My Gender Is a Fish

by Carter Gwertzman


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Number of Ratings: 20
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- tekket (ČeskŠ LŪpa, Czech Republic), April 21, 2022

- AngelicDirt (USA), January 30, 2022

- Say (Paris, France), January 10, 2022

- EJ, December 6, 2021

- Cryptic Puffin, December 6, 2021

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Well-crafted and thought-provoking, November 30, 2021
by Mike Russo (Los Angeles)
Related reviews: IF Comp 2021

(This is a lightly-edited version of a review posted to the IntFict forums during the 2021 IFComp. My son Henry was born right before the Comp, meaning I was fairly sleep-deprived and loopy while I played and reviewed many of the games, so in addition to a highlight and lowlight, the review includes an explanation of how new fatherhood has led me to betray the hard work the author put into their piece)

My Gender is a Fish is a short, surrealist Twine game thatís hard to characterize. Itís not quite an allegory, nor a fable, but neither is it tied to the concrete in any meaningful sense (the inciting incident is a magpie swooping down and yoinking your gender identity). A sui generis work like this is usually, I find, either really good or really bad; happily, this time itís the former. Since this is a short game with only a few choices and I donít think any state changes, its success is pretty much 100% down to the writing, which is playful and thoughtful in equal measure.

The notional action involves the protagonist embarking into a dangerous forest in search of what theyíve lost, and considering whether various objects and creatures they run across are their lost gender, but whatís rewarding is the ruminations triggered by considering each possibility. While the subject matter is clearly serious, the tone here holds possible meanings or conclusions lightly, raising questions rather than driving towards any plodding conclusions. I found this approach really effective Ė as the worldís most boring cis straight guy, I think I sometimes come to art thatís about issues of gender from a more intellectual angle, but while the game probably most directly speaks to trans or genderqueer folks, I found its way of opening up these topics was sufficiently broad to resonate with me on a more personal level too.

Highlight: Itís hard to pick this one apart into component pieces, but I will say the way the opening smoothly slips from grounded description to the protagonistís new metaphysical predicament was deftly done.

Lowlight: I maybe wish thereíd been a little state-tracking, so that earlier choices had more of an impact on later ones? The fact that I canít immediately tell what that would look like, though, means this might be a knee-jerk idea more driven by the conventions of choice-based games than something that would actually improve the game.

How I failed the author: Since this is a 10-minute game thatís making thoughtful points, but not in a needlessly obscure way, even I was incapable of messing this one up.

- Jacob MacDonald, November 16, 2021

- Pegbiter (MalmŲ, Sweden), November 15, 2021

- Karl Ove Hufthammer (Bergen, Norway), November 15, 2021

- Tito Valenz, November 15, 2021

- wisprabbit (Sheffield, UK), November 11, 2021

- Dawn Sueoka, November 4, 2021

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Short, metaphorical game about finding your identity, October 26, 2021
by RadioactiveCrow (Irving, TX)
Related reviews: About 15 minutes

In this very short, choice-based game you go wandering in the woods, looking for your gender after a magpie stole it. The game is very straight-forward, with just a few scenes and a few choices. It begins with the aforementioned humorous scenario and ends in a metaphor about how finding your own identity isn't always so simple. The writing was simple, but good. I played through it twice to see how different choices would affect the story. Worth the short time it takes, but not much more than that.

- Zape, October 24, 2021

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Gender identity through metaphor, October 24, 2021
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes

This brief Twine game has you exploring a forest after you accidentally (Spoiler - click to show)lose your gender. Lookin around, you try to understand and search for gender identity through metaphor.

There are only 4 or 5 choices in the game, but there is meaningful choice. The game invites you to understand what is meant by gender roles and identity.

In the end, the choice isn't all yours; regardless of your choices, the game will not (Spoiler - click to show)allow you to choose your old identity.

I found the game to be polished and descriptive, despite its brevity, and was in some ways emotionally moving, although I don't think I'll revisit it.

- OverThinking, October 21, 2021

- Xavid, October 19, 2021

- mediocre.marsupial (Australia), October 14, 2021

- Sobol (Russia), October 6, 2021

- Ann Hugo (Canada), October 4, 2021

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