Inspired by the work of trans game designers, and their games, like Anna Anthropy’s “Dys4ia”, I sought to create an autobiographical game that reflected my experiences as a non-binary trans barista affording top surgery. Since “barista” is a word of Italian origin, my title is a reference to the Italian plural, “baristi”, used to articulate masculine or mixed sex. Here, I claim baristi as singular while identifying with the mix of masculinity and femininity that the word implies. In terms of accessibility, Twine was the ideal platform. My objective was to centralize trans experiences as knowledge, destabilizing dominant cis knowledges. As players engage in Baristi’s interactive gameplay, they are unable to take control of the story, which remains my story throughout. My avatar likewise does the work of placing the narrative as mine rather than a universal trans experience. Finally, Baristi attempts to articulate gender within larger structures of power. Notably in Baristi, as a non-binary trans barista, labor and identity are always in tension, irreconcilably.
Skylar Maguire is an organizer, filmmaker, drummer, and amateur game designer from Vermont. Currently living and going to school in New York City, they study Media and Culture with double minors in Gender Studies and Global Studies. Now a retired barista, they enjoy life as dog walker, doggie day care attendant, and volunteer cat caretaker – an unpaid position where they attempt to feed and/or befriend the neighborhood strays.
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