Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013: my year

in 2013 i did 3 things i'm particularly proud of:

1. Problem Attic. i'd never done a real, honest-to-god project i felt proud of. finishing this lifted that weight off me. it also confirmed a lot of things i already knew. there were a lot of things that hurt me in the past year, and a lot of drama that caused ripples and split a lot of people i've been around apart. the time when i finished the initial version of PA felt like the epicenter of all of it. it's been really hard for me to deal with that feeling, like you have something you're trying so desperately to say but you're being ignored and swept under the rug by everyone around you because you're not as loud as them.

all this led me to feeling suicidal for maybe the first real time in my life. i guess the price you pay for doing things your way is feeling increasingly alienated from people around you. i spent several months being upset that many people i knew didn't even seem to want to go near my game, let alone entertain the idea that there might be something more there. the IndieCade rejection form was another blow, especially when a couple judges assumed i made the artistic choices i did in the game because i was inept. i'm also preparing for the inevitable disinterest from the IGF. i'll probably submit it to the Experimental Gameplay Workshop at GDC next year, if only because it's free, but i'm not hoping for much. and then i'll probably call the whole "attempting to get exposure for it" quits.

i've felt increasingly like everyone i know thinks i'm crazy and self-absorbed for harping on this game so much and just wants me to give it a rest. but i'm a stubborn person, and that deep stubbornness is what made that game, and is what motivates in general me to keep going and doing what i do. so that's what's i'm going to do.

i'm very proud to have made this game, and i think it's probably one of those things that will gain in reputation over time. i felt really overjoyed to see that there are some people (people i don't know at all, too!) who feel the same way. it makes me feel like i'm not so crazy for believing this after all. my dream is still to make it as an electronic musician, but maybe i'll keep trying to give this games thing more chances.

2. the three extended tracks i did on the MirrorMoon EP OST. i've struggled a lot with music for many years, and these have felt like by far the most cohesive things i've done in recent years. though if you want to give me money, you should do so on my bandcamp.

3. the two talks i gave: Re: Fuck Videogames and The Abstract And The Feminine. the former is a response to a bunch of different things going on in games around 2013, and i think more people need to read it if they can deal with eye-fucking and a few typos i'm too lazy to fix. the latter talks about a lot of issues surrounding gender (gender and art in particular) that a lot of people seem to ignore, so i think it's important to check out.

i'm not really a natural-born speaker and i still have a lot of dysphoria about my voice, so speaking at both conferences was a real challenge. at No Show in Boston, where i gave Re: Fuck Videogames, Courtney Stanton (the organizer) was nice enough to cover my flight and her and her husband Darius Kazemi were gracious hosts for someone like me who otherwise never would've been able to afford flying out to the east coast. unfortunately for the talk itself, i wrote everything in my talk out in article format, which makes for better reading than it did saying out loud. aside from that, i think No Show was an excellent and well run conference and i may attempt to submit a talk there next year .

my QGCon talk went a lot more smoothly, and i think i was able to convey all the thoughts i wanted to in the time allotted. i hope it came off for the people watching it. the conference itself i was happy to see exist, especially really close by, and meet some new faces. there were also several really good talks! but it also felt a little more jumbled and unfocused around several different ideas of what different people thought of as "queer", and some of the talks were basically just boring student dissertations (including a talk about Japanese representation of queer people in games that really bothered me and some other people). also, i hope they fix the audio on the stream next time around so people can actually hear most of the talks!

and of course, GDC and IndieCade were in 2013, both of which i have the benefit of being close to. both were, in themselves, a whirlwind of interesting people and experiences (IndieCade moreso than GDC), even if i feel less than enthusiastic about their overall aims as events, to put it lightly.

other notable things:

- i'm still broke as hell. if anyone likes my work and wants to give me money or help me find gigs doing music for games or whatever else, email or paypal me at liz dot ryerson at gmail or buy my stuff on bandcamp.

- you should play A.L.T., which is the best Doom mod i've ever played. also read my article about it on Unwinnable if you need convincing.

- a few articles i wrote on this blog ended up becoming pretty popular or whatever. i still like this one called "why should i love them?" the most.

- SCRAPS is an album of a lot of old kinda-embarrassing stuff of mine hopefully made less embarrassing by the super cryptic format

- i did the music and sound design for Crypt Worlds and Triad, which was fun.

- i got interviewed in RPS, which was pretty neat.

- i do plan on finishing my Doom videos eventually, but they're not a priority.

- speaking of that, apparently people kinda like it when you pretend to talk about whatever big current AAA game, even if what you're saying is not related at all.

- i wrote a couple more Wolfenstein 3d level design articles early this year, for anyone who might have missed them.

- i made Responsibilities w/Andi McClure at the very end of last year but you should still play it!

- i finally updated my website (, which is still very much a WIP. i'm fond of the icons.

- i'm posting assorted other bits (like the glitch art stuff i've been doing the past couple days) on my tumblr,

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