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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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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why are the lives of those that spoke up so worthless to you, but you so readily protect the abusers? (commenting on everything)

I’m am writing this post for a number of reasons. I don’t really know how to summarize it yet. I’m tired. It’s also partly a pre-emptive defense on the fact that a Youtuber, who had ties with Gamer Gate, made a video defending me. I think it’s fair to state that I have exhausted every possible option to bring attention to this, and what is still an ongoing struggle that feels like I’m fighting for my life. When I came forward about my assault, A LOT of people professed their support for me. Some pretty big and influential people reached...

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“I want shorter games with worse graphics made by people who are paid more to work less and I’m not kidding”

This post is about stuff that’s been on my mind lately. I had some game recommendations that I wanted to write about, and then I suppose it grew into more… – image credit and title inspiration go to @moshboy Recently I’ve started playing more AAA open world games because it’s been helping me cope with self-isolation. Stuff like GTA 5 and the new Spider Man game (the Miles Morales one). I don’t really have much to say about these games, and would rather not give them more attention than they need because they are AAA and enough people talk about...

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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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Opening Electric Zine Maker on macOS guide (I downloaded the Electric Zine Maker but it won’t open on my Mac. It keeps getting blocked…)

I’m publishing this page so I have an official guide to send to macOS users that have this problem. Thank you for downloading my work! Here is why this happens, and what you can do to open it… This is a Gatekeeper issue. Newer versions of macOS, starting with Catalina, introduced measures to block non-notarized apps from developers. Notarizing an app means that I have to pay Apple a yearly fee of $100 to be able to sign my work with them. I have to keep paying this fee, else the certificate expires. Long answer short, I cannot afford 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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Code share: a javascript image gallery, javascript & php countdown timer, and a very basic javascript & php email form…

It’s been a while since I shared code of things I’m working on here. Since one of the projects is not yet announced (a secret!), but the code for it is useful, I thought it’s about time that I do one of these again… My last little code project was to FINALLY make a vanilla-javascript based image gallery (just plain javascript, no jquery or anything). I’ve been putting this off for years, and the last one I had was just a hacked together thing. I got around to making one that’s extremely simple, no massive features, and easy to customize!...

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More from the wonderful world of tools by small devs, shareware, and freeware (art tools, music tools, and toys to create with)

This is a followup to my first post where I talked about the wonderful world of tools and art toys that exists outside the mainstream. Some months ago I asked if there was interest in another one of these, and yes. There was interest! The level of interest that exists for freeware and shareware tools (in general, tools made by small creators) is really exciting to me. We see genuine enthusiasm for quirky artistic tools… things that you could basically call a creative “toy”. These things are like a breath of fresh air. To me, they remind me why it’s...

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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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