Meet me at GDC

Hey. I’m going to GDC this year on a press pass, and the emails from PR companies are starting to come through. It’s always great to meet new people and learn about new things, but I tend to be limited to only getting to spend time one-on-one with people who are spending lots of money trying to get their name out there. I don’t think this is right, and it feels like a missed opportunity for me.

So, if you’re going to be in San Francisco during GDC, and you have a project that you think I might find interesting, please go to this page and set up an appointment so that we can hang out. This is the kind of thing I particularly like to hear about:

  • Experimental indie games
  • Free-to-play social games
  • Creative funding for creative work
  • Alternative games writing projects
  • Archive, preservation, and historical writing about games
  • Community initiatives that involve games or other aspects of geek culture
  • Challenging hegemony in games (gender and sexual minorities, race, cultural imperialism etc.)

Again, the page for requesting an appointment is right here. Be careful if you’re currently in a time zone other than PST, it makes things go weird and you’ll have to do some maths.

13 things I wrote in 2013

It’s been a good year. Here are thirteen of the things that were in it:

1. Silliness

I shifted most of my ad-hoc blogging to Medium.com. One of the most popular posts there has been What do you think of when you think of Batman? It was a very silly write-up of a totally unreliable survey, refuting something foolish that a games publisher said in an interview.

2. Schadenfreude

What has EA done now? was a blog that I was updating regularly for a couple of months when EA seemed to be perpetually upsetting people.

3. Heroism

On Gamesbrief this year, I started writing some feature-like articles based on interviews with developers. One of my favourites was a write-up of how 5th Planet Games kicks ass at community management.

4. Worldiness

I can’t do this list without mentioning Dreamcast Worlds, the book I crowdfunded in 2012 and published in September.

5. History

I also started Memory Insufficient, an ezine exploring games history from perspectives that are normally ignored. I think I did some of my best writing here, covering digital games, board games and folk games from personal and documentary perspectives.

6. Heritage

I also got to write historically-informed articles in traditional magazines. I’ve written a few pieces for Comics and Gaming Magazine, an outlet that focuses on writing about geek culture for a grown-up audience. One of my more art-historical articles there was about three games that use “retro pixel graphics” in a way that goes beyond nostalgia to something complex about craft and culture (preview link dead but maybe it will work again one day?)

7. Legacy

Then at Australia’s leading gaming magazine Hyper I wrote about games that address an anxiety over leaving a legacy for future generations. If you’re keen, you can get issue #242 through the Android and iOS newsstand apps.

8. Solitude

On a more personal note, I was feeling lonely for much of this year. Sometimes I had this strange sense of being with people but not really being with them, both online and in real life. One piece explored how that could be better represented in games.

9. Ambivalence

During re/Action’s pre-crowdfunding phase, I contributed two articles. One of them was a complicated response to the state of queer games discourse at the time, called “Why invisibility isn’t a superpower“: which is not to say that invisibility is not a privilege, but that it is an ambivalent state that lends itself to a sense of isolation and hopelessness.

10. Community

Those feelings did start to change. In a Borderhouse post about Gaymer X,  I mentioned feeling less isolated, and discussed safe spaces and different approaches to queer games community building.

11. Attraction

Samantha Allen and I started writing queer readings of romance games together in a Borderhouse series called Bunk Bed, where we share our different experiences playing the same games.

12. Complexity

Then I had the amazing honour of speaking at Queerness and Games Conference about queering histories, by disabusing them not just of great men, but also of grand theories. I wrote up the talk here.

13. Transformation

More recently, I wrote about Twine game Pure Again, discussing why it feels like such a good representation of much of my experience of transition.

Progress, chaos and Memory Insufficient

I don't know anything

Last month I gave a talk at the Queerness and Games Conference. I took it as a chance to reflect on the relationship between queerness and hegemony when writing histories that include marginalised perspectives. To build histories that challenge authority rather than creating it, I think we have to dismantle not just great men, but also the idea that there is a main stream of history to which some stories just don’t belong. People seemed pretty excited by it, but I think there’s a lot of work still to do developing the points I wanted to make, so I’m hoping there will be an opportunity to publish something on this topic in the future. Nonetheless, if you’re keen on seeing where I’m up to so far on this you can read the text of the talk on Medium.

Memory Insufficient is part of that attempt to change the way that I do history, to accommodate the fluidity and fragmentation of human experience. The latest issue, on disabilities in games history, has done very well and has been shared with about 1,500 people. Even though it’s short, the content there is very powerful, challenging us to think about representation not just in terms of ‘is this depiction sympathetic’ but also in terms of what games tell us about the meaning of our bodies and minds.

Continue reading

Dreamcast Worlds is out!

hardback

It’s finally ready! Dreamcast Worlds is out now, just in time for the 14th anniversary of the Dreamcast’s US launch.

You can learn all kinds of things about the book on rupazero.com, which includes a really amazing collection of press coverage the book has already received. I’m so pleased with the reception that the book has received so far. It’s been a long journey to get here, but I think it’s been worth it.

If you just want to go ahead and buy the book already, you can now do that at Lulu.com.

Thank you to all of the backers of the book. You’ve all been incredible and I’ll always be grateful for letting me make this happen.