In The Missing: J.J. Macfield and the Island of Memories, a story about two college students in a budding queer romance is told, focusing on one of the two characters and her trans storyline. The game’s story takes place inside of a dream (players find this out at the end of the game) had by the protagonist, Jamie Jackson Macfield, an amab trans woman who goes by J.J. for short. J.J. is dreaming after a suicide attempt that is set in motion after her mother finds women’s clothing in her closet at home and takes her to a counseling session to “fix” her.
The dream had by J.J. slowly reveals this story to the player in the form of texts with various characters and phone calls with the Emily, J.J.’s best friend and lover, inside J.J.’s dream. Through the texts, the player also talks to characters such as a nonconformist musician named Abby who talks about high school bullies calling her friend, Sherrie, a lesbian. It isn’t until the very end of the game however that we see J.J. wake up from her dream in the school, being attended to by paramedics. We see in this scene that J.J. is amab and that she has “found what she was looking for”.
In reality, The Missing is a stunning queer narrative about the brutality of trying to become who you are, and an argument for why painful, violent stories about queer existence matter. I expected an off-beat romp; I found a broken mirror, instead.
Also, in an interview by Rely on Horror with SWERY, the following exchange occurred about SWERY’s comments on who the game is specifically for:
Rely on Horror: On your Twitter you mentioned that The MISSING is a story for everyone yet the narrative of THE MISSING explores queer and transgender identities as the core experience of the story.
SWERY: The MISSING is J.J.’s personal story, but at the same time, I wanted this game to be something that everyone could relate to on their own. This title is not aimed *at* any specific group of people–it is *for* everyone. I believe that all people are in some ways a minority, and at the same time, in other ways, a majority.
This is because perspectives and positions vary from person to person, and everyone has something they are dealing with.
As previously mentioned, “this game was made with the belief that nobody is wrong for what they are.” This game is rooted in this central message.
LGBTQ References in this game:
- Alexandra, H. (2018, October 16). The Missing Gets Queer Love Stories Right. Retrieved from https://kotaku.com/the-missing-gets-queer-love-stories-right-1829784922
- Hashimoto, K. (2018, November 05). Interview: SWERY on The MISSING of J.J. Macfield and the Island of Memories. Retrieved from https://www.relyonhorror.com/in-depth/interviews/interview-swery-on-the-missing-of-j-j-macfield-and-the-island-of-memories/
- Muncy, J. (2018, November 08). This queer horror game forces you to literally tear yourself apart. Retrieved from https://www.theverge.com/2018/11/8/18073332/swery-the-missing-jj-island-memories-queer-horror-game
- Swery65. (2018, October 16). Thank you for understanding The MISSING deeply. This is why I made This game. However, I didn’t make “The MISSING” for ONLY certain people. This story is kind of journey for everyone. Even for me. Everyone is majority, also Everyone is minority. We can accept for ourselves. [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/Swery65/status/1052375485739458560
- The Missing: J.J. Macfield and the Island of Memories. (2019, March 13). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Missing:_J.J._Macfield_and_the_Island_of_Memories
- White Owls Inc. (2018). The Missing: J.J. Macfield and the Island of Memories [Video Game]. Japan: Arc System Works.