Category Archives: pixels

queer character classes

here are some avatars i was commissioned to create for the gaymerconnect forums. a friend of mine suggested that the existing avatars that users had to choose from all skewed male – androgynous male, yeah, but as a trans woman she wasn’t comfortable wearing that as an avatar. so, i tried to fill in the blanks with a bunch of feminine, femme and genderqueer identities.

i liked mining the videogames zeitgeist for archetypes that would resonate with queer people. a glitch made immediate sense as a metaphor for a liminal identity. this was a place where the ambiguity of pixels was really useful: i wanted avatars that could be useful to butches, genderqueer or male-identified people simultaneously. i wanted a few of them to have no explicit race, and a few to have no explicit face. the astronaut, the block and the glitch have no explicit body, in the interest of not forcing someone to identify with any specific representation of one.

and there’s carmen sandiego, because i personally identify with her as a queer game icon. the gunlugger is a character class from d. vincent baker’s apocalypse world, which i owe you a post about. the paladin is based on the paladin from the nes version of ultima: exodus, with the pink armor and heart shield. the crystal warrior is inspired by marras’ art. the space pirate’s pose was copied from the title screen of “the adventures of rad gravity,” also a nes game. the block is somewhere between a tetris block and the dys4ia block. the nurse is a zombie. shit happens.

hopefully i’ve made things that people will feel comfortable having represent them. these avatars are available to every forum poster on gaymerconnect, regardless of their level of participation, as per my request. also, you can download them all and use them for whatever.

encyclopedia frown

out of nowhere, it’s pixel sundays!

we have a new kitty. not to take the place of little meowzbow – we were planning to get a third cat when we got back from my book tour who could be a good playmate for strider, our manic jock cat. the sneaky little creature we rescued is named encyclopedia frown, a black kitten with a single white whisker and a hunger for TROUBLE. (also, food. she eats a fucking lot.) she’s an investigator, and she likes hanging out in the bedroom window, watching the mysterious circumstances unfolding below. she likes pouncing on strider when he least expects it – this includes when he’s sleeping or pooping. she has some boundary issues still. she curls up next to me when i’m working and poses a serious distraction. she is shaped like a pear.

no one gets me wet like you do

another valentine’s day, another eroticized inquisition scene. this one’s related to what i drew two years ago, but with a different element.

let me tell you all about how much i love this slut of mine, my rainbow streak of a life partner. usually i’m the one who’s used to being the strong one, the one who supports her, but these past six months – when i started taking hormones – i had to rely on her to be the supportive one. at the start, taking estrogen means basically pmsing every other day, and there was a while when almost everything she said to me, no matter how neutral, made me cry uncontrollably. for a long time when we couldn’t fuck because i felt so disgusted about inhabiting in my own body that i couldn’t bear the thought of it, and i couldn’t beat her ass because i was too insecure to deal with hurting my life partner. (i’m still, in fact, getting over this.)

but she’s stuck with me through it all, protecting me, keeping me from hating myself in those moments when i feel an intense physiological imperative to do so. she has been amazingly patient and comforting and supporting and reassuring – like when, say, i have to record a video of myself speaking and rewatch it over and over as i edit it into a larger video, and it makes me incredibly self-conscious to have to hear myself as others hear me. i frankly don’t know how i would have gotten through this hormones thing – or how i would continue to get through this hormones thing – without her. it made me realize just how committed she is to the idea of being old crones together, yelling and shaking our canes at everyone who walks by.

everyone, part 5

everyone else! well, not everyone: there’s two hundred faces on my poster, but these are the last based on my friends’ beautiful mugs. pictured here: dongle, past and present collaborator, sid, jetta, myself and my ridiculous lifemate.

are you ready for ACTION SHOTTZ?? here’s hubol demonstrating how ecstatic this poster makes you, kirk demonstrating how reptilian this poster makes you, and danielle and edmund demonstration how impatient this poster makes you.

everyone, part 4

nine more faces from my poster.

this batch includes four of the game creators who have inspired me: my one-time neighbor sparky, amon26, christine love and hulk handsome. i have been pretty lucky to be able to meet all of these people whose work has informed my own.

