Feminist game environment


#1

Elements for a Feminist video game:

As video games steadily grow in diversity and complexity and while amazing artwork is produced, it seems that most popular games still propose competitive scenarios based on gaining strength or making one’s civilization grow the biggest, where the main action is killing the boss or shooting everyone around. Independent games sometimes offer exploration scenarios, but only a few games will try to develop other form of interactions and clearly different game plays.

Since the episode of gamergate a few years ago and partly thanks to the amazing work of feminist scholars such as, among others, Anita Sarkeesian at feminist frequency, we grew to a better understanding of the gendered relations in video games. Since then a number of new games personify women and girl heroins (“The last of us” or “Child of light” for example) and transform some aspects of the game play, ("Never alone " or “Gone home”)or change the graphics to feminist friendly topics.
There are also a number of attempts to build more collaborative environments, and more experimental format, such as for example Tacoma (by the same studio as gone home) or Iconoclast (proposing a narrative about reparation and collaboration) but as of now there is still no feminist collaborative attempt to develop a game that would allow one to explore trans species trans gender and feminist principles.

This post is an attempt to start a discussion on what a feminist video games could be, which elements it should bring together, what kind of interaction principles could be transformed.

This is not about changing the graphics of space invaders but about rethinking what are the principles of a feminist video game. This would certainly radically change the structure of the game.

The questions that arise and that should be represented by the game could be:
Ways to bring different contextual interaction, between the characters and the environment.
Tran species personification
De-constructing the systems which perpetuate inequalities
Connections between body, the theories of consciousness, perception, world of objects
Ecology and the new materialism
Collaborative model of interaction.

GAME PRINCIPLES

To better understand what a feminist video game can be, a good start could be to state a few principles based on Exchange and collaboration that we could start from, such as:

  • Permeability of the environment where exchange between the characters and their context is rendered possible and visible.
  • Game principles that are not based on the personification of players but on the multiplicity of their actions.
  • Control and mastery is not at the core of the game, one action can and most probably has multiple effects.

ENVIRONMENT

Dynamic Map from a territory in constant construction

Y a-t-il de la gravité?

MOTOR ELEMENTS OF THE GAME

Recuperation
Reconstruction
Transformation
Permeability

MODALITIES OF INTERACTION

Trace that follows the contact points of the characters in the game.
Exchange furtif,
Transmition of information between different beings
Mutation
Reproduction
Symbiosis

CHARACTERS

Lombric: made from reproducible blocs that can spread through the game

Roots: adaptative element that moves from ground to water

Overflyers: Foireflyes and other unicorns who emerge from the different surfaces and transform their environment.pendant les différentes surfaces.
Butinage,

Etalement des savoirs échange des processus,
Passage transition, création de ponts.

Adapteurs. Ecosystèmes

Nécro: Accumulation of goods from etraction. Each extracted layer provokes the fragility of the preceding structure. Leading to a closing up upon oneself.


#2

Quelques premiers éléments visuels à utiliser

EARTH

earth earth earth earth earth earth earth earth earth earth earth earth earth earth earth

WINGS

0 0 0

wings

LOMBRIC

lombric1 lombric1b lombric2 lombric2c lombric2b lombric3c lombric4 lombric3


#3

REFS

I have tried here to list at the best of my knowledge examples of sidestepping approaches to gaming. Most of the games I know that develop a criical narrative are media arts initiatives or artists work, mostly presented in those environments and not distributed along usual circuits for independant games such as for example Steam or Itch.io

One exception is Porpentine, an amazing feminist game artist who has an itch.io channel:
https://porpentine.itch.io/
her main site still presents most of her games.
http://slimedaughter.com/

Another very active team producing amazing art and critical approaches to both gaming and social discourse:


they are very know for their intersectionnal critical game"SUNSET" where you play an immigrant housekeeper in a swanky bachelor pad,
and for their concept of slow game in “THE GRAVEYARD” you play an old lady walking in a cemetery.
Tale of Tales is focused on the interaction the environment the art, and not really on the game principles, “Tale of Tales does not necessarily want to develop games. We’re interested in entertaining interaction with virtual worlds and characters. But not necessarily in games. In fact we suspect that the goal-oriented and rules-based nature of games may stand in the way of artistic expressiveness, which is the primary goal of our work.”

