Games

New templates for the Electric Zine Maker and more on what’s planned for it!

Yesterday, The Guardian published this really beautiful story by Sarah Griffin on how her using the Electric Zine Maker recaptured her creativity during lockdown. The article is just beautiful. To myself, it’s tremendously encouraging that I made something that helped people… It’s also so much more than that. It’s kind of like a very touching account of zine culture, and captures why zine culture is so special. “Last year, I sent almost 2,000 envelopes full of zines to people who wanted to read them. Something else happened, too: people I didn’t know sent zines back to me. Their children made...

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“Relax, babe. It’s just business.” – Game Journalism

Contexts… i am still asking @kotaku, and game journalism, to please care about this.your treatment of sexual assault survivors (the vulnerable people you said you "believe" and "stand by") almost killed people.you have ignored it to no end.even when i gave you actionable things to do- https://t.co/OwuWrk8MSH pic.twitter.com/sagufCh2Nr — Nathalie Lawhead (@alienmelon) February 5, 2021 Gonna vomit. pic.twitter.com/oj7cCg1CBb — No Escape from Shitposting (@noescapevg) February 5, 2021 This post is a reaction to the news of Stephen Totilo’s leaving Kotaku, and why everything about how Kotaku, Totilo, and game journalism, has treated this situation is beyond… words. I write this...

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Exploring the beautiful world of indie horror games (why work from smaller devs, and indie devs, is so meaningful)

When we talk about “narrative” or “storytelling” in games, the conversations really fascinate me. I think the same for any aspect of working on a game. Writing for a game is SO RIDICULOUSLY fundamentally different from writing a traditional story, that it takes a whole different type of mindset. Every game is different. Every context of the writing is unique. You can’t just think linearly. You have to look at context, atmosphere, restrictions of the system, the randomness that comes with having something interactive… The same for music in games, art in games… Games are very haphazard, roughly strewn together...

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Killing us slowly – When your allyship stops short of doing the hard thing, when your solidarity turns against the people you once said you believe

For the last year I have been daily Tweeting at Kotaku, asking for accountability for how they treated me and other sexual assault survivors for their stories. I’ve gone over this so often. I’m on repeat. I’ve written blog post after blog post carefully explaining the situation. Showing proof of what was done in the form of screenshots. Sharing the account of others abused by this same journalist. Explaining that this nearly killed people. The harm that it caused to those vulnerable people exploited… Over and over and over again. I don’t know how else to say this. It placed...

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Start making tools! (on making experimental art tools and why it’s valuable for indie game devs to make them)

This is the talk transcript that I gave for the ENJMIN Game Conference, about the practice of making small tools and why it’s valuable for indie game developers to do that. Thank you for having me! – — – — – — – — – — – — – — The topic of my talk will be about making experimental art tools, or just tools in general, and why tool making is such a valuable contribution to this space. Links in this slide: * Cool Tools on itch.io * Open source, experimental, and tiny tools roundup * The wonderful world...

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The Flash game movement, my early Flash work, and how Flash games informed what we have in indie games today…

This post is the transcript of the talk I gave for the MacKenzie Art Gallery and their “Gone in a Flash” livestream series about Adobe Flash and digital art archiving.
My talk is going to be about my work but also the historic context, in terms of digital culture, that all this falls under.
It’s about Flash games, early Flash work, and how that movement informed what we have in indie games today…

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Cecilia D’Anastasio’s journalism is rape culture in a nutshell, and you all really need to start giving a shit about what this has done to survivors…

I’m writing this because today Cecilia D’Anastasio won another award for her journalism (Forbes 30 under 30), and no amount of information about how she has abused vulnerable people (her sources) is enough to make accountability happen. I said that I would write another post detailing what she has done to others. I would make this vague, and anonymize things, so that it doesn’t cause harm on those abused by her. This is that post. I hope this will serve as more information about why she should not be awarded for nearly killing people. Although I doubt it at this...

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A short history of Flash & the forgotten Flash Website movement (when websites were “the new emerging artform”)

This post is a transcript of a talk I gave at UCSC. Thank you for inviting me! I’m sharing it here because It’s a GOOD summary of the history of a technology that’s very dear to me (and also a defense of said technology)… so I think it may interest some. — For this talk I’m going to go over a short history of Flash, its decline, and what I feel lead up to that (from the point of view of someone that was heavily invested in this technology and all the surrounding communities), as well as what I think...

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Dev update for the new Tetrageddon.com (old-school animated cursors, iFrames, and more!)

I’ve been sharing this a lot on Twitter, but thought I should finally make an actual proper update with what I’m working on right now… including some of the ideas going into it! I’ve been working on re-designing (completely re-doing) Tetrageddon.com (the web version, not the desktop one). I guess you could call it a reboot? It’s exciting for me because I feel like the 2013 version has always been a bit of a placeholder that I kinda kept building on with the idea that “Ok, I’ll get to this later…” and “later” never came. Although I’m proud of it,...

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The Beautiful Rebellion of Video Game Bugs (how simulated worlds express malfunction in their own way, and that poetic digital decay…)

My favorite thing to do while playing AAA games is to go bug hunting. Not bug as in virtual insects, but bugs as in those weird quirks that totally break the immersion of the game, and put to test my ability to take it serious. It’s almost like the game laughs back at me for being immersed. I’m reminded that this is still software, and it breaks in very silly ways. My current video game hot take: Video game bugs are like glitch art. Just a sillier version of that. It’s incredibly novel to me how each simulated world expresses...

