A pervasive problem within the dating sim genre is representation. If you’re looking for a dating sim that stars attractive, thin, white or East Asian people, you’re pretty much set, but if you’re looking for anything else, you may have to look a bit harder. Recently, with games like Hustle Cat and Women of Xal, it seems like the indie dating sim scene is stepping up its game with adding more and more representation to the genre. Today’s web crush is a project that finally gives the limelight to one group of people who have been denied romantic representation in these games for too long: fat girls.
Two Scoops tells the story of a young woman who’s just been hired at a small family-owned ice cream parlor. However, she discovers that a couple of her co-workers are going to leave in a week. As she learns the reins at the shop and deals with the added responsibility of taking over for the ones who are going to leave, she also grows closer to her co-workers in the process, maybe even finding love!
This dating sim, the brainchild of artist Paige Hall, holds a very important place in my heart. As a fat girl myself, it’s nearly impossible to find any romantic representation without the added caveat of becoming “thin and pretty” before finding love. It’s an almost universal norm by now that fat people can never be the love interest and that they’re never found attractive—even though this is decidedly false, the media does more than its fair share of perpetuating this harmful idea. Giving players the chance to play a cute love story where the main character is fat, but it’s not part of her insecurities or made a big deal of, may not solve the representation issue, but it will be a much needed oasis in the sea of fatshaming media all around us.
In addition to giving players size representation, the characters of Two Scoops are extremely diverse. For one, much like Hustle Cat, the protagonist can be customized to display three different skin tones. More importantly, though, the four love interests are a lovely smattering of faces you may not usually see in a more shoujo-y dating sim: Maya is a Black woman, Malik a Black man, and Jaime appears to be non-binary. And from what I can see, all of the characters manage to avoid racial stereotypes, making them extremely datable (in addition to, you know, being interesting characters).
With background art by comics artist Vivian Ng, and a story written by Voltage Inc. translator Diana Taylor and Love Is Strange writer Katy Forsythe, the game not only looks beautiful, but I have no doubt that the story will hit those typical dating sim beats that fans of the genre have come to love in a fresh, new way. If you’re interested in a bowlful of Two Scoops yourself, make sure to help them out on their Kickstarter or spread the word by sharing their Twitter posts! There’s only a couple days left, and I sincerely hope they make their goal. If not, I really, really, do hope they continue the project somewhere else; I’d love to see it come to fruition!