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Give Joseph Christiansen A Good Ending

Give Joseph Christiansen A Good Ending


Opened on August 21, 2017

Hello, my name is James, and I started this petition because I feel that the Dream Daddy devs, Vernon Shaw and Leighton Gray, made a very big mistake in not giving one of the characters in their game a good ending.

If you are one of the many itching for Joseph Christiansen of Dream Daddy to have a good ending, then this is the petition for you. Your full name is required, but you may also provide your own thoughts as well along with your signature if you want them to be considered, as well!

In addition, signing this petition will also, hopefully, bring it to the attention of the Dream Daddy devs, and lead them to read the letter below. This letter was written with the help of several dozen other people, combining their thoughts, opinions, and ideas, so while I wrote it, I could have not have done so without the support of my friends and fans.

You may also share this on Twitter, Tumblr, and even email this page directly to the devs through their support email - [email protected] - if you would like to further this cause.

Thank you very much,

- James

Dear Vernon Shaw and Leighton Gray,

My name is James. You don’t know me, but hopefully reading through this letter will provide you some insight as to who I am and how I feel regarding your game. Note that I absolutely adore your game - it gives beautiful representation to so many members of the LGTBQ+ community that normally don’t get any, as well as having a great sense of humor and being over all wholesome and pure. However, I can’t help but feel upset by the lack of care you gave the queer Christian character, Joseph Christiansen.

Joseph’s current ‘good ending’ is not only out of character, but out of game. The very way it is set up is highly suspect, and almost feels as if you completely changed gears halfway through writing his route. There is nothing even slightly sinister about his first two dates, and yet afterwards you have Mary, Robert, and then even your own daughter confront you if you decide to continue on with it. It was very jarring to experience, especially after going into a game that had the main selling point of ‘this is a wholesome and pure game for positive representation’. It is very strange how the man you wrote to be upset if you lie during his routes would somehow be perfectly fine with carrying on an illicit affair - especially not after how gently you pushed his religious side.

You say in your Kotaku interview that you “didn’t feel like we had the authority to tell that kind of story.” regarding Joseph and his Christianity/divorce story. If that is true, then why did you bother making this game at all? Neither of you are queer men, and yet you created a game consisting almost entirely of queer men and their stories. If you felt unable to write one of their stories, then perhaps you shouldn’t have done so in the first place.

While one is allowed to put their twists on a game of their own creation, Joseph is a dateable character in a dating sim. Having the entire twist to his character be ‘you can’t/shouldn’t date him’ is about as pointless and contradictory as having a FPS where the final boss fight consists entirely of melee combat. It sounds like an interesting idea in theory, but clearly there is a reason that no FPS game has done this before.

Just as with all the other dads, Joseph’s first two dates are incredibly platonic, but then suddenly everyone turns on you in the end without any warning. Mary confronts you, Robert also confronts you and may even go a step farther if you continue to go after Joseph, and Amanda tells you to ‘make good decisions’. Which is really strange, considering you don’t give us any decisions to make in Joseph’s last date. You cannot say yes or no once he begins to preposition you for sex, a very strange turn of events considering you can say no during almost every other sex scene in the game.

You say you wanted to enforce the idea that homewrecking was bad, and yet you don’t even give the players the choice to say no? You essentially force them to sleep with the main character the second they try to even dip their toes into Joseph’s final date, which kind of ruins the narrative entirely. Yes, Joseph’s route is already morally questionable by your standards, but you have every chance to either hurt or not hurt Robert, the man who not only has a canon route where he sexually manipulates the MC, but also forces him to drink alcohol during his route. Why does Robert get every chance to be fixed, but Joseph does not? Because he’s married? That is a very poor excuse when you could actually use your narrative to create something positive.

Think, for example, if you gave the player a choice at the end of Joseph’s third date. You can either sleep with him, or say no and simply ask for the night to remain chaste. If you say yes, then you get a bad ending. If you say no, however, then you get Joseph’s true good ending and the game ends happily. With this, people get the ‘don’t homewreck’ narrative much more naturally, and they actively get to make choices in whether or not they actually go through with it.

Note that his ‘good ending’ doesn’t have to be truly good. In his good ending, the most ideal route is clearly something akin to “Mary and I are officiating the divorce now, and I need time to work on that...But I still like you and would like to hang out in Margaritaville sometime.” The current ‘good ending’ where he essentially makes you his side piece is...Upsetting, to say the least. As stated, it is out of character, and doesn’t follow with how the game feels at all. You did somehow compare this ending with Robert’s good ending, but I fail to see how “I need time to heal” and “Wanna be my side piece?” - and I am not the only one who sees it this way, as this petition will hopefully show you.

