I made another game this week! Click here to play it. Even though the graphics are a rough and the audio is awful and the controls are annoying, I’m still really pleased with what I was able to achieve here. I like the idea of games like Ganbare Gorby where the main character ability is to bark incoherently at people, and for a long time I’ve been wanting to make games with social gaze, where you are unable to do anything beyond what the people around you expect you to be doing. I’d really like to work on this some more one day.
Unnecessary and somewhat self-involved exposition below…
These are some over-excited thoughts that I’ve written on an empty stomach with very little revision or proof-reading. I’m sure I’m wrong about a lot of things, but I just wanted to put this out because OMG FEELINGS
Last month I asked for submissions for a collection of essays on women’s history in games. That collection is now ready! Check it out.
I plan to make this a regular thing, at least for a little while. So to that end, do check out the call for submissions at the end of this latest issue. The next issue will be about Asian Histories in Games, and my goal is to get at least seven essays by May 15th.
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This weekend there were two game jams running at the same time: one was a challenge to make dating sims (mostly with Twine) and one was a QUILTBAG-themed jam which I think was proposed by the MIT game lab.
I kind of had separate ideas for each theme at first, then I realised I really ought to just make one idea work for both jams. So I was going to make a twine game about fruitlessly trying to find love in a bad relationship, but then I decided I didn’t have the emotional energy to put myself through that this week.
So instead, I made a card game about couples trying to plan their futures together. I wanted to make a dating sim that wasn’t about courtship, but about what happens after you end up in a long-term relationship with someone. I’m really interested in the difficult strategy at work in negotiating your life path when it’s become clear that you are going to share that life with another person with their own goals. I got my partner to help me test the game and design cards.
It still needs iteration for balance and extra chaos, but here’s the basic structure of the game I made yesterday:
This year’s Women’s History Month theme is ”Women inspiring innovation through imagination.” It aims to shed light on women’s contributions to science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Women have often been shut out of histories of science and technology, and this carries through into the way that histories of video games are told.
I’m hoping to put together a nice pdf collection of articles at the end of the month that celebrate the history of women as innovators in the video games industry. This can include biographical pieces about the achievements of individual women, memoirs from women looking back over their own personal histories in the industry, social histories of women in games, and many more.
If you’ve got something that you think would fit the bill, please email it to me by 20th March: firstname.lastname@example.org
Featured in February’s Critical Distance Blogs of the Round Table.
This is a work-in-progress extract from my crowd-funded book Dreamcast Worlds. I’ve selected a section that explores photorealism, deliberately moving away from technologically determinist arguments about how better console technology “allows” games to become “more expressive” (yes Sony I’m glaring daggers at you after that pseudo-history you just had to shoehorn into the PS4 presentation) and instead looking at accuracy as a design question: what does it mean for a game to be like a photograph?
The high level of historical details in Shenmue’s recreation of 1986 Yokosuka is as much about setting an emotional tone as is it about establishing accuracy. For one thing, they are not consistently accurate. The Sega Saturn in Ryo’s home is anachronistic – set in 1986, but Saturn released in 1990s. Nevertheless, a slavish devotion to accuracy informed work on all areas of the game, possibly in spite of calls for restraint from higher-ups at Sega. Continue reading
Last week I was absolutely over the moon to be invited to vote for the winners of the GDC choice awards. While making my votes in the different categories, I realised that a lot of the thoughts I have about games that influenced by decisions had never really been written down anywhere.
After observing an argument on Twitter about Anna Anthropy’s Dys4ia, I wanted to put some ideas down. Some game critics and theorists, most famously Raph Koster, find that Dys4ia does not offer what they expect from a game. Their response to this is to say that it, or parts of it, are not a game.
I like Anna Anthropy’s work, but I also try to be clear-eyed about the fact that a lot of Dys4ia could be built in PowerPoint and isn’t a game. That’s not a value judgement. My value judgement of the piece as a work of expressive art is pretty high.
Like Raph, I also really value and respect Dys4ia. I value it for the conversations it provokes, and for its landmark place in the landscape of trans-themed game development. Continue reading