RPS, Peter Molyneux and the Kickstarter Ethos

The recent interview on Rock, Paper, Shotgun with Peter Molyneux is, so far, one of the most important interviews of 2015 so far (the year is still new, let's hope for more revealing interviews)! It really highlights some of the most crucial social issues we're dealing with in the community: honesty in game development and ethics in journalism. In last weeks' podcast I wasn't able to really explain just what I took away from that interview except maybe some shock. There was a lot going on there ...much more than RPS, Peter or gamers have talked about so far. Some journalists believe the interview was totally unprofessional and I get that. Many readers, however, feel it justified and I'm one of them. Peter isn't really much different from the Brad McQuaids and SOEs of the industry who are … [Read more...]

Love, Love, Love

Love. Such a magical feeling! Isn't it worth 28 days of celebration? In our home, yes. Every year, since the birth of our first baby, February has been the month of love. We don't just celebrate Valentine's day, but every day in the month of February in our home. I think it's been pretty cool to watch our family tradition develop, shaped by the random questions of curious kids and the process of discovery of new parents. I never lived in a home where something like this happened so I think I've taken special note of this development. It's really cool to me. The babies love it. We do a countdown at the end of January and then we just let each day after be an opportunity to shower each other with affection. Babies love hugging from the moment they breathe their first breath, always … [Read more...]

The Ethics of Game Development Part Deux

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Ever have a conversation with someone that you know well and bring up a topic that puts them on edge? Maybe you were encouraging them to do something about a problem they keep having and it aggravates them. It's as though the very idea that you could mention that something is wrong is a reminder they don't want to hear. In other words, you start to feel that it would be better not to bring it up, to just talk about niceties and pretty much pretend nothing bad is happening at all. Ethics is like that. Bringing it up is a tough reminder that there are things wrong all over the place ...and that we aren't doing anything about it. We know it. That's why it's upsetting to talk about it. I tend to, but don't intend to, ruffle feathers when I discuss ethics. I realize it's a hard subject for … [Read more...]

Making a Dating Game

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Game: http://www.philome.la/trredskies/the-dating-game At least some of you were probably wondering: "what the hell kind of dates does he go on" after playing The Dating Game. I like live music and dancing, so you basically played through a single scenario of the typical date I'm used to. In the future, I'll be sure to add more scenario options, but it's my first Twine! Cut me some slack. I don't know everything about dating. But here's what I do know: dating, as we practice it culturally, is done exactly as a game. We perceive of winners and losers, we count scores -- for better or worse. When I sat down to make this game with my wife it started really as an idea we got from talking about our own funny experiences. Why We Made It One day we got into a conversation about the different … [Read more...]

The Dating Game

After a year of sitting on my hard drive, I give you 5 minute text-based dating adventure: http://www.philome.la/trredskies/the-dating-game I won't spoiler it for you by telling you our intentions when we made this game. Instead, just play it and invite your friends to play it and tell me what you think. Play it. Enjoy it. Think on it. EDIT: Thanks for letting me know about the sometimes mismatched gender swapping. Chalk it up to amateur game development. I'll fix those over the weekend. Also thanks for your feedback so far. Keep it coming and keep sharing it. A post-mortem review is on the way! … [Read more...]

How to Early Access

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Dear Developers, First, thanks to Eri for the inspiration for this article. I've been sort of low on that lately because SLEEP DEPRIVED. But this one got my writing juices flowing, so I'm in your debt. Now onto the letter. Early Access has become code word for "raise money for development through our players". Noble cause, poor execution, questionable practice. Early Access is a running joke. We all know it. Players hear about an Early Access game and all we see is GAME. We expect that it will work, that it will be fun and that we'll be rewarded with whatever you promised us by participating. Let's not pretend that if I buy an early access game I somehow deserve to be disappointed and devs are off the hook from critique. That's what we call a fantasy or dream. Players can and do hold … [Read more...]

A Kingly Weekend III: Protests Across the USA

As the final article for this Kingly Weekend series, I want to end it with a challenge to white Americans to do better on racial progress. Even the most liberal and open-minded among us can do much more and much better. And now, in 2015, with the country hungry and protesting for change, we're really at a moment in time where we have that rare opportunity to change things. The momentum and energy is there -- all we have to do is give a damn and do something about it. Do whatever it is you are able to do in your circles of influence. Nothing more, nothing less. It's important to remember that when we talk about racial progress in America, we're talking mostly about white progress in shedding racism and racist institutions. We're talking about our willingness to change. Non-whites have no … [Read more...]

A Kingly Weekend II: Awesome Allegories About Race

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I was skeptical when I first saw the title of this video. People say allegory these days but we're actually way worse than the Greeks at making them. This video is pretty awesome. Camara Jones gives us four very, extremely, mind-blowingly simple allegories that pretty much anyone can relate to and grasp, and explains how they can help us understand how racism works. The video is a tad longer than the last one by Jay Smooth, but if you're not fascinated by the 3rd minute ...well, you're hard to impress. For the socially engaged, big terms like institutional racism and internalized racism get explained here by simple allegories about moths and gardens. It's a great way to make these conversations more inviting and less scary. http://youtu.be/GNhcY6fTyBM Camara Jones is a pretty … [Read more...]

A Kingly Weekend I: How to Talk About Racism

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So I'm not actually playing any games this week. For those watching Twitter you may have seen me announce that my fourth baby was born this week, a healthy, big fat baby boy (8lbs 3ozs) so that's how I'm spending my time right now. Between eating, sleeping and admiring this 8 lbs of flesh, it's a good time for reflection and writing. In America this weekend we're remember the legacy of Dr. Martin L. King. So even though I don't have anything specific to say about games, I want to recommend a video each day this weekend that I think socially engaged gamers would find really helpful. Watch them and share them! They're relatively short, but I think you'll agree they carry a ton of insight. These things have literally helped me to level up with just a few short words that have helped me to … [Read more...]