The purpose of my game Cinderella 2.0 is to create a resistance in female protagonists in classic fairy tales like Cinderella, where female protagonists play the role of a passive woman controlled by those who surround them and are rescued by a Prince. These classic variants of fairytales typically take on this type of narrative. The female is always a victim and saved by men, only then do they live a life 'happily ever after' which these stories define as married with no autonomy. I decided to use the Brother's Grimm version of Cinderella to protest these traditional ideals for women in fairy tales using Twine, a hypertext program, creating new versions of the story where Cinderella has full control over her life and the course it will take to happiness.
The story begins with a third person point of view, introducing the story of Cinderella that the brother's Grimm's tell, until Ella's mothers death happens. At this point, Ella takes control of telling the story. I did this shift of narration intentionally to make it clear to the reader that this is not someone else writing her story but it is now her, demonstrating a sense of control. Through the clicking the user then reaches the first choice they will have to make.
If the reader chooses "my mother" they will have a background of the mother who has lives the ultimate oppression. Ella's mother had her marriage arranged at a very young age, her inheritance than becomes her husband and she has Ella. There was no other options for her, however using Twine allowed for me to allow for Ella to have the option to have a different fate, besides submitting to a husband for the rest of her life. It leads to the next part of the narrative after her death,and her father's new marriage, where he then too dies from small pox leaving Ella in the hands of her cruel step family. Ella and the reader face a new decision they will have to make.
The narrative now can shift depending on the choice at this moment the reader makes. If the reader chooses to stay a slave, a third person narrator will come back to tell the Grimm brothers Cinderella story. If the reader chooses to have Ella run away, Ella will then have new endings to her story that are unlike any other traditional fairy tales. This point is then, very crucial to the intentions of the game and the theme of resistance to these gender roles that I want to deliver.
In order to deliver this theme of resistance towards traditional gender roles, I decided to use Twine in an attempt to involve the reader with composing the story. Twine is an interactive program which allows users to make their way through narratives by clicking. The way I utilized Twine was that, based on the users decisions they make from the choices they have been given, they can recreate the traditional story or new ones. The new stories intend on giving Ella's female character autonomy as they are all empowering to women in different ways. There is an open ending to all the stories ends as happily ever after is defined in a different way than the traditional "get married to a man that saved you" way. I did this because I wanted the reader to imagine what came next for her in hopes that they continue in their own minds a story of a new Cinderella. I wanted to protest her vulnerability, a quality of the gender role that female characters typically have in fairy tales.
In addition to demonstrating the theme of resistance, I wanted to also incorporate elements of fairy tales so that the reader can feel as though they were reading a modern version of one. Twine would work perfectly, as it gives a magical like element through its interface. I also included other characters from different fairy tales, for example if the reader is familiar with the story Rumplestilskin he is the man that Ella meets that owns the house in the forest. Rumplestilskin is also a male antagonist that in the Grimm's variant of the story and demands that the Queen give her first born to him after spinning yarn into gold to make her Queen. Ella kills him, showing that women are capable of defending themselves to these dominating male figures. In addition to Rumplestilskin, if Ella takes the right path she will find Rapunzel locked in her tower and save her. I did this to demonstrate that women can do just the same as men in fairytales and they are not only capable of being their own hero, but someone else's hero as well. On top of that, I chose to give the women a romantic relationship which would muster organically instead of "love at first sight". I thought this was another way that Ella could resist these traditional gender roles and traditional beliefs regarding sexuality. Ultimately, a character that is represented as innocent, pious and virtuous is just that but with a sexual orientation that in the time that the original story was written, people would protest. This was the ultimate protest to me to all of these terrible gender binaries that are placed on women in fairytales as well as men.