okay whatever, i don’t use this blog anymore. there will be no more updates here, got it? the best place to keep up with what i’m doing is my patreon. all of the recent posts on this blog were originally from there. additionally, if you support me on patreon, you get lots of early looks and work-in-progress updates on the stuff i’m working on. all for as little as one dollar a month.
my twitter is also a good place to find out what i’m up to.
what else is there? ongoing projects include sorry not sorry games (a place for my tabletop games) and annarchive, a repository for games and technology documents and scans. i’ve got some cool stuff in the works for it.
also, you can buy my games on itch.io. a lot of them are pay-what-you-want.
this blog was a cozy little home for a while. but i feel like i’ve outgrown it. see y’all around!]]>
a while ago i was jamming out a bunch of tabletop games really quickly. one of them was “dungeon janitor’s apprentice.” the name came from a zzt game – it’s one of the ranks you earn in proving grounds, one of the super zzt titles. it’s a really funny phrase because of the dynamic it implies, and the rest of the game came pretty naturally just from that.
well, i liked the symmetry of the game a lot, and it became clear soon that i wanted to develop it into a sorry not sorry title. in making the finished rules, i tried the cheapass games route of only using public domain art. the cover illustration is from the british library’s flickr account, and the maps, scrolls and pennants are from the scarlet heroes art pack. i’m pretty happy with how it turned out.
this version of the game is more competitive than the original prototype: there are rules for scoring and for winning. (you’re free to disregard them, of course, and just play the game until you get bored.) a big thanks to max and patrick for playtesting the game and helping me clarify what counts as call-outable or not.
dungeon janitor’s apprentice is pay what you want on itch.io.
this post was reposted from my patreon. a couple other things from my patreon lately: bad plumbing, a super mario maker level, and the undertaking, a puzzlescript experiment with form and architecture.]]>
my new site, sorrynotsorry.biz, is now online! i’ve been wanting a place and identity for my non-digital games, and that’s what this is. my digital games work, it’s becoming clear, is still grappling with the legacy of “empathy games” and it’s nice to have something apart from that. (digital games work will continue to get published under the “auntie pixelante” label.)
be witching 3.0 is out, as is an updated version of a wish for something better. everything on the website is currently pay-what-you-want; probably most things i release there will be. i have two more projects currently in development for it – for early peeks at them, become a patreon patron!
the sorry not sorry logo is by the inimitable solomon fletcher. check out the new site at sorrynotsorry.biz.]]>
on june 24th, the day after returning from new york – the site of my road to empathy show with babycastles – i was struck by a car while crossing a crosswalk in downtown oakland, breaking my arm.
ohmygod are you alright? is a game about the experience and the aftermath. it’s a game about survival, what it means, and how it traps you. it’s my most blatantly autobiographical game since dys4ia – another episode from my life marked by struggle with a medical system and uncomfortable changes to my body.
many thanks to adam hartling, jodediah holems, kirk israel, jenn kaplan, dee pozo and jeanne thornton for providing feedback on the game. thanks to the always amazing girls rituals for the use of her song in my trailer – her new album reddishness just dropped and is maybe her best yet, check it out. and thanks to terry cavanagh for creating bosca ceoil, a free music-making tool which i used to create the melodies and background music in the game.
patreon patrons got daily updates and looks at the game as i worked on it, and also got to play a near-finished version of it almost a week early. check out all these updates – the ones marked “for patrons only” are just that, work-in-progress previews and sneak peeks just for people who support me for at least one dollar a month. pledge and you can see them too!
get ohmygod are you alright? on itch.io.
this post was mirrored from a patreon post.]]>
wizard’s manse is a typeface designed to accompany magic forest: use magic forest for your main body of text and wizard’s manse for the headings, for example. it’s a small caps typeface with enlarged drop caps. been really into drop caps lately, i guess.
this truetype font was commissioned by rob beschizza, who wanted me to make it freely available. feel free to use it in all your cool projects! there’s a download link above. the font is pixel-perfect at sizes that are multiples of 16 – so size 16 is normal-sized, 32 is double-sized, etc. click here to download wizard’s manse.
you can view my original worksheet for this font at my patreon.]]>
annarchive has been around for almost two years now. it was begun as a way for me to ensure that a bunch of game-related scans stuck around after the site i found them on went down, but more and more it’s become a place for my own efforts to scan and preserve important game- and technology-related documents.
the latest of those is the joy of cybersex, a mammoth 350-page book on the pre-internet world of digital sex. i’ll let you read about it at the link, but i’m overjoyed to be able to preserve joy of cybersex and make it available to a post-internet world. it wouldn’t have been possible without simon carless’ donation of the book (he found it for one dollar at a book sale) or everyone who contributed to a campaign to crowdsource my efforts at scanning and editing the entire thing. it took way longer than i expected due to the broken arm. i’m glad it’s finally finished.
one last note: i’m collecting 3.5″ floppy diskettes. i have a usb drive and i’m scanning disks, dumping their contents and making them permanently(?) available on annarchive! if you have any old shareware disks sitting around and are interested in donating them, email me at collectfruit at gmail dot com!
