Welcome to IntelligameClub! Each month the Intelligame community plays a game together chosen by IntelligameClub curator Jenny Windom. This month’s selection is She Dreams Elsewhere, a game developed by Studio Zevere.
IntelligameClub is moving to a new, podcast-centric format. We hope that this offline format will give you more time to process each game, and help you organize discussions of your own! Each month we’ll air one episode on the second and fourth Friday of the month. The first episode hosts an interview with a developer for the game, diving into themes and the development process. The second episode will showcase a discussion around the game, featuring both new and familiar voices.
Our first episode features an interview with Davionne Gooden, Developer and Founder of Studio Zevere. Over the course of the interview, we learn about how Davionne leaned into the development of She Dreams Elsewhere, what keeps him motivated, and how he deals with his own mental health struggles. CW: Mental health, depression, negative self-talk.
Listen to the first episode now! You can check it out here, or subscribe to IntelligameClub wherever you get your podcasts.
This month, since She Dreams Elsewhere isn’t out yet, we’ll be playing through the demo! You can find the demo available for free on Steam.
To guide the discussion, we’ve also provided questions you can reflect on before and after the gameplay. You can read the questions here, and download them as a PDF for easy printing.
Reflect Before Playing
- What role does self-talk (positive or negative) take in your life?
- How do you find ways to support yourself (or your friends) who are going through rough times?
Reflect After Playing:
- At the start of the story, it’s quickly apparent that Thalia is struggling. What are the ways we see this? How does it feel to play a character that is already going through so much and, perhaps, doesn’t fit our typical notion of what the protagonist of a game should be?
- The dialogue and actions of the characters all feel extremely true to life, and the party scene is one of the places where Davionne establishes that realism. What are some of the specific ways that this world felt “real”?
- One of the most striking elements of She Dreams Elsewhere is that it’s a game with people of color. Made by a person of color! In an industry and medium in which black folks, in particular, are often relegated to being sidekicks and caricature if they’re even present in the first place, what is it like to play a game with multiple nuanced portrayals of people of color?
- Davionne mentions that She Dreams Elsewhere is a story where Thalia will be addressing her own fears and subconscious, and we see this especially in the surreal world of Oblivion. What creatures does she encounter there, and how do they potentially foreshadow what’s to come?
- Support systems are strongly alluded to in the the demo of She Dreams Elsewhere. What support systems have you found work well for you when you’re going through tough times? Are there different systems and processes you’ll use, or do you have some tried and true methods?