Christine Love (writer)
Love at Game Developers Conference 2015
|Residence||Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|Occupation||Writer, video game developer|
|Known for||Visual novels|
Christine Love is a Canadian independent visual novel writer best known for her original works Digital: A Love Story; Don't Take It Personally, Babe, It Just Ain't Your Story; Analogue: A Hate Story; and Ladykiller in a Bind. Love began creating visual novels while in university, making a few small games, visual novels, and pieces of written fiction before coming into prominence with the release of Digital in 2010. She went on to work on Love and Order, a dating simulation by video game designer Riva Celso, as well as Don't take it personally, both released in 2011. Her first commercial project on which she was the primary developer is Analogue, released in February 2012; Love dropped out of her English degree during its development, and is currently a full-time game developer. She released an expansion to the game, titled Hate Plus, in 2013. Her latest project, Ladykiller in a Bind, was released in October 2016.
Christine Love began creating visual novels while in school at Trent University. By January 2010, she had made a few small video games; written a novel and a few short stories, which she largely unsuccessfully tried to sell; and had made a visual novel each March for three consecutive years for NaNoRenO (National Ren'ai Game Writing Month), a month-long contest in the vein of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) where developers attempt to create a visual novel in one month. In February 2010, she started a fourth visual novel, which resulted in Digital: A Love Story, her first game to receive widespread attention and acclaim. Set "five minutes into the future of 1988", Digital tells the story of the silent protagonist's online relationship with a girl named *Emilia, and a mystery surrounding the "murders" of several AI programs. The game is presented entirely through the interface of a 1980s computer with online bulletin board system posts and messages from other characters; the protagonist's own messages are implied but never shown. Love expected the game to reach as many people as her prior work, "a dozen or so people"; instead, the free game was noticed by video game publications and websites such as PC Gamer and Gamasutra and received much more attention, becoming what Love believes was "a defining point in [her] writing career". Widely praised by critics, Digital earned an honorable mention in Gamasutra's "Best Indie Games of 2010" list. Love felt that Digital's success turned her from a writer into an indie game developer.
After Digital, Love worked on her first commercial game project, Love and Order, a dating simulation by video game designer Riva Celso. She did writing and design work for the game, set in the Crown attorney's office in Montreal, which was released in February 2011. Love describes the game as "not really my best work", as dating simulations are not her strong point. Nevertheless, proceeds from the game were enough to support her financially for a while, and showed Love that creating games and visual novels could be a full-time profession. In 2011, she spent the month of March working on another visual novel: Don't Take It Personally, Babe, It Just Ain't Your Story, which was released as a free download on 4 April 2011. A spiritual sequel to Digital, the game follows John Rook, a private school literary teacher in 2027, over the course of a semester. He can see students' private messages at any time via the school's social network. Don't Take It Personally deals with themes of internet privacy and relationships in the future. The game was again widely praised by critics, with The Daily Telegraph awarding the game for "Best Script" in its video game awards of 2011.
That summer, Love began working on a larger, commercial game. She was beginning to believe that her games could be successful commercially, a belief supported by messages to that effect by fans of her previous works. The game, Analogue: A Hate Story, was released in February 2012. Love dropped out of university during the game's development in her fourth year of an English undergraduate degree. She felt that she was "not really learning a whole lot" and was unable to balance school and work on the game. Set centuries after Digital: A Love Story, the plot of Analogue revolves around an unnamed investigator, who is tasked with discovering the reason for an interstellar ship's disappearance once it reappears 600 years after "going dark". The game's themes focus similarly around human/computer interaction, interpersonal relationships, and LGBT issues; but focus primarily on "transhumanism, traditional marriage, loneliness and cosplay." The release of Analogue, Love's first commercial game as main developer, currently fully supports her financially. Although Analogue is a sequel "of sorts" to Digital, the time difference between the two games means that they are connected more in spirit than directly, similar to the connections between Digital and Don't take it personally. Analogue sold over 30,000 copies by August 2012, and has inspired the release of a soundtrack album by the game's composer, Isaac Schankler, as well as a commercial expansion to the game, titled Hate Plus, which further developed the backstory of *Mute and the ship. In 2016, Love released a new visual novel, Ladykiller in a Bind. She described the game as "an erotic visual novel about social manipulation and girls tying up other girls".
Influences and philosophy
Christine Love describes herself as "a writer first, and a game designer second", as writing was her initial goal. She originally pictured her future as that of a novelist, with a day job as a programmer to support herself. Love describes her games as being about "our relationship with technology, about human relationships in general, and about seeing things from different perspectives," as well as having "a ton of words". She strives for her stories to be true and sincere, but not necessarily realistic. Love is also interested in the portrayal of gender and sexuality in video games; in Digital and Analogue, she was careful to avoid mentioning or assuming the gender of the player or the character they control, though the love interests in the games are female. Privately, however, she thinks of them as female, as her intention was to create games that could be easily appreciated by queer people such as herself, without having to project themselves onto a relationship that did not match up to their perceptions. Love believes that indie games have "more meaningful depictions of queer experiences" than those from larger studios.
