Reminder: I’m going to be on a panel about Twine with Emily Short, Porpentine, Merrit Kopas, and Kat Chastain, COMPLETELY OUT OF MY LEAGUE talking about Twine! It should be pretty exciting, and I will try my best not to drag it down too much.
Thanks for taking the time to stop by my booth at PAX. I was really glad to hear you liked my game. Believe it or not, you were actually kind of a hero of mine when I was a kid, and your writing style was a huge inspiration to me; so hearing that from you meant a whole lot.
PAX is the biggest show of its kind in North America, and by being there, I can reach people who I’d never be able to otherwise, who wouldn’t hear about my work. Making weirdo feminist experimental narrative games is kinda my full-time job, and you know, it’s a pretty good gig most of the time—sometimes you have to do things you don’t like, and be places you don’t feel comfortable, to make a living, and having that booth at PAX was definitely one of those times.
There’s some serious fucking dissonance going on here. On the one hand, I was incredibly impressed by the Enforcers in our area, who put in some absolutely amazing work to make sure we were okay throughout the whole show. They’re basically heroes. And the Indie MEGABOOTH itself was really incredible. There were so many developers showing off such a range of interesting shit, it makes me feel great about what videogames can be; I’m just absolutely in awe at Kelly, Phil, Rami, and everyone else’s hard work involved in making it happen. And I felt proud when they said they were happy I was there, because being part of something like that is really cool. For a brief moment after packing up my booth, before I got home and saw what had happened online, I was actually feeling kind of good about things.
But all of this is in spite of the best efforts of the people you work with to make me feel unwelcome. Like, seriously, Mike basically said “we should have continued to make jokes about rape at the convention, even though we know it makes people feel unsafe,” and Robert said that contrary opinions shouldn’t be listened to. This is literally the subtext of what they said. Maybe you can’t really relate to this, because rape is some sort of abstract concept to you, but to me, rape is what I have to worry about every time I walk home on my street late at night; or when I’m at parties with strangers; or if I ever decide to go on a date with a man. It’d be fucking nice if I didn’t have to think about it while I’m doing my job marketing my games at a convention, you know?
And it’s not even like it’s just about that. Recently he made a bunch of a really gross transphobic remarks, as he’s done many times in the past, and made a shitty non-apology expecting it to make everything okay, as he’s done many times in the past. It’s a pretty well-known secret that I’m transgender myself, and while I don’t like talking about it—precisely because of attitudes like these—this constant shit makes me feel incredibly uncomfortable. It sets the tone, and it’s absolutely toxic. It tells people that this sort of attitude is okay, that it’s okay to treat people like me without a shred of respect; and the apologies don’t damn well fix anything if he just says something terrible again the next month.
I don’t really care about Mike or Robert. I can’t imagine we’re ever going to meet or talk, so I don’t think it really matters much that they think shitty things. What I care about is that when they said those things on a public stage, an entire auditorium full of men cheered loudly. Like, literally an entire giant auditorium of men got excited at the idea of making rape survivors feel uncomfortable, and the idea of not listening to people when they say they feel unsafe. That is terrifying. It’s not Mike I’m worried about; it’s being in the same convention of that room full of people. They scare the shit out of me, man, and I don’t understand why anyone would want those sorts of people around.
I don’t know what the solution here is. Frankly, man, I’m not smart enough to know what you can do to put this right, nor am I optimistic enough to think that you’re going to do anything just because I said so. But if you really meant it when you said you were happy I was there, what I want you to know is, just because someone like me was there, and smiled the whole time, doesn’t mean it’s fucking well okay.
I don’t feel comfortable attending PAX. If I felt like I had a choice in the matter, if I could reach the awesome people I did while I was there without supporting the other figurehead behind the show, I would absolutely not be there. But I don’t. You’ve made it so in order to make a decent living for myself in videogames, I’m obligated to show up. That’s why I was there. It wasn’t because I felt comfortable, nor was it because I felt okay supporting your organization.
I’m glad you were happy to see me there, Jerry, but please don’t think for a second that my attendance means you’re doing something right.
At GaymerX, next weekend, I’ll be joining Aaron Reed, Zachary Sergi, Dan Fabulich, and Porpentine to talk about Gender & Sexuality in Interactive Fiction.
At IndieCade, which is, I don’t know, at some point in the unimaginably far future, I’m going to be on a panel called Twine Up Close with Emily Short, Porpentine, Merritt Kopas, J Chastain. I’ve been told it’s actually a panel on text games and not tying girls up with twine, which kinda seems like a waste IMO.
If you’re going to be at either of those things, I would definitely encourage you to go absolutely nowhere near those panels, because I’m terrified of speaking in public and I want as few people in the audience as possible! It’ll be great!
(No, but seriously, come, say hi! It will actually be great.)
A lot of people have been asking me if I’ll add Steam trading card support into Analogue, so I guess it’ll be good to have an answer in one place:
Don’t worry, absolutely not! I promise I will never engage in any sort of gamification to encourage people to play Analogue. Please, rest assured knowing that I don’t think Analogue needs any sort of psychologically manipulative bullshit to encourage people to play it; I think it’s good enough to stand on its own merits!
If you want to do an LP (or stream or any other sort of video recording) of one of my games—well, personally, I don’t really get the appeal, but—that is awesome and I would very strongly encourage you to go ahead! LPs are great for developers; they’re free publicity. In fact, if you’re a streamer with a large audience, you should absolutely contact me for review codes when Hate Plus comes out! I wanna make things easy for you.
I very, very strongly don’t agree with the idea that I or anyone else even has the legal right to grant anyone permission to make or monetize LPs of my games. So if you want to, please go right ahead. Anyone can. If Youtube is (wrongly) asking you for a permission slip from me saying that it’s okay, you can send them this way.
I’d super-hugely appreciate it if you included a link to buy the game with your video—it makes a huge difference in terms of sales for me—but I don’t have the legal right to stop you if you don’t, and anyone who claims otherwise is full of shit.
Hey, are you interested in the Analogue Deluxe Edition but can’t make it to Bit Bazaar? Well, sometime in the next week or two, I’ll start taking pre-orders for it, so I can figure out how big a second run I need to do.
(However, you should still try to make it out to Bit Bazaar if you can—there’s awesome bonus material in the form of a preview of Hate Plus’s soundtrack, including the title theme, that’ll only be available there!)
I’ve been meaning to release the source code to Analogue for ages; sorry about taking so long! Here are a couple of notes on it:
Please don’t try to transform the demo version into the full version by using set_flag.nd.rpy, because it won’t work properly. There’s a lot of files missing from the demo in order to save space; it’ll crash about halfway through if you try this. Honest. (There’s easier ways to pirate it, anyway.)
You can use the python code portions for whatever you like. I’ve also left in the script, but only for context; please don’t interpret this as me releasing any sort of legal rights whatsoever to the writing in the game! (I apologize for even needing to say this, but… you know, lawyers.)
Christine Love, author and developer of Digital: A Love Story and Analogue: A Hate Story agrees, was part of the original Lost Levels lineup. “Robert Yang asked me to do a talk at Lost Levels and I was very excited,” she says. Her Lost Levels talk concerned the role of cuteness in games, similar to Andrew Vanden Bossche—in fact, it was Love’s maid outfit Vanden Bossche was sporting. She lent it to him.
“We need to be less about giant, grandiose bullshit and more about cute lumps of sincerity. We have a lot of—” She pauses, flexes her muscles, and grunts at me. “And a lot less of—“ Now she folds her hands under her chin, looks up at the ceiling, and sighs. “I think we should have a wide range of that.”