This month’s party will feature Nina Huntemann presenting, “#1ReasonWhy I Should Sue You for Sexual Harassment”:
This month’s party will feature Matthew Weise discussing, “Deadly Premonition, the Greatest Game Ever Made.”
Camp masterpiece? Secret art game? Or just a bad game? 2011′s Deadly Premonition, a bonkers Twin Peaks-knock-off by Japanese developer SWERY, continues to confound and delight. The release of this month’s “Director’s Cut” for PS3 promises to ignite the weirdness all over again, so what better time for a close look at the game, its influences, and why it’s still worth taking seriously? Right, Zach?
Matthew Weise is a game designer and writer with deep roots in the Boston area game community. He was Game Design Director of the GAMBIT Game Lab at MIT for several years, and for the past year worked as a Narrative Designer at Harmonix Music Systems in Cambridge. Matt has given talks at various games conferences all over the world, including industry conferences like GDC and academic conferences like DiGRA. His writing has appeared in various publications and books, and his personal game writings can be found on his blog at http://outsideyourheaven.blogspot.com/.
This month’s party will feature Maddy Myers presenting, “On Harassment Policies and Proactively Making a Safe Space.”
In the workplace, at the game shop, at conventions, meet-ups, and so on, we always hope we will meet new connections for either our careers or our social lives (or both!). But, sometimes we meet people who terrify us, people who make us never want to go back. How do we make sure that predators stop feeling “safe” in our spaces, and instead make the spaces safe for the rest of us? How do we make sure that minority members of the games community become, well, less visibly minor at these events and in the industry in general? How can we best be proactive bystanders or allies for those among us who have been made uncomfortable by the behavior of another attendee at an event? If we run an event, how best can we ensure before, during, and afterward that all of our attendees felt safe and had a great time? Maddy will attempt to answer these questions, and also tell you cold truths about your “nice guy” friend who is “just bad with women”.
NOTE: Maddy does not plan, in this talk, to go into much detail about her own experiences with harassment, lest she have a panic attack, or bring one on in any of the talk’s attendees. She will do her very best to make the content of this talk accessible and painless for everyone, including herself, but she would also like to warn folks in advance that This Will Be Hard.
Maddy Myers is a journalist for the Boston Phoenix; she writes a column about video games and geek culture called “Laser Orgy”. Her writing about games has also appeared at the Border House, Kill Screen, and Paste Magazine. She also writes at her personal website metroidpolitain.com and tweets @samusclone. She has written about harassment in nerdy spaces for the Phoenix and also on her personal blog, but won’t be delving much into those details at the talk, so much as looking forward to possible solutions.
This month’s party will feature the presentation, “Depression Quest Postmortem: Making games about difficult subjects,” by Zoe Quinn.
Depression Quest is an interactive (non)fiction about living with depression, made by developers who are currently suffering from it. Making a game that is so personal presents additional challenges to the development process. This talk aims to explore why one might make a game that exposes so much of yourself, how to deal with other people seeing it, and how to try to stay sane in the process. Additionally, when making a game about a sensitive subject such as mental illness, there is an important additional process of ensuring that what you’re creating doesn’t cause more harm to those dealing with it. All this and basic postmortem material will be discussed!
Zoe Quinn is an independent game developer who solely focuses on making offbeat games. From games involving real life flamethrowers to online dating, she focuses on using games as a medium first and a product second. Depression Quest is her first commercial-ish release, and has been the hardest game for her to make yet.
This month’s party will feature the presentation, “How to Make a Twine Ga–OH HEY We Just Made a Twine Game!” by Courtney Stanton.
Do you want to make games that require little to no coding experience? Haaaaave you met my friend, Twine? Courtney Stanton will talk about how to make games in Twine by making a game in Twine (with extensive audience input) during this presentation about interactive fiction – both its history and its present explosion in popularity as a development platform.
Courtney Stanton is a project manager and game developer working in Boston. She’s worked on social and mobile game titles, and is currently the PM for the upcoming PC title, Gravity Ghost. She’s the founder of No Show Conference and Women in Games Boston (yes, this very group). She lives on the internet at superopinionated.com and on Twitter as @q0rt.
NOTE: We are meeting at a different location than we usually do! We’ll be at Tommy Doyle’s in Harvard Square, partying it up in the downstairs space, which we’ll have all to ourselves.
This month’s party will feature the talk, “From Survival to Supermen: Horror Games and Masculinity,” by Matthew Weise!
What is the relationship between survival horror, agency, and masculinity? How have hyper-masculine power fantasies colonized survival horror, and how has that affected the politics of the genre?
Matthew Weise is a game designer and writer with deep roots in the Boston area game community. He was Game Design Director of the GAMBIT Game Lab at MIT for several years, and now works as a Narrative Designer at Harmonix Music Systems in Cambridge. Matt has given talks at various games conferences all over the world, including industry conferences like GDC and academic conferences like DiGRA. His writing has appeared in various publications and books, and his personal game writings can be found on his blog at http://outsideyourheaven.blogspot.com/.
If you missed last October’s Halloween horror game talk by Matt, do yourself a favor and catch this one. And if you *were* there, then you know what you’re in for, so register early before we hit the room’s capacity!
This month’s party features the talk, “Gender and Sports Videogames”, presented by Abe Stein!
Sports videogames, that is to say those that represent and simulate the game and culture of popular sport leagues like the NBA or NHL, largely lack female representation. Only a very few instances of sports videogames afford players the opportunity to play the game as a woman.
Given the cultural association of the games to a male dominated sports culture, the concept of gender in sports videgames demands interrogation. Is it simply enough to allow players to mark a character as gendered according to a traditional, and largely outdated male/female binary without any meaningful operational or procedural change to the game? How would one go about designing a meaningfully gendered mechanic in a sports videogame? Could a sports videogame be designed to invite players to perform gender within the constraints of sports and sports culture?
Abe Stein will look at examples of gender across the brief history of sports videogames including, Baseball Stars, NHL11, Tiger Woods PGA Tour Golf, and Top Spin. By way of these examples, he will make an argument for why a superficial, largely representational inclusion of female athletes, while desperately needed in the design of sports videogames, is not nearly adequate enough. He will argue that in order for there to be a more equitable representation of gender in sports videogames, designers should create games that simulate not only women in sports, but more importantly womens’ sports and womens’ sports culture.
Abe Stein is a research associate at the MIT Game Lab and a graduate student in Comparative Media Studies at MIT. His work focuses on sports fandom and sports media. He is co-editor of the forthcoming book Sports Videogames (Routledge, 2013), and his articles and chapters have appeared in Eludamos, Well Played, Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, Loading… and James Bond in World and Popular Culture. His current research looks at many aspects of sports videogame culture, ranging from competitive e-sports, to the televisual aesthetics of mainstream sports simulations and independent sports games.
He writes a monthly column for Kill Screen magazine called Boomshakalaka!, exploring topics such as the divide between so-called “geek” and “jock” culture, the surreal aesthetics of classic basketball games, independent sports games, and the problems with mimetic interfaces.
Abe has also worked as a sound designer for television, film and games, and served as audio director for the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab. He continues to do freelance sound design and composition, and his work can be heard in Slam Bolt Scrappers, Quandary, A Slower Speed of Light, Assy McGee, This is Nollywood, and World of Zoo.