2012 is gonna be a rad year, dudes. my book is finally coming out in march: we’re having a book release party in san francisco (during gdc), and then i’m planning to do an event with babycastles where i’ll hopefully be able to unveil a new four-player game. i also expect to have a new autobiographical flash game out and about by then. so brace yourselves! i’ll be sure to keep posting about all the exciting things going on so no one has to miss them.

everyone, part 3

MERRY PIXELS. eleven more faces from my poster, still on sale.

in this bunch are spinach, director of you meet the nicest people making videogames, and ronk, with whom i collaborated on the music video for WHOA, and an elder oak and a hand. i met both of these dudes because of the selectbutton.net, and both of them are creative dudes who need to be CREATING MORE, YOU HEAR ME, DUDES?

oh, and speaking of pixels, here’s a robo hero transformation i was commissioned to do as a christmas present for a lady who loves her partner a lot. I DO COMMISSIONS, YOU KNOW.

everyone, part 2

more faces from my new poster!

among these are treasured friends jack perkins and pedal magic, creative dudes who sometimes let us use their gigantic loft for parties. if you’ve beaten the original lesbian spider-queens of mars (not the recent sequel), you’ve probably overlooked the fact that they were credited for their invaluable creative contributions to that game (they had a few good ideas between the two of them). they attended our halloween party as a short and a tall paper mache homer simpson.

everyone, part 1

it’s pixel sundays, and i’m going to start posting characters from my new print, EVERYONE. above you can see just nine of the 204 characters that make up the print.

one of these faces – can you guess who? – is my friend miguel, a level-headed character who straddles the worlds of child and adult. miguel does a tremendous service for the rest of my circle of friends by buying all the board games so the rest of us can play them. recently he bought me a copy of risk legacy, because he wanted to play it but didn’t trust himself not to immediately OPEN EVERYTHING. you see, risk legacy is a board game that changes over the course of many plays: players found cities by putting stickers on the board, put stickers on cards that make them permanently more valuable, and – when special conditions are achieved, like one player winning at least twice or firing three missiles at once (a guaranteed victory) – packets can be opened that contain new rules that overwrite portions of the rulebook and introduce new cards and pieces. if you happen to remove absolutely everything from the box, you find this. amazing.

the parts of the game that are still risk aren’t very compelling to me. even though the designers have done a lot to make the game faster and to give players the choice of cashing in accumulated resources to replenish their armies, it still has the risk problem where the player who takes the lead in terms of army size is probably going to stay there until she wins, and other players will have fewer and fewer choices as the game goes on. but the idea of a board game that changes over time is nonetheless really appealing to me. last time i played, the winner chose to apply a penalty to australia – the easiest continent in the game to overrun and hold, supplying the player controlling it with a troop bonus every turn – making the bonus less valuable and australia a less desirable stronghold. i’m excited to see people perform this experiment with other games. we’ve been talking about what it could add to CLUE.

print for sale: everyone!

so you’ll recall that the designer who put together the cover of my forthcoming book, rise of the videogame zinesters, felt that the best way to visually evoke the book’s message that game creation is for everyone was by covering the cover with lots and lots of pixel faces. you may also recall when i stupidly took lots and lots of work on myself by telling my publisher to let me illustrate the faces myself. drawing 32×32 pixel faces, i was able to cover the entire book with 17 rows of 12 characters each – meaning two hundred and four little pixel people total, a month’s work.

i’m really proud of how it turned out. so proud that i want to put it on your wall.

buy the print at my online store!

EVERYONE is a 12.25 by 17.25 inch glossy print. 204 smiling, grimacing, leering or hmming faces in bright pretty yellow and magenta. this print looks really gorgeous in person. and i’ve got a hundred of them – maybe one has your name on it? you can order them at my new online store. the price of the print includes shipping, but IF YOU LIVE OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES, i ask that you buy the “world” version, which is five dollars extra, to account for the added cost of shipping internationally. it’ll arrive in a cardboard tube which you can then make into a super-long tunnel for your hamster or a maypole for kittens, or you can just hit people with it.

here at anna manor i’ve got some big-ass mouths to feed, including my own, so buying a print will help me stay afloat until i start seeing royalties from the book. and of course it’ll make the world and your home a more beautiful place. CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE PRINT SHOP DELUXE!