This week in online harassment: over the weekend, Flappy Bird developer Dong Nguyen pulled his game from the Apple App Store and Google Play due to harassment from players and games press. If you haven’t heard of it, Flappy Bird is a mobile game in which the player taps the screen to make a bird flap its wings; the goal is to pass through as many narrow gates as possible. Supposedly, one of the reasons gamers were angry about the game is that the graphics–particularly the green pipes that form the gates–were “ripped” from Super Mario. Closer examination reveals that they aren’t actually ripped from the game, but even if they were, that really doesn’t necessitate death threats and harassment.
[T]he internet hate toward Nguyen was, or is, partly racist / first-world biased.
Conceptually, the game resembles an undergraduate game dev student’s class project, though the execution is actually very tightly tuned and well-made. I suspect that if Nguyen were a white American, this would’ve been the story of a scrappy indie who managed to best Zynga with his loving homage to Nintendo’s apparent patent on green pixel pipes and the classic “helicopter cave” game genre.
Instead, Dong Nguyen committed the crime of being from Vietnam, where Electronic Arts or Valve or Nintendo do not have a development office.
Definitely read the whole thing. (The article does not contain examples of the abuse, for those concerned about clicking through.)
Do you play dating sims or games with NPC romances? Then take this survey!
Researcher and game developer Heidi McDonald contacted the Border House to let us know about her survey, which is her second about romance games. She writes, “I am issuing a very special invitation to members of the LGBTQ community to take part, because I believe that hearing their voices about the current state of romance in games, and how we as developers might make game romance more inclusive and more satisfying for ALL customers, is incredibly important.”
She hopes to reach 2,000 respondents for this survey. Please take a moment to take the short survey, and help make game romances more inclusive.
Tower Jam is an online game jam that runs the month of September. The idea is to create games that are about characters that typically don’t have agency in games–particularly those that play the role of Damsel in Distress, the trope from which the jam takes its name. Read more about the event in the FAQ, check out the first game submitted as an example of the idea, and feel free to use this thread to organize teams, think of ideas, collaborate, or share your games. Have fun!
The young site has already spurred change around the gaming internet with Samantha Allen’s Open Letter to Games Media, which provoked responses from Kotaku and other EICs addressed in the letter.
re/Action isn’t just about games writing, either; it has already published a comic and the editors have expressed interest in publishing poetry and games as well.
If re/Action continues in this way, it will be an invaluable source for marginalized voices in games. It will help to move the entire video game community forward to a more inclusive place. But it will only be able to continue with our help. The editors are holding a campaign to fund the first six months of the zine, with which the team will be able to pay their contributors. The details are broken down in detail on the Indiegogo page. Please consider subscribing so that this important work can continue.
Adorable 3DS life sim Animal Crossing: New Leaf launched yesterday in North America and will be out this weekend in Europe. Who’s playing? Here’s a thread to share fossil collecting tips and exchange friend codes.
Merritt Kopas’s latest is an incredibly delightful game about hugging. She writes, “I think more games should be about hugging,” and I totally agree. Play it and read more about it here! It will definitely brighten your day.
This June marks the second-annual Worldwide Game Development Month event. Much like the month-long novel-writing marathon NaNoWriMo, WoGaDeMo is an event that gives you a goal (make a game), a deadline (in 30 days), and a community to help you get there. If you’re looking for a game jam-like event that gives you a bit more time to explore ideas and revise, this event is for you. You can also check out the games from last year (including mine!) on the website.
The second installment of Anita Sarkeesian’s Tropes vs Women in Video Games series is now online–again, after being briefly removed from YouTube thanks to some jerks flagging it. It’s the second video about the Damsel in Distress trope. Please be warned that the video contains some graphic depictions of violence against women, used as examples. Watch the video above or read the full transcript at the Feminist Frequency site.
Today’s GOTD is a lovely piece about living your life when your choices are limited. As a mermaid! Kayla Overkill can be reached at her Tumblr. Thank you to Kimiko for submitting this one.
If you have made or played an IF or indie game you would like to see featured on The Border House, send it to us at editors (at) borderhouseblog (dot) com (or @ me on Twitter). You can see our past featured games at this tag.