This here is the video my partner Casey and I had to create for our game, Into the Darkness.
Into the Darkness is a game where the core mechanic is painting your surroundings in order to see where exactly the you are in relation to the environment around you. With this, players can see if there’s a pitfall at their feet or a wall in front of their noses. Players can also use the paint mechanic to push objects around quickly, albeit with less precision.
The story behind this game is simple–the emphasis in our class was more of a proof of concept rather than a narrative masterpiece–and oh, did it pain me to have a generic storyline!
The player is trapped in an underground lab and must make their way up to the surface. There are traps awaiting them, in addition to a creature stalking them in the darkness. The player must escape the creature before it rips them apart.
Female characters in video games can often be described as slight variations of one of three archetypes: the helpless, hapless damsel in distress; the coquettish, alluring vixen; and the cold-hearted, distant embodiment of stoicism. In addition, the majority of women in games are heavily and overtly sexualized for mass male consumption, thereby providing slight variations of the same visual across several different games. Many lauded video game members have taken issue with the current state of women in games and have offered their own viewpoints in order to fix it. Leigh Alexander writes in an editorial for Gamepro Magazine that characters such as Bayonetta “[take] the video game sexy woman stereotype from object to subject” in which “the game itself is an artistic representation of the concept that female sexuality is its own kind of weapon.” Others disagree, believing that “characters [should] reflect the harsh lifestyle of their world in a much more believable way” (Hamm). Both offer interesting yet opposing solutions. However, both solutions can go much further in creating believable or truly empowering female characters. The hypersexualized dominatrix invoking female empowerment is a dramatic knee-jerk response to the objectification of women in games. The normal, average woman with a matching attitude and manner is currently the method being taken for game developers wishing to inject their games with respect for females. Video game females can be so much more than either of those two proposals. The change the industry needs for their female characters is to make them more multifaceted by giving them unique strengths, weaknesses, quirks, and personality traits. Female characterization needs to evolve to better reflect where females are today, instead of the antiquated false notions of what they were and perhaps should have been in the past.
I originally wrote this on my tumblr a while back, and can’t begin to wonder why I never cross-posted it here as well. Anyway, this is a few weeks old and I have not been back to the mysterious and frightening world of Amnesia since I wrote this short blurb–something I should fix immediately!
I still have not recovered from GDC, but that’s alright. I had such a great and amazing experience, it was definitely worth every hour of sleep that I lost. As I’m sure you can find elsewhere on the net people extolling the virtues of attending GDC, I will say this: if you can be a conference assistant at GDC, be one. Apply early, write one killer essay, and hope for the best. Being a conference assistant was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had in my life thus far, and it is one I’m sure to never forget.
I attended the Game Developer’s Conference as a conference assistant this year. This visit up to San Fran was a bunch of firsts! First time on my own far away, first time at GDC, and first time as a CA. I’m still recouping from pulling in between 2-4 hours of sleep and working my butt off during the day, but it definitely was such a memorable and amazing experience. Especially because I was a CA.
A full write-up of everything I did, witnessed, and all that will be available next weekend, when I finally catch up on all the sleep I missed out on!
Ask anyone who knows me what kind of player they think I am and they will probably have the same answer: a nice one. Maybe too nice.
Mind you, we’re not talking about Burnout or any other destructive racing game, where my goal in life is to personally destroy every contender several times over. I am not in it to win it; I am in it to murder your car.
Now, you probably don’t believe me to be one of the nicest players to walk the virtual fields of video games. Take this example: when my friends and I were playing a game once, I was given the option of advancing myself forward one space or pulling a player back three spaces. This player, who is also my best friend and is in fact a very mean player, was primed to win. Pulling him back would have meant that I was next in line. Due to the fact that I am such a nice person, I opted out of doing the ultimately beneficial action and instead chose to advance one measly space.
Knowing all this, imagine this scenario: I am playing Civilization V. Every computer player in the game has just finished denouncing me. Shoot, some of them denounced me as soon as they met me, and all I did was trade them my Iron for their Wool! Sure, I may have wiped out Ghandi and Montezuma, but c’mon, CPU dudes. My military advisor told me to!
What’s my next move? Total. Domination. Why the sudden switch from stupidly nice to supreme jerk? Well, let’s see…
Below is an academic one page write-up I completed mere seconds ago for an indie game entitled Blueberry Garden. With a charming and eccentric aesthetic and catchy music, this game is definitely an experiment whose main focus is the players, and using them as the core mechanic.
Blueberry Garden is a Steam game that retails for 5 dollars and won awards at IGF and the Swedish Game Awards, in addition to critical praise on many game sites. Blueberry Garden is a platformer that the player is thrust into with no exposition, no instructions, and no clue as to who you are, where you are, and what this game is about. It is a game about curiosity and wonderment. It is also a game that tests the player’s abilities of discovery and persistence. Read More…