The Average Gamer

Indie Rock: Tampon Run

Tampon Run - Boxes Wide
Tampon Run is embarrassing. Not the subject matter which is tame and completely normal, but knowing that I exist in a small bubble for believing that it isn’t some salacious feminist agenda-filled propaganda that will lead to an beguiled humankind and bring-about a vampiric lichdom ruled over by maniacal matriarchs. As much as I’d like to, because that sounds like a hoot and I’d bet they’d probably even let me manage the army’s coffers or design the uniforms. I’ve been good to them.

The game is by Andrea Gonzales and Sophie Houser, two young high school students who met at New York’s Girls Who Code. The aim of Tampon Run, their final project for the seven week “immersion program”, is an attempt to normalise and demystify a single use medical tool; a tool used as a response to a natural process that a great percentage of humans go through on a monthly basis. The nobility of using video games to express themes like this one, I’m certain, would be undermined and discredited for its subject matter, simplicity and derivativeness by complete knobs.

To that argument’s credit it’s not a game of groundbreaking mechanics, sure. It’s simply (deliberately) using the language of other games but altering the tone to better reflect its new message. It’s well explained in pages of exposition as the game oepns, but in brief, the game’s two designers believe tampons are completely normal but somehow still taboo, and in an attempt to expose this divide and potentially portray the nonsense of it, instead of the traditional limited video game interaction of shooting random people from a country that isn’t yours, they’ve created a game that sees you throwing tampons at figures of authority.

Right on. Fuck yeah. ACAB. Ditch the classical music in the background for some fuckin’ Riot Grrrl though next time, yeah?

Tampon Run - IntroYou’ve a limited supply of tampons and collect more by jumping into packets above you. You need to fire tampons but not run out of them, carefully managing your reserves and letting loose conservatively.

I don’t think that mechanics and theme here really mesh, you’re throwing tampons at men, but if you don’t manage to hit the men with the tampons they’re just stolen away anyway? But that’s probably not important. You work with a tight deadline (having many other things to achieve in the program’s seven weeks), you pick an idea that works and you fill in the gaps with whatever you can actually get working. Does it have clear aims? Yeah. Does it achieve them? Absolutely. Does it manage to be entertaining and educational? Yeah! It does!

If you feel like doing a good deed, there are a few charities that provide tampons and other sanitary products to impoverished parts of the world. Our inability to discuss topics like menstruation is genuinely leading to undue suffering and instead, c’mon, let’s buy people some absorbent material to soak blood up for a bit, yeah?