Latest Event Updates

January Party – “How to Make a Twine Ga–OH HEY We Just Made a Twine Game!”

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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.

<img src=”http://www.eventbrite.com/custombutton?eid=5236508538″ alt=”Eventbrite – Women in Games Boston – January 2013 Party” />

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October Party – “From Survival to Supermen: Horror Games and Masculinity”

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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!

September Party – Gender and Sports Videogames

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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.

August Party – How to Make a Card Game in 10 Easy Steps

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This month’s party will feature Andrea Shubert, presenting, “How to Make a Card Game in 10 Easy Steps”!

Have you ever played a strategy or trading card game and thought about making one yourself? Andrea Jennifer Shubert will walk you through the process of digitally and physically prototyping a game, from layouts and templates to wording and card art. Then comes the printing, cutting, sleeving, and collating physical cards, and eventually putting together sets for digital playtesting.

In the presentation, Andrea will describe the four stages of her prototyping process, and how to avoid common mistakes in them:

  • Design – What game are we making? What lessons can we learn from prior card games?
  • Pre-production – What art resources are there? Which apps can we use to quickly make cards?
  • Production – What are we printing our cards out on — stickers? Card stock? Paper? How do we make decks for playtest?
  • Playtest – In what format do we present the cards? Boosters or decks (for a TCG)? Playmat? Rules? Self-guided or managed?

This presentation is good for anyone who ever wanted to make a card game, and ideal for those trying to bring a card game to market.

Andrea Jennifer Shubert has been a game designer, producer or developer for the past twenty years. Her first commercial hit, Acrophobia, helped to launch the social gaming genre in 1997. She has been a part of the digital trading card game genre since its inception, first as a high-level player of Chron X, and later as a designer or producer of over a dozen games. Totaling more than 11,000 cards, she is glad that they are digital. Currently Andrea is a Product Lead at Connected Sports Ventures, and can be found on twitter @andrea2s1 or on the web at andreashubert.com.

[Andrea gave a version of this talk at No Show Conference in July and I would personally recommend it for game designers at every level, not just people interested in designing trading card games. — Courtney]

July Party – Running a Successful Indie Game Development Studio in Sunny, Delicious Boston

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It’s the best time in the world to start an independent game development studio. Journalists, publishers, and gamers are all receptive to the experiences you create; there are programmers, artists, musicians, and storytellers who want to join you; and tools that previously cost millions are now freeeeee! Here’s one datum point on how to get started, avoid pitfalls, and create great games.
 
Ichiro Lambe is Founder and President of Dejobaan Games, LLC, an independent Boston-area game development studio. He has worked in the industry since 1993, co-founding Worlds Apart Productions (later Sony Online Entertainment Denver) in 1995 and Dejobaan Games (still Dejobaan Games) in 1999. Since Dejobaan’s founding, he’s led development on the studio’s 16 titles, including the award-winning “AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! — A Reckless Disregard for Gravity” and the now-in-progress “Drop That Beat Like an Ugly Baby” (no babies harmed), “Monster Loves You!” (it doesn’t), and “Drunken Robot Pornography” (the cleanest game on the Internet).

June Party – Assumptions of Gender (featuring some women of Westeros)

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Our June party features the presentation, “Assumptions of Gender (featuring some women of Westeros)” by Tim Crosby!

As a society, we make assumptions about the gender of game characters and the gender of game players. A lot of these assumptions are problems. We’ll talk about some gender assumptions in general popular culture, and the ways that games can address these issues. We’ll also look into how this thinking shapes how Disruptor Beam is approaching gender their upcoming Game of Thrones Ascent.

After getting degrees from Caltech, Tim a spent a short time as a rocket scientist working on ballistic missile defense before going to MIT and then switching to games. He has worked at many Boston-area game companies including Irrational Games (during the time of BioShock) and Demiurge Studios (during Mass Effect for the PC). He is now game design lead and product manager at Disruptor Beam, where has helped create 50 Cent’s Blackjack and other social games. He is currently working on Game of Thrones Ascent, a social game uniquely driven by story and character. Tim’s mom is a feminist social psychologist who studies affirmative action and social justice, which may or may not explain some things about his personality. He spends an inordinate amount of time thinking about both miniature dachshunds and cephalopods.

May Party — Digital Gaming QUILTBAG-ing Circle

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This month’s party features a talk, “Digital Gaming QUILTBAG-ing Circle”, by games researcher Todd Harper.

It’s no secret to video game-loving queer folk and their allies that the letters of our ever-expanding acronym could be better represented in games, but there’s so many questions and variables involved with that. What sort of games? What sorts of themes and characters? What’s helpful and what’s hurtful? This talk shares the experiences of working with GAMBIT interns on “A Closed World,” the many responses it got, the challenges of building a followup game, and a little postmortem of the recent Cardboard Gayme Jam held at the lab. Hopefully what’s been learned through these various experiences will help shed some light and open up discussion on this very complex topic.

Todd Harper is a postdoctoral researcher at the MIT GAMBIT Game Lab, where he studies the seemingly contradictory subjects of e-sports and fighting game culture, and queer/gender representation in games. He is currently working on adapting his dissertation on the hardcore fighting game community into a book, studying sportsmanship in League of Legends, and recently gave a well-received talk on same-sex romance options in Bioware games at the Pop Culture Association Conference here in Boston.