Lyst – a symposium and game jam celebrating Love, Romance and Sex in Games

Thinking back at Lyst now, I can’t say anything else than it was really amazing. I can’t think of one thing that was not great! On so many levels: Speakers, food, people, games… It was the first time for someone from Copenhagen Game Collective and Game Girl Workshop to come together and organize something like this, and we were quite nervous. Especially taking the topics into account: Romance, love and sex in games. It felt like so many things could go wrong, on so many levels.

Lystplakat550

Patrick Jarnfelt from CphGC and I, Andrea Hasselager from Game Girl Workshop first started collaborating on the iPad game Moontide (still in production), an abstract game that emotionally follows the female cycle. We quickly found out that we were a dynamic duo, and when Patrick told me about the idea that had been circulating around Copenhagen Game Collective for a while: A game jam about relationships emotions, and sex, I was like ’Let’s do it!’ CGC had been a bit hesitant about doing it, because of it being sensitive topics and stepping into the (important) and ongoing discussions in the games industry, right now. I guess our conclusion was: Yea, we will probably make mistakes, but if you don’t start somewhere, you will never start. Read more »

Lyst Summit on 6-8th of June

We have created a summit that celebrates Romance, Love and Sex in games, called Lyst Summit. There will be a full day conference on the subject with inspiring speakers followed by a game jam that focusses only on these subjects. The whole thing will be held from the 6-8th of June.

We feel that ‘Lyst’ is a great name for what we want to do, since it means lust, but also desire or “wanting”. You would for instance say: “har du lyst til …”, which translates to “do you want to …” and it also means Light. Light, because we don’t want to “do it” in the dark ;)

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As you might know, we here at the collective, like to create and play experimental games. Games that push the boundaries of what is regarded as normal subjects for games is our life force. Ever since we created a physical erotic rhythm game (Dark Room Sex Game), themes like romance, gender, sexuality, sex and eroticism in games have captivated us. If not only for the potential of engaging with these subjects, then for the challenge of creating something meaningful with them. We have previously analysed games with erotic content and have written about it on this blog. Good examples that touched upon these topics were few and far apart, so we ended our Erotic Game Tip on the blog, but the passion for it never died.

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Games, Body Contact and Femminist Issues

This is an “answer” to Jordan Erica Webber and Laura Kate Dale’s series of letters published on IndieHaven and Godiva Gamers discussing the game called Hugatron (website and Tumblr). I am not affiliated with Hugatron in any way.

Dear Jordan and Laura

Thank you for sharing an insightful email conversation about your experiences watching a group of people playing Hugatron. Hugatron is a simple game where two random players are paired up and have to hug each other in an awkward way until one gives up and resign. Laura most strongly describes her discomfort early in your conversation:

Honestly, I was sat watching this group of men, being egged on and encouraged to make each other uncomfortable with physical contact and just felt really uneasy about the whole concept. Something about a supposedly social game that required players to make each other feel uncomfortable, then not complain about that discomfort for fear of losing just felt like it had some uncomfortable implications for social settings that may contain multiple genders/ sexual orientations/ levels of comfort with personal space etc.

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We need your help to remake Dark Room Sex Game

In 2008 we made a weird experimental no-graphics erotic collaborative rhythm game called Dark Room Sex Game. We are now remaking this game to be controlled with PlayStation Move controllers and we need your help (believe us, the original implementation with Wiimotes was a hassle).

Dark Room Sex Game HD will feature easy connection with PS Move controllers and enhanced light feedback. The project is non commercial and will be released open source.

We will also completely redo the audio of the game, and that is where you come in! All the new voices in the game will be user submitted, so if you are interested in sighing, moaning, smacking, screaming and crying into a microphone for the sake of… Art, please read the instructions.

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Erotic Game Tip: Fingle

Lau and Sebbe playing fingle

Lau and Sebbe having fun with our new favorite “erotic” game.