this post has been mirrored from my patreon blog.]]>
a wish for something better is a little single-player self-care ritual. you play it with index cards and a pen. it came from therapy, i guess, and the places i invent when i’m depressed and need to imagine somewhere to escape to: a lighthouse on a far-off shore, protected by the crashing waves, or a houseboat drifting on a quiet sea. i lit a candle one overcast morning and played it on my common room table. and i did feel a bit better afterwards.
i came up with a draft of the rules before travelling to new york for my show, intending to have more playtesting happen when i got back. but then i was hit by a car. my arm was broken in the accident and will take at least six weeks to recover. i can type, but i’m not sure how much work i’ll be able to do, and therefore how much income i’ll have coming in. so i put the rules in their current state in a simple pdf and put it up as a pay-what-you-want on itch.io. any money you can give is appreciated! the rest of my games are also on sale at half off!
a wish for something better was inspired by some of avery alder’s games, my therapist, and my irrational romantic longing for a lighthouse.
this post was mirrored from my patreon blog.]]>
emotica is out today. i will try and keep this post short, because i was hit by a car yesterday.
i was on my way to the pub. i go to the pub every wednesday. i could have taken the bus, but i decided to walk, because it was nice out, because i would have walked past the lake. i made it one block.
i saw the car before it hit me. i knew it was going to hit me, there was no chance to get out of its way. i wasn’t afraid. at that point, it couldn’t be helped. the car hit me. i wasn’t afraid. it was just a thing that was happening. i felt a tire pass over my foot. i fell to the pavement. my sandal flew off.
two girls in school uniforms asked if i was okay. i tried to tell them that i felt fine, as i put my sandal back on, but i don’t think it came out in one piece. i adjusted my skirt.
the driver asked if she should call 911 or drive me to the hospital. i picked option two. she didn’t know where it was, i had to direct her. i tried to call my partner, accidentally dialed my parents. oh god. i wasn’t ready to talk to my mom yet. my wrist hurt, and my side where i had fallen, and my feet. my feet had skid marks on them.
i directed her to highland hospital. i chose highland because i have no medical insurance. there’s a movie about highland hospital: it’s called “the waiting room.” i was out in about three hours, which is some kind of record. my partner brought me books, because they thought i’d be in there for ages.
my arm is broken. it’s in a sling. i showed up to the pub that way, while waiting for my prescription to be filled. i know the owner. “i got hit by a car on the way here,” i told him, “and i came anyway. i figure that’s worth a free drink.” he paid for my drink. i’ll probably give him a yelp review.
it will take my arm six weeks to heal. it’s a radial fracture. no bones were displaced. her insurance is going to pay my medical bills – hopefully. she seemed very embarrassed at having smashed into me with a car. it was a little awkward. she had never hit anyone with a car before. i had never been hit with a car before.
emotica is out. i worked on it for a very long time with leon and liz. enjoy it.
(this post was mirrored from my patreon blog.)]]>
so this past saturday i put on a show with babycastles, a new york diy arcade group i’ve collaborated with before. i’d like to shout out to everyone at babycastles who helped my show happen. this is gonna be a long list so bear with me.
thanks to: sonya, who did installation and painted the footstep path leading around the gallery; robin, who installed the games and ran the projector and television array; jen who managed the item shop in a cool reflective fox mask; and krissy, sam and frank who were working the venue. also the musical acts: kate mohanty, eartheater and dark sister. without you my show wouldn’t have been a music show. i want to thank anton for designing the tiny usb boots we sold at the show, jeanne for printing and producing and shipping them, and miracle for making sure they got to babycastles. thanks to adam, leon and liz for being magnificent collaborators and putting up with my ridiculous demands. most of all i want to thank joe for coordinating all of this, helping make my staggering vision into a terrifying reality, and being the best host i could have asked for. all of y’all really came through for me.
as for the show itself: it was real cool. my mom was there. there’s a recorded livestream of the entire thing; it’s kind of dark, but you can hear my poetry reading at the 1:09 mark, and then the musical acts afterward.
the centerpiece of the show was an installation called “empathy game,” an old beaten-up pair of my boots with a pedometer attached, and a five-foot podium to hold them. visitors earned a single point for every literal mile they walked in my shoes. as i expected, most visitors tried them on, walked around the space once and put them back. two people made a dedicated effort to earn a point. those are the ones who truly learned to experience empathy.
i don’t want to get super artist statement, because i did some interviews about the exhibit that should be out soon, but the installation is a reaction to the conversation around “empathy games” and especially how privileged folks will use them as a kind of shortcut to allyship, using a game like dys4ia as a substitute for truly educating themselves on issues surrounding trans women’s lives and how to support them. you can walk literal miles in my shoes and still not have learned anything about my experience or how to be a real ally to myself and other trans ladies.
empathy game’s companion piece, “walking simulator,” was a text-only stream of consciousness projected on the wall and also on a cluster of TVs (see above). walking simulator wove together fragments of internal monologue from my daily life: anxieties about my lack of control (over my appearance, the bus schedule, the world), rambles about femme villainy, lyrics from cyndi lauper’s time after time, and stories about weird things that have happened to me on public transit. essentially, a psychic projection of what’s going on in your head as you’re wearing my boots.
