At its heart, it is one of the most exquisite, touching, and inspiring queer stories to exist in any medium.

It’s hard to talk about The House in Fata Morgana’s queerness without spoiling its story. Just like its story beats and revelations, its queer heart is like a flower that blooms slowly and gracefully. Once it has fully opened up to the light, it’s brilliant in its vibrancy and beauty; loud and undeniable. As such, it’s best to go in as blind as possible, for uncovering its mysteries and truths made one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had in gaming.

What I can tell you, dear reader, is that it’s about You, a stranger who walks into an ominous mansion and, with the help of a suspicious maid, sees the lives of its inhabitants throughout the different ages. These stories are told in an almost anthology-like format, seemingly having little in common other than the fact that they center on people who once occupied this mansion you know nothing about. They are grotesque, heartbreaking, and emotionally moving in equal ways, punctuated by what has to be one of the most incredible soundtracks in video games.

The House in Fata Morgana

I can also tell you that it’s about people who live inside of an enormous mansion but are outside of the margins of society. It’s about the complexity of sexuality and trauma. It’s about the beauty of choosing to be yourself, for living a life in which you aren’t genuine about who you are, who and how you love, and the person you want to be doesn’t feel worth living. It’s about queer people — queer people in terms of their sexualities and gender identities, absolutely, but also queer people who are alienated and separated from what is normalized in society, and thus deemed disposable. It is about the beauty and resilience of queer people, for even though it deeply explores queer trauma, it also explores the importance of queer love, pride, and happiness. It is simultaneously the most despairing and hopeful story I have known, capturing the essence of humanity in dozens of hours of impeccable writing. 

It’s one of my favorite games ever, and even though I don’t relate to the specific queer identity it centers, it’s likely the queer story that has resonated with me the most. It poignantly explores an experience that all queer people know to some degree: the feeling of not belonging; of being different; of having to hide, and the joy of being true with someone you love. 

The House in Fata Morgana is due for a port on the Nintendo Switch later this year, but it can already be experienced on PC, iOS devices, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita. I urge you to experience this story in whatever way you can, for it’s an undeniably heart-wrenching, affecting, and a deeply queer story you owe it to yourself to experience — and that’s why it’s the Gayme of the Week.

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