In Italia an other amazing and very known group is Molle Industria,http://molleindustria.org who also distribute their more recent games on itch.io
https://molleindustria.itch.io

I also listed some reference games quickly listed from Steam, many of them are already a few years old I should find their contemporary equvalents, but still. here you go.
Most of those games are listed under the category "Puzzle Games, this is a relatively large category that counts with all the games that propose problem solving challenges logical organisation challenges and/or transformation of sequential interaction including time and space distorsions. Puzzle Games are usually differentiated from Narrative Games since mostly the interaction is not guided by a clear narrative, however while they can be some narrative elements I never found one that incorporates critical views. puzzle Games however incorporate the most refined visuals beautiful and challenging designs and surprising organisations, but they mostly take place in a very abstract environment and scarcely personify their characters.

A Puzzle Game that I have been really touched by is: " FOUR SIDED FANTASY", I have been seducad mostly by its graphic environment and the altered perception of space it proposes, the choice of pernofying a feminist character AND a masculine character, I found interesting however it still is a binary position.

http://foursidedfantasy.com

Also Sun and Moon, beautiful visuals, but pure Puzzle Game interaction logic.

Circa_Infinity Same feeling

http://circainfinitygame.com

Here also very interesting interaction logic and completely unusual use of space, but no statement of commitment to any discourse or critics.

http://semispher.es/

http://ovivogame.com/

Antichamber, has had a lot of success because it was clearly redefining logics of interaction towardsspace, time transformation; involving for example tunnels and teleportations that involved alterations of screens. Here again visualsand graphica are amazing and shine from their neutrality, modalities of interaction are equally neutral.

http://antichamber-game.com/

I was also touched by “PROTOLIFE”, a form of game of life that works according to bacterial interaction rules
https://ldjam.com/events/ludum-dare/38/protolife
this got me thinking about the symbiose project, that we had realised some years ago:
https://ps.zoethical.com/t/about-the-symbiosis-and-symbiogenesis-conference/1327

Some tutorial to get started with Godot:

VIDEOS TO WATCH:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PI26-KXCXpBtZGRJizz0cvU88nXB-G14


#4

#5

réflexions sur les possibilités d’un modèle de jeu video de forme documentaire.

Au vu des nombreuses questions posées par le dévelopement actuel des jeux vidéos, choisisssons d’isoler les préoccupations développées si dessus afin de les approfondir.

Dans un environnement ou nous adressons des enjeux qui dépassent les problématiques envisagées dans les espaces traditionnels de production de jeu, il est intéressant de penser de nouvelles manières d’aborder ces formes documentaires.
Ainsi il pourrait être intéressant que le questionnement des modalités des jeux vidéo passe par l’appropriation de la fabrication des jeux, au travers d’ateliers portant par exemple sur le moteur de jeu libre godot engine.
Ces ateliers seraient en eux même l’objet du documentaire, ils démarreraient par une table ronde ou les enjeux qui nous intriguent seraient abordés, laissant la parole à chaque participant, puis une proposition d’utiliser ensemble des outils développés en amont afin de réaliser des micros jeux qui remettent en question les fonctionnements ordinaires du jeu video.


#6

Pour celleux qui se demandent ce qu’est Godot Engine.

Je suis certain que le #ps:hcklabxl serait un lieu parfait pour ces rencontres – lorsque @ptr_here aura installé les rideaux et le chauffage. :slight_smile: Il faudrait déterminer un calendrier.

En tout cas je salue cette initiative car le jeu est une industrie gigantesque – plus importante que Hollywood – qui affecte de nombreuses vies et les questionnements se cantonnent trop souvent à répéter l’existant, voire à rechercher l’addiction. Vivement un jeu qui interroge sur la place des corps vivants dans l’imaginaire ludique et la réalité du monde.

Pour info, il existe une liste des développeurs de jeux vidéo en Belgique. Je ne connais pas le milieu pour savoir s’il existe des ASBL ou des rencontres pertinentes.


#7

Bel atelier godot mené à F/Lat par @frankizafe

Quel riche groupe de personnes dans cet ateliers tous et toutes intéressés par le jeu video pour des raisons variées mais toujours créatives.
Dans les notes il y a aussi plein de références chouettes


#8

Au Capitole du Libre à Toulouse, samedi prochain à 11:00, Aline Bardou présentera RedBricks, la plateforme de gestion de communauté et de financement participatif pour le jeu vidéo créée par sa compagnie OtterWays.

Par ailleurs, une liste d’intervenantes dans l’univers du jeu vidéo français.


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