Game Journal

Or maybe Journal Game? I'm not sure what to call it yet, but it's an idea I've been kicking around since last fall. I was working on a bunch of short stories about gamifying everyday life, and I kept thinking, "Wrong medium." What better way to discuss that kind of gamification than to make a game of it? So I'm thinking of creating an open-ended Twine game, loosely based on the events of my recent life. An interactive journal. I'm not sure how much interest there would be in something so personal, but it will be fun to work on. I might even start a Patreon to fund it. This project will give me something to focus on while I'm getting my head together. If I can earn a little money for it, all the better, but that's not its purpose. 

I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, if you know of any interactive journals or games about the dailiness of life, please link me to them.

Codille

Tomorrow it will be one month since my Old Man Cat died. Everybody knows Codille's death hit me hard and that grief laid me low for a while. I still miss him every single day. I've had a tribute to him on the front page of this website for a while, but now I'm moving it here. It's not about forgetting him or our fifteen years as companions—I never will—but I need to stop focusing on my grief and start trying to put my life back together. 

 

Codille in happier days, basking in the rare Seattle sunlight.

Codille in happier days, basking in the rare Seattle sunlight.

New Adventures

I'm leaving Quebec City and heading home to DC for a little break. While I'm there, I'm interested in taking on new projects. Something small and fun would be exciting. If you're an indie company or small studio looking for a writer, or if you have a project that you think I could help with, please drop me a note through my Contact page. I'm looking for new adventures. ^^

Note: Many of you have written to support me and to lament that you don't know of any projects  in the DC area. First of all, thank you all so much for your encouragement and kindness. It means more to me than you know. Second, I'm going to DC to regroup; I'm not necessarily staying there long term. And I'm emerging from this experience with the need to work on a meaningful project. So if you know of small or indie companies ANYWHERE who are looking for a talented gamewriter, or if you know of someone working on a game that screams "Anna" to you, please let me know. 

#GameFaves

I've started a little tradition on Twitter. Every Saturday I tweet about a lesser-known game that inspires or delights me. I went through some hard times this year, and it helps to remind myself of how wonderful games can be. Anyone can join in by tagging their tweets with #GameFaves, and it's been fun to tweet along with people as we discuss our gaming loves.

I've had guest hosts recently, and it's been interesting to see what games excite other people. For example, I'd never heard of Ecstatica until Marc Laidlaw mentioned it. Now I'm ransacking the used game stores in town to see if I can find a copy.

Because Twitter is ephemeral, there's no permanent record of our tweets. So this post is where I'll keep track of the titles we discuss. 

 

 

Walking the Walk

Some men in the games industry are as sick of seeing women left off panels and out of public discussions as I am. They got together and signed a pledge to not participate in any panels that don't have women on them. I hear that their stand will soon extend to all kinds of diversity, so we can hope to start seeing people of all races, genders, and sexualities speaking soon, too. If the industry listens.

This is a fantastic step for allies to take. This goes beyond merely supporting women or raising awareness. This is concrete action that will have an affect on the industry. Very excited to see this happen and can't wait to see the list grow.

Their Tumblr page is here: http://plzdiversifyyourpanel.tumblr.com/

Check out their Twitter hashtag: #PlzDiversifyYourpanel

Check out their Twitter hashtag: #PlzDiversifyYourpanel

A Rough Week

So...as you all probably know, this has been a rough week for me. Murdered came out and was not received well by critics.  To say the least.

IGN review

IGN review

There's a lot I'd love to say about what happened on the project and my role in it, but I obviously can't for NDA reasons. 

I want to thank my peers in the industry who wrote to ask me for my side of the story or wrote just to support me in a difficult time. It means so much that you have faith in me. When things calm down, I'll write a post mortem about my experience on Murdered. I'll be contacting other writers and creators for anecdotes about working on projects that, uh…got away from them. 

In the meantime, all I can do is refer people to the blog post below and reassert that there is very little of my writing or design in the game.

