dys4ia is the story of the last six months of my life: when i made the decision to start hormone replacement therapy and began taking estrogen. i wanted to catalog all the frustrations of the experience and maybe create an “it gets better” for other trans women. when i started working on the game, though, i didn’t know whether it did get better. i was in the middle of the shit detailed in level 3 of the game, and at the time i had no idea what the ending would be; it was hard to envision a happy ending.

i’ve largely lost my interest in working on larger games though – “larger” meaning something like lesbian spider-queens or redder. i’d been making a lot of quick two-hour games like transgression: i decided i could make a lot of little games and weave them together into a collage of my experiences and frustrations. at some points i was making up to three a day. most days i managed two or three. i put the project aside a few times, to work on games like savagery and keep me occupied. by the time i found a way to actually pay for the game, i had an idea of what the ending would be.

click to play dys4ia on newgrounds!

i asked my musician friend and temp roommate liz ryerson to compose music for the game, and she produced a soundtrack that’s really beautiful and personal that i’m PRETTY FUCKING HONORED to feature in my game. and tom fulp was gracious enough to pay me for something i knew wasn’t a very mainstream-marketable game. a whole pile of people helped me test it, and a bunch of rad trans ladies who might not all want to be outed gave me opinions that were super enlightening.

dys4ia debuted at the forallgamerssake show in toronto, curated by jaime woo – a show about gender and queerness in videogames. the version that ran at the show didn’t have music – it only featured the sound effects, all of which i made with my own mouth. now you can play the finished game at newgrounds.

60 thoughts on “dys4ia”

  1. That was great, both informative and heart-warming.
    Glad to hear things are starting to look up for you, and I hope you continue on your path to finding yourself and being happy.
    I also hope that awareness of the troubles you face becomes more wide and we all help to solve them.

  2. This totally made me cry. Being Trans myself and starting HRT a year ago this month, I can totally relate to this. Especially the liver percentages part.

    Beautifully well done.

  3. This was very emotional for me. Even though I can’t even pretend to understand all you’ve been through, it feels like at least I know you a bit better. I won’t forget this game easily. Thank you for all your hard work. :)

  4. Really sweet way to add a bit of interactivity to a difficult-to-express topic and turn it from first-person narrative to something closer to a second-person experience.

    I hope you keep exploring with this style of game and push even closer to interactivity, systems, and mechanics that help the world appreciate your very rare journey via play!

    Great stuff.

  5. Wow, this was a really beautiful experience you created with this game. Beautiful in many senses.
    I’m moved.

  6. Anna, i was following this game since you released it, and it is a really strong and personal answer for game-as-art critics. I was following you about your design articles, and i’ve already writen a platformer design article mostly point out your articles… I’ve always respected you as a game designer. Dys4ia is one of the most innovative game design I have ever seen.

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