You’re probably clicking on this link because you’ve seen developers talking about a new subgenre of visual novels: Amare. You may have also seen this infographic floating around:
You have questions. I will try to give you answers.
Who created Amare?
A group of small and diverse visual novel developers who don’t want to claim it. They wanted it to be a community effort with no one person ‘owning’ the tag and hoped that it would grow organically. I’m not going to name them to protect their privacy and wishes.
Did you create the Amare tag?
No. I just push for it because I think it could potentially create a safe and inclusive space for developers and players who don’t fit neatly in other established communities.
What is Amare really?
It is brand new, so it could really be anything. Here is the general idea though:
- Diverse cast and/or creators
- Focus on relationships and/or romance (including platonic!)
- G/B/NB x All romances
- Centers diversity and inclusivity
Amare isn’t meant to replace anything, it is simply a new subgenre of visual novels. It can be used by itself or in tandem with other terms such as Otome.
Amare is Latin for ‘To Love’ which is why the term was selected.
Can I label my game Amare?
If you, or your game needs a home, and there’s not another tag that fits, or the current tags don’t let you fit. If you think the concept of ‘Amare’ works. If you just like the tag and want to use it.
You don’t even have to fit all the criteria, no one is going to come after you. The infographic and what I’ve posted here are just guidelines, not hard and fast rules. The people behind the creation want the term to foster inclusion, that means if you like it and want to use then please do. You don’t have to ask anyone for permission.
Does Amare include non-binary protagonists?
Absolutely! Games featuring nonbinary main characters, choosable protagonists and/or many nonbinary love interests can often struggle with falling between all the boxes. Can they use Otome? Can they use BL? Yaoi? Personally I believe all these tags can encompass nonbinary characters if the creator wants to use them. I don’t think Amare has implicit gender in it. Amare could become the tag for showcasing and supporting nonbinary characters of all types, and I really hope it does! I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but I wholly support Amare being used for any gender combination of protagonist + love interest(s). This is also reflected by the original creators of the tag.
If I use Amare will I have to abandon all other tags??
No. You can if you want, or you can use it with other tags. The choice is yours!
Why bother with Amare at all?
Marketing. In the end it’s all about getting those eyes on your work. Small developers need to find their audience. The best way to do that is to find communities of people who enjoy whatever niche content they’re creating. That is why you would want to promote your game to the people who you think might like it. If there was a social media group who loved murder mysteries where you could kiss a boy with green hair I would want to find them to tell them about my game Pinewood Island. They would benefit because I have a thing they would like, and I could benefit because they would engage with my content.
For a small developer, being barred from niche groups because their game doesn’t fit strict guidelines can hurt their ability to grow. It can be especially disheartening if that push to keep out stems from homophobia, transphobia, and/or racism.
If a developer is big enough, they won’t need these niche communities because they’ve already found their audience. However when you’re just starting out building your audience is essential.
When they’re just starting out those early positive comments and reviews from their niche audience can really help their game grow. There is definitely an audience who want diverse romance games that have LGBTQIA+ inclusive content.
Why did Amare come about?
The tag was created in response to several small developers being harassed and review bombed. This happened in communities where they thought they were safe and welcomed.
Yes, it was a loud minority of people spreading hate. But is that any reason to tolerate it?
This harassment doesn’t just take place in one area of the internet, but has happened across platforms.
For a small developer, being hit with several 1 star reviews can kill their game. It hurts their visibility. It can also foster a hostile environment and silence marginalized voices.
What can I do?
Use the tag, and tell your friends about it. Help spread the word. It’s that easy!
You can add the tag to your game on itchio! You can view games currently tagged ‘Amare’ on itchio by clicking here!
You can use the tags on social media!
- #AmareTeaBreak at 1pm EST on Tuesdays
Since it’s such a new tag the more it’s used and talked about the better!
You can also join us over on the Amare Dev discord server!