Sundays are for juggling while slacklining. This isn’t even my final form, etc. Here’s the best writing about videogames from the past week.
For his blog, Nico Tuason chronicled the ten years that have passed since he started making videogames, right from his very first animation. It’s remarkable to see so much of someone’s life laid out like this, with pivots into parenting, promising egg tart recipes, and a volcanic eruption.
But I didn’t get very far… after 3 months I got stuck. Sure I had little ships shooting missiles at each other and blasting each other with lasers, but I realized those are only small parts of what makes a great game. What about the atmosphere? The backstory? The motivation for the journey?
I got too ambitious, and ended up feeling paralyzed. I decided the best course of action was to cut my losses and release the game for free.
To get back a bit of confidence, I joined another 48-hr game jam called Ludum Dare, which happens 3 times a year. It’s the biggest online game jam community and it’s really fun! Participants get to vote on the theme before the jam starts. I really wanted the theme to be “Potatoes”, but the winning theme turned out to be “Minimalism”. Feeling robbed, I made a game about Potatoes beating up Minimalists.
For PC Gamer, Esports presenter Frankie Ward talked about the sexism and harassment she’s encountered in the games industry.
I came into the gaming industry in a position of power. As a producer at Twitch, the most trouble I encountered was having a (now former) staff member look at a presentation for a show I was planning featuring four male and four female Twitch partners and tell me there were “too many women” in the line-up. As someone who worked very closely with Twitch Partners in the UK, the most difficult thing for me was narrowing the names of those four women down, not finding them in the first place. Later that year, my first annual review explained; “Frankie works hard for equality and, while this trait is admirable, she needs to understand that we should always hire the best person for the job”.
For Eurogamer, Emma Kent did the same.
I eventually spoke out, and the man responsible for sexually harassing me was held accountable for his actions. Encouraged by the bravery of other survivors, I recently added my voice to the many who are sharing their own experiences, a process that has finally brought me some relief. But between my story and others, it’s clear the games industry has a culture that enables this abuse. And that needs to change.
Marina Kittaka blogged about the many problems with the video games industry, and how we might fix them. It’s an impressively considered piece, with some big ideas I haven’t seen before.
Here we come to my main purpose in writing this piece: to expand the imaginative space around video games by tearing out The Industry Promise at its roots. If wonder is not scarce and progress is not linear, then the world that rises from the ashes of the Video Games Industry can be more exciting and more technologically vibrant than ever before.
For Fanbyte, Waverly Wilson dove into why so many games send us clambering through the bodies of bigger things. Turns out the phenomenon has a name, and all.
Vore levels come in many forms; sometimes they’re familiar, other times they’re completely alien. But these instances appear in games all the way back to the Atari and are still showing in titles as recent as God of War (2018). Due to this persisting theme appearing it feels necessary to unpack why video games continue to return to the theme of being trapped in or adventuring through another’s body.
For The Conversation, Suttha Burawonk explained what (we think) the hell is going on with blindsight, a strange condition where blind people… can see. It has Implications for Consciousness.
One day, some psychologists placed Barry in a corridor full of obstacles like boxes and chairs. They took away his walking stick and told him to walk down the corridor. The result of this simple experiment would prove dramatic for our understanding of consciousness. Barry was able to navigate around the obstacles without tripping over a single one.
Barry has blindsight, an extremely rare condition that is as paradoxical as it sounds. People with blindsight consistently deny awareness of items in front of them, but they are capable of amazing feats, which demonstrate that, in some sense, they must be able to see them.
People Make Games asked people why they’ve been playing Cookie Clicker for the past seven years. A valid question, treated in the spirit of celebration rather than judgement.
Music this week is One + One by Graeme James.