On Monday I posted on several social networks and mailinglists (g+, twitter, FB) to share an article by Anjin Anhut that was looking at recently released game Spelunky from a gender perspective. Was hoping Anjin would get some more feedback on his article as he has interesting observations. Usually the most obvious points with gender and games are raised when something happens in the game industry that shocks the community. But this article looks at a beloved indie hit and takes an in-depth look at some of the imagery and use of common concepts, meaning and cultural significance of for example the damsel. (Sadly the website is now down, Anjin told me it would hopefully be up again this week).
The article sparked quite some debate on twitter, g+ and the website and Anjin stated he was going to make some changes to it in regard to the feedback he gotten.
In the evening I had a conference call with Iris Peters of Digitale Werkplaats Den Bosch with whom I have worked earlier last year when I organized a gamestorm for Game-City Den Bosch (back then organized by bArt). They are working on a game design challenge for a “Bosch Art Game” for Bosch 500 and we discussed judges, instructions, terms and conditions for the participants.
As mentioned before I am collaborating with Peter de Jong (DGA Dev Sig), Liselore Goedhart (lizzywanders / monobanda) and Kitty Calis (Control Magazine) to screen Indie Game: The Movie in an actual film theatre as we believe it deserves a broader audience and a big screen. I initiated and am now managing the project and spam the others to death with to do lists, google docs and requests to look at yet another something.
On Wednesday ‘t Hoogt placed IGTM on their website and kicked off the ticket sale, which meant we could actually start communicating it to the world now! I was planning on writing a press release for the Indie Game: The Movie screening but decided it might prove more useful for the time being if we had a proper website and proper domain where we could share updates and the background of why we are doing this in the first place. So Wednesday I did all that (and Thursday and Friday).
I always want to experiment with new tools, but I also needed something quick and easy so we could start communications for the event. I’ve tried wordpress, blogspot and other tools before, but what would be quick, easy and not ugly to look at? A google search gave me Weebly. It features a drag and drop environment so the user can focus on content. And man was it easy to use! I wondered why I hadn’t made my own website in it. Of course Weebly also comes with its limitations, but it was perfect for our current purpose. I tweaked and fiddled with it, bothered Liselore so she would give a proper lizzywanders logo (which she was redesigning for a while) and wrote a lot of copy for the website. I also registered igtm.nl… et voila! A website was born. (I actually did a superhappy victory dance when everything worked as it was supposed to, including domain name and logos, because everyone who has fiddled with websites knows what an utterly frustrating struggle it can be).
But a website is oh so static you say? Indeed! Later that week (Friday) I also created a Facebook event so we could invite people and friends and see what interest is out there. Still considering to also create a G+ events page.
I worked until quite late and had a relatively early appointment the next day with Iris again. We met in this lovely nice coffee place near me: Two For Joy Coffee Roasters. This time we discussed a three day event in December I will curate for them, and talked about collectives, igloos, the fantastic playful exhibition in Paris’ La Gaîté Lyrique “Joue le jeu” and a possible event for next year. Always get so many ideas in conversations like this. It was good to see Iris was equally excited.
The rest of the day I worked on tweaking the website, updated Liselore’s logo and the DGG one (they got new branding which they will reveal after summer) and wrote some more texts and background. Meanwhile we were also emailing with Richard Boeser who agreed to create a special flyer for the event which he would start working on the following week.
On Friday I went to Valentina (of Playful Pandas) as she was stuck at home for a week because of the flu. I decided to bring some healthy pieces of fruit, she was quite delighted with it! She’d asked me in a tweet before if I would be interested in a book project she had in mind and we talked about the possibilities of it.
On Saturday I had originally planned a new project which involves talks and performances, and had already reserved Dutch Game Garden’s atrium for it. But due to all IGTM screening preparations I hadn’t had time to actually make the necessary plans and arrangements so cancelled the event before I started advertising it. But! It will happen! One of these days.
On Sunday I watched a couple of talks via the live-stream of the No Show Conference organized by Courtney Stanton in Boston. The goal of No Show Conference is “to give game industry professionals a space to explore our skillsets, our motivations, and our limits as developers”. The conference itself was praised for its approach and the male-female speaker ratio which was 50/50.
I enjoyed watching the talk by Deirdra Kiai who took the audience on a trip to an alternate universe where the gameworld is inhabited by women and the men are a rare exception. As one tweet mentioned:
And indeed it was powerful. And important to note that she told the audience that she doesn’t actually want to live in that world. Watch the whole talk here: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/24021355
Another talk by Jim Munroe of the brilliant Hand Eye Society in Toronto grabbed my attention. I have seen him doing a talk before at GDC in San Francisco in 2009, his initiatives were so aligned with what I wanted to do for the (Dutch) game industry back then that I dismissed my shyness for the time being and approached him (I think somewhere on the staircase) to tell him how much I loved his talk and ideas. He was really nice about it. Now, some years later he talked about the projects they have done and the lessons learned. All up for grabs here. Awesome.
I still have a blogpost or article planned that gives an overview of worldwide organizations and initiatives that are toying with similar ideas and projects.
Sunday evening it was time for our weekly executive global game jam call and it was my turn to chair the meeting, which went swift and we got to check a few things off our to do list.
This week I also picked up my habit of music/ rhythm games again and tried to find a couple new ones for the iPad. Ultimately I found Cytus and Tone Sphere. Cytus reminds me of Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! mixed with Pulse by Cipher Prime and a bit of Japanese DDR music. Tone Sphere by bit192‘s Sta Kousin is from a different caliber: For one it uses portrait mode and it doesn’t hesitate to disorient the player by moving the background, foreground and the buttons you have to press, simultaneously. This ’3D rhythm game with motion graphics’ has beautiful visuals and keeps the player on her toes and asking for more. My favorite level song is Negator / Sabremissile.
Leaving you with the trailer of the game: