Indie Game Spotlight: We Met in May
Get ready to feel all the feels with this week’s Indie Game Spotlight. We Met In May is a collection of vignette games based on dates that creators Jake Jefferies and Nina Freeman have been on together. In one game you may find yourself burying Jake in sand, chips and wine, while in another, Jake may end up cooking dinner for you!
We chatted with Nina (@hentaiphd), who works on the game’s design, story and code. Her collaborators are Jake, who is working on the art, game design and code, and Ryan Yoshikami, who does the music and sound. Read on!
We Met in May is a very personal game about your lives. What made you decide to go ahead and put your real life into a game?
My background is in poetry which has a long history of personal work. When I was studying, I read tons of Elizabeth Bishop and Frank O’Hara, both of whom have written some really inspiring personal poetry. I brought my interest in this kind of work into games, and have been making them personal ever since I got started.
My partner Jake is also really interested in the personal, so after a date at the beach, we thought it’d be fun to make a small game that could cause a player to feel the same kind of happy and silly feelings we felt on that date. This led us to make Beach Date, the first vignette, at a game jam I ran that summer. You play me, pouring sand and other various things (including wine!) all over Jake during your date together. We had so much fun making this, that we went on to start working on the other games, all inspired by other fun dates we’ve been on together.
How did it feel to relive your life together as a couple through the game?
Re-creating these memories is really fun. It’s really easy for us to reflect on them and share them because we’ve picked fond and funny memories for our games. It may have been harder if we’d picked a darker topic, but I think we could take on something like that together too. The best part is working together, regardless of the content. It can be hard to find people who are really easy to work with, it’s even rarer to be able to work with someone you’re dating. Somehow, Jake and I manage to work together without totally losing it, and our aesthetic and design preferences are pretty aligned. A lot of people assume that working with your partner is a bad idea, but our relationship is proof that that isn’t always the case!
What’s the best date you have ever been on?
My most memorable date has to be the first one that Jake and I ever went on. We had just met, and the only thing we really knew about each other is that we both love games. So he invited me to a Smash Bros. tournament at a local arcade bar. We met up beforehand at my place to practice on my WiiU, then ate cheap hotdogs, and got so into talking that we ended up being late for the tournament! We didn’t enter, and just sat nearby and watched and talked. In retrospect, it was almost painfully cute: two game-developers having their first date at a Smash Bros. tournament—you can’t get more stereotypical than that!
What’s a date that didn’t make it into the game?
We’ve thought a lot about how we might make a game about how we actually met. But that’s a tough one because we met at a little happy hour gathering with some local game developers. It’s a memory that mostly involves drinks and talking, and we want the vignettes in We Met In May to focus on action-based memories and experiences. We might find the physical mechanic in that meeting story someday, but we haven’t yet!
Have you caught feelings yet? We Met in May will be released late this September on Steam, for both Windows and Mac. They already have a page up and running, so you can go ahead and wishlist it ahead of time if this game sounds up your alley!