Which is the industry we want?

Cover by crysanthema.

At the inaugural panel of last year’s Meet the Devs a lot of panelists agreed that the videogame industry is composed not only by companies, but also by indies, hobbyists, academic institutions, and the specialized press and critique. This statement, that I still hear nowadays, worries me, because it presents several issues from a moral standpoint, and because stacking several different things together as if they were part of a whole makes for poor analysis and clumsy critical thinking.. Continue reading Which is the industry we want?

Interview with Paolo Pedercini (Part 4 of 4)

In August of last year, Matajuegos sat to chat with Paolo Pedercini (of Molleindustria) about videogames and art and politics, resulting in a conversation we divided in four parts. We already published the first, second, and third ones. This is the fourth and last one, where we talk about Paolo’s youth, his first experiences playing videogames and analyzing them critically, the evolution of his political thought, and the stupidity of bees.

Santiago Franzani: So, about you. Did you grow up playing games, is it something that is part of yourself?

Paolo Pedercini: Yeah, I played games, started with Nintendo. Actually Continue reading Interview with Paolo Pedercini (Part 4 of 4)

Interview with Paolo Pedercini (Part 3 of 4)

In August of last year, Matajuegos sat to chat with Paolo Pedercini (of Molleindustria) about videogames and art and politics, resulting in a conversation we divided in four parts. We already published the firstsecond, and fourth ones. This is the third one, where we talk about the industry, the indie side, experimentation, and representation of broken systems.

Santiago Franzani: Do you make any difference between if you are indie or if you are industry, or there is something that you can say that, OK, this is the opposite, or you can gather all together to think the same way?

Paolo Pedercini: Um…

SF: Hard question?

PP: Yeah, it’s hard. When I was in Italy, Continue reading Interview with Paolo Pedercini (Part 3 of 4)

Interview with Paolo Pedercini (Part 2 of 4)

In August of last year, Matajuegos sat to chat with Paolo Pedercini (of Molleindustria) about videogames and art and politics, resulting in a conversation we divided in four parts. We already published the first, third, and fourth ones. This is the second one, where we talk about metaphors for tactical media, and the kind of audience it can reach.

Santiago Franzani: You use the term “propaganda” when describing your games sometimes, or “contra-propaganda”. Could you explain the role of propaganda in your projects, what does it mean?

Paolo Pedercini: I think I was talking about it last night. I mentioned propaganda because I started a party which was not a mainstream party at all, it was like five percent representation type of party. So the first game was made as part of a promotion for Continue reading Interview with Paolo Pedercini (Part 2 of 4)

Interview with Paolo Pedercini (Part 1 of 4)

In August of last year, Paolo Pedercini came to Buenos Aires to give a talk and a workshop at Media Party 2016, a free conference about the “future of media”, with special attention to advances in tech.

We at Matajuegos already translated texts of his, wrote about his project Molleindustria of subversive games, and have admired his work for years, so we asked him if he had a few hours to sit with us and talk about videogames and art and politics.

The resulting conversation was transcribed, cut, and divided in four parts. We already released the second, third, and fourth ones. This is the first one, where we talk about the origin of Molleindustria, its changes over time, and the importance of expressive systems.

Santiago Franzani: What’s the origin, what’s the meaning of “soft industry” (molle industria) actually?

Paolo Pedercini: The title was like a reference to the industrialization or post-Fordization of the industry. Continue reading Interview with Paolo Pedercini (Part 1 of 4)

Ladykiller in a Bind: Revindicating Kink

NSFW: In this article we talk about sex, sexuality and we will show screenshots of games containing people showing their titties and being stark naked, so reading this at work might not be a good idea.

Ladykiller in a Bind is an erotic Visual Novel (VN) made by Christine Love, published on Steam on January 9, several months after its release at the Humble Store on October 10th. The delay was due to its erotic and queer content, because Steam’s policies are unclear about which kink it wants to distribute and which kink it wants to play fool with.

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PSA: About GDC and the ways of exclusion

A while ago FundAV reopened their grants that deliver an All Access Pass for the GDC, only this time they were reopened just for women, because the entity that grants the passes decided that the male quota was covered and the remaining beneficiaries had to be women, since they were aiming for a quota of 50% male beneficiaries and 50% female beneficiaries. That measure was taken because women are a minority in the videogame industry.
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The Real Escapist Was Houdini: Molleindustria and Games for Facing Reality

…we can imagine ways to fix Monopoly – either rewarding players who are behind to keep them within a reasonable distance of the leaders, or making progress more difficult for rich players. Or course – this might impact the game’s ability to recreate the reality of monopoly practices – but reality isn’t always “fun”.

MDA: A Formal Approach to Game Design and Game Research
Hunicke, LeBlanc y Zubek, 2004

Game criticism always goes back to the question of what’s the purpose of games. The answer has to be complex because not every game has the same goal, and different players look for different things (sometimes in the same games).

For common sense, there is no complexity to it: the purpose of all games is to produce fun, and the player is always looking for new ways to escape from their mundane reality. Sooner or later one encounters different forms of this escapist idea as a justification for criticism being unnecessary, since criticism often explores the juncture where games and reality are more closely related. Criticism is then left in the awkward position of arguing that many games couldn’t care less if their players are having fun, which is true yet counterintuitive.

Continue reading The Real Escapist Was Houdini: Molleindustria and Games for Facing Reality

All Mechanics Convey Meaning

A rather annoying thing is how people who don’t know the first thing about videogames think no game can say anything relevant on a human level. But well, we can ignore those people. In my experience reflecting on videogames, the true pebble in the shoe is the people who know them very well and decide that we can only take the message of a game seriously if we’re going to praise it. If instead the game says something toxic and we intend to criticize it, then it is meant to entertain and all criticism is an exaggeration.

The logic governing this reaction is full of false assumptions: that only a few games convey a message, that entertainment has nothing to say, that if criticisms were correct players would replicate in-game actions in real life, that you can make art without your subjectivity getting in the way, that freedom of artistic expression means toxic ideas are above scrutiny.

Continue reading All Mechanics Convey Meaning