The good news

By now you’ve probably already heard, but just in case: Boing Boing is relaunching Offworld, its games label, with me at the helm and with the incredible Laura Hudson as senior editor. It’ll be a space where we publish writing from women and other voices that games have marginalized; it’ll be a space where we’re allowed to enjoy diverse games and culture again, instead of only ever being invited to reveal our wounds or perform as activist novelties. Long past time for that, huh?

Welcome home. There’ll be a working RSS eventually, but for now follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and help spread the word by sharing articles and posts you enjoy. We need your support to make this space thrive.

Since a lot of people have asked: We are a small colony to start. For the moment there are no open submissions and we do not have any jobs to offer; rather we’ll be reaching out to commission individual contributors on specific topics, and hopefully working with more and more people as we grow. While we are curating quite closely now, we’re listening to everyone who’s interested in participating and are excited that there’s more interest than we can manage! If you’ve already emailed me and not heard a reply, I’m doing my best!

As we’ve explicitly said, Offworld gives priority to voices we hear from less often. We want to be a source of balance in the games space,  and to show the industry’s more diverse side, so at least initially we’ll be prioritizing accordingly. Surprisingly I’ve gotten an outpouring of messages from women asking to work for free just so they can be included, and lots of the women I most want to work with (and pay) had to be asked first. Dudes, on the other hand, send me resumes and rates confidently and unsolicited. It’s always fascinating to notice who feels qualified to put themselves forward and to ask for money, and always important to remember that sometimes what it takes to diversify spaces goes beyond a shrugged shoulder and a ‘well, we invited everyone, but no women or people of color applied.’

I don’t intend to sound self-congratulatory whatsoever. I know a lot of people are very hopeful about the site and we will do our best to meet those hopes. But I also think an essential part of progress is to accept I — or anyone in a position to contribute to change, really — am going to screw up sometimes. Maybe immediately! Thanks for your patience and kindness, even if at the end of the day it’s just a little video game blog we’re talking about here.

I’m still recovering from GDC, of course; if you read my book Clipping Through you’ll know how mad and wild and wonderful and intense a week the conference can be.  Oh hey, speaking of my self-published stuff: By popular demand I created an itch.io page for both editions of my new short story, MONA, for people who prefer to buy things with PayPal.

Highlights from GDC: Raph Koster, Gordon Walton and Rich Vogel share learnings from their extensive experience with online game communities — a lot of them help explain the internet climate we find ourselves in. 11bit Studios’ Pawel Miechowski talks about the deliberate design decisions that led to This War of Mine‘s conflicting, impactful experience. Fantasy narrative design veteran Christy Marx (she worked on Jem and the Holograms!) talks about storytelling techniques for mobile games (yes, even Zynga games).

Here’s the inimitable SWERY65 with tips on how to shake up boring old design conventions, get inside the player’s head, and offer distinctly weird experiences.

For the third year I helped Brenda Romero chair the #1ReasontoBe panel, a celebration of women in the industry and their diverse contributions (we’re hoping to include more non-binary industry folks in future, too). It was an incredible experience. I think all of us doing the panel, as well as everyone who attended, deeply needed a positive, defiant space like that, needed the seven or so standing ovations for our great speakers, and the tears lots of us shed together.

Recently I was also a guest on the new Unjustly Maligned podcast with Antony Johnston. It’s a neat concept — guests come on to talk about the things they love that everyone else things are awful, and in my case I got to finally lay down all my favorite pro-Twilight pub rants in one convenient recording. Yeah! You heard me! Twilight! (Bonus that I forgot to mention on the show: Also read ‘Fredward Bound‘, this brilliant, funny, complete “new translation” of the first book).

I’ll be investing in Offworld with all my heart in the days to come, so please come and visit us. We hope you’ll be happy there.