talks

Transcripts and videos from most of the talks I have given…

Make Tiny Weird Software, Please! (all about desktop pets, old computer eras, and virtual toys)

I recently gave a keynote talk at the ATLAS Institute at the University of Colorado’s Whaaat!? 2021 Festival. A festival focusing on small and quirky games and experimental interactions. They’re doing wonderful work. I’m honored to have been part of this, talking about something very near and dear to my heart. This post is that keynote turned into a blog post. I’m sharing a lot of links here! Mind the in-line text links too for good resources. I hope this will be useful to people that share this same interest. ~ ~ ~ As most of you know, my work...

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ZineCamp Workshop – using tiny open source tools in your own work, the values of preservation, and building your own tiny tool box

“There are countless tiny tools scattered across the internet, all made with love from independent developers. They might not look like much at first, but if you start using them in combiation with your Professional Everyday Tools, you open the doors for wonderful, unique, and beautiful art. This workshop will demo a tiny handful of these tiny tools, using them in combination with the Electric Zine Maker to make a zine! My hope is that you will leave inspired, and start collecting tiny tools of your own… to regularly find use for in your work.” Cool Tools itch.io collection Open...

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Talk Transcript: Your uniqueness is your strength (and why that matters to the indiegame space)

Following is the transcript of a talk I gave to the Interactive Media program at the Harrisburg University of Science and Technology. This talk goes over why uniqueness matters in a space like indie games. I discuss early internet and computer history, and why that history is something we can learn from to maintain the health and openness of the current “golden age” of the indie game space. Links in this slide: – alienmelon.com – unicornycopia.com – tetrageddon.com Hi everyone! My name is Nathalie and I go by alienmelon online and in my work. I’m mostly known for games like...

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My GDC 2021 Indie SoapBox Talk Transcript (five minutes about making desktop pets & virtual toys)

This last GDC I was invited to participate in the Indie Soapbox. It’s a wonderful set of talks that happens every GDC in which each speaker is given five minutes to talk about anything they want. I talked about desktop pets, desktop toys, and why that entire concept is such a valuable mode of expression. I actually plan on writing a much longer, and more in-depth post about this (it might end up being a longer talk too), as soon as I have time… It’s a topic that has really grown on me because I think it offers so much...

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Software is Art! (KhK Games class talk transcript)

This is the talk transcript of a talk I just gave as a guest speaker at the KhK Games class. Thank you for inviting me!
They also have a beautiful itch.io page here, where you can see equally as beautiful work.

This talk is about viewing software, the desktop, and all our virtual environments as art. Treating all these platforms as legitimate spaces that we can create stories in. The intersection between software, websites, and games is an inspiring area…

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Talk Transcript: Spring 2021 #OSSTA Lecture Series (my talk on tiny non-commercial tools, fantasy consoles, and tools-as-games)

For the past few months the Electric Zine Maker was part of the STUDIO’s OSSTA Residency Program (at Carnegie Mellon). They have been funding and supporting development of the Zine Maker. They are to thank for the comming UI re-design, and all the new features that have been coming to it. You can follow them on Twitter here (they host some amazing things). As of writing this I just finished giving my talk in their OSSTA Lecture Series. Speakers included Everest Pipkin (who just published this vital repository of Open Source tools), Marina Kittaka (of Zonelets), and Kate Compton (who...

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Stories are Structures, Videogames are Places – LudoNarraCon 2021 Recording

Hey so… I thought I should share this here really quickly. This last Friday I participated in a LudoNarraCon panel with Claris Cyarron (of SilverString Media), Jord Farrel (MrTedders), and Zoyander Street (the person behind the Cis Penance interactive documentary project) about video game spaces. We discuss the assertions that “stories are structures” and “videogames are places”… About how you can explore these worlds, what they meant to us, and all the nuances behind the intersection between virtual environments and the stories we build for them. It was a wonderful panel that I thought was very inspiring. The recording is...

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Talk Transcript: The browser is a creative playground!

This is the transcript of a talk I gave for the Web Art Jam. A jam that will start at midnight tonight (March 19, 2021), hosted by @Synodai and @tomagotchidad. You can join through discord (as of writing this it’s currently running). Thank you for having me! My name is Nathalie, I go by “alienmelon” online and in my work. I make experimental software, experimental games, and basically love exploring experimental creative stuff on computers. I’ve done A LOT of interactive web art in the past. I started as a net-artist in the late 90’s, so this is a topic...

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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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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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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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IndieCade Europe Keynote: Addressing abuse in our communities and how can we move forward (full transcript)

Following is the full transcript of the keynote that I gave at this IndieCade Europe. I wrote everything out that I intended to say because this is a difficult thing to coherently talk about. The message is very important. Thank you so much to the IndieCade Europe organizers for making this happen and giving this message a platform. About this talk: This talk is about abuse in our industry. The necessity of providing a safe space for survivors to come forward about abuse. The equal importance of our community to constructively create accountability for those that cause harm. —————————- Hi...

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My GDC Talk transcript (Personal Experiences as Games) and a small update about what I’m making next

This GDC I co-organized a session called “Personal Experiences as Games” with Jingyu Sui. UPDATE: You can now watch the talk for free on the Vault here. I am posting my talk transcript and one slide here (my talk is bellow the following summary). The session was a set of microtalks about making games based on personal experiences… Along the lines of how artists have turned to games as a way of telling personal experiences, conveying deeper sensitive topics, personal messages, and using the medium as a tool to build empathy (I know the “empathy” discussion is a bit overused...

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Building Weird Games With Alternative Technologies Workshop

So… short summary of what this is… I was invited to give a lecture at UCLA, and then also invited to give a workshop at the UCLA Game Lab. The lecture can be found here. This is the transcript of my workshop. The description in the above image says it best… This workshop covers alternative technologies for making experimental games, as well as encouraging some mentalities when entering this area. It also includes some history about the web, browser and web politics… and the impact that this has had on the web. I make a strong point to encourage the...

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Heartfelt Messages: making personal games, design notes, and awareness of the cultural repercussions that this work is in…

I am publishing the written transcript of the lecture I gave at the UCLA Game Lab. The Game Lab is a wonderful place full of very talented people. It was lovely to visit it and share what I knew about things. Here is the video of my talk, in case you don’t want to read… Here is the transcript. The meat of the talk (the good part imo) is after I play the game, so you can skip those design notes for showing it. ~~~~~~~~~~ …Skipping the introduction about me, and jumping right in. – picture via the event’s facebook...

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GDC Talk Transcript: Alternative Paths in Indie Dev

Lats year at GDC I participated in a micro-talk set about alternative paths to indie development and success. A friend of mine has a hard time watching videos because English wasn’t her first language, and has been bugging me to publish the transcript since I gave it. So I’m publishing it here in case others are interested in reading it instead of watching. My talk was basically about how money isn’t everything, and that the people you influence with your work are also a valuable way of measuring success. For example, how many lives it has changed, what type of...

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Altgames Workshop: a discussion of surrealism and personal stories in games

I was invited to speak, and participate in a panel, at Image+Nation. It’s a LGBTQ film festival that takes place in Montreal. The event was organized by Tech Witches and held at Never Apart. I shared some pictures on my instagram if you want to get a sense of that space. It was wonderful to participate in something like this, with a total focus on queer culture. Queer culture makes me feel alive. I adore the art happening there. (tiny coming out psa: i’m Bi & my pronouns are they/them or she/her. tho i love they/them the most. thank u!)...

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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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