i also used the show to foreground some of the less goal-oriented, more exploration-and-play-oriented digital work i’ve been doing. there was a special endless mode of gay cats go to the weird weird woods and the debut of emotica, an editable emoji game world, featuring a special recreation of the gallery itself that i built just for that night. emotica will be out this week (i hope), along with the babycastles world and a snapshot of that world that i saved at the very end of opening night, featuring everyone’s contributions and changes.
one note: if you bought one of the usb boot sculptures, due to a goof up on my part, your copy of emotica is missing sounds. when emotica goes live you’ll be able to download the sound libraries and install them in your copy of emotica.
thanks to everyone who came out to my show! the road to empathy is a long one, and the exhibit will be on display at babycastles until july 16. check it out if you’re in town during co-working hours, 10am to 6pm monday through friday! GUARANTEED TO DEVELOP EMPATHETIC CAPACITY!!*
(this post mirrored from my patreon.)]]>
my partner and i were manipulated and hurt by an abusive person who’s popular on “social justice” twitter. (not going to go into too much detail here, you can look through my twitter feed for more information.) when your abuser is a social justice favorite, you can expect your attempts at talking about your abuse to be silenced, ignored, and inevitably compared to the prison system – even though all you’ve done is tarnished their brand slightly. their brand is the root of their powers, though – it’s what enables them to dodge accountability for any of their destructive actions.
on twitter this week, yukio strachan has been talking about dr. jennifer freyd, who coined the acronym “DARVO” to describe what abusers do when confronted: Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender. abusers deflect, they flip the script, they tell everyone YOU’RE the one who abused THEM. abusers in social justice culture are particularly good at this: they know the language, they’re friends with all the pillars of the community who will rally around them if they use it. within days of victims going public about the person who hurt me and my partner, she had published a letter saying the situation was actually my fault – i had convinced everyone into speaking out (about seven people, including someone i had never spoken to before folks went public, who was convinced she was the only victim) as an act of petty vengeance on her. i had more privilege than her – “privilege” here meaning twitter follower count – so it was an easy play.
it is very very easy to hide on social justice twitter as an abuser. social justice culture builds celebrities, and these celebrities are above accountability. after all, if you’ve built your entire brand around advocating for consent, how can someone claim you’ve been sexually coercive? our abuser put it best herself when she tweeted “i own consent.” people invested in someone’s social justice brand are uninterested in examining their behavior: all it takes is a little deflection, a little bit of light-hearted redemption narrative, to make the entire situation go away for the abuser. for the victim, it means what you’ve suffered will be continuously minimized as you bear witness to voice after voice calling the person who hurt you a hero.
the feminist deck is a deck of illustrated trading cards by kiva bay (who i’m sure is a very nice person with only the best intentions) of her personal feminist heroes. whether she got consent before using these people’s images to raise over $20,000 of kickstarter funds is questionable.
who would you put on a list of feminist heroes in 2015? alicia garza, one of the co-founders of the #blacklivesmatter movement? not on the list, but skimming it i see some names (not saying who) who have said and done some problematic stuff. it soon becomes clear what issue many of these people are on the list for: gamergate. many of them are illustrated as sword-and-shield-bearing “social justice warriors,” ready to go toe-to-toe with gaming’s number one bad guy.
allow me to suggest the following: it is easy to be anti-gamergate. i don’t want to minimize the danger of being visible as a gamergate target. orchestrated harassment and doxxing is violence, can be terrifying, i know from experience. but a horde of blatant misogynists harassing women for being women isn’t exactly a nuanced issue. yes, of course they’re bad!
what are more thorny are issues within feminist communities themselves: abuse and abuse apologism in the social justice community, racism among white feminists (disclaimer: i am a white woman), feminism that further marginalizes and steals the agency of sex workers, class as a liberal tool of exploitation, yes, even among “social justice” advocates! those conversations require nuance and a willingness to take a hard look at the communities we participate in and the behavior and values of ourselves and our peers. it’s in many ways easier – and less dangerous for your standing in the community – to say “misogynist harassers are bad.” everyone agrees with that! everyone in social justice culture, at least. it’s a good platform to build a pedestal on.
the celebritizing and pedestalling of “social justice activists” could not be more dangerous. social justice culture exists nominally to advocate for the powerless and to demand accountability for harmful, oppressive behavior. when we elevate someone to the position of hero of social justice, who is left to hold them accountable? no more social justice warriors, no more icons. it’s so easy to imagine the person who hurt me and my partner as another face in the feminist deck.
the feminist deck, i’m sure, was created with only the best intentions. but intent – as social justice folks like to say – is not magic. i’ve talked to friends who are featured in the deck (not naming names again – it shouldn’t matter who, anyway) who have authorized me to say that they feel trapped there: they were not asked if the deck could feature their images until after the kickstarter blew up, and now don’t feel like they can refuse without bringing heat on themselves for sabotaging a feminist project thousands of dollars have been spent on – a social justice success story. this, to me, is “social justice” culture in a nutshell: an audience-pleasing political brand that masks the kind of coercion we’re all too eager to call out in any other context.]]>