Sundays have worked for me before. I don’t love a deadline, but I do love creative limits. Making yourself do a thing within the lines. When I made a zine a week, my line was a single sheet of 8.5 x 11 paper, folded into quarters, to make a tiny 8 page book. All I had to do was fill those pages.
I’ve been looking for more podcasts by women, and recently started listening through the archives of Less Than Or Equal. The episode with Adriel Wallick, a game developer, reminded me that I had downloaded Twine ages ago to experiment with interactive fiction. But her Train Jam project really interested me.
A game jam is a group of people making a game with a time limit and a theme. We used to do this kind of thing all the time in my early days on the internet, except we were writing stories with a time limit and a theme. Games are just a different kind of story. The first jam that jumped out at me when I browsed itch.io was the Emojiam, and I was hooked.
So even though I just posted a game last Sunday, and even though today is Wednesday, I had to post something for Emojiam. Long walk at sunrise is board game you can print on a single sheet of 8.5 x 11 paper. It’s also a love story, in case you didn’t know who I am. Go download it, print it, cut it up, play it, and let me know what you think.
I didn’t make this with Father’s Day in mind, but it’s fitting because my dad is the reason I love puzzles and games. Every occasion to buy gifts was an occasion for my brothers and me to try and stump our dad. This Christmas, I got a book of logic puzzles in my stocking, and while we both enjoyed the knight’s tour game, a couple remain unsolved. (Sidenote: that Wikipedia page contains one of the best gifs ever.)
I like an open-ended game, one that doesn’t give me anxiety about getting the right answer. This is Sequoia, a word game. You can play it on graph paper or just draw a 5×5 grid and play anywhere, like tic-tac-toe. The object is to create the most words and longest words possible, using each letter only once in the 25 square grid. The trick is that you have to place the letters in alphabetical order (and choose the best letter to leave out).
Download the PDF for more instructions. You can also find the game on itch.io.
Let’s see if I can make something every Sunday.
If one looked solely at videogames, one would think the whole of human experience is shooting men and taking their dinner orders.
Anna Anthropy, Rise of the Videogame Zinesters
Anthropy critiques something important in this passage, but I laughed reading this because I really love those video games where you take dinner orders, make the food, serve the food, then collect the money. My favourite is the Delicious series. These games are part of the time management genre. They’re also called “casual” games because they’re not about shooting men.
I love games. I grew up through the rise of video games. Though my mom forbid my grandpa from buying us an original Nintendo, we had an Atari 2600. We had games on floppy disks. We bought used GameBoys one year with our Christmas money. I have played years of Microsoft Solitaire.
But there are a lot of men who wouldn’t call me a gamer. It doesn’t matter that I do crosswords, love Scrabble, play Trivial Pursuit. In their eyes, those don’t count as games. I wrote and designed a game with my dad as a family Christmas present last year. It’s a card collecting game called Ingredients. The object is to combine foods into dishes and create a full six-course meal.
Another “casual” game about dinner.
As I was reading Anna Anthropy’s book today, I started a list in my notebook. It’s now three two-column pages long. It’s a list of games I loved to play, I used to play, I still play. I texted my brother to help me remember the name of the police game we played on PC. I found SIX HOURS of Lemmings on YouTube.
I’ve been thinking a lot about books lately. I will forever be a writer, but my ideal format isn’t a book; it’s a blog post. Besides, what is the internet but a giant text adventure game.