Smile for Me

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Video Game Fandom
Name: Smile for Me
Abbreviation(s): SFM or S4M
Developer: Yugo Limbo and Gabriel Lane, or "LimboLane"
Release date: May 31, 2019
External links: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1018850/Smile_For_Me/
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Smile for Me is a short indie game created by Yugo Limbo and Gabriel "Gabe" Lane, or "LimboLane." It has a small fandom despite its short length.

History

Gabe Lane, a "college guy with a hankering for Evocative art," and Yugo Limbo an "animator, Hawaiian shirt enthusiast, cartoonist (and) director" came together in April 2018 to make an experimental game. The small description on the website implies that the project was once much smaller, but expanded at the two creators became more excited about its atmosphere. This mixed-media game (something also seen in Yugo's personal animation projects on Youtube)[1] was inspired by games like Dropsy and Psychonauts.[2] About a year later in May 2019 the game released on Steam and quickly gained a small following online for its unique style and characters.

Gameplay and Plot

The player (called "Flower Kid") takes on the role of a florist's child, though the age, gender, and sex of this character is meant to reflect the player. You see an advertisement by a "Dr. Habit" online for his mental health facility/resort meant for curing the depressed. After arriving at this resort (called "The Habitat") you move through the map and progress in the game by cheering up the people there (called the "Habitcians"). Using a nod and shake mechanic you answer characters' questions. The more Habitcians that are cheered up the more Dr. Habit becomes passive aggressive in his daily "PSA" videos. The player will continuously hear about the "big event" as the game progresses, and in the end it is revealed that this "event" was to pump the resort full of laughing gas to steal the teeth of the frowning Habitcians. If all, or if eleven, Habitcians are cheered up, the player has the option of receiving the 'good' ending, in which they cheer up Dr. Habit himself and he gives up his evil pans. If less than eleven Habitcians are cheered up the only option is the 'bad' end, in which the player punches Dr. Habit through a window and he falls to his death, which destroys the laughing gas machine.

Fandom

The fandom mostly resides on Tumblr and Twitter, though there is a fan made Discord server as well. Because "Smile for Me" was its own tag online before the game, some fans tag it as "Smile for Me Game" instead. DeviantART has little to no Smile for Me fandom, and searching the game's name loads art un-associated with the game, and much of it is explicit. Much of the fan base revolves around the main villain Boris Habit and Kamal Bora, but the other characters receive a fair amount of attention as well. As of April 17, 2020, the Smile for Me tag on Archive of Our Own has 385 fanfics, with the most recent being uploaded on Apr 17, 2020. 231 (60%) of these feature Dr. Habit and 171 (44%) feature Kamal Bora after that.

Among all forms of fanwork there is a split between the popular themes of comfort and horror. Because Habit was physically and emotionally abused as a child, and is also LGBTQ, there is a draw to his character that inspires a theme of comfort. Fans will frequently make art of him going through a period of healing, such as seeing a therapist, making new friends, or simply showing how he eventually becomes happy again. Then, due to him being a villain with a habit of stealing teeth from his subjects, there is also the popular theme of horror. This is more often than not seen in fanfics that pair the reader with Habit. In these fanfics it is common to describe, usually in detail, how Habit gasses the reader and takes teeth out with or without anesthetic. While some of these stories eventually become consensual not all of them do. A lengthy list of warning tags is frequently provided.

Outside of Archive of Our Own Smile for Me has its own NSFW tag, called Smile34Me. This is both used on Tumblr and Twitter and is supported by Yugo in order to keep explicit and inappropriate material out of the main tags for the game.[3]

Shipping

There are a number of ships in the small Smile for Me fandom, with the most popular being Habit/Kamal, otherwise known as "Habismal." As of Apr 17, 2020 there are 103 (27%) fanfics written about Habit/Kamal, with the second most popular being Habit/Reader with 23 (6%) fanfics. After that Kamal/Parsley has 18 (5%), and Jimothan/Trencil has 17 (4%).

Headcanons

The fandom has come up with several headcanons. One of the biggest ones (especially in fanfiction) is that after the good ending, if Habit and Kamal were to get together as a couple, they would either adopt Petunia or sometimes Tim Tam. Below is a list of other headcanons.

  • It is dangerous and destructive for Habit to drink alcohol
  • After the good ending, Habit starts up his own florist shop, or is employed by one (sometimes the Flower Kid)
  • After the good ending, Habit has his extra teeth removed
  • The characters all keep in close contact even after the events of the game, good or bad
  • Kamal Bora is often written as living in an apartment while Habit has a large or comfortable house
  • Kamal Bora, when written in an apartment, often has Wallus or Parsley as his roommate
  • Almost all characters have an LGBTQ+ headcanon (some are canon), with the most popular being Habit and Kamal as trans (which is encouraged by support from Yugo and Gabe)
  • The puppet is alive or possessed
  • Sometimes Habit, the puppet, and Habit's shadow are written as separate entities
  • Habit is a cryptid of some kind

Alternate Universes

There is at least one alternate universe in the Smile for Me fandom, called "The Smiling Twenties." This AU was started by Never_Eat_Sour_Wheat on Archive of Our Own, with one other writer named Irlenolacroix also contributing. This is a mobster AU set in the 1920s, mostly focused around Boris Habit, Kamal Bora, and Parsley Botch. Other characters, such as Nat, Wallus, and Jimothan make appearances in the various written works.

As of Apr 17, 2020, there are 13 works equaling to 29,191 words of this AU.

Fanworks

Zines

At least one fanzine has been released. The "Smile for Me Zine" came out in 2019 as a free fanzine containing art from over 40 artists and had a total of 57 pages. It can be downloaded on itch.io here.

Artwork

Video

Fanfiction

Links

Archives


References

  1. ^ Yugo Limbo, Youtube Apr 5, 2020 (Accessed Apr 5, 2020)
  2. ^ About Smile for Me Website, Apr 5, 2020 (Accessed Apr 5, 2020)
  3. ^ Yugsly, Twitter. Jul 29, 2019 (Accessed 4/17/2020)