Death to Realism! 006
Hello! It's July! That seems kind of unbelievable... for those of you who'd like more of an intro to what precisely is going on here, you can check out the first issue before reading on.
This week was my first full week of a 9-5 job I’ve had in ages, though it is a slightly easier on-ramp since I’m working from home for the foreseeable future. It seems like a pretty laid back workplace and I’m mostly doing a lot of XML and database management. I wrote a blog post here about some percolating ideas about productivity and work. It’s basically fine but too early on to tell if there will be any sort of contract extension after the initial 6 months, if I’d want to take it, etc, so I’m going to still try to keep up with this so long as a path to just being able to write remains obscure…
Another newsletter, another slight Flesh/Circuit update as well; I wrote a new devlog about some bug fixes and display changes I made but more importantly the soundtrack is now all fotocopiadora’s work which she has let me use with permission rather than sneaking around with some copyrighted-but-mildly-obscure tracks. So basically, if you’ve been waiting to play it, it’s never been more legal. I also posted a small excerpt and thoughts about it for some short fiction I’ve been writing in the same universe.
The Silver Case/The 25th Ward are now out on Nintendo Switch, which I hope will get them a bigger audience because they’re some of my favorite VNs of all time, and just wildly formally creative and thematically ambitious. Here is an only mildly spoilersy article I wrote that touches on them a while ago for EGM, the closer read that assumes you have either played them or don’t care about spoilers is here.
Still gradually tinkering away at new stuff that’s suitable for the main blog. I really just have to kick my own ass into finishing some of these. I’d also like to write a companion piece to my thoughts on The Silver Case that touches on The 25th Ward as well! I can work on that as soon as my copy of the Switch port gets out of postal limbo.
If you’re in the UK, I am tentatively planning on attending my first small scale, in person games event thing since literally mid-2019 probably. I will be bringing my massive zine library (or at least a significant selection of it) and my librarian’s expertise to Trick or Retreat at the end of October, which seems like an even more chilled out Feral Vector, basically, an ideal on-ramp to get back into “doing stuff at events” and “going to events” but also thinking about how much I really actually want to do these things and find them worthwhile in the future.
The Rec Room
- Of course I have been listening to the new Ultima 64 album for scoring my game, but also the Misericorde OST, which you can get by contributing to the Patreon, is making me really excited for the first demo bits to be released.
- The Queer Games Bundle wrapped up this week, so if you have 200-some amazing new games to pick from now, my recommended starting points are:
- These Afghan rug designs, made in Microsoft Word by the artist Shaheer Zazai remind me a lot of Suzanne Treister’s Amiga work in how they create amazing texture and variety from a constrained palette and set of tools.
- View by Dino is a very sweet slice-of-space-life sci-fi comic that I found really inspiring for my own work to check out
- Sean’s latest bitsy is… hmm… just try it.
I’ve Been Reading
I finished up the collection of Izumi Suzuki short stories, which only got more strange and sci-fi inflected as they went on, much to my enjoyment! As of now I have two books sitting around, waiting for me to pick them up a bit more, Unknown Language by Huw Lemmey and drawing strongly from the writings of visionary nun Hildegard of Bingen (this one has been on my radar for a while), as well as Adrian Johns’ massive tome Piracy for my non-fiction needs, as well as hopefully building on some other stuff I’ve read recently.
In terms of articles, I really enjoyed lunafromthemoon’s postmortem for Imaginaria, talking about the inspirations from the game and their process of incorporating things from life into their work. This article about The Print Shop has some cool archival images and reflections on the pre-amatuer web design age of amateur print design enabled by computers.
This article on the disappearance of DIY spaces is really interesting and also does a good job of complicating the common artists = gentrification shorthand, which I think is a necessary component of dealing with the cultural depiction of artists as always privileged and suspect compared to the “real” workers and residents of an area, and begin to actually formulate what kind of demands would make life easier for a lot of us. I also liked this article on the impact of early fashion forums, and it gets at some interesting elements of how large, uniform social media platforms fail to nurture and connect hyper-specific subcultural interests, like $300 Japanese jeans. It’s similar to what frustrates me about talk about “better curation” in the indie games space especially, that it’s kind of an all or nothing process of “finding the good stuff” (and, implicitly, casting away the unworthy) for a large anonymous audience that needs to be acted upon, rather than seeing this abundance as an opportunity, hyperspecializing, burrowing, historicizing, and keeping the flame of weird stuff alive with other people who get it.
I think that’s all I have this bi-week! For new subscribers who have signed on since the last newsletter, you can check out the archive of past issues at any time!
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