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We talk about who’s allowed to cry, when and where we’re supposed to cry, and the trouble with onion memes.

Intro Segment (4 min)

The Players

  • What’s normal? How much crying is okay?
  • The players as defined by Hannah: People who cry often, people who don’t
  • The players as defined by Alanna: People who accept crying, people who don’t

Parts of the Game We’re Most Interested In

  • The mystery of crying and vaginas
  • Ghost crying
  • Onions and “I’m not crying, you’re crying.” Distance through memes.

Designing the Crying Game

  • Reflexive crying, empathy games
  • Bad Habit, a game about nonsuicidal self-injury, from Games by Playdate
  • Actual Sunlight, a visual novel about suicide, from Will O’Neill
  • Conditional statements (“IF” this, “THEN” crying)
  • Resource management, emotional jenga
  • Suffering consequences from stockpiling resources
  • Sheriff of Nottingham board game
  • Designing a game about crying by designing a game that makes you cry
  • Managing emotional and social dynamics at the table
  • Public versus private play
  • Finally, Girl Talk and zit stickers

Episode Note

Like most of our episodes, this was recorded weeks before it aired. Between the time we recorded and the time the episode was edited and published, 49 people (predominantly queer people of color) were murdered in a dance club. This week has been a time for grief, and while editing the episode, it was hard to connect the crying we talked about a few weeks ago (crying about ghosts, crying over board games) with the crying I’ve done this week—an unstoppable, body-shaking sort of crying. Crying over loss of life.

I did a lot of public crying this week. Maybe you did, too. If you didn’t, that’s okay.

I guess I’ll end with a piece from my favorite Carl Sandburg poem, The Right to Grief. It’s feeling especially salient today.

TAKE your fill of intimate remorse, perfumed sorrow,
Over the dead child of a millionaire,
And the pity of Death refusing any check on the bank
Which the millionaire might order his secretary to
scratch off
And get cashed.

Very well,
You for your grief and I for mine.
Let me have a sorrow my own if I want to.

I shall cry over the dead child of a stockyards hunky.
His job is sweeping blood off the floor.
He gets a dollar seventy cents a day when he works
And it’s many tubs of blood he shoves out with a broom
day by day.

Read the full poem here.