Digital Diversity: Tell Me Tonight Was Real (Explicit)

Getting to watch a queer developer’s works evolve and grow over the years is a true joy for the Digital Diversity project, it gives us a chance to catch up with the creator of amazing games and follow their journey as the years pass.

Today’s interview is no exception, as we’re bringing back TangledVirus (they/them), a truly prolific developer of visual novels, to talk about Tell Me Tonight Was Real. A story about vampires, mental health, and what happens when friends with benefits becomes something more.

(Content warning: The below interview contains graphic sexual discussion & imagery. As such only continue if you are of adult age & consent to seeing such content.

Kaiju: Welcome, TangledVirus, welcome back to Digital Diversity after a long 3 years since our last catch up and so much has happened since then!

Please give us a quick refresher on who you are, and what you’ve been up to games wise over the last few years.

TangledVirus: Hi, hi! I’m TangledVirus! I’m a Brazilian game dev that loves making Visual Novels about weird queer people, most of them being some flavour of trans fem girlthing!

Kaiju: It’s so great to have you back, on the project. You’ve been one of the most prolific & passionate voices I’ve seen in the queer games community, and your output always astounds me.

Today though I’ve got you on to talk about Tell Me Tonight Was Real. And since I love hearing people talk about their work, tell us all about it and what drove you to make it?

TangledVirus: Ok… Let’s see. Tell me tonight was real, is a yuri urban fantasy/post-post apocalypse adult visual novel. It follows Curtis, a vampire during a date with her friends with benefits/bestie Soledad at the start of a four day national holiday celebrating the rise of Marxism-Leninism is their now late stage capitalist/christofacist country.
In other words they are off work and they are ready to kick back and have a impromptu date.

What let me to make it? Well, it’s alot of things really. I made three Sci-fi/Cyberpunk games back to back almost, and its been a while since I made a urban fantasy games like the first games I made(Fran and the Demon Hunter, Distortion Nation) so I wanted to go back to my roots so to speak and also challenge myself on making a NSFW visual novel.

I already had made a NSFW twine, The Vanishing Memories we Share, but not a Visual Novel, so that was a new challenge.

Also, there were somethings I wanted to try out. I’ve been thinking alot about how trans feminine people are seem not only in media but in life, and like… I wanted to make a trans lady that didn’t pass, stopped caring about it and decided to just be a butch. And that’s how Curtis came to be.
Someone that was hurt alot, and lashes out with pure cruelty, hedonism and a total disregard to most people, yet she loves people, and cherishes those she likes.

Meanwhile, mental health is a thing that I’ve been liking to explore lately, and I wanted to write someone that was really different from Curtis, and make them a gremlin, end result being Soledad. And I gotta say, so far everyone loves her. So do I btw.
That’s Soledad, a gremlin and one that is a total mood. Easy to hang out with.
I just tried alot, and wanted to write a relationship that was evolving.

Kaiju: Both Soledad & Curtis are real moods, that’s for sure. I definitely had some relatable feels to both of them by the end of the game.

How did it feel getting to branch into creating something a full on adult/explicit visual novel? Your works up to this date, which are extensive to say the least, have all had their own tone but none have delved into the erotic fun times in the same way as Tell Me Tonight Was Real. Did it let you explore things in a way you hadn’t before?

TangledVirus: Honestly? It felt like I was just going through a obvious path. A lot of my games even if they weren’t NSFW were very open about the fact that the characters had sex, or were at the very least sexual beings. It was never really a taboo. So making a game that is NSFW felt very natural in fact!

I was able to explore some of the kinks I have in a way that didn’t freak me out. A lot of the stuff I’m into is kinda of heavy in my opinion? It’s stuff that I get very conscious about, I don’t want to scare anyone, but in a game, I can explore those things. Like giving your partner a fucking feral bite and drinking their blood while in the middle of it.

Kaiju: As a creature who is also into chomping on, and getting chomped on by, their partner I highly encourage this new direction you’ve taken your work in. Not that every title needs to go this way of course, but it’s wonderful to see you getting to experiment with kinks in a way that feels comfortable for you to express in this way.

So it’s been a good three years since we last caught up for an interview, back when I spoke to you about Fran and the Demon Hunter which feels like a lifetime ago, how do you feel your work has developed over the last few years? Has your attitude towards game dev changed, or have the kinds of stories you wanted to tell shifted over the years?

