Sofia has the answer to our statue problem

Last week, after living in Harlem for nine months, Rob and I finally took a Harlem walking tour to learn more about the stories around us. Based on our tour guide’s informative presentation, I’d say that Harlem, with a history of displacement and replacement, could be considered the grandparent of gentrification here in the USA (even Rome gentrified, according to Wikipedia). Originally home to the native tribe the Manhattans, Harlem was later colonized by the Dutch (“Haarlem”) and has since seen a number of cultures and people, including a dizzying number of Africans and African-Americans forced in and pushed within … Keep goin’

Making a game for change? Don’t make it about the change

This week I had the good fortune to attend the Games for Change festival at the New School’s Parsons School of Design.  The festival opened with two statistics: over half of the presenters were women, and there was more diversity among presenters than ever before. Games, many said, are at the center of the tech universe, making up a $90 billion + market. And we are just at the start of the game revolution. Over two days at the festival, I was able to catch a variety of presenters, from an Italian protest artist to a virtual reality demo involving … Keep goin’

To DIY or not to DIY: An assessment of game builders

Over the past two months I’ve been devoting most of my game development time to fleshing out the story of Kore. The game has morphed into an odd textured autobiography, which I’m not sure is legal in a game — so we will see how this plays out. Since the last post, I’ve been continuing my research including taking game design courses, reading relevant books, talking to other app builders, testing out paper prototypes, and assessing the pros/cons of online game builders. As I move forward to create the first digital prototype, I thought more about whether or not I … Keep goin’

Introducing Kore: The Mysteries

Based on the myth of Persephone (Kore) and Demeter, Kore: The Mysteries takes the player through a series of trials inspired by the ancient Eleusinian mysteries. The artwork will come later, but for now I’m finding free images online, like this one of the game’s guide / mentor Ekati (Hecate — the ancient goddess of the crossroads, also known as the “bitch goddess”). I’ve started to build out wireframes to test the idea (for the first level) and I will be seeking playtesters soon. As can be expected, the wireframes are very crude — but I’m having a blast putting … Keep goin’

Rump to the T

I memed!  (Please share.) There is one thing about Trump that was never shocking to me. For the past ten years, I’ve come across some terrible, terrible things said and done in the process of learning about factory farming and advocating for animals used for food. Things that are almost too terrible to type. Sadistic things done to animals, just because the workers have power over them, and they can do what they want.  I won’t say them here so that you don’t have nightmares. I can say, after over a decade of study, these are not isolated incidents. They … Keep goin’

Speeding motorcycle: it’s just a bike

Back in college, I worked full-time to pay for my tuition and books, my apartment, and everything else life charges you (food, clothes, cupcakes). My daily commute from the University of Washington to my job in Seattle’s industrial area did not allow much time between classes and work to worry about finding (or paying for) parking. Until then I would bicycle commute about 20 miles round trip, which wasn’t that fast (or pleasant behind semi-trucks for roughly half of the trip). So, I did the only logical thing: I signed up for motorcycle school, a one-day intensive training. Then, I … Keep goin’

How gender perceptions limit design thinking in games

I was riding right along with Jesse Schell in his book The Art of Game Design, right until about page 102, when he started exploring the relation of player demographics to game design. For instance, is this statement, from page 102, true or false? “The majority of videogames are played by boys and men.” BZZT! (That means, no — not true.) Just to set the stage, the version of this book I’m reading was from 2008.  Not the dark ages, but almost a decade ago.  New research and ideas about how women play games has emerged since that time. As … Keep goin’

Can gamification solve our problems? Week 3.

You’ve seen your Facebook feed. It ain’t all fun and games out there. Could Gamification be applied to topple the oligarch?  Defeat the mortal enemy? Can gamification solve our problems? Well, let’s see. What is gamification, anyway?  According to Merriam Webster (sorry Wikipedia — I’ve moved up) gamification is “the process of adding games or game-like elements to something (as a task) so as to encourage participation.” What are game-like elements? Game-like elements include PBLs (points, badges, and leaderboards), a collection of things (coins, fake cash/gold, etc), and customization (making something uniquely yours) among other things. Certainly the newly emerged … Keep goin’

Building a game app, week 2: On learning and “Input”

Choosing what to learn in app development

I worked my way through college at an armored car company. [You may react/gasp here in this space.] As part of the job, I screened potential armored car drivers and other employees responsible for cash processing. As you can imagine, the screening process intended to weed out those who should not have guns, money, and your armored vehicle simultaneously. One of the tools we used to avoid hiring potential hijackers was a personality assessment.  If you haven’t seen one, they generally ask a long list of questions, often the same questions with different wording.  I would score the test, which … Keep goin’

English major building a game app, week 1

police quest sonny bonds

I still remember the day my my brother received his undergraduate degree from the University of Washington, years ago.  In his Engineering department ceremony, a professor said to the crowd of newly minted Engineers and parents (and I paraphrase): “At least you know they won’t move back home with you like an English major.”  Laughter ensued. Though I never moved back in with either of my parents, grandparents, and/or uncles/aunts, I was indeed an English major. Fast-forward a couple of decades, and … I still am.  But now, I’m putting that degree to (dis)use.  I’m going to build an app.  … Keep goin’