slime, twitter, thecatamites, trash, SHODAN, even…game(?)
so me and terry cavanagh (who is a wonderful person) did a talk at GDC about some of our favorite lesser known games of 2012, about curation, about making games for humans
we consciously avoided amazing but well-covered games (Dys4ia and Unmanned for example)
we had a powerpoint but we threw it out and made videos instead, some recorded in fraps, others handheld footage with terry’s phonecam.
coverage by Edge with some key quotes
list of games we talked about on screen:
Lim by merritt kopas
Republia Times by Lucas Pope
Goblet Grotto by thecatamites and j chastain
Live Forever by hubol
A Very Pink Game by sheepherds
Coletânea Esses Games Violentos by Pedro Paiva’s 11-Year-Old Students
Tape Dream by Lilith Megiddo
Asphyx by Droqen
Imscared by Ivan Zanotti
At the Bonfire by finny
mentioned as examples of good exoludic games:
Oh My Gorgons! by Alan Hazelden and Sarah Marshall
Blues for Mittavinda by Jack King-Spooner
mentioned as examples of good personal Twine games:
Rat Chaos by j chastain
Kim’s Story by Kim Moss
Nineteen by Elizabeth Sampat
i also referenced marras’ post on games and disability
quotes read during talk:
…Lim is about feeling erased and attacked. That said, I’ve been wary of presenting a one-sided, tragic view of trans experience in my games. I really feel that being trans is amazing, and we get enough tragedy in mainstream stories about trans people. There’s a lot of violence and negative experiences that go along with being a trans person, but it can also be beautiful and powerful.
So what I’ve tried to get across in my games is that being an other can be painful and horrible, but we’re rarely alone — there are others like us, and if we can find each other, we can appreciate and celebrate the unlikely fact of our existence together, in the face of a world that says that we shouldn’t be. – merritt kopas
We view apps different than books or songs, which we do not curate. If you want to criticize a religion, write a book. If you want to describe sex, write a book or a song, or create a medical app. – Apple
I was in a strange old building, seemed like a warehouse-turned-fleamarket. It seemed really big even though I only remember a few rooms.
Most of it was spent in a room with a few supposed B-movie stars that had trashed the space. We were watching a few VHS movies in enromous boxes. I got them from the market area of the building, which took up most of the rooms I visited. Some of which were really cheap and had obscured psychadelic-feeling art. One was $800 and I felt like I remembered the movie, like it was something I had wanted for a long time. It was in a large black box apart from the rest, with neon brush-marks. I couldn’t afford it though.
One of the B-movie stars was a head with his skeleton hanging out and a few organs. I was probably thinking of a leyak? I don’t remember much about the movie but it was focused on rainbow goop, kind of like Street Trash I guess. Each room had a large window, but they were closed so I could only see because there were dim-lit lights some places. – lilith megiddo
i mostly engaged with them in the same brutally stupid way i did with everything else. watching a movie when you’re 8 years old, when you kind of don’t care about a lot of the stuff like dramatic subplots and musical numbers but you accept them anyway as possibly appealing to a kind of phantasm audience that you don’t belong to but which presumably exists, and which has needs and tastes far more defined than yours. – thecatamites
We have a problem, which is not admitting the degree to which we rely on games for anesthesia. They’re disposable alternate lives that slowly devour our real ones. “Gamers” are junkies, games are their junk, and there’s a kind of game criticism that’s primary function is enabling them to deny that. When we don’t ask more from games, it’s because we don’t want them to get better. We’re afraid of the world and we’d rather explore the boundaries of these fake, facile ones. We hate ourselves and we hate our bodies and we’d rather inhabit fake selves, fake bodies.
If we gain anything from playing games nonstop for the last XX years, it’ll be through thinking about them now, finding what’s good in them, and dragging the good out of the life-devouring structures in which it is entombed. – j chastain
the full text of my interview (the one excerpted for the New Statesman article) with john brindle is out
Games that try to represent violence through graphical fidelity usually just end up being silly porn. We need words and thoughts about violence not the strangely sterile money shot of a structure exploding into attractive flames. We need survivor accounts, art about violence by people who have had violence done to them.
Text vs. graphical depictions of violence in games.
I wrote something about creation under capitalism and the way certain tools can be used to gatekeep the arts, culminating in Twine tweaks/hypertext design/resources. Each segment can be linked individually.
the greatest morality system ever devised in games was Fallout’s targeting system
deciding whether to shoot slaver’s balls off with my shotgun vs. mercy headshots is the most nuanced a game has ever gotten about ethics
Dishonored makes the mistake of telling you how to feel about violence instead of letting you make up your mind about violence in your own head
Dishonored tracks a value called Chaos. Chaos goes up by killing. Doesn’t matter who you kill. Zombies, cops, alleyway murderers, magical assassins–no matter where you are and who you kill, you cause Chaos to go up.
In this game that tracks Chaos, your major enemies are the police and the church, two of the biggest symbols of Order imaginable. Destroy order but don’t cause chaos. Destroy order in an orderly fashion.
Sneaking around the air ducts of Steampunk Police Station, Corvo seeks to change the system from within
Prometheus is a movie where they cast a young dude as a super old guy because they can? they use six hours of makeup to do this.
there are no old actors who would appreciate work. you must hire a handsome young man and remake him.
The idea of passing can be so poisonous to trans culture, reliant as it is on what straight culture defines. Excerpts from a popular high traffic forum:
“Vocabulary: this one is big! Listen to words women use that men don’t, and listen the other way as well.
Swearing: just don’t do it. It is not an attractive feature of either gender’s speech, but is especially horrible for a woman’s image.
Abbreviation: It’s not a hard and fast rule, but NOT using abbreviations will feminize your speech.
Singing instead of talking: a woman actually sings her sentences, and uses inflection almost on every syllable, much less every word?”
“A few more ideas for feminizing your voice:
use your womanwords, not your manwords–manwords include: “spikebrut”, “ballbuster”, “peniscock”, “rugged tree abrasions”, and “sportsbutt”
being pretty is cool! but it shouldn’t turn into the green card of gender, with all that entails…the constant scraping for conditional approval that can be revoked at any moment.
one defense of Bioware is that they make popcorn videogames that are enjoyed by a wide spectrum of people–that they may not be literature but they’re telling some kind of big sweeping story and offering loads of entertainment. this is false. to call them digestible fare is a specious lie. i would love it if bioware made common denominator, disposable, entertaining games. their games are turgid, indigestible, monotonous slogs.
bioware’s games do not deserve to be talked about. they do not deserve the many, many articles and deconstructions they’ve accrued due to their pop culture cachet. they are forgettable, with terrible, one-note (one may be too generous) characters, and design that specializes in the infantilization of the player.
they cling to genre as if any deviation from the most saccharine, predictable plotting were certain death, as if any modest flourish of humanity or sophistication were anthrax waiting to be inhaled, yet they fail to entertain or work within even the most basic strengths of their genres.
real talk: there is no facet or branch of design that bioware does not fail at on a ludicrous, embarrassing level, so stop taking them seriously.