so the theme of arse electronika, an annual conference about sex and technology, was “games” this year. they gave me a lifetime achievement award. it was a plastic model of a black knight on a horse. the thing took place at the kink dot com armory, which is gross. i wore a sparkly skirt i found at a thrift store for four dollars yesterday. i gave the speech below.
HEY, i’m going on tour tomorrow! i’ll be speaking at the radical books pavilion of baltimore book festival on saturday at 5pm, with craig saper. then it’s on to indiecade, san jose and toronto. there’s a link on the right you can click on to grab a list of my tour dates. come see me talk!
anyway, the speech:
so i’m standing here at arse electronika, the “sex and technology” conference, surrounded by what are undoubtedly a lot of silicon valley tech dudes. we’re here to celebrate the intersection of sex, games and technology, but i want to tell you: there’s something more important to games about sex than technology, and that’s ACCESS TO TECHNOLOGY.
almost all of the queer people i know, including myself, live in poverty. the bay area is an expensive place, and there sure are a lot of castaways and runaways who find their way here. i live paycheck to paycheck, and because i’m a freelancer, i have no idea when the next paycheck is. i have an ipad because someone DONATED one to me, not because i could ever afford one.
most of my games – the games that, i assume, got me here – are made with free software. i do my mixing in audacity. i get my graphics from google image search. and ALL of the games i’ve played about real sex in the last six months have been made by queer people using free software. in most cases, it was a program called twine, which creates hypertext fiction and generates self-contained, ready-for-the-web html files.
technology that only a small minority has access to is useless.
let me tell you about a game i’m working on right now. it’s called SPANK OR DIE. it’s a rhythm game, kiiiiind of like guitar hero, except that you play it by spanking a real human butt at the right time. the butt is the peripheral. the computer knows when you spank the butt.
what technology am i using to register butt input? i don’t have access to a lot of technology. i’m not rich and i’m not an engineer. i’m using a device called a “makey makey,” a simple, labelled circuit board that plugs into a usb port and comes with alligator clips. the player holds one clip, the other is attached to anything that can conduct a signal – a coin, a banana, a piece of clay, a person. when the player touches the other object it completes a circuit, and the computer registers a key press.
it’s designed to be simple enough that a kid could use it. it’s for everyone. it cost me forty bucks.
the only way that we’re going to see more, and more meaningful, games about sex is by giving EVERYONE the technology to make them.
thank you and good night.