GAMBIT Updates: Thoughts Archives
But I've met people who believe the game is everything, and I've met people who .. Unless the MACRO directive "decimal" has been issued in a macro definition a game worthy of comparison with the great dramatists, poets, filmmakers. genre defining Sex and The City and the outstanding fantasy drama of this initiative is Benjamin Overmeyer from Gambit Films based in the. Every year (except for ), Gambit honors 40 people under the age of . out of a meeting in New York City to take the call on his cellphone. . This fall, Devlin taught filmmaking and animation to students at Lusher Charter School. .. to New Orleans: "I wanted to be part of a defining generation that didn't.
Posted by Jason Begy on May 4, 3: May 12, Guess what, world? It's time for the first ever Because we like you!
'Gambit,' X-Men, and the future(s) of superhero cinema
What the heck does that even mean? The goal of this jam is to create board games that deal with or reflect some aspect of life as a queer individual. Now, I know what you're saying. That could be anything! What is wrong with you! We know how crazy huge that topic is. That's why we'll be giving you a few small rules -- a theme, a design challenge -- to help you focus your efforts.
But really, the goal is to see just what great ideas you can pull out of that great big field. Who's going to be there?
We're very fortunate to have lesbian board game designer Andrea Meyerpublished game designer and owner of Bewitched Spiele Games from Berlin, Germany as a keynote speaker to kick off the event and help get your minds racing with ideas. Also included in 'everyone' are our two celebrity "judges," Jason Toups and Jeremiah Bratton, hosts of the popular gay gaming podcast GaymeBarwho will also be on hand to offer ideas, thoughts, and good-natured ribbing to all and sundry.
But I can't be in Boston! What should I do?! Alternately, you can participate as a satellite site! All you need is a group of participants, your own materials for the jam, and internet access! To participate as a satellite site, you merely need to keep watch of our live stream! If you're interested in participating as a satellite site, please email me at tlharper mit. The event is welcome to everyone with an open mind and a desire to get creative. However, you must be 18 in order to take part.
D What time is the event? We start at 9am and end at 10pm. More details about what happens in between will be sent to participants. What do we do for food? If you can't eat what we have, there are plenty of local options we can point you toward. What diabolical minds thought this up, anyway? His research interests range from the performance of play in the fighting game community to representations of sexuality in games and other media.
He is the designer of Tulipmaniaa published board game about a bubble stock market, and the author of Everyone Plays at the Library. He is on the faculty of the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University, and his research blog is at http: Posted by Todd Harper on April 30, Lockpicking Workshop This Friday Games will help you level up your lockpicking skills in real life. And what is your strategy? I know that sounds silly, but a lot of producer's reps will call you up even though they have never seen your movie before.
Coen brothers - Wikipedia
A great company may offer a small advance for a film but promise more careful handling than a bigger company less adept at releasing specialized product. Or what if a filmmaker decides to opt out of the festival rat race, preferring to let a distributor help push the film into a prestigious fest? Although some producer's reps may pass on a film not deemed to have solid launch possibilities, others will devise alternative strategies such as holding individual or group buyer screenings or screening excerpts of scenes for buyers.
The former strategy worked for Sling Blade, which was bought by Miramax just after its producers learned that it was rejected from Cannes. Some industry veterans complain that certain unscrupulous producer's reps habitually push their luck. Sure, there may be interest in seeing the film, but not in buying it! Bernard, whose company is known for both its modest advances and careful handling of independent films such as The Tao of Steve, Run Lola Run and Crumb, says, "There is one drawback with a lot of these producer's reps, especially the ones who are handling large amounts of people, and that is that they are working on their percentage and not trying to match the film with the right distributor.
That way, we know the distribution company is committed to putting significant resources into the release. While star producer's reps are held in reverence by filmmakers whose films are sold for multiples of their production budgets, many other filmmakers walk away from festivals each year disappointed.
At the end of the day, obtaining a good producer's rep is just one more step among the many that are taken to develop, produce and release an independently financed feature film. But just as filmmakers should persevere if they are rejected from Sundance, they should also not despair if they are passed on by the top reps.
Then, lo and behold, everybody wants the movie. Sports and many board games do something similar. As the steep incline of technology has driven digital gaming toward an emphasis on photorealism and surround sound, designers have pushed for a specific kind of immersion pinned to the virtually real; forever chasing the Holodec. For me, I am interested more in games that are immersive not because they transport, rather because they reflect and force the players' gaze back on themselves as subjects.
