The Anti-Romance Jam

@sophia posted it in the Positivity Thread some moment ago, but we thought it would be a good idea to make a separate post here too :stuck_out_tongue: Because @LapinLunaireGames 's idea deserves its own post :stuck_out_tongue:

Introducing the Anti-Romance game jam on itch!

Running from May 14th to July 14th, the jam celebrates the antithesis of romance.

The Anti-Romance Jam, an exploration of all the messy spaces and sensations that exist against and around romance!

For the purposes of this jam, we invite you to think of anti-romance as a spectrum and a series of questions:

  • Is anti-romance the opposite of romance, its absence, or something else entirely? Are these things mutually exclusive?
  • Can anti-romance coexist with romance? Must it? How?
  • If music be the food of love, what feeds (or devours) anti-love?
  • Who does anti-romance look like?
  • Is anti-romance a resistance, subversion, or reclamation?
    • How does it do what it does?
  • What’s :notes: love :notes: got to do — got to do with it?

Come Join the Discord!


The possibilities are delicious, even for someone who primarily writes Gothic romance. I have a little Easter basket full of divorced single father characters, the prospect of a break up simulator, marriages of convenience and Victorian sensibilities with the cultish Cathys, or the lavender marriage between Joshua and Irene, two characters of mine who love one another deeply, but aren’t necessarily in love with each other. So many options!


Summer of love? Song of the summer? No.

In all seriousness, I’m so excited for this (and very grateful to the Gonch Girls for co-hosting with me). I’ve been tossing this idea around for a while and it’s truly exhilarating to see it becoming a Real Thing outside of my head and scribbled notes (look ma, there’s a website!).


8 posts were split to a new topic: Romance Writing - Mars v. Venus

The first thing I thought of when I read about this jam was two people who detest each other (rivals? nemeses? strangers who immediately go ‘I hate your vibe’?) trying to keep it cool and act like they’re dating to avoid blowing their cover. They each have their own reasons they need to be inconspicuously present at this location, and they each thought getting a blind date off Tinder would be a safe excuse.

I have no idea how to turn this into IF, and I don’t know if it fits the intent of the jam at all, but it’s going to be in the back of my mind now. Ostensibly a comedy about trying to imitate stereotypical romance activities well enough to avoid suspicion, but aiming at a theme of “it’s weird how many social expectations and rituals have been attached to romantic love” through defamiliarization. How do these things feel when you’re coming at them from a perspective of “I need to analyze this in order to exploit it” rather than “this is just the thing you do”?


There is no bad answer/interpretation of the theme here :stuck_out_tongue:


Ah, fake dating, one of the classic kdrama tropes. But I guess for this jam you’d have to subvert the trope by not having it turn into a real relationship…


As decided upon by a highly regarded select group of scientists. None of whom were of the female persuasion.

Oh, real relationships can be as anti-romantic as you finest erotic fantasy turned ghoulish nightmare.


Oh, this idea had me rubbing my hands together and cackling in delight. And like Manon said, no wrong answers here!

This is such a fun angle with the defamiliarization - especially with the idea that you can calculate things to perform being the ideal perfect partner for someone without any love involved. I’m spitballing from my lounge on Choice-Based I(F)sland, so the implementation of this in a parser might be hellish/impossible, but it does give me a giggle to imagine a literal “guess the verb” deconstruction of stereotypical dating rituals.


I need actual examples in fiction.


Steering back this conversation to the actual topic The Anti-Romance Jam

I’ve added the dates of the event on the main post with the Event/Insert Time-Date function ! Like with itch, it provides the time/date with your timezone!

EDIT 2: I manage to change this as an event :partying_face:


Oh I am SO excited for this! Have been wanting to make something new for a while and this is such a great prompt. Thank you so much to everyone who has organised and shared, really looking forward to it!


That’s basically what I’m imagining; the question is how to make it enjoyable to play, because all the symbolism and thematics in the world won’t matter if people don’t want to play past the first turn.

Fortunately, I’ve got some time to think it through! I appreciate how much of a timeframe this jam gives us.


This is such a great idea! I would be very tempted to participate if I didn’t already have too many projects this year…but I’m really excited to see what other people create for it. :heart: :broken_heart: :heart:



Also, um…I struggle with execution when writing really deep character interactions, and it feels like this jam would entirely spotlight my weaknesses and allow me to use very few of my strengths, lol.


@LapinLunaireGames has set up a Discord for anyone wanting to discuss the jam with other jammers :smiley:


I like love — or moreso the idea of love — but not romance. Romance perverts a great many things. In my view, it’s — love for people, not love of people or love between people.

If that makes sense.

And I’m aware that love/romance isn’t limited to people. The same applies either way, for me. Romance just seems grossly inauthentic most of the time.

This is an interesting jam idea. I’ll keep an eye out for it. Thanks to @Jinx for coming up with it!


It’s time! The 2023 Anti-Romance Jam is officially open for submissions!!

I’m super excited to see what people cook up and to share the wretched little bites I’ve been working on as well. The discord has been jamming out the past few days as well and I smell quite a few delicious ideas simmering in brains and on keyboards. (Yes, it is time for my midnight snack. How did you know?)


The summer of anti-romance is in full swing!

The Anti-Romance Jam has almost reached the midway point of the submission period! To celebrate the submissions already in the gallery and encourage those in progress, the submission list is now publicly visible.

Check them out here!

Congrats to those who have already submitted and cheers to those still jamming away!


I added a very brief page to IFWiki at Anti-Romance Jam 2023 - IFWiki, so that dates now appear on the calendar on the IFWiki main page. I put it down as a competition rather than a jam, despite its name, but feel free to change that. Both are treated the same (on the calendar, for instance) so it’s just a categorisation thing.