The Machine That Eats People

I just finished having a really long conversation with another friend that works in games and it inspired me to write this post. It’s given me a lot to think about. I’m still processing my experiences… As I write this, the game space is under another metoo “moment”. More of these horrible, but all too normal stories, this time coming out of Blizzard. I won’t be linking to any of these because I don’t have the stomach for it. We’ve had these “moments” come and go now for the last few years. Each time reminding this space of the abuse...

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If Cosby’s trial were Game Industry Twitter Discourse™…

This post is a rant because, despite all the things my blog has become known for… it is still my personal blog where I talk about how I am doing. Today I’m angry and need to vent. Alternative title: Need to vent. Might delete later. Just days ago my Twitter timeline was blowing up with news of Near’s death. It’s a very difficult and heartbreaking story. I don’t really want to say much about this loss other than it is a tremendous loss. I’ll share the two tweets, but please look up this person’s contributions too. This post is not...

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My next game will be a horror game! (unpacking the horrors of social media, the violence of words, and the experiences it will be based on…)

I’m making a new game. This is my first, very early attempt at an artist statement, creative philosophy, and unpacking what it is about… This all is about something very near to my heart, very real to me, and I would like to take some power back by making art from these experiences. The Fiction… The game opens in a long straight hall. This space is like a temple. There’s this atmosphere or reverence, dread, forgottenness… It’s been well traveled, but nobody is here. It’s not a place that people like to go. Along the sides of this passage are...

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Bitsy is Beautiful! (exploring the Bitsy space and some of my favorite Bitsy games)

This post is all about Bitsy! I vividly remember the very first Bitsy game that I played. I don’t remember who it was by, or how to find it again… it’s lost in the sea of Bitsy games that came out since. I almost brushed it off because, judging by the first impression, Bitsy looks so easy to not think much of. In a space like itch.io that is inundated with thousands of really great indie games, all with some pretty great and complicated visual styles, why even try it? On the other hand Bitsy runs in the browser so...

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Thank You

As I’m sure you’re aware of, if you follow me on Twitter, or read this blog, I have been spending well over a year Tweeting everyday at Kotaku asking them to please DO SOMETHING (ANYTHING, PLEASE, JUST SOMETHING, AT LEAST DELETE THE ARTICLE, HELP!!?!?) about the harm that they caused for myself and the other sources that were abused for an article that Kotaku wrote about my rapist. It’s a long, drawn out story. I even opened a separate category on my blog because I wrote so much about this. If you’re not aware, you can read these things… An...

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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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Game Journalism Is Dead

This is long-form criticism with a clickbait headline. I’m writing this all again… Painfully aware of every bridge I have now burned as a result of standing up for myself, all the people who have been blocked by self-proclaimed game journalists with the word “leftist” in their Twitter bio, and the never ending cycle that this is going to continue to be. I have a pit in my stomach from knowing that so many people that supported me, publicly, have now been blocked by journalists here. I feel sick thinking that this is the way they decided to deal with...

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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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5 beautiful altgames (tiny special things found on itch.io that are deeply meaningful)

I’ve been posting some pretty heavy stuff lately so, to get myself grounded back into what I love the most, I thought I should write about some altgames (artgames, small indie games, tiny experiences?) that had a meaningful effect on me lately. I have a million things to do, a super busy week, but I can’t hold back on these. They’re all beautiful and offer something unique, or special. I couldn’t recommend them enough! SkateRPG by danieldante Last night I finally played

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A very angry & venty blog post that I’m writing just to get shit off my chest…

This is an update to my situation: I am angry. I am writing this for the sake of venting… at the very most to keep documenting what has been happening. Writing feels like all I can do… I’ve been fighting for over a year with Kotaku, and then game journalism in general, to care about what they have done to survivors in this space (in terms of misrepresenting our stories). I’m not the only one this was done to by Kotaku and the same journalist. It’s a loop that I’m tired of talking about because it keeps spinning and getting...

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Surviving video game journalism (another post on journalism’s aversion to accountability, and addressing concerns about “the precedence” that humanizing sexual assault survivors sets)

Surviving video game journalism (another post on journalism’s aversion to accountability, how this abuse was NOT factually accurate, and addressing concerns about “the precedence” that humanizing sexual assault survivors sets):
Journalists have a responsibility to protect vulnerable people. The way you write about this can impact someone’s ability to have a life afterward. It should not cost us a suicide in this space for you to finally acknowledge that.

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Tetrageddon Games now on Github! (the entire project and all Flash games are open source again…)

Here’s a small but meaningful update. I’ve been working on-and-off for a while now to put Tetrageddon.com on Github. Now that it’s been re-built and re-launched, with a new direction, it’s appropriate that it stays with the open source nature. I always advertised it as an “open source arcade”. That said, you can download the entire thing from github here: https://github.com/alienmelon/TetrageddonGames It includes all audio assets, art, animated gifs, code, smaller HTML pages, various JavaScript… There’s a lot to it. I am not at all sure what use this will be for people. It’s super specific to this project. A...

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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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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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The inspired brilliance of Katelabs, a foray into glitch tools, and what zine culture has taught me about games & software dev…

Here is an inspired find that’s… just… an amazing encapsulation of everything good about freeware tools. Trust me. You need this one! It’s a level editor of sorts, reminiscent of old school tools like Nickelodeon Director’s Lab, mixed with what feels like a very personal approach to what it means to create on a computer from the developer that made it. Katelabs “In KATELABS, Kate Barrett (Ready Player F**K, Flamingo Quest) brings you her most advanced tech yet… But with a twist! YOU get to be let loose with it! It’s a deep level editor with lots of features including...

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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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Games are giant weird story machines! (video games, their stories, and building stories for systems)

Entomorph: Plague of the Darkfall was a 90’s action-adventure role-playing game that… I still struggle to describe today. It’s a wildly “all over the map” type of experience somehow pulled through by the very nightmarish storyline. I played it when it first came out so now… I paraphrase the following heavily and try to recall this from memory: I remember the game starting on a beach-side village, the place being swarmed by undead and giant insects. You have to go do something to save the village from this invasion, something dark that’s falling over the world… You eventually do, pretty...

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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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New Tetrageddon.com is here! (Cybermonkey has died, a broken desktop haunted by skeletons of the past, and more…)

At the beginning of this year I relaunched a brand new Tetrageddon Games (the web version… not to be confused with ARMAGAD, the desktop version). I did this because I waited till basically the absolute last minute to see if Flash emulators would be up to par to be able to run the games. The majority of these games are Actionscript 3 based. The ones that are Actionscript 2 based don’t run well on emulators yet… long story short, emulators aren’t really exactly ready yet. So I went with the alternative plan of releasing all games as desktop apps, and...

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