On a spectacularly late episode of Built to Play, we talk about the things that keep us up at night, like taxes, lies, and harassment.*
In out post-Halloween episode we decided to touch on real horror. While people are definitely scared of zombified spiders, it's not really the thing we're worried about. There are scarier things out there that we deal with on a day to day basis, some of us more than others. We all fear poverty and one day being stuck on the edge of financial precarity, especially those who have families to support. Then there's Gamergate targets, who have had to either fight off a horde of trolls willing to ruin and threaten their lives, or carefully monitor their statements online. Beyond those two, we all have a personal horror that we have difficulty communicating, whether it's a traumatic incident or a psychological ailment.
As game design tools have become more accessible to more people, we've seen more games that attempt to communicate personal experience. Tools that replicate old adventure game engines and visual novels been particularly useful for this, like Twine, which being primarily text based has a fairly low bar to entry. On this episode we talk to four designers and writers who used these tools to communicate real fears to players:
- David S Gallant on I Get This Call Every Day and the fear in financial precarity. Hear him starting 0:40 into our show.
- Michael Lutz on the Uncle Who Works for Nintendo and why he felt ethically bound to leave his players with hope. Hear him starting 28:30.
- Kaitlin Tremblay and John Rathiganthan on Lights Out, Please and the communicative power of interactive horror. Their segment starts at 41:40. Note Lights Out, Please has been nominated for five Canadian Video Game Awards!
Daniel and Arman also give a sample of our local multiplayer primer, to give you a preview of what we've been exploring on the site. It starts 14:10. You can find the full segment on our multiplayer hub.
This episode was made with the help of the Free Music Archive, with samples from WNYC's On the Media, and CBC Radio's As it Happens and Metro Morning. Our opening theme was "watashi" by Johnny_Ripper. We also used "Summer breeze let it out (johnny_ripper remix)" by smoking fox, "may light (remix by etc)" by SHOMOMOSE, "sister (johnny_ripper remix)" by Sea Oleena, "So This Is How It Ends" by Earsmack, "Oxygen Garden" by Chris Zabriskie, "Toy Cupboard" and "Everything is Broken or Intact" by Bleak House.
BUILT TO PLAY IS A PRODUCT OF THE SCOPE AT RYERSON RADIO STATION IN THE HEART OF DOWNTOWN TORONTO. IT WAS PRODUCED AND EDITED BY ARMAN AGHBALI AND WRITTEN BY DANIEL ROSEN.
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*We used to do these long write ups of each episode, but those have increasingly been taking more time to write. So for now we'll have these abbreviated ones. If anyone actually read the old version, let us know.