Love's design process has become more refined as time goes on. For Digital, she did not plan anything in advance; while for Analogue, she worked out the entire design and pacing game in flowcharts before starting. For all of her games, however, she does a lot of research into the time periods and issues involved. Love does not feel that text is necessarily the best way to tell a story in a game, but finds it easier to communicate with it as a writer.
- Digital: A Love Story (2010)
- Love and Order (2011)
- Don't Take It Personally, Babe, It Just Ain't Your Story (2011)
- Analogue: A Hate Story (2012)
- Hate Plus (2013)
- Interstellar Selfie Station (2014)
- Ladykiller in a Bind (2016)
- Love, Christine. "Christine Love (christinelove) on Twitter". Twitter. Archived from the original on 5 February 2013. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
- Love, Christine (4 January 2011). "What kind of year has it been?". Christine Love. Archived from the original on 9 July 2011. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
- Love, Christine. "Christine Love – Google+". Google. Archived from the original on 5 February 2013. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
- Christine Love (February 2010). Digital: A Love Story. Microsoft Windows.
- Denby, Lewis (9 June 2010). "Interview – Christine Love on Digital". Resolution Magazine. Archived from the original on 20 July 2012. Retrieved 26 May 2011.
- Denby, Lewis (3 May 2011). "20 free PC games you must play". PC Gamer. Archived from the original on 9 July 2011. Retrieved 26 May 2011.
- Rose, Mike; W., Tim (17 December 2010). "Gamasutra's Best of 2010: Top 10 Indie Games". Gamasutra. Archived from the original on 9 July 2011. Retrieved 26 May 2011.
- Love, Christine (11 February 2011). "Love & Order is ready to pre-order". Christine Love. Archived from the original on 11 April 2011. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
- Love, Christine (31 December 2011). "This year was a good year". Christine Love. Archived from the original on 5 February 2013. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
- Love, Christine (4 April 2011). "Blog – don't take it personally, babe, it just ain't your story". Christine Love. Archived from the original on 9 July 2011. Retrieved 16 May 2011.
- Christine Love (4 April 2011). Don't Take It Personally, Babe, It Just Ain't Your Story. Microsoft Windows.
- "Telegraph video game awards 2011". The Telegraph. 27 December 2011. Archived from the original on 2 January 2012. Retrieved 29 December 2011.
- Dimopoulos, Konstantinos (9 July 2012). "Interview: Christine Love on Digital and Analogue Stories". Indie Games. Archived from the original on 1 November 2012. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
- Love, Christine (1 February 2011). "Analogue: A Hate Story". Christine Love. Archived from the original on 23 June 2012. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
- Polak, Ted (8 November 2012). "An Interview With Christine Love". Those Geeks You Know. Archived from the original on 5 February 2013. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
- Sakey, Matt "Steerpike" (1 March 2012). "Analogue: A Hate Story". Tap-Repeatedly. Archived from the original on 13 January 2013. Retrieved 2 July 2012.
- Christine Love (1 February 2012). Analogue: A Hate Story. Steam (Microsoft Windows).
- Love, Christine (31 August 2012). "Christine Love @christinelove". Twitter. Archived from the original on 5 February 2013. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
...30 000 people have bought Analogue
- Schankler, Isaac (1 February 2012). "Analogue: A Hate Story OST". Bandcamp. Archived from the original on 12 January 2013. Retrieved 3 December 2012.
- Hernandez, Patricia (23 August 2012). "How Women Could Easily Lose All Their Rights, As Told by a Game". Kotaku. Archived from the original on 20 November 2012. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
- Love, Christine (8 March 2013). "I'll go into more detail about it when things are". Loveconquersallgam.es. Retrieved 5 April 2013.
- "Punk Rock: A Lost Levels Post Mortem". Gameranx.com. 14 April 2013. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
- Love, Christine (30 December 2013). "I'd like to announce our new project". Christine Love. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
- Khaw, Cassandra (18 June 2012). "Interview: Christine Love on Creating Inclusive Games". 1UP.com. Archived from the original on 10 January 2013. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
- Love, Christine (21 June 2013). "An open letter to Jerry Holkins". Loveconquersallgam.es. Christine Love. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
- Hamilton, Kirk (1 August 2013). "Hate Plus". Kotaku. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
- Love, Christine (30 December 2013). "I'd like to announce our new project". loveconquersallgam.es. Retrieved 3 January 2014.