alienmelon

My Full Indie Summit 2018 slides & talk transcript (Art Games & Speaking Your Truth)

I was invited to speak at the Full Indie Summit in Vancouver. It’s a truly wonderful event organized by wonderful people. My talk was titled “Art Games & Speaking Your Truth”, and I think it went well. People applauded afterward, some stood and applauded. Yay! After attending I left with the impression that the Vancouver indie scene is a special one. There’s so much beautiful work happening there. I was especially happy to hear Heart Projector mentioned to me so much. Overall this is a wonderful event, and if you ever can attend it’s totally worth it. So… It was...

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A “10 years of experimental work” retrospective: does being a gamer automatically mean toxic fandom, and can anything be done to break away from that?

I was asked recently if I wanted to give a talk. That prompted me to map out reactions to “Everything is going to be OK“, as compared to an older project of mine. I was curious about how much exactly changed in regards to both negative and positive reactions work like this receives. Does the negative outweigh the positive? My question was whether this can even improve, or is harassment just a fact of life? So… I tweet about this a lot, but thought it would be a good idea to assemble all that in one concise post, instead of...

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Cyberpet Graveyard (out now!)

My little treat-myself-project is done! I’m excited to share this with the world. You can download it from… GameJolt: https://gamejolt.com/games/graveyard/351892 Itch: https://alienmelon.itch.io/graveyard Cyberpet Graveyard features a little over 41 programs. That does not include html pages, or all the other things to find and look at and be amused by… Basically it’s a collection of strange, goofy, software that you discover by rummaging around in folders. The premise is a set of abandoned cyberpets. There aren’t THAT many of those, but what is charming about this is all the junk surrounding them. There are a lot of .html pages that...

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Virtual pets and digital toys…

I’ve been talking about this a bit on Twitter. I’m making a collection of virtual pets. The project is called “Cyberpet Graveyard”. This is under development and will be released eventually. The premise is that sometime during the early 00’s there was a critical malfunction at the cyberpet factory. The meltdown led to the miss-creation of several unlikeable and unwanted cyberpets. Nobody knew what to do with them, and they never made it past quality assurance. Therefore the CD project was canceled. They were eventually banned, and buried, never to be seen or heard from again. Thanks to the efforts...

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the “hold in there” mentality, post E3… some thoughts about indie and mainstream culture

It’s been an interesting episode of mainstream games culture this year. It also reminded me how much I value itch… and GameJolt… and Glitch City… and ok, that could be a long list… I had the opportunity to showcase “Everything is going to be OK” at the MIX. I keep realizing how important it is to showcase art games like that at mainstream events like E3 because it normalizes them. It kinda dawned on me how things are changing… especially when people that I would never have pegged for enjoying something like this, come by and get excited about it....

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Missing Pages added to “Everything is going to be OK” (personal writing & fever dream OS)

I just published the final update to “Everything is going to be OK” and, with that, this interactive zine is now completely done. This update features a lot of personal writing, and a strange fever dream OS for you to explore. There’s a lot to get lost in. You can play it on… itch.io or GameJolt If you feel so inclined, please help spread the word about the update being out. I will love you forever. Thank you! I also updated the page description, and the itch page has a nice theme with a fire to keep prospective players, journalists,...

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After GDC and “keeping it up” (how people view/treat work made by women and what we can hopefully change)

Before GDC I was feeling incredibly ground down after all the aggression “Everything is going to be OK” was generating at me. I was at a point where I wasn’t too sure if keeping this up even mattered. After seeing everyone come by and voice how much “Everything is going to be OK” meant to them, and how much they love my work, I’m very encouraged to keep it up. If you are one of those people, thank you so much, it really means the world to me to know that my work is appreciated this way. People where genuinely...

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I’ll be at GDC! (Speaking and Showcasing) – small update post

So there are exciting things happening. First of all, I’m going to be at GDC. Yay! Since “Everything is going to be OK” has been nominated for the Nuovo award, I’ll be showcasing most of the time in the IGF pavilion. If you want to check out “Everything is going to be OK”, or just chat, please come by! I also finally have a Patreon. People kept asking. You can donate here: https://www.patreon.com/alienmelon Every bit goes to supporting the next game or current project. It does help immensely, but if you can’t pay just know that I’m also powered by...

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Development update for “Everything is going to be OK”

So, wow a lot has happened since my last post. The time between the end of last year, and beginning of this one has been pretty crazy. Now that things are somewhat calm I’m taking the time to write an update. Yay! To start with the best news… “Everything is going to be OK” is nominated for the IGF Nuovo award! It also got an honorable mention for Seumas McNally Grand Prize. I’m blown away by this. This is the second Nuovo nomination for me! I find this amazing. Considering all the up’s and down’s this game has been through,...

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moving past destructive cycles, and modes of thought, about different game experiences

Over this weekend James from Seemingly Pointless contacted me saying he’ll reference some of my writing in a piece that he was writing about “You Must be 18 or Older to Enter” being banned from Steam. As you can imagine I was pretty pissed when I heard this news. At the same time I was not surprised that this happened. As (game) creators, we’ve heard this type of thing being said often in discussion about the App Store guidelines. If you want to make this type of art (app/game) make a book, a movie, anything else. Not a game. In...