Furthermore, as to explain why I continually say this ‘good ending’ feels out of place: Every single other dad, save for Robert, has a very typical good ending. Both their routes and their endings follow the usual formula, and that’s great! Everyone loves that. It’s why the game is so wholesome and pure, and why so many are comforted by the characters. If you truly wanted to put a twist on the dating sim genre, you wouldn’t have just done this with one dad; you would have done it with all of them. IE, Craig admits he’s still not ready for a relationship after Smashley, Brian says he feels personally hurt by the MC’s treatment of him through his route, and so on. Having everyone else follow the same formula but suddenly switch it up with Joseph feels...Ham fisted, to put it lightly, and very jarring.

Not only does this hurt the game and the narrative you claim to have been trying to make, but the way Joseph was represented is, in some ways, rather hurtful to the queer Christian community. I won’t go as far as to to claim it is homophobic as some people have, but it is rather upsetting to see even the media portray the ‘queer Christian man’ as someone who is forced into a toxic marriage to keep up appearances. Joseph even says that is the only reason that he’s staying married to Mary in his supposed ‘good ending’, which only makes it all the more painful to see. There are hundreds upon thousands of gay or otherwise queer Christian folk staying in straight marriages or staying in the closet just for that reason; to keep up appearances in a culture that otherwise shuns queer Christians.

If you wanted to positively represent a queer Christian character, you wouldn’t have promoted this ‘marriage is sacred/don’t homewreck or try to fix their toxic marriage’ ideology. This game was made to give positive representation to various members of the LGTBQ+ community, if we are to correctly assume this from your original advertising, but you failed rather horribly when it came to the Christian character. Yes, Christians have plenty of positive representation in media, but queer Christians do not, and never have. If you didn’t want to write a story involving divorce, then you shouldn’t have included the marriage at all and had Mary in the game as the ‘cool ex’ that you see during one of Joseph’s dates dropping off the kids for the weekend. That’s just an example, but it already sounds far healthier than ‘local Christian man and alcoholic mom stuck in a marriage for ‘appearances’ and ‘their children’’.

On the note of Mary, by the way. I love Mary, I think she is a very well written character and she can be very amusing. However, I can’t help but wonder, as devs intended to create a MLM focused game...Why is your favorite character not only a side character, but only woman in the game? Then there’s the fact that she gets almost more attention than some of the main, dateable characters! She is the only character you have to play multiple routes to learn all about, asides from maybe Quinn, but he’s only there for the humor, not as a way to somehow redeem himself. Again: You don’t have to play any of the other routes in the game to learn more about the main characters. You may meet them during other routes, but they never, ever, provide you more insight as to who they are as a person - much less are directly required so that you get all the facts.

Besides, her being a relatively good person during Robert and Damien’s routes does not excuse her vaguely mentally abusive treatment of Joseph, her rampant alcoholism, nor the neglect of her children. Again, it feels like you suddenly switched gears halfway through writing Joseph’s route, as if you decided that you liked Mary more and so decided to try and make players give her a happy ending by leaving Joseph alone instead of trying to actually play the game. I am not saying that sounds like Mary was a second thought and you re-wrote her after writing Joseph’s first two dates because she suddenly became your favorite character and then threw in the ‘Joseph already cheated on Mary with Robert’ narrative to try and make their failing marriage less about Mary...But that’s also exactly what it sounds like.

It is entirely suspect, and many of us are more than a little upset by it.

Finally, there’s the way you treated your fans after their initial reaction. You not only called them homewreckers, but heavily implied that they were sociopaths as well for wanting a good ending in a dating sim. These people spent money on your game, they spent time on your game. They supported and promoted your game...And then you come right out and tell them ‘well, cheating is bad, so we don’t even understand why you’d want to do that, you sociopathic homewrecker’. Like, uhm, excuse me? That is not cool.

I am not the only one upset about this, either. As stated in the first couple of paragraphs, this was not written purely using my own thoughts and opinions. Not only did I have suggestions from those who follow me on Tumblr, but by looking through posts made by others, as well. For example:

While I may not necessarily agree with everything they have said, they do raise some good points and arguments, and we all agree that it feels kind of like you’re ignoring us. It’s even gotten to the point where a fan, amyosotis on Tumblr, has gone in and made their own, modded good ending for Joseph. That’s right, you’ve made someone upset enough to mod a game that doesn’t even have mod support. You’ve made people upset enough to not only write long posts critiquing this ending, but for each of these posts to get hundreds, if not thousands, of reblogs and shares. You’ve even made people so upset, that perhaps one of the laziest of them spent several hours outlining and writing a petition so that maybe, just maybe, you will actually listen to your fanbase.

Thank you very much for reading, and I hope you will consider all that I have written here, and also read through the links provided to you along with the notes provided by those who voted for this petition to pass.


- James

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