At one point in the collectives history we were quite keen on erotic games. Ever since some of us created the Dark Room Sex Game we saw the potential for intimate, sensual and erotic content as an interesting mechanic for social interaction in games. However most erotic games are in fact not erotic, but are with blatant graphics, feels like adolescent pandering and mostly fall into the “nerdy teenager appreciation” category. This became evident when we did research in this area for content we could use in our – at the time – bi-weekly erotic game tip. The goal was to give a tip about some interesting or novel ways erotic themes had been used in games, every other week. However, as I mentioned, there just was not enough content to do so. So we quickly abandoned this idea.  But that shouldn’t stop us from giving a tip of our hat to a studio for actually creating a game in this area that accomplishes the goal of being “erotic”, when we encounter one.

The game I am talking about is called Fingle and the company behind it; Game Oven Studio. They do not promote it as an erotic game per se. However, it is evident after playing the game and talking to Bojan Endrovski, one of the creators behind it, that intimacy plays a huge role in the game. At the nordic game jam Bojan was giving a lecture about his game and at the pre-party for the game jam, which the collective held, we got to play his game with him and talk to him a bit about the game.

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Spilbar 9000 – a talk in Aalborg – and AAAARGH!

While everybody was at the Game Developers Conference in SF, having fun and receiving awards, we were also having fun with a talk about prototypes and experimental games. We were invited by Shareplay to give a talk about our work. The talk was titled “from protoype to production”. Shareplay is a transmedia venture interested in the development of the future media sector. That means they have some capital for thing like this. Which is pretty good for Northern Jutland and the gaming scene there.

The actual location for the talk was in a bar called Viva La Revolution. It was kind of a small and cozy setting, which led the mind towards a small smoke filled underground NYC comedy club. Perfect setting for showing experimental and ridiculous games. And of course, there was beer, which also helps to set the mood. In that sense, it really differentiates itself from the Copenhagen version of the Spilbar, which is more geared toward formal talks and professional networking. The Spillbar 9000 takes another approach and creates a more casual environment that should help the networking. It was even more evident, since, as mentioned, it was during GDC. So they audience was mostly students and less people in the game industry.

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Dark Room Sex Game at ITP

Last September, we rolled through New York City to throw our Brutally Unfair Game Bash at Babycastles. While I was in town, I stopped by ITP (Tisch School of the Arts, NYU) to give a talk to a “Games-Art” class co-taught by my friend Zach Gage.

The talk was about abusive game design, so of course I had to do the obligatory live demo of Dark Room Sex Game. Apparently, somebody caught the moment on video. Enjoy!

Gamasutra interview with Doug

Last month, I did a long interview with Leigh Alexander for Gamasutra. We talked about the collective, abusive game design, B.U.T.T.O.N., broken games, and more. Read it here.

Here’s an excerpt:

At its best, abusive game design can create a kind of playful meta-game — a battle of wits and willpower between designer and player. The kind of abusive game design that interests me most is “dialogic,” in that it facilitates a back-and-forth — maybe not a literal back-and-forth, but something that feels like it, as if you and the designer were “in each other’s heads,” so to speak. […] Thus, counter-intuitively, I think abusive game design can help humanize gameplay. It confronts the conventional and reminds us that play is something deeply personal.

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Abusive Games Julefrokost at Babycastles!

B.U.T.T.O.N. and Dark Room Sex Game are returning to Babycastles – with holiday spirit!

Abusive Games Julefrokost

Click the image to see the rest of the flyer!

Flyer design by our awesomely talented friend, Joost Meeuwissen.

More info at the event’s Facebook page, here.

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The Copenhagen Game Collective went to the US of A! Part 1

So we went to America. The first stop on our trip was New York City, where our games were shown at a Babycastles party in Queens. The place was a venue called Silent Barn, which is mostly known for hosting concerts. The Babycastles Arcade started out with a couple of guys showing weird games at the bar during concerts, and people that were normally not playing games really got into it. By now their Arcade has moved to Manhattan, where they’re set up in the Showpaper Gallery on 42nd street. So if you’re visiting New York, go there!

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