Building Healthy Habits in Forage Friends with Pie Trap Studios’ Priscilla Firstenberg

Building Healthy Habits in Forage Friends with Pie Trap Studios’ Priscilla Firstenberg

My first impression of Pie Trap Studios’ upcoming game Forage Friends was not “Wow, what a cute mobile game!” It was, in fact, “Holy shit, look at those cute baskets!” (more…)

Interview: Sarah Carapace and Emily Allen Talk Disaster Lesbians in Dungeon Bitches

Interview: Sarah Carapace and Emily Allen Talk Disaster Lesbians in Dungeon Bitches

Released by Dying Stylishly Games in 2021 after a successful Kickstarter campaign, Dungeon Bitches is a queer TTRPG that drops players into a harsh world where just about everything is out to kill you. You’ll quickly find that you need to band together with other queer women in order to make a place for yourself in the unforgiving setting—dealing with trauma and finding community along the way.

Here, two members of the Dying Stylishly Games team behind Dungeon Bitches, designer and author Emily F. Allen and artist and graphic designer Sarah Carapace, chat with us about the game, the creation process, and some of the inspiration behind it.

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Interview: Discovering “The Secret of the Mermaid,” a New Keepsake Game

Interview: Discovering “The Secret of the Mermaid,” a New Keepsake Game

There are many fun and interesting ways to make roleplaying games feel immersive, but my new favorite has been the “Keepsake Game” sub-genre, which has been gaining a lot of popularity since being pioneered by Shing Yin Khor and Jeeyon Shim a couple years ago. Keepsake games guide you through creating an artifact that’s an important part of the story, therefore immersing you, the player into the story as an important part of it yourself.

The Secret of the Mermaid is a brand new keepsake game currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter that aims to involve the player in a research project about mermaids via a series of beautiful and immersive postcards and ephemera. The game creators, American Kevin Dann and German Margit Schäfer, take immersion very seriously, fully taking on the roles of researcher Dr. Dann and ritualist Clarissa, who will guide the player through the game. We had a chance to chat with both of them about their vision for The Secret of the Mermaid.

4 sample postcards from the Secret of the Mermaid, depicting imagery of the sea, Rome and mysterious women

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Visual Novels and Other Visions: An Interview With Hanako Games

Visual Novels and Other Visions: An Interview With Hanako Games

As places to discover and publish games seem to be growing more accessible, we often take for granted how interests of the previously niche were hard to find and unapproachable, especially in online spaces. Although tracking down obscure media remains a challenge—and games preservation in particular remains a contentious issue—the influences left by fleeting memories of something seemingly lost has inspired many developers today to turn what was old into something new for contemporary audiences to indulge in.

Otome games, story-based games that originated in Japan targeted towards women, for example, have seemingly left an imprint on visual novel and romance elements that exist in games of other genres. I had an opportunity to discuss that question and more with Georgina Bensley, founder of Hanako Games. We discussed what goes into doing work as “Hanako,” and how the continuously changing landscape of the games scene—especially for independent games development—has offered both challenges and opportunities for visual novels and other forms of interactive fiction. From its early beginnings working within the narrow scope of its influences through Cute Knight, to expanding into even wider themes with more recent titles like Night Cascades, Hanako Games has every intention of growing its library while continuing to work in an ever-evolving industry.

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Interview: Jeeyon Shim and Shing Yin Khor on Connected Path and Keepsake Games

Interview: Jeeyon Shim and Shing Yin Khor on Connected Path and Keepsake Games

Field Guide to Memory seemed to release at the exact time I needed it; it was fool’s spring up here in the Pacific Northwest, when the sun is out but the air is biting cold, and I was feeling tired and burned out from writing. What better to rekindle my creativity and drive me outside to look at birds and pick leaves than a journaling game about cryptids? (more…)

The Splorts Report: The Founding and Future of the Blaseball Wiki

The Splorts Report: The Founding and Future of the Blaseball Wiki

In the beginnings of Blaseball, the community was fragmented. Bits of lore, worldbuilding, and statistical analysis popped up all over the internet, and while there was a small amount of reporting being done, the vast majority of people being brought into the fold came from word-of-mouth through outlets like Discord and Twitter. And as each week passed and new fans were being introduced, the game itself moved at lightning speed, with canon characters and events being lost to the sands of time. There needed to be a place where people could gather, new fans could get information, and content creators could place their art for public consumption. And thus, the Blaseball wiki was born. I sat down with Steven Carver and Kyle Shockey, two of the current wiki admins, to discuss the site and the undertaking of running a community hub. (more…)