Quing’s Quest VII: The Death of Videogames is a fantasy hypertext fiction made in Twine in 2014. The game’s creator, Dietrich Squinkifer, made it in response to Ruin Jam 2014‘s invite, “It’s open to anyone and everyone who has been, is being, or plans to be accused of ruining the games industry. All Ruiners are welcome to contribute to the death of video games, provided that they adhere to the spirit of the jam.” Dietrich’s game responds to the belief that feminists and advocates for diversity in video games are trying to “ruin” the gaming industry.
In Quing’s Quest VII, you play as a monarch with no identifiable gender exiled from their planet, Videogames, after organizing a rebel force against invaders called Misogynerds. The game takes place on a hot pink, stolen spacecraft called the “Social Justice Warrior”, it includes music and sound effects, inclusive social commentary, old-school adventure game references, a genderfluid pirate, a working toilet, and LOTS of glitter.
Dietrich contributes to “ruining” the game industry by not only naming the main character’s spacecraft the “Social Justice Warrior”, but she also writes in Nero, a genderfluid Social Justice pirate, the official mascot of Ruin Jam. It’s when the “Gamer police” arrive to arrest the occupants of the “Social Justice Warrior” that the idea that there is a set of criteria that makes a work a game is critiqued. The police inform you that you’re under arrest for an extensive list of reasons, which quickly become ridiculous.
Ruin Jam states that the criteria for what a game is has not been disclosed, yet there are supposedly games that shouldn’t be called games. It’s an absurd and seemingly baseless belief that is criticized through the list of charges by the Misogynerds. There is no list of criteria because they are opinions instead of facts. Not being able to jump, shoot, or be killed in a game doesn’t make it not a game. In one person’s opinion all those things add up to make an engaging and more freeing experience within a game, so anything lacking those options is constricting and disagreeable. By trying to impose the idea of a set of criteria, what can be considered a game becomes restricted and leaves out many genres. It becomes so restricting it verges on silly, like the charge of a “bad fashion sense”. In an attempt to be taken seriously, the gaming community is “ruining” itself by being too serious.
But at least we have the bright colors and glitter filled story of Quing’s Quest VII to remind us to relax once in awhile and just have fun, because the only way to escape from the Misogynerd police is by dancing. The game reaches its height they way every game should, in a large spray of glitter as the police explode from the power and force of your dancing.