My New Job

Well, my hiatus was wonderful, even though I didn't accomplish as much as I wanted to. But all good things must end, so I started job hunting in January. I'm extremely fortunate to have found something right away.  I'm excited to say that I'm joining the writing team at Ubisoft Quebec to work on Unannounced AAA Title. I know, I know: game titles are so unimaginative these days.

I'll be around Seattle for at least another month or two while I wait for my visa to clear. That gives me just enough time to wrap up this writing project, say my goodbyes, and learn some basic French. 

ubisoft for website.jpg

The Problem in Brief

So…I got into a little dustup on Twitter today. That's not unusual. Any woman in the games industry who puts herself out there finds her opinions challenged all the time. What's different about this argument is that Jessica Price storified it:

http://storify.com/Delafina777/why-it-s-so-hard-to-get-better-portrayals-of-femal

(Thank you, Jessica!)

The saddest part of the situation is that guys like that don't even see that they are part of the problem. This guy started off discussing how to get women more into the industry but ended up displaying exactly why there are so few. Conversations like this make me grateful for the all the open minds I know.

 

Is Video Game Creativity Dead?

Some of the statements I made in my Giant Bomb interview continue to haunt me. Here, writer Cal.L examines my assertion that the industry is stagnating.

http://gamersyndrome.com/2013/video-games/are-video-games-stuck-in-rut/

I like this article—not just because the author agrees with me and provides evidence to bolster my point, but because it gives a shout-out to indie games. I spoke with Patrick Klepek at PAX on Saturday, after speaking at my panel and touring the main expo hall floor. Everything I had seen up until that point confirmed my worst fears about the industry churning out formulaic shooters and endless sequels. There wasn't a single game I wanted to demo. Even my usual thirst for swag died in the face of so much sameness. I felt…bored. And it was directly from this experience that I went to chat with Patrick. I hadn't yet seen the Indie Games MegaBooth. If I had, my interview would have gone differently.

I want to be clear that I stand by my claim about the industry being trapped in stale thinking. I'm not taking it back. But I'll qualify that statement by noting that indie games are pushing innovation in ways that big-budget projects can't and aren't. Gone Home, That Dragon Cancer, Unfinished Swan, Thomas Was Alone, Kentucky Route Zero, and Papers, Please are all small titles with a big impact. The lonely poetry of KRZ  is exactly the sort of game I told Patrick I've been missing. Gone Home offers a fresh narrative perspective. Papers, Please will make you question your ethics. All of these games are pushing the creative boundaries of the industry. They are redefining what the medium can express and how it can make people feel. 

Maybe it's too much to ask that blockbuster games innovate. Maybe it's enough that they provide a familiar and reliable experience. I hate to give up on AAA titles, though. I would love to see more big-name projects borrow energy from their indie counterparts and try something besides a proven formula. I would love to see them take some major risks. I would love to see some unusual gameplay mechanics, at the very least. Until then, I'll keep funding Kickstarter projects and supporting independent studios.

Source: http://gamersyndrome.com/2013/video-games/...

Epic Rap Battles of Tyria: Adelbern vs. Kisu

Robert Gee, our GW Skills Master, tries his hand at an ERBoT: Adelbern vs. Kisu


ADELBERN

 The name's Adelbern, the K-I-N-G

Retreat now Kisu you can't beat me

I got Magdaer in my hand and a crown on my head
I'm taking this "To the Limit!" and putting you to bed
 
I'm hero of the Guild Wars elected by the masses
You're just a figurehead ruler who hasn't got the brasses
I earned my kingship with deeds you got it on a silver platter
You wear a purple dress too that makes it even sadder
 
KISU
You're the king of Ascalon but Cantha is greater.
I rap from a gold palace; Your kingdom's nothing but a crater.
I'm closer to the stars, ascended through the age
Insult these royal robes and you'll face the dragon empire's rage
 
My country has an ocean of jade all you've got is dirt
The gap between us is so bad it must hurt
We've got so many riches here it's gonna make you cry
Our guilds are better too you know I don't Xun-lie
 
ADELBERN
Your half-brother would have been a bigger challenge than you
Even though he's losing hair he's still got his rap fu
Do you even do anything besides hand out hats?
You're stinking up this battle like a celestial rat. 
 
