carmen sandiego is my queer videogames role model. a femme criminal mastermind who – and this was pretty important to a protean trans girl – maintained complete control over her identity and appearance, only appearing how and when she wanted to appear. i can’t remember any woman videogame character from my childhood who was more powerful and less objectified, who in fact had the power and authority to conceal her own face and identity.
a while ago i decided i wanted to make a digital game with real-world (or “terror dome”) components. sort of like the encyclopedias that came with the carmen sandiego games i played as a kid, except describing fantastical and imaginary places – sort of like walter moers’ 13½ lives of captain bluebear. originally, i wanted to distribute my game’s encyclopedia as an optional paper zine (with a free text file equivalent). i still might do that.
the documentary “gaming in color” commissioned me to create a game for their kickstarter, which i took as my opportunity to finally make the carmen sandiego homage i’d planned. by our contract, their kickstarter backers got exclusive access to the game for a month. now WHERE IN THE GALAXY IS KREMLIN SAN ANTONIO? is available to everyone, for three dollars!
i’m really interested in the carmen sandiego games as not just educational tools, but as interactive fiction. check it: in WHERE IN TIME IS CARMEN SANDIEGO? there’s a whole detective headquarters you can explore. in that headquarters is an employee lounge where you can go to get a cup of coffee from a coffee machine. sometimes the cup falls and lands upright, and coffee squirts out and fills it perfectly. sometimes the cup lands on its side and coffee pours all over it. neither outcome has any quantifiable effect on the course of the game. it’s just TEXTURE.
i was really interested in giving kremlin san antonio that kind of texture. the “either” command that unsung hero leon arnott has implemented in the latest version of twine makes it really easy to write randomly-pieced-together phrases, sentences, paragraphs – to use chance in the completely ephemeral ways that make interactive fiction so interesting to me. texture.
where in the galaxy is kremlin san antonio? is currently on sale at gumroad and itch.io for three dollars. (if you want to buy with paypal, the itch.io link is the way to go). the game comes with a txt containing the encyclopedia to the game’s worlds, as well as an html file (OPEN_ME.HTML) that will open the game and the encyclopedia in splitscreen mode. you could also print out the encyclopedia and keep it with you while you play the game. maybe i still wanna do a zine version.