At the Shore: A Fairy Tale

I made a video game in March and forgot to mention it!

At Train Jam this year I partnered with two amazing women to make At the Shore: A Fairy Tale. Some version of At the Shore has been floating around in my head for least two or three years, so it was lovely finally being able to manifest a version of it. It’s a mashup between Kate Chopin’s The Awakening and the Tennyo myths of Japan.  It’s raw and a little heartbreaking.

Reportedly it has made at least two people cry. So I’m calling it a success. It takes about 15 minutes to play. Enjoy.

The AAA Life

Hullo! Just wanted to catch you up on the news.  In March I joined Hidden Path Entertainment as a Project Narrative Director. I’m on a very large, very fantastic project, and I probably won’t be able to talk about it for yeaaarrrss. I’v officially moved into AAA territory and it’s quite a ride! Love this studio, it has an amazing culture.

Also in March I gave a talk at GDC’s Narrative Innovation Showcase on archetypal structures that is pretty neat:

Did a panel on storytelling and games at the digital convention LudoNarraCon for its inaugural year:

Released a VR game with Hidden Path called Raccoon Lagoon:

Played the release of the Endless Quest Dungeons & Dragons books wit their author!

Announced that I will be teaching a workshop on video game writing for Clarion West this April. If you’re in the Seattle area and are interested in writing for video games, consider signing up! By the way, I officially, finally joined SFWA. Woo!

And finally, we’ve just announced the indie game I’ve been working on for the last eight months, HoloVista!

I’m really pleased with HoloVista. Forbes did a fantastic write-up of our initial announcement here. That’s right, my game, my name, in Forbes! The Aconite team behind the game are amazing folks to work with, and I love them all. HoloVista is releasing in 2020!

As always, I’m sure I’ve missed things. Ta for now.

Bluebeard’s Bride Takes the Cake

Award season is finishing up here in the game world, and I’m left staggering around under the weight of what has happened. Bluebeard’s Bride has swept, just absolutely swept the landscape.  It’s competed with large traditional tabletop role-playing game publishing houses, other amazing indie tabletop RPGs, and even got directly in the fray at IndieCade, competing not only against the best indie analogue games, but the best video games as well.

And won. IndieCade. It won IndieCade.

Won: IndieCade’s Grand Jury Award 2018 (we are still confirming, but this may be the first time a tabletop RPG has ever won the grand prize)

Won: IDGN’s Indie Groundbreaker Awards – Game of the Year 2018
Won: IDGN’s Indie Groundbreaker Awards – Best Art 2018

Nominated: IDGN’s Indie Groundbreaker Awards – Most Innovative 2018
Nominated: Golden Geek Awards – Best Artwork and Presentation 2018
Nominated: Ennies (EN World RPG Awards) – Best Production Values 2018

I know we were making something special but, yeah, wow. To have the vision come all the way through, and know that you’re players are absorbing it, are thrilled by it. It’s what we live for, us designers and storytellers.

I’ve been hearing play reports from folks all over the world, and it’s fascinating to hear what grisly things each group gets up to. The game is also being taught as part of the curriculum at at least three university level literary classrooms in the U.S. I’ve had the pleasure of dropping in on some of these lectures, and helping professors adapt play for the classroom.  So hit me up if that’s something you’re interested in!

As always, you can purchase it here if you’re interested in it.

The First Ever University Level RPG Textbook!

Great news! Role-Playing Game Studies: Transmedia Foundations, the fist ever university level role playing game textbook, is out! Many experts and gaming academics, including myself, worked with Routledge Press to produce this book. I contributed to chapter 27 alongside Jessica Hammer. It’s an invaluable resource for professors and students alike. RPG studies is legit ya’ll!


The book is doing so well that it’s sold out of paperback copies for now. You can still order the E-book or the hardback. I heartily suggest you go check it out.

Also, the kickstarter for BFF! the RPG of friendship, girlhood, and adventure is now live!

I loved working on this project and it’s a complete and total 180 from Bluebeard’s Bride. I love all characters and the settings are rich and interesting. This game is for teens and adults, no matter one’s gender : )

Results

I have been keeping my head down and just grinding. So I thought I’d surface with a roundup of what I’ve been doing this last year (hint: it’s a lot, per usual).

Let’s start with the biggest news first; I recently joined a studio as the narrative design lead on their next big game!

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That’s right, a game about the ocean. Do you know how jazzed I am? So jazzed. This is full time, which means I’ve officially made the crossover from part time freelance spliced with tech industry work to concentrating on narrative design exclusively as my profession. I am really, REALLY happy about this. It’s been years in the making and this is basically the perfect job.

How did Bluebeard’s Bride do?

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REALLY WELL.


The kickstarter ended up bringing in about $130,000. It’s already been nominated for one award, it held one of the top spots for most purchased game on DriveThruRPG for weeks, and the reviews have been glowing.

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I did a lot of interviews around the game release, and they’re floating out there in the ether somewhere. I knew I hit peak interview when I sat down to talk about Bluebeard’s Bride with a frog.

What other projects are you working on right now?
I’m currently working on a playset for Weave by Monocle Society.

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And I’m contributing to the narrative design for Heart of the Deernicorn’s BFF.

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In terms of Twitch projects I’m currently involved with the ongoing series Eat, Prey, Kill, based off of the Kill 6 Billion Demons universe.

And Celestial Rangers, based off the Sailor Moon RPG.

Things I finished up.
Okay, it’s a lot of things. Pretty sure this list is incomplete, but I’ll do my best to remember.

I wrote a freeform game called Möbius that was published in the #Feminism game anthology. Did narrative consulting for Qneuro. Judged the Golden Cobra game design competition. Translated some ancient Egyptian for Chaldea. Saw Mulaka launched. I had a very minor role consulting with the Lienzo team, but I’m super proud of how well received Mulaka has been. In the early days it was really a struggle, and I wasn’t sure the game was going to get released. Now it’s got everyone’s attention.

Did diversity and inclusion narrative consultation and VO work for the new BattleTech game that is launching this month. I really like doing voice over work! I also love all the folks over at Harebrained Schemes.

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Both live streaming shows Death From Above and Weekly Affirmations have wrapped up. Death From Above was a seminal experience, and I miss the whole cast and crew. We really made something special.

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Weekly Affirmations will probably come back in a new form with a new name at some point in the future. Several Twitch studios have offered to pick it up, I just haven’t had the bandwidth to do it yet. It’s a show that takes a lot of work on my end to produce. But it’s totally worth it. So many meaningful experiences.

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I did various other Twitch shows including fundraisers, voice acting to Hatoful Boyfriend and Night in the Woods, Feminist Cookies, The Gauntlet, Masters of the Metaverse, Where in the World is Carmen San Diego, and lots of others. And no, I’m still not a streamer : p

Cons and appearances 
I did panels and events at MAGfestOrca Con, and Women Who Crush.

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Also participated in the Games to Grow panel on Culturally Responsible Gaming.

I dropped out of the rest of the con season in 2017 after I contracted dengue fever in India, and was too ill to travel for a while.

Upcoming events 
I’m going to be a speaker at XOXO!
I’m also going to be attending Project Horseshoe, an invite-only game industry think tank. I’m thrilled and honored to be a part of this, and can’t wait to mind meld with other top folks doing cool work.

That’s it for now. I’ll try not to wait another year to update.