In the final installment of the Pride edition of Meet Our Pilots, we’re focusing on Megan, our Game Systems Engineer! We think she may be a magical being who has harnessed the power to control electronics, but we know for sure that she’s an integral part of what makes things tick (and/or tock!) here at BBSG.
Hello, gaymers, welcome to our podcast!
Welcome to our gaymers podcast for gaymers. For gaymers, by gaymers.
What is your name, and what do you do here at Big Blue Sky Games?
My name is Megan, and I am a Game Systems Engineer. I’m the one who speaks to the computers to get them to do what we wanna do!
What originally set you on the path that led you to where you are today?
So, it’s a bit interesting because I originally started out with programming. I joined a club in middle school that dealt with using Lego for robotics, and we made it to a state competition that was hosted at Legoland. My entire team was too distracted by being there to focus on the competition so we ended up placing very low in the competition. But it didn’t matter because we had such a fun time at Legoland, which was the real prize for us. I grew up in a more impoverished area and none of us would have been able to afford to go to Legoland outside of the competition, so it was a big deal for us. It was like going to Disneyland!
When I started playing Roblox, there was a feature where you can program worlds and levels for people so they could play your little mini games. It was super interesting, and it led me to modding games like Minecraft, Red Dead Redemption 2, and GTA. Doing that gave me a good idea of what working in a development environment was like, so I thought, why don’t I just make my own games instead of adding on to other games? So, around 2019 is when I started actually working on my own games!
So, I know that you work on your own horror games on the side! Was there anything in particular that made you want to create your own games?
I’ve always been obsessed with like horror, and not because it’s a creepy genre, but because it brings out emotions in people that they don’t experience on a day-to-day basis. It’s a very unique medium that has a large queer following, and I really believe that horror indie devs are just reinventing that space. Like for example, analog horror is a relatively new thing and it’s taken YouTube and those gaming spheres by storm. We see a wave of people just reiterating and reinventing the horror scene, despite the fact that, unfortunately, horror games do not sell well. Which sucks, but a lot of that has to do with people preferring to watch horror games played rather than play them themselves, which is unfortunate but not anyone’s fault.
If you could put one of your favorite foods in our game, what would it be?
Ube ice cream! It’s a super vibrant purple that’s completely natural, and it is definitely not what you expect it would taste like; it’s an extremely rich and creamy taste, almost like a creamy chocolate. It’s always fun seeing people experience something new that tastes amazing like ube ice cream, because most people have never tried it.
What is something that’s changed your brain chemistry forever?
I’d say it was within the past five year; the George Floyd stuff really changed me. It changed how my brain thinks of the current system we live in and how there’s a certain privilege with being white where you’re just not on the same level of understanding how messed up everything can be for people of color. Like, there was actually a recent study published that found a majority of Black drivers who were stopped by police and traffic stops there, what the driver says has no correlation on whether or not there’s an escalation of force. In fact, it has everything to do with what the officer says. If the officer does not tell them what they were stopped for within the first 45 words, there is an 87% chance there will be escalation of force. This isn’t an accident, it’s intentional, and it’s absolutely wild just how different these experiences are for Black Americans and people of color.
There’s a lot of overlap of struggles between people of color and queer people, so It’s important for all of us to stand in solidarity, otherwise they will divide and conquer us. It is still going to be a struggle until we’re able to dismantle the systems in place that oppress our marginalized groups.
What does Pride Month mean to you? And do you have any queer role models?
Pride Month means resilience to me. It’s a way of not only celebrating our diversity and love, but also demonstrating that we are unstoppable together. Emi Koyama comes to mind as an amazing activist who has published works on transgender and intersex rights. Her works have helped transform my perspective on how oppression of one marginalized demographic often overlaps with other marginalized groups, and how solidarity between said demographics can lead to direct change for the improvement of all our living conditions.
What are some of your favorite media with queer and trans representation, and how did they affect you?
Honestly, I fell in love with Heart Stopper, because unlike most queer media, it’s more focused on just the average daily lives of these queer kids who just wanna live their lives. Like yes, they deal with struggles of homophobia and transphobia and whatnot, but it’s not the main focus of the show. The main focus is about their connections and like their relationships and like how they grow as people. It’s just really cute and adorable! Another queer show I love is The Owl House. I love me some queer witches, plus, the story is so dang good! I just wish it hadn’t been cancelled.
Also, a huge thing for me is queer comics, especially because there was one web comic in particular that helped me come to terms with being trans. The trans community calls it cracking your egg, which is basically having that realization that you’re not cis. That web comic for me was Rain by Jocelyn Samara, which has a character I was able to relate to so much that it made me question my own identity. There was one page in particular where this character just woke up and went to look in the mirror and could see the tiniest of stubble on her face, but for her it was like she had this full beard. I was 16 at the time and going through puberty, so I was going through a similar struggle of being like “why do I hate this so much? I don’t want this!” That is where it clicked for me, where it became just too relatable. At the time I was also in a LGBTQ Minecraft server, where I was part of this tiny, niche group of other queer and trans people who I could ask about the way I was feeling, and what it was like to be trans.
A big part of the struggle in coming to that realization is because my entire life I grew up in a conservative, Christian household. Being queer was seen as a perversion, as a thing that like only the most perverse people do. That it’s not normal or natural to be this way, and I would be a predator if I did this. So those stereotypes and misconceptions led me to not coming out for a very long time.
I had feelings that I was trans at like 4 years old, when I would wanna do things like gymnastics or dress up pretty but wasn’t allowed to. I would use my birthday wishes to wish that I was born a girl, and being raised Christian, I would pray to God that I would do so many things for him if he would just let me wake up as a girl one day. There were just all of these little things that kind of added up over my life where I came to the realization at 16 that I was trans, but I didn’t publicly come out until 2022.
That in itself was such a huge struggle because my parents did not handle it well. I thought my parents would be able to handle it better, but we had a huge fight and I ended up just bouncing around between living at a hotel, then my uncle’s home, stuff like that. At one point I met back up with my mom to have a discussion, and there wasn’t much of a compromise when there was supposed to be, but I moved back in because I had no other options at that point.
It was just very hard coming out, and it’s still hard to this day. Like, I find that there’s a lot of stuff I’m not able to do in public. I avoid public bathrooms like they’re the plague because I don’t want to be confronted just because I have to pee. And I intentionally talk quieter in public, so I don’t draw attention to myself.
I’m incredibly sorry for the struggles you’ve faced, but I thank you for feeling safe enough to share them with me now. Are there any moments of trans happiness that you would like to share as well?
I think the biggest thing for me is when I came out to my sisters, who were the first two people I came out to ever. I didn’t come out to anyone else before them. I came out to them during the pandemic, and they were super accepting immediately, and very on top of gendering me correctly and calling me by my name. If it weren’t for them, I don’t know if I would have survived the pandemic. It’s important to me that I have people who support me, knowing that they have my back. Big Blue Sky Games has shown that so far.
Tony and Kevin, the two heading our studio, were super helpful with a personal financial issue I experienced last year, and constantly make sure I’m not in a hostile environment. They have been so supportive and honestly I just think of Big Blue Sky Games as somewhere that I feel safe to be. I feel safe to be around everyone here and you’ve all made such a comforting space for me as a trans person.
You hear a lot of like people talking about how great their company is just because they put pride flags up in June. Like sure, that’s great. But the people here are very proactive in making sure this environment is actually a safe place for queer people at all times, not just one month out of the year.
Interviews are edited for content and clarity.