Thursday, February 4, 2016

Radiator World Tour, spring 2016

Here are my current games event plans for the upcoming 2016 games event season. It's pretty packed. If you'll be around too, feel free to say hey if you see me.
  • GDC 2016 in San Francisco, California (March 16-18)
    Originally I wasn't planning on going (I've attended GDC for the last 4 years straight!) but then I got invited to give a microtalk, so I couldn't pass that up. My micro talk will be entitled, "Are Games Art?" The answer may surprise you!!!!!!
  • Different Games in Brooklyn, New York (April 8-9)
    I've always liked the eclectic mix of artists, community activists, and academics here, it's like the east coast version of the Queerness and Games Conference in Berkeley. I'll also always be grateful for the arts grant they gave me, which more or less jumpstarted my current gay sex games streak.
  • AMAZE in Berlin, Germany (April 20-23)
    I'll be presenting my recent work and research on gay sex games... I think? I've never been to Amaze, or even Berlin, before, but I hear many good things about both, so it'll be nice to finally see what all the fuss is about.
  • IndieCade East in New York City (April 29-May 1)
    I put in a talk submission, about video game lighting and Magic Mike / male strippers, which I think many people will enjoy on multiple levels. Even if I don't get in, it'll be nice to just float around with no responsibilities. I usually try to make it for Night Games, at the very least.
  • Games for Change in New York City (June 23-24)
    I put in a talk submission to G4C as well, a more basic primer to video games and sex games, a bit like my talk at GaymerX3 but shorter and with less assumptions of the audience -- traditionally, tech industry types and "social innovation" entrepreneurs... we should give them at least one last chance, right?

Friday, January 29, 2016

Spring 2016 semester in game development

Hey, what's up, long time no blog -- I've been busy prepping game development classes for the Spring 2016 semester. This season, I'm teaching four (4!) courses across 2 different universities, which is considered a really heavy teaching load in academia. (Full-time professors usually teach maybe 2-3 courses a semester, on average.) So I'm dying a little. But I'll be ok. I think.

Here's a bit about the courses:

Friday, January 15, 2016

Two 2016 NYC games conferences to submit talks to, like, right now

What kind of games conference do you run after an IndieCade conference co-chair confesses that games conferences aren't "working"? Well, uh... let's do a bunch of conferences to try to figure it out!

Different Games is a diversity-focused games conference in the beginning of April, run by organizers based in Brooklyn and Atlanta. DG, in particular, holds a special place in my heart for administering the original arts grant that began my current track of gay sex games, so you could say they were kind of on the bleeding edge of indie sustainability. This year, Different Games 2016 (April 8-9) has several different tracks / themes:
  • Affective Play (i.e. feelings, emotions, bodies)
  • Video Games in Latin America
  • Video Games and Indigenous Culture
  • Accessible Game Design (i.e. making the field more accessible to new designers)
  • Participatory Game Design (i.e. game design as a workshop process, Freire?)
  • Race and Culture in Games
  • Player Agency, Mods, and Glitches
DG 2016 session submissions close on January 22nd. They also accept more traditional academic paper submissions, and game submissions for their arcade as well. (Huh, turns out they were all closed already, and only game submissions are open now? That was fast!)

IndieCade East, held in the sinister shadow of the academic-ish NYC games scene, has always been the slightly less chill / more intense of the twin IndieCades. (More ideas! More e-sports! More beer!) Its relatively young age also means that it's more open to experimentation. This year, IndieCade East 2016 (April 29 - May 1) is trying out some very interesting changes with their format:
  • It's now in the middle of Spring instead of the middle of Winter. (Yay!)
  • The conference chairs are Jennie and Henry Faber, developers and community leaders from Toronto (!) which is in Canada (!!) and NOT in the United States (!!!)
  • The three conference tracks recognize a post-indiepocalypse world: (a) design lessons from fields outside of games, (b) economic sustainability for games, (c) future tools and technology.
Of course, you aren't necessarily limited to those themes, and the only real criteria is that you can say interesting things about games -- either way, session submissions close on February 3rd.

* * *

Hopefully you, dear reader, will be at one (or both) of those events? See you in April!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

New years resolution, 2016: some more gay sex, and "Maven"

... so, my 2016 New Years Resolution is to make a double-A 7/10 open world stealth game. It is tentatively called "Maven."

Part of my motivation involves wanting a break from my current cycle of sex games, part of it comes from wondering what if I made some gamer-pandering stuff for half of the year and then fiercely not-gamer stuff for the other half of the year and that's a funny contradiction... also, a bunch of stuff has suddenly aligned in my head to make this feasible.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Radiator Blog: (belated) Sixth Year Anniversary

In keeping with tradition, I do a round-up of this blog's "notable" posts from the past year, and offer a bit of reflective commentary. This year, it arrives about a month late, because I forgot. (Oops.) As always, past years' roundups are accessible here.

For 2015, I promised myself I was going to blog more regularly than in 2014. I started pretty strong for the first half of the year, but then my output began plummeting toward the end. (Oh well.) Here's to a bloggier 2016!


Sunday, December 27, 2015

Sex games, part 2: sex as gesture / sex as poking

This post is part of a series about "sex games."

There were so many games about sexual poking that I had to give them their own category. I mean, poking is a very distinctive gesture. It's a very brief moment with a very small surface area, but we place so much significance on it anyway.

Early Facebook was witness to "poking wars" where Facebook friends exchanged pokes with each other -- but you couldn't just poke anyone, right? There was just something so so wrong about parents poking their children on Facebook. Instead, poking seemed tailor-made for situations like when you poked that cute boy from your biology class, and then he poked you back, and now you have to decide What All This Means. ("Well, he waited two whole days before poking back, so I guess he hates me?")

Poking is immature, yet also tantalizingly ambiguous and demure. It's the stuff that meet cutes are made of. But the sex-poking games I'm going to discuss now? They're still immature, utterly rolling around in their immaturity and silliness, but they are definitely not ambiguous -- instead they are gratuitous and deliberate gestures all at once, like some exaggerated caricatures of poking.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Sex games, part 1: sex as bodies

This post is part of a series about "sex games", based on a talk I gave at GaymerX3.
(CONTENT WARNING: these posts have sexual images and content.)

One definition of sex that I'm going to use here is "a negotiation between bodies." The shape and form of that negotiation will obviously vary, but so can the shape and form of the bodies themselves. Which bodies do we sexualize, and which do we de-sexualize? And if we are sexualizing a body, is it with the body's consent and knowledge?

To a certain extent, every game in this entire blog post series is about bodies. Just because I put a game in this category doesn't mean it doesn't belong in other categories. I selected these games based on the story I could tell around them, and in this post the story is about how these different games think about bodies. Because bodies are made of carbon and water, but they're also made of ideas.

Let's start with the amazing game that inspired the name of my talk ("That One Time I Repeatedly Gave Birth to Fully Grown Wolves, and Other Gay Sex Games That We Deserve") ...

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Sex Games, part 0: the sex games awaken

This post is part of a series adapted from my talk at GaymerX. No, I don't know when the video recording will be uploaded, sorry.

So, let's talk sex games. As a possible "GAYmer" at GaymerX, maybe you're thinking of games like Mass Effect or Dragon Age, or hot Ryu, or Mario and Luigi, or maybe even some games like Fallout which have specific game systems that support gay roleplaying.

These are OK, I guess, but none of these games are primarily about sex. In fact, they are mostly about jumping around and killing shit... which isn't bad, but it's not gay sex. Now, where am I going with this?...