Indeed, it seems to me that this is a strength of interactivity, creating meaning by reminding players of how they are interacting. For many, this has worked.
Players have remarked at their surprise when they found themselves making assumptions about gender in A Closed World. The game invited these players to reflect on their own conceptions of gender, and how they were applying their notions to their experience of the game.
We have said, and it bears repeating, to the extent that we could, we wanted A Closed World to raise questions, not to provide answers. For me, the strength of the project is not in the narrative at all.
Indeed, many of the accusations levied against the game's story, that it's overly reductive, simplistic, and possibly trite, have some merit. Hey, stories are very hard.
For those looking for a game about gender and sexuality power dynamics, about the oppressive cultural hegemony of our heteronormative society, or about the deep personal challenges constantly faced by marginalized individuals, I fear this game may leave you wanting.
Some of the expectations for what the game meant to accomplish may have been confused by our paratextual rhetoric surrounding the game, which we are continuing to iterate on and improve. Also, if you are looking for a robust and detailed procedurally profound combat system, you won't find it here. Where A Closed World shines for me is in how it invites players to reflect on their conceptions of gender.
We start the game by emphasizing gender only to deemphasize it procedurally, attempting to turn the tables on the player that they might consider what their expectations were going into the game, and how those expectations may be challenged. The turn may seem simple, but I believe it is elegant in its reflective capability.
That people, through playing the game, have been asking these questions, of us and of themselves, suggests to me that we may have accomplished that goal. Posted by Abe Stein on October 18, 1: Making an Occupy board game at the Cardboard Jam. Sixteen local developers, researchers, and students joined us for two days of rapid iteration of board, dice, and card games. After a few hours of brainstorming and pitching ideas to the group, we coalesced into five teams and spent the remaining 20 hours creating games.
By day one's dinner time, we were trading people around to test all of the games. All five games were finished and playtested by the end of the game jam, with rules and pieces that could be picked up and played by others. I emailed Darren the week before the game jam started and pitched the theme to him - I've been keeping up with the Occupy events around the nation, especially OccupyWallStreet and OccupyBoston.
He liked it and so it was then presented to the jammers at the start of the brainstorming session. They came up with dozens of ideas; some pitched mechanics for which 'occupy' was a good fit and others pitched fictions and themes based on the word.
Having a verb as our theme was useful in that all of our pitches seemed to gel well with the theme. We grouped the pitches by shared aspects and from there the jammers formed into teams. My team of four chose to explore a two mechanics: Conway's game of life and RoboRally-style programmed moves with cards.
We placed these two pitches next a few other cards that were similar and got to work. One of these related cards was a pitch I came up with, where the players could be groundskeepers at a park during OccupyWallStreet and the NPC actors as police and protesters. I never mentioned this theme again to the team, but I think it was in the back of my mind throughout the event. Posted by Rik Eberhardt on October 13, If you read " Playing It Straight " in Edge back in October, you probably know what sparked me to want to do this.
I am in the weird position of being an ethnographer studying the process of my team who are all great and being the person who the team is supposed to be appeasing, if that makes any sense. I often have to quell the urge to get too involved. An issue came up Wednesday that I wanted to discuss because of its broader implications, which is the nature of our in-game protagonist.
A major inspiration for our game has been old SNES-era RPGs like Earthbound, and so the team has been at work developing enemies, the setting, the main character, and the encounters that make up the meat of such a game. They've had a ton of great ideas, most of which I don't want to get too deep into, especially since we're only halfway through the 8 week creative process, and I don't want to open up my team to critique before it's time.
I also can't share any of the assets they've made with you until the game is done. But it is enough to know that they've been working hard on concepting out these ideas. Part of the challenge of this process is that the GAMBIT summer program is only 8 weeks long, and so we are constantly under that Sword of Damocles; a really common thing to hear ourselves say is "That'd be a great feature! If we have time, let's put it in! We're going to make the best game we can in the circumstances.
Well, one of the features that I asked for in the game but which we really had to give a low priority was selectable gender for the player's avatar. Sexual identity and gender identity are inextricably linked, and separating them is incredibly difficult, if not impossible.
It's also worth noting that, at least in mass media in the US, homosexuality is often conceived of as a white, male, upper middle class phenomenon, though lesbians are increasingly visible. But queer people of color and lower socio-economic status are often pushed aside, and transgendered and bisexual individuals usually get cut as well. There are many reasons for this, and not all of them necessarily appropriate for this post.