TangledVirus: I feel that my work has in a way found it’s Capcom vs SNK 2 groove(S groove of course.). I found what sort of stories I like to tell with Visual Novels, what sort of vibe I want. I studies alot of my favourite games, movies, books, and other stuff, and I realized what I like to write, and I saw what people like in my writing. So I’ve been mixing both, in what I think its a TangledVirus game and its been really fun to go on that approach. Writing has become more fun. There’s still alot for me to learn but its being really fun!

My attitude towards gamedev? I’ve been trying to do what I think its fun more, and thinking of what would people like less. There’s things that people like in my games, and they are things I like to work on, so I focus on that. I could make a yuri Visual Novel with normal cis teens in high school that never have any issues besides “Oh no! I like a girl!”, but that wouldn’t be something I would like to make. There has to be a thing in there that I would like to work with. Which is my attitude towards gamedev, there has to be something for me in there.

And about stories? Well… I love cyberpunk stuff, and people will see more of it. Granted, I also love urban fantasy, but I want to make weirder urban fantasy. Kill Six Billion Demons sort of weird.
Trans fems doing bullshit martial arts, you know?

Kaiju: It’s so great that you’ve moved towards writing things that you find fun, in the end it’s pretty obvious from the point of view of someone covering queer games when people write something that other people wanted them to, vs what they really wanted to write for the fun/emotional release of it all. Your work definitely feels more free & experimental lately which I think really suits your style of writing, so I’m going to happily encourage whatever direction feels fun for you at the time.

Since you’ve brought up Capcom vs SNK 2, and I know you’re a super fan of fighting games, what’s your favourite fighting game currently, which characters are you most fond of in particular, and how can we make fighting games gayer?

TangledVirus: Here’s the thing, fighting games are already pretty darn gay. You have them queers winning evo and other major tournaments, we queers are all over the place there! We got Sonicfox and UMISHO winning tournaments being awesome at it, you have people like Romolla doing streams and commenting about the comunity. The FGC has always been queer, it has always been full of POCs, we always belong there and no one can say otherwise. NOW, if more of us can get into fighting games we can make it even gayer!

Now my favourite fighting game currently? I would say Melty Blood: Type Lumina and KoF XV! Now for each of them, I’ll be honest I don’t have a character MB that I’m super found off, but I’m really enjoying my time with The Count of Monte Cristo(Yes, the actual count of monte cristo, from the book, yes.) and in KoF? I haven’t gotten any of the DLC but my current team of faves is Terry, King of Dinosaurs and King. Luong is also a favourite for game play reasons but also… She’s pretty and mean, and pretty. And mean.
I’m also excited for Street Fighter 6, which is a first with me and Street Fighter.

Anyway. They added a huge buff lady and a grappler lady in SF6 and my brain works in the yuri way, just saying. MARISA IS HUGE, SHE’S HUGE.

Also, I hope I get Saki back in Melty Blood, I miss my loser vampire girl that throws people.

Guilty Gear Strive is there, I guess. But hey, Teastament is non-binary and they look amazing, and Bridget is a trans girl and I love her. She’s doing her best everyday. I hate Ky’s and Sin’s new designs.

Kaiju: Getting more prominent trans & non-binary representation in big named games, especially in the way that it was handled in Guilty Gear, really was a positive to see it handled directly and clearly by the company especially after the Bridget backlash by cis queers predominantly. It would be great if more AAA companies were as protective of their queer characters, and would speak out against the hate that comes our way.

Since you brought up vampires, and Tell Me Tonight Was Real is very vampire heavy – I loved hearing all the lore in that story by the way, I would love to get a follow-up with Curtis one day among the other vampires -, do you have a favourite “please step on me, thank you” vampire in media? Last night I played three queer adult vampire games in a row and suddenly all I’ve got on my mind is what bloody fun they are, so dish up some vampire lust for us if you would be so kind.

TangledVirus: I liked the way that ArcSys dealt with the Bridget situation. Guilty Gear always felt like Daisuke Ishiwatari’s solo project in a way, other people work on it yes, but its his thing. Those are his OCs, and that’s his weird ass dark fantasy heavy metal fantasy world, so it was cool to see that he explained why Bridget is trans. That’s his OC, and if you play these games you know that he loves his characters every single one of them.