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Asking Kotaku for accountability, a collection of my threads (cries for help) all in one convenient place…

This is a short post that I will probably hide from the front page… The intention with this is to be a collection of all my threads in which I’ve been asking Kotaku for accountability for how they have exploited, lied to, and endangering sexual assault survivors. I’m putting all this in a post to keep track of the extend that I’ve been asking, and I’ve been ignored. After they covered metoo in games last time, and got lauded for “great journalism” by people that know what they did to us, I’ve made a point to tweet about it once...

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All the beautiful Zines from the first ever Electric Zine Jam (and the recorded stream)

This last week IndieCade ran a small event for the Electric Zine Maker. This is what was done in place of the E3 showcase that the Electric Zine Maker was chosen for. I’m honored and deeply touched by the amazing work they did in organizing this. I have an interview with Celia. You can see that here: Part 1, and Part 2… where we talked about the Electric Zine Maker, many of the ideas that went into it, and Celia ended with some profound thoughts on preservation. It’s a good talk! IndieCade also organized a few streams where guests made...

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Open sourcing the Electric Zine Maker (early commit available on github!)

Thanks to a grant by the Clinic for Open Source Arts (COSA) at the University of Denver the Electric Zine Maker is now open sourced. I am grateful for their generosity to creative open source projects such as this one. The github repository is here: https://github.com/alienmelon/Electric-Zine-Maker Do read the readme… although, this post is the same as the readme. So here are the details… This is a VERY early stage of the open sourcing process. All of the Electric Zine Maker, the various language renditions that it will undergo, and all the messy prototype bits, will be available there thanks...

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The New Electric Zine Maker Update! (About the grant, open source plans, and some thoughts on UI design…)

The newest update for the Electric Zine Maker is out! This marks the one year anniversary of the Zine Maker… It’s one year old. They grow up so fast! You can download it on itch here, or GameJolt here. I’m really proud of this one. It’s a tools update, but it feels like a major milestone because It Got Done. I took a step back from the Zine Maker, earlier this year, to build the story world for it. That’s the ARG that I’ve been talking about. You can check out the itch page for it here, and play it....

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Mackerelmedia Fish: an ARG-like text adventure game (with sourcefiles)

I just published this. It’s an ARG-like text adventure game called mackerelmediafish.com It’s about digital archeology, exploring the ruins of a long abandoned website, RSS spelunking, braving the hazards of the old web, and finding friendship in unlikely places. Play it here: mackerelmediafish.com The entire thing is open source here: https://github.com/alienmelon/mackerelmediafish-source I’ve been very quietly working on this for a while. I didn’t want to talk about it because I was afraid of jinxing it. I’m pretty sure that I jinxed my last project by talking about it while I was developing it (that’s why it failed horribly and couldn’t...

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UI design is fun! (inspirational ways of looking at UI, and discussing how to better understand UI’s place in game design…)

This post is an extended writeup of what would have been my GDC2020 talk. Since the conference has been postponed I’m sharing parts of this talk as a blogpost (I elaborated on what would have been my talk. This post is much longer). Last year I wrote about some of this on Gamasutra (link here). I also have a twitter thread where I’m collecting links to historic UI’s (link here). It’s kind of a source for inspiration. Also, here’s a youtube channel of interesting synth UI’s… There’s lots to be inspired by! UI design can be pretty amazing :) UI...

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An open letter to game journalists: #metoo, fighting with surviving abusive reporting, and the fallout of not caring

If you follow me on Twitter then you will be familiar with what I’ve been going through, and the intention of this post. I announced that I would write an open letter to game journalists about all this, so this is that letter. My intention with this post is to completely share EVERYTHING about how my story was treated (this is mainly in criticism of Kotaku’s handling of this since they had access to legitimate sources which they pretty much universally shat on), the consequences this has had, how this has affected me, how this (the way the sources were...

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The wonderful world of tools made by small teams, solo-devs, and shareware (weird, beautiful, and experimental things to be creative in + an analysis on building for approachability)

Since starting development on the Electric Zine Maker I’ve been hoarding links to interesting, unusual, strange, small, or just cute tools. This has grown to be a strong area of interest as I’ve been diving into what even makes a tool approachable… How much experimental UI or humor is too much? Do people even want tools that are goofy? What else is out there from creators making small and interesting tools that solve a variety of creative problems? Before I begin, you should definitely go check out Galaxy Kate’s work on Casual Creators. She has done A LOT of work...

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walking sims and the joy of existing in a virtual space

I play a lot of walking sims. It’s probably one of my favorite type of game to play when I’m exploring alt-indie games on itch. I think they are interesting for how they explore what it means to be in a space, the relation of space to a player, and how their existence brings into question why you even need goals to be motivated to meaningfully interact with a space. To me walking sims represent a type of interaction I can’t really have in open world AAA games. They are about carving out a tiny moment, and giving attention to...

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games as found objects & virtual relics

There’s this type of play experience that’s unique to freeware. It’s been part of the internet ever since Dial Up. That past time of finding weird things to download, from sites that you might more or less trust, and running them. Games, software, weird small things… It’s a pastime that I remember fondly when our modem “could do” 64 kbit/s. I used to spend hours on Downloads dot Com searching for DOS games. I found Chickens 2 that way, and still have the original copy on my machine. I never had the heart to delete it. PC Gamer used to...

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