I charge into battle, you hide behind walls
You're a miserable coward, let me list out your shortfalls:
You're helpless, you got kidnapped by a royal bodyguard
If you ever stepped foot in my country you'd just get CHARRed
 
KISU
From Harvest Temple to the Raisu Palace
I survey all I see without a hint of malice
You've got anger problems Adel just face the facts
Not that I can blame you when you got beat by some cats
 
You banished your own son because he talked some smack
It's no wonder that nobody else has got your back
You're sad lonely monarch on a tiny little throne
You like to talk big but you're just overblown
 
ADELBERN
You were never my prince and you were never my son
But you're still a kid compared to me when all is said and done
Your whole empire gets overthrown because of some brat named Ashu
Hold onto your robes while this next verse goes past you:
 
I fought off titans with a party of four
I've faced armies of charr and come back for more
I count my victories in the twenty score
My legends reach from mountain to shore
You're a bore, 
a chore, 
a royal eyesore.
Challenge me and you'll be finished off before
You even feel your body hit the floor
 
I'll be remembered for centuries you're just a footnote
You get mired by your minsters but I go for the throat!
You're no match for me, you might have been a contender
But you forgot something important: Ascalon will never surrender!
 
KISU
You're a phony excuse for a king that can't even rhyme.
And your sword ain't that great I see them drop all the time.
Kowtow before me I come from generations of kings
Now listen up while I teach you a few things:
 
My rhymes are like dragons they spit soar and spit fire
Your lyrics are sloths they flop and get tired
My people stay inspired
Yours have all expired
Your kingdom is a mire
On its final funeral pyre
I'll keep going higher and higher
While all you can do is sit back and admire
How my land shines like a sapphire
 
Your country Ascalon though it doesn't look that great
It’s sad that you can't beat those charr, they're only level 8!
Now with my final words the tide I'm gonna turn
So "Watch Yourself!" Adel, you just got BERNED.

 

GW2 Halloween Poems

Halloween is a major holiday in Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2. Every year, ArenaNet works hard on decorations and festivities to celebrate the occasion and make it special for the players. Part of the tradition is a spooky poem themed along that year's events. Arena just posted readings of all the Halloween poems ever written for the game, including one I co-wrote with Matthew Moore in 2010. Happy listening!

https://soundcloud.com/arenanet/sets/guild-wars-halloween-poems

My GeekGirlCon Panel: Play to Win

I finally got my mitts on the video for the panel I spoke on at GeekGirlCon ths past weekend. Cameron Harris, Donna Prior (substituting last minute for Regina Buenaobra), Jessica Price, Jennifer Brandes Hepler, and I spoke about the #1reasonwhy phenomenon and what life in the game industry is really like for women. So here we are, discussing some deeply personal issues. 

"Play to Win: The Real World of Women in Games."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0uBGkUInLU

*Big thanks to Matthew Moore for recording the panel for us.

GeekGirlCon Mention

I spoke on a #1reasonwhy panel at GeekGirlCon this past weekend and had a lot of fun. I'll be posting video of the panel shortly, but while gathering info on the GGC site, I noticed this:

Regina and Filamena couldn't make it, so we had to scramble a bit to rework our discussion. Jennifer Hepler's story alone sums up #1reasonwhy and explains #1reasontobe, so I hope we didn't disappoint Alison.

Interview with Debuffed: Out of the Box

I did a live interview yesterday with the Grievance Gaming clan, on their Debuffed: Out of the Box show. I wasn't sure what to expect, but they were very cool people. Thanks, Steelheart and Ehvayne! John Ryan and I had a lot of fun.

You can see the videos here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5vCtC_oFSs

 http://www.twitch.tv/grievance/b/470283431

Things to look for as you're viewing:

  • Codille's attempt to become internet famous.
  • John Ryan's reaction to some hidden dirt about the British Museum.
  • The sun slowly setting as the interview went on, leaving me in darkness by the end.
  • Nixy turning my camera off.
  • Fangirling by multiple people.
  • And this:

Thanks a lot for having us on your show, GG!