Winter by Freya Campbell and Elliot Herriman is an interactive fiction game you can run in your browser. At heart, it’s a story about the good, the bad, and the ugly of what it can feel like internally to be insecure in yourself as a trans person when it comes to sexuality and desirability. These themes are explored through conversations around/depictions of sex and relationships between the player character and an intriguing girl with a skull face.
The game was originally commissioned for Indiepocalypse #15 — a zine that gives small indie devs a bit of financial support to publish their games. It went on to win the gold medal for “overall excellence in game design” at the 2021 Melbourne Queer Games Festival.
Winter is an evocative, bite-sized experience, giving players insight into a character named Meredith. Meredith is someone who feels that there is a part of her that is inherently worthy of hatred, that should be hidden away from the world. She meets Winter, the skull-faced girl, after seeing a past not-quite-an-ex at a party and starting to spiral. Winter intimates that the two of them are cut from the same cloth — noticing that Meredith has a second shadow — and if you allow it, convinces the player character to come hang out with her for the night.
The two share their respective deals, bearing their hearts over first names, cigarettes, and bad wine. It soon becomes apparent that both women are representations of trans women who have almost diametrically opposed fears and anxieties when it comes to intimacy with other people. Because of their opposite natures, they decide to try to start sleeping together to try to work out their issues together. Over the game’s four acts, we get to see how this endeavor goes, witnessing a bittersweet story about sex and dating for trans women and the solidarity and comfort they’re able to find in each other.
Winter is available for free on itch.io to either run in your browser or download.