And also, GG Strive is all about you, yes you, striving to be better and your true self, all of the characters are doing that, and you can do that too.

Now… I never had a thing for vampires. I grew up playing Vampire the Masquerade but I never got the thing about Vampires and sex. To me they(The vampires in the World of Darkness, but vampires in general as well) were just some quirky people that need to drink blood and have some magical powers. To me what I was always fascinated by was the society of vampires. This whole self destructing, hedonistic society that these people made for themselves.
I see alot of the queer community online in it. People bundling together but never being able to truly work together.

Could also be because I watched alot of Trinity Blood(look for the art of the Light Novels is the most gothic art in the world.), Helsing, Blood + and Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, so my views on vampires are odd.

But if I had to pick a vampire? Hmmm… Either Pisha or V.V. from Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines.

Kaiju: Oh gosh, Pisha or V.V. would be a hard choice to make if you had to pick between the two. Pisha has that “I’m going to eat you all up, and you’ll love it” vibe, and V.V. has a very soft mommy Domme kind of attitude. As much as I love Jeanette, and I’m pretty sure her getting all flirty was my first ASMR experience, I think you’re on the right track with Pisha & V.V.

I know you always have something new cooking, the works of TangledVirus are prolific & always a worthwhile experience, did you want to share a little about what you’re working on now or projects that you’re hoping to get to soon? Perhaps something more in the cyberpunk vein I know you like so much?

TangledVirus: Jeanette is also really cute… But Pisha tho. I always loved the Nagajara in the TTRPG so I really liked that there was one in the game, I think that 15 year old me was onto something, its a life long crush.

Now for the future… Well, I’m struggling to re learn ZDoom and see if I can make a shooter. So maybe one day we’ll see a shooter made by me. Also, I’m planning a cyberpunk thing for Nanoreno 2023, it’ll be short but sweet.
Also, you told earlier about getting to know Curtis better, well that’s great cause I’m working on a sequel for Tell me tonight was real.
It’ll have choices, more sex scenes, you’ll learn more about this freaky weird world that the game is set, and you’ll see Soledad and Curtis being a very cut if kinda odd couple.

Kaiju: A sequel with more Curtis? Heck yes! Also, very excited to see what you can make with ZDoom, I do love a good retro style shooter games, and knowing you it will be queer as fuck. But mostly excited about more Tell Me Tonight Was Real. These are some characters I’ve really loved learning about and I’m looking forward to a follow-up.

We’re coming up to the end of another interview, so of course one big questions I really wanted to ask was what are the biggest lessons you’ve learned in making games since we last spoke in 2020? Has there been any hard-won wisdom you think it would help folks to know, or things you’ve striven to improve in your work since then?

TangledVirus: My biggest lesson were three. Marketing is really hard but it brings results. You don’t need to spend money on it, but take the time to talk about your games in a honest manner. Why make the decisions you did? Why you wanted to do this? Talk about whenever you feel like it, and you don’t making a small post on social media to remind people that your game is out. Marketing like this can help alot.

Also, bundles. Join as many as you can, even if you don’t think your work is on the same level, having one more game, one more weird little thing is worth while, really.

And last but not least. CHARGE FOR YOUR GAMES, PLEASE. Five bucks is a good ammount, do some sales every once in a while people like sales!
Hell, you can even sell games made on ZDoom as long as they don’t have any assets from Doom on it! Make your own standalone thing! People are doing look at Selaco!
Just charge for your games.
Also, play KoF XV.

Kaiju: Hecking important lessons, each and every one of those. Especially charging for your games. Doesn’t have to be a lot, just see the value in your work and the time you’ve put in to make them. It would be wonderful to see folks see some kind of compensation for their efforts that isn’t just from bundles.

Thank you for joining me once again, TangledVirus, you are always such a joy to have around and it’s great having you as part of the Digital Diversity community. I can’t wait to get my paws on your next game, and I hope folks love Tell Me Tonight Was Real as much as I did.

Did you want to make any last minute shout-outs before we finish up?

TangledVirus: I want to LastYuriSamurai, she’s been infinitely patient with me when teaching me how to market my games and she helped alot with promoting it.
Also to my buddy Mapple who went batshit insane while reading the game and helping with proof read it.

Tell Me Tonight Was Real can be found on
You can find TangledVirus on Twitter
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