The rest of my year…

In just 3 days, I’ll be moving out of Santa Cruz and going off on some new and exciting adventures!

First off, I’ll be making a week-long stopover in Portland to see friends, followed by another week and a bit in my former hometown of Vancouver. For the month of September, I’ll be in Montreal, for no reason other than it’s a lovely city and I want to get to know it better, and find out if moving there permanently would be feasible for me.

In October, I’ll be going to the Forbes Under 30 Summit, which will involve not only the 30 under 30 in games among whom I was recognised earlier this year, but also the 30 under 30 in everything. It’s going to be… interesting, for sure. After that, I’ll be back in California, first for QGCon, which I’m once again helping organise, and then IndieCade.

After that, I’m off to Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont for a week-long residency and my first-ever solo artist exhibition! I am, of course, very excited about this and will definitely share more about it soon.

Afterwards, I’ll be making a short stop in Toronto to attend WordPlay, and then will head off on a trip to Japan and the Philippines to celebrate my 30th birthday. In December, I’ll return to the SF Bay Area for GX3. After that? I’m not quite sure yet. Stay tuned!

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Conversations We Have In My Head

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I’ve released a new game, called “Conversations We Have In My Head”. It is on sale for the price of “whatever you want” (including free) on my new favourite videogame storefront, itch.io.

Many of us have voices in our heads that constantly remind us of our perceived failures and inadequacies. Sometimes, those voices appear to us in the form of a once-important, now-estranged person from our past. This is a game about having one of those conversations with that voice in your head, and the many ways it can go.​​

Contains some strong language and discussion of heavy topics. Probably not the sort of thing you’d want young kids to play.

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Summer Activities

Earlier this month, I finished a Digital Arts & New Media MFA at UC Santa Cruz! I’m surprised by a) how quickly it went, and b) how much I managed to get done and how much my life changed in the process.

As I prepare to transition back to life as a non-student, I will be keeping myself busy by co-teaching a summer class on videogame design to high schoolers. I am also co-organizing a low-fi DIY game-making event this weekend called SCRAP [1] and, in a couple of weeks, will be speaking and running a game of Coffee: A Misunderstanding at the Games + Learning + Society conference.

And, of course, I’m continuing to make games! If, by any chance, you’d like to help financially support my game-making practice as I try and make it out into the big, scary world, I have a Patreon and an itch.io store. Hint hint.

Footnotes:
  1. Santa Cruz Retreat for Analog Play, in keeping with my abiding love for SCUMM-esque acronyms.
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Tentacles Growing Everywhere: An Adventure in Awkward Alien Adolescence

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Puberty is weird and awkward, especially when you happen to be a tentacled space alien!

In this incredibly queer mashup of Judy Blume, Babysitters Club, and pulpy sci-fi, join three childhood friends — Charlie, Jace, and Valentine — as they write to each other in their online journals about going to new schools, fitting in, crushing on cuties, dealing with adults who just don’t understand, and of course, all those bizarre new changes taking place in their bodies.

Buy it for $2 (USD) on itch.io or get a free copy by supporting me on Patreon!

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So You’ve Been Called Out: A Handy Guide to Receiving Social Justice-Related Criticism on the Internet

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Happy Monday! I wrote a new, non-fiction interactive Twine piece called So You’ve Been Called Out. Here is my “artist’s statement” of sorts about it, directly from the piece itself:

I see people writing about “callout culture” a lot, and while a lot of digital ink seems to be spilled on scrutinising the behaviour of people who do the calling out, very little seems to get said about ways to constructively react when you are the recipient of a callout.

When we are called out for saying or doing something derogatory, dismissive, or otherwise hurtful towards a marginalised group of people, it can often be a hard pill to swallow, even if it is feedback that we desperately need to hear. I believe that if we can learn to take such criticism of our behaviour not as permanent indictments of character but as learning experiences, our communities will be stronger, healthier, and better at conflict resolution.

If anything, I wrote this guide because I need it for myself. If anyone else happens to find it useful, all the better. Thank you for reading.

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Squinky Plays Squinky – Cubert Badbone

I made a Let’s Play video, like all the Kids These Days™ are doing! The subject of said video, in an exciting turn of events, is a game of my own that I made when I was sixteen. So, it’s kind of like a Let’s Play version of Throwback Thursday, except I’m either too late or too early for Thursday. Oh well.

Anyway. Cubert Badbone, P.I. was, much like its later and way more popular successor Dominique Pamplemousse, a sillier, floofier version of a noir detective story, and it was interesting to play this game again for the first time in many years, while documenting the process. Some general insights I noticed were as follows:

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GDC 2015: on community, family, and loneliness

Last week was my seventh year attending the annual Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco. [1] I’ve been around long enough to notice that a lot of things have changed since then, to the point that this year, it felt like there were actually two conferences happening. There was the one where people were apparently really excited about VR, to which I didn’t really pay all that much attention. And then there was the one about the real world we live in, in which that-gate-that-shan’t-be-named and those complicit have been, and still are, destroying our community, and what do we do now?

As game makers, we think in systems, and the problem many of us are trying to solve right now is, how do we fix this so that we can go back to happily making games without fear of harassment? But there’s no easy solution, and in fact, there are even deeper problems. Marginalised gamedevs have being harassed and ostracised since way before 2014, not just from the outside, but from the inside, too. Even those of us who are ideologically similar in that we want game-making and game-playing to be accessible to everyone can be horrifyingly quick to turn on one another over the most trivial of slights. We talk a big game about inclusivity, but as soon as we feel included, very few of us actively continue to lend a hand to those still trapped in the margins.

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Footnotes:
  1. I’ve been going since 2007, but skipped a couple of years in ’09/’10 because, ironically, I had a game industry job that didn’t give me enough vacation days to go, and then got laid off the next year and couldn’t afford to go.
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