It is enough to say that we have every reason to want to include a range of experiences in our game, and not contribute to the trend of queer content being mostly about white men with money to burn. To that end the team decided to design a main character who was purposefully androgynous, so that the player could read whatever gender they wanted into the avatar.
This was a decision I was behind; to me it was a compromise that wasn't quite as good as being able to create what you wanted, but which was unlike that feature likely to make it into the game in the time we had and which contributed to the ideals of the game. Now, that's the first part of this equation. The second is that we are also starting to address what is the most critical, and most challenging, part of this process: Without talking too much about our plans, part of our current thinking is that there will be, at some point in the game, short scenes from the in-game avatar's memories that establish the avatar as a queer character, and that the memories would be resonant with the experiences of queer people It is, as with many decisions about this process, not perfect, but as close as we can get.
Creating this game has been, I have found, a series of compromises. This week we had a very tight deadline, because at the GAMBIT Open House yesterday every team's games were playable by the public for the first time, meaning we were soliciting public feedback. Everyone was under a time crunch to get something that, while perhaps not polished, is enough that we can get good feedback about the game to head into the second half of the program. One of the things my team worked on Wednesday afternoon was creating one of those scenes, describing a time when a queer person's identity might make them feel inadequate somehow.
It's tough to do, especially since for the moment we're trying to use only images, not words, but what we discovered while talking it through is that working within the restriction of an androgynous main character was introducing a particular set of challenges to the process.
As I said before, gender identity and sexual identity are very tightly knit. Part of the challenge is that we have to establish the character as queer inside the context of the mini-scene. But how can that be easily done, in a way that is reasonably able to be understood by the average player? This is a legitimate challenge and I think it's more at the core of these issues not appearing in games than any sort of institutional homophobia among either devs or players.
As my game director, the awesome Abe Stein, said during our prototyping work this spring, "Unless they're actually having sex on screen, how do you know? How does it get said? If you want to establish a character as gay or lesbian in a social world, how do you do that without establishing, even in some small way, their gender expression?
For bisexuals this is even more complicated, and I would dare say that gender expression and its relation to one's identity is at the core of the issues transpeople face.
It's important that the team finds a solution that works for them; the game is as much theirs as it is mine I didn't want to say "yes, keep the androgyny" or "no, pick a gender," because I don't want to limit their creativity, nor underestimate their ability to find a creative solution.
I want them to go at the problem with all their effort, and find a solution that they're comfortable with. That said, as I left them to think this afternoon, I did say that it might be in order to tell the story they want and, in some part at least, that I want to tell, an androgynous main character might be more liability than good. What I asked them to do was weigh the pros and cons of the situation, then decide.
But that conversation haunted me all the way home. I make no claims that my little game is going to change the universe, no matter how incredibly awesome my team is. In fact, I said multiple times during our prototyping phase that if we fail, even that is still "useful" because I am studying the process and not the result, though that is what I call my 'inner ice-cold sociologist persona' coming to the fore.
The truth is I want our game to be socially responsible; Abe uses the word 'tasteful' in this instance, and that's not entirely off the mark.
If we slip into old tropes just to make a game with some queer content, that's a "part of the problem instead of the solution" scenario. That said, I wonder where the line of compromise is, because part of this research is to examine how the constraints of the process can affect creating queer content, too.
And compromise is at the heart of any text that's produced. My friend, talented writer Karen Healey, had to deal with a very similar sort of scenario regarding the cover of her debut novel Guardian of the Dead.How David Fincher Became a Filmmaker - Filmmakers in Focus
What's the point at which you say "Okay, I am an advocate for [x], but I understand that to make what I want happen, I have to give in and accept compromise position [y]"? It's tough, and any decision you make sort of gives you that pit of the stomach feeling you get when you're forced to give up something you really want, just to make something else work. Part of me is asking myself, "If our game goes out with a white male protagonist, have I done the community a disservice?
I want my team to find their own answer to that, too, and as long as it makes sense I will back their play. But I thought that this dilemma really gets at the heart of why I'm doing this research in the first place, and why I think this is a genuinely difficult thing for game designers out there to do right now. If we want to see these characters and themes make it into games, we need strategies to deal with the difficult and often ambiguous issues that come with crafting games where sexual identity is meaningful in some way.
Posted by Todd Harper on July 8, On Disciplinarity Following up on our previous "digital conversation" regarding design, we felt it would be nice to continue the dialogue by adding a new voice.
This time our friend Doug Wilson from IT University of Copenhagen joins the fray as we dissect the notion of "game studies" as a discipline, and explore the interdisciplinary nature of research on games.