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“Everything is going to be OK” development update: personal essays about hope, new pages coming, and some thoughts

First, to start with some positive news! IGN has nominated “Everything is going to be OK” for the Best of 2017 under the most innovative category! Vote for it! (or your other favorite innovative game) This is tremendous and I so hope some of this (in whatever small amount) sets a stage for how other games like this will be viewed. I really hope these types of experimental games start getting the respect and recognition they deserve. It’s legitimate art that deserves a voice. It sounds so crazy saying something like this in 2017 because I thought we where long...

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If “games are art”: challenging the toxicity of gamer culture and preconceptions of what a game is

If you have been following me on Twitter then you may have noticed my tweet thread here explaining that “If games are art then we have to embrace the idea that they don’t have to be fun. Art is not always fun. It covers a wide spectrum of emotions, and concepts.” That’s the opening tweet, I explain more in the thread. It’s worth reading in full before commenting or attacking. This was largely a reaction to criticisms from gamers that where justifying the toxicity directed at me by saying “if I didn’t want to receive toxicity then I should have...

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observations about my “Day of the Devs” article & thoughts after harassment over a post that’s about harassment

Earlier last week VentureBeat / GameBeat reached out to me and asked if they could re-publish my Day of the Devs article. In it I described my experience showcasing the game at Day of the Devs, and the douchey behavior from the crowd. The article was titled “YouTube culture is turning kids against art games”. The title was suggested to me and I okayed it. I understood the consequences. I’m not good with article titles… as this current blog post’s title demonstrates. This recommendation seemed fair. I do suggest that you read my original post (all the way through, before...

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being brave, framing trauma, personal experiences in games, and announcing the next installment of “Everything is going to be OK”

After this year’s Fantastic Arcade I came away from the event with a lot of clarity. There is something special about not being in a setting that focuses on press, business, exposure, audience reception, and the other things that can distract you from why you make art. It’s easy to forget and get caught up in the “competitive” side of games. Wanting your game to be played and “liked” when maybe that’s not why you decided to make interactive art to begin with. (A note to myself that I had posted over my monitor while developing “Everything is going to...

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my post “Day of the Devs” observations about how people view/treat art games and their creators

“Everything is going to be OK” was included in Double Fine’s Day of the Devs. Yay! This is probably the first time, outside of E3, that this game was shown to a more “gamer” crowd. By that I mean, much more consumer based. People without knowledge of art games or the discourse around them. Basically people expecting game-games, with goals, and magic circles, and in some way or another keeping up with the standards of game design… I had some interesting experiences at Day of the Devs. It led to me already talking the ear off a friend with my...

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“Everything is going to be OK” officially released! (final thoughts)

“Everything is going to be OK” is now officially released. The entire project, complete, and ready to be played as originally intended. You can download it on GameJolt: https://gamejolt.com/games/ok/263066 And from itch.io: https://alienmelon.itch.io/everything-is-going-to-be-ok First of all, I would like to thank everyone for their support. Each of you that has bought the game has made a huge difference in enabling it to exist. I would not have been able to do it without your support, and (even more so) words of encouragement. Thank you to everyone that has written about it, and shared it. This has given me a lot...

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“Everything is going to be OK” wins the Interaction Award at IndieCade & some thoughts after showcasing it…

I’m writing this super exhausted after just returning from IndieCade (so apologies for the bad grammar) :) I was showcasing “Everything is going to be OK” as a nominee. The game won the Interaction Award! It really caught me off guard because it was the first award that they announced, and also because I didn’t see “interaction” coming. There where so many cool VR things there! I do actually see that now… A lot of work was done in making interaction unique, unexpected, and subversive… They said nice things and put it in better words at the award show. :)...

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“Everything is going to be OK” and more observations about art games

I’ve been meaning to write another post about “Everything is going to be OK” for a while now. A lot has happened since my last update. The game was accepted into IndieCade as a finalist! Which is pretty amazing. I’ve also given an interview about it on IndieGames.com. It’s a good one, and covers all the philosophies that the game is about. Oh yeah! The game is down to one more page (mini-game) left and then it’s DONE! *fireworks* Since the early access was launched, people’s reactions to it have been generally amazing. I’ve also received a fair amount of...

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The Hurricane Relief Bundle (on itch.io)

I have something small to announce, and if you are up for it please spread the word (or retweet this). Loren Schmidt just assembled and released the Hurricane Relief Bundle. It is a bundle intended to help areas affected by the recent hurricanes. 100% of proceeds go to relief organizations. It features a TON of amazing games, many of which you probably know of, and if not this is a great opportunity to try them! “Everything is going to be OK” and ARMAGAD (also Tetrageddon Games) are included …not to mention Little Bug, luminous corridor 0, Magic Wand, F J...

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My games & future plans…

This is a follow up to my previous post, as I’ve had some time to think about what this means for my work and what I can do next. After receiving word from the teams at Adobe, and hearing the upcoming things planed for the platform, I’m left with hope and enthusiasm. I’m confident that things are going in a great direction and I will be doing what I’m doing for a long time to come still. Like I mentioned, I had been receiving a lot of crap (directed hate). If it’s not from gamers, then it’s basic sexism/prejudice from...

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