August 2023 Wrapup

Kinda flew by there, or maybe it’s just that when a semester is firing, then I start breaking my weeks into more and more tightly managed little snippets. I think I’m going to have to change when I have snacks, any way, it’s time to get talking about all the great articles I wrote this week and youuuuu didn’t read yet!

First up, we have a months’ worth of articles talking about everything in the world through the medium of talking about Games:

  • The Game, my favourite example of games as art and games’ requirement of consent (really)
  • Hit The Silk, which incentivises you to lie separately instead of making rules about lying together
  • Dangeresque, The Roomisode Triungulate, which is me and Fox just playing a videogame together and delighting in how it makes our millenial brains go ‘oh hey, the old thing!’
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, where I talk about the way that the parser based text adventure game represents a distinct game form, at least in the hands of a really, really good writer

Then there’s the articles for this month’s Story Pile:

  • Inside Job, one of my favourite cartoons because one of my OC’s girlfriend is basically in it
  • Nona the Ninth, as I continue my descent into Being Locked Tomb Trash
  • Lie To Me, a story based on laundering the opinion of a guy who lies a lot, but you know, maybe that’s the point
  • My Master Has No Tail, which I love a lot and also is an anime about theatre and queerness and like, I could put it in almost any theme month this year, I swear

I also did Werewolf Week, where I talk about different ways to handle werewolves in 3e D&D, 4e D&D, and how I use them in Cobrin’Seil, my own setting. I also talk about how the Breaking Baddiverse represents a paratextual playground for media commentary. And then, more, I talk about The Locked Tomb and about how it deceives you about what a soul does and doesn’t work.

There’s articles about building gimmicks, which is mostly a compilation of videos from other magicians, and a few audio posts as I experiment with what ten minutes of spoken audio feels like compared to a thousand words of written text. I feel like audio is easier to do but also like I’m kind of short-changing you. The audio between Fox and me about My Master Has No Tail is conversational, that feels okay – but I also feel a little selfconscious about asking you to spend ten minutes listening to a micropodcast about Oppenheimer and The Foxes of Hydesville.

Foxes of Hydesville, by the way? Killer final line.

This month, a month in which I got thinking about deceit and conniving and constructions of attention control, was what got me thinking about a horror movie with one of the most perfect final lines of all time. Yeah, it was just that final line that made me think ‘wait, that’d be great on a shirt,’ and then got me thinking about how I could use that design somehow. Bonus, this design is built on a technique I learned in other designs that won’t show up until later.

You can get this sticker or shirt design here!

It’s a new semester! This year, I’m doing two classes: One on videogame critique, and one on online persona. I know I’ve gotten very twitchy right now about the term ‘content’ because my students are using it to describe literally anything. I mean I feel on one level that’s because ‘content’ to me still feels like a thing that fills a container, and it deliberately fails to appreciate that you’re not the one shaping the container. I guess I dislike it because it speaks of a lack of a point of view. But where was I,

Oh yes! I also it seems had a very creative month in prototyping – there’s more work on Bloodwork, I released a print-and-play game I want to go back and revise to make it more Star-Trekky, and I also belted out engines for a Sonic The Hedgehog fan game, a game about moonshiner werewolves I might be consigning to a superior for use in a generative media project, and I have an engine for a wrestling game. I feel very busy.

What’s more this month has featured daily hours of work on the hardest thing in the world, a literature review. A literature review is how you try and convince an arbitary reader from a distant location that you know what you’re talking about by referring to every idea you’re ever going to use in one giant document and every time I open mine I feel like I should have a little cry. But this month I have been assiduously working on it, every day, to try and put words into it, because that’s the only way it’s going to get big and strong and healthy. But man nothing puts you in your place the same way as looking at a document that’s meant to answer and why should we listen to you and realise that even with all the work on it I’ve done, I still don’t have a good answer. I mean I know what I’m talking about, but how am I going to prove that to people? I still have the lingering memory of talking about when I presented my work product as a teacher asked ‘well, why are all the board game boards square? Is that something?’ because she was trying very hard to contribute in a space where I didn’t realise I was talking to someone who didn’t understand me.

Anyway, that’s just anxiety talking, good thing I’ve got nothing adding pressure to that.

I don’t know why I’ve been so creative this month. I fear it’s part of my brain leaping away at the idea of putting work into a particular space, like I’m somehow trying to grab a bar of soap then chasing it as it squeezes away. Did Moonshiners happen because my brain found it the most convenient way to express that idea at this moment or did it happen because it felt easier to devise a whole new game and currency card game system rather than try to explain what I mean by silo’d out design thinking?

Onward, I can do this, I can do this, I can do this.