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Weekly Links #253

20 January 2019 — No Time To Play

Hello, everyone. This week I can't think of anything to write an editorial about. Might as well talk about plans instead. And those don't involve any new games until summer, unless something happens along the way. Plenty of other things to do for a while:

  • redo the user interface of ASCII Mapper and release version 2.0;
  • port Electric Rogue to Python and Pygame, not so much for its own sake but to make the NoTime engine reusable as promised so long ago;
  • make a couple more tech demos based on it;
  • maybe take another shot at Deep Down in Darkness, now that I know what was wrong the first time around;
  • maybe tinker some more with Adventure Prompt and/or Ramus 2; their respective websites in particular need work.

Plenty to pick and choose from, then. It remains to be seen how much I'll actually get done.

In the way of extended news, this week we have an interview with Mike Cook about his creation Angelina, another with three leaders of GOG.com about the way they got to where they are now, and a write-up about the way game jams contribute to queer representation. Details after the cut.


Via Mike Cook we learn of a write-up about the way game jams contribute positively to queer representation in games. And it's not just about the games proper. In fact, it turns out jam releases are seldom caught in any statistics. It's also about the communities and safe spaces that form, not to mention the way they encourage people to release games they wouldn't otherwise. Which in turn increases representation, encouraging even more people (be they creators or not) in a virtuous circle. Amusingly, the author seems to think all game jams are like the Ludum Dare, brief in-person events. But that's a nitpick.

I'm lucky enough to know Nadia Nova. She's an awesome gal, whose games are among my favorites on Itch. Look them up. They're just good stories anyone can appreciate.


On Thursday, PC Gamer posts an interview with three leaders of GOG.com, telling the origin story of the well-known game store, and the hurdles they had to overcome. Note how the legal challenges were bigger than the technical ones. This is what intellectual property does to culture, and to whose benefit? Just look at the recent spat over the rights to Star Control and its name (that I conspicuously avoided looking into), and tell me there can even be a winner in this war. Also note how the people at GOG are ready to respect the wishes of a creator, regardless of the legal situation: a clear sign they're not just money-chasing businesspeople. And we need many more like them nowadays.


Also on Thursday: Rock, Paper, Shotgun posts an interview of their own with Mike Cook, the creator of Angelina. I wrote before about the game designer AI, that most interesting of experiments, both here and in a mainstream online publication. Notably, this time the discussion emphasizes Angelina's potential to engage in dialog with human game designers (and players), and provide insight into our own decisions, the cultural context in which they're based, not to mention the creative process in general. Which is a lot more important than her ability to make good games.


That's it until next Sunday. Thanks for reading.

Tags: game-jam, representation, retrogaming, publishing, interview, game design, AI

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