Game Design Vocabulary

Sep. 30th, 2014 02:47 pm
[syndicated profile] emilyshort_if_feed

Posted by Emily Short

Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 3.36.51 PM

Someone emailed me today to ask for books with which to learn about storytelling in choice-based games, and this reminded me that I haven’t yet mentioned A Game Design Vocabulary: Exploring the Foundational Principles Behind Good Game Design here.

It’s a collaboration by Anna Anthropy and Naomi Clark, and is intended for student-level use — each chapter ends with review bullet points and some suggested study activities.

“Introductory” doesn’t mean shallow, though. For instance, the section on game storytelling covers a number of standard topics (the structural challenges of a branching storyline, emergent vs authored stories) but also brings in a lot of more recent indie and IF community thought on things like reflective choice and shared storytelling. It includes coverage of parser IF, Twine pieces, and Choice of Games works, among others. (Full disclosure: Bee and Floatpoint both get a mention.) There’s also a solid appendix of further playing content. Recommended.


Links with occasional stories

Sep. 30th, 2014 10:47 am
[personal profile] yendi
I'm in Orlando for a work conference. Have some links while I'm offline, since I need to close tabs to make room for work-related stuff.

1. I share this memory of Pizza Hut so completely. When I was growing up, it wasn't a silly deliver-focused chain. It was what we'd call a "casual dining" restaurant today, like Chili's or Olive Garden. You'd walk in, get a table, order like real adults, etc. The pizza would come to your table in a cast iron pan, still flaming hot. It was so good, and such a better experience than what you have now (both in terms of flavor and experience).

2. There's am infrequently-updated website dedicated to classic calculators of the '80s. I went through a lot of devices like these (including some of the early pocket-organizer types). I even had a Casio Databank (although a slightly later generation). And I might have used some of the faux-organizers in high school to also store formulae for Calculus. Of course, that would have been wrong, so I'm merely throwing out a hypothetical. But yeah, loved these things almost as much as I loved the Game and Watch and other tech of the era.

3. It's an old piece, but I finally got around to reading FilmCritHulk's article on Guardians of the Galaxy and the art of constructing jokes. As with much of what FCH writes, it's a solid look at an element of story structure we often don't think about.

4. As an upper-middle-class Jewish kid growing up in New York, I had fond memories of family vacations at the Borscht Belt hotels, particularly the Concord. I first saw Jackie Mason there, spent hours playing games in their arcade, and played tennis with Vitas Gerulaitis (seriously). So the Ruins of the Borscht Belt slideshow and article is fascinating to me, as is the more recent follow-up in the Times.

5. I loved getting mail as a kid, and still do, now. So this article on the post office, written by someone who shared my love, is depressing as hell. From the management to the horrible laws restricting the organization, it's not a pretty site, but it's well worth reading all the way through to the conclusion (which is not, spoiler alert, to scrap the whole thing.).
[syndicated profile] livegranades_feed

Posted by Stephen

The DIY Science Zone is back at GeekGirlCon this year! We’ll be extracting DNA, making slime and light, creating tiny hovercrafts, demonstrating dice roll science, and constructing to-scale solar systems that you can carry in your pocket. It’s a chance to have people try out science with a team of scientists and science communicators who are in love with science and eager to share that joy with others. Last year we had 350 people come through the DIY Science Zone. This year we’re hoping for even more!

We’ve been fundraising this year, and as part of that, we’ve been performing Acts of Whimsy as a reward for those donations. Because I am a crazy person and like doing videos, I volunteered to create a YouTube science video, only instead of explaining or demonstrating real science, I’d explain an outmoded scientific theory. That’s how I ended up making a very earnest video about phlogiston.

While we’ve reached our fundraising goal of $6,000 (!), anything we raise above that will be used for next year’s hands-on science zone. So if you’d like to help see the DIY Science Zone happen next year, please pitch in. And if you’re in Seattle on October 11th and 12th, stop by and do some science with us.

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Posted by Misty

I have a lot of yarn posts this week because I was traveling! I got to go hang out with my mom and my mother-in-law at the Arkansas Fiber Arts Extravaganza. I had a great time with them and with fellow yarnies. The vendors were amazing and I was able to take two classes. One of my classes was on Tunisian Crochet and I’m now hooked on a whole new hobby. Get it? Hooked? Crochet Hook? Anyway…

At Day 211 I started misnumbering posts accidentally. So several days are listed in the 100s instead of the 200s.

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Episode 1099: A Man, In The Slam, No Plan: Alponmalsehtninama!

The damsel in distress is of course a standard adventure hook. Which means it's ripe for subversion or deconstruction. Make it a large, muscular man in distress, and see how your heroes react. Or an orc or goblin in distress.

Or going the other way, make it a damsel who appears to be in distress, but who is really über-competent and in no need of any help from bypassing would-be heroes, thank you very much. Or perhaps the damsel is really the evil mastermind and is only appearing to be in distress to draw adventurers into her cunningly laid trap.

White Front

Sep. 29th, 2014 03:00 pm
[syndicated profile] snopes_feed
Has the CDC announced trials of an Ebola vaccine that works only on white people?

AAAAAAARGH. Fuck you too Win 8

Sep. 29th, 2014 10:50 pm
jhameia: ME! (Default)
[personal profile] jhameia
So the Adobe Reader on Win 8 is one of those affairs with no X for you to close the window, it takes up the whole fucking screen and you have to fiddle around the sides for all the other controls and commands and I still hadn't quite figured out how to CLOSE FILES. All this while I was told, just swipe from top to bottom to close the window! But turns out it's not the same as CLOSING A FILE.

So for the last few days I've been figuring out how to do highlighting and annotations in the reader, and thought I was quite getting the hang of it, but then I tried to open another file and Reader was like WOOP! TOO MANY FILES OPEN! CLOSE SOME? And I was like, uh, okay, and closed a couple of them.

EXCEPT it didn't register as having saved my fucking annotations (and in one of them I'd spent a couple of days carefully poring over it and making a lot of highlights). So now I have to fucking re-read two of the three things I've read over the last week and re-do my annotations.

NNGGGHHH. Technology is supposed to get more user-intuitive not fucking harder to use what is the point of all this functionality if it's so fucking hard to learn?
jadelennox: Purple Mountains Majesty: 2008 election cartogram shows we aren't as divided as all that. (politics: purple)
[personal profile] jadelennox
I get paranoid about the potential for fake donation sites to appear around any big news story. Anybody can set up a GoFundMe, after all, and do we know how money is being spent?

Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment (MORE), who have one of the Ferguson bail funds, seem to be a legit organization, around since 2010. They told me they're a 501(c)4 -- a non tax-deductible political organization. They appear in multiple news stories as well as Missouri government filings, and Essence specifically namechecked their bail fund.

They also link to a number of other funds and organizations doing work in Ferguson.

Pièce De Résistance: Rhythm Tengoku

Sep. 30th, 2014 03:05 am
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The original Rhythm Tengoku came out on the GBA in 2006 at a time when DS sales were starting to really take off. It was the last game Nintendo developed for the dying handheld platform, and they didn't consider it worth localising for the west. Subsequent sequels for the DS and Wii have been released worldwide; the Wii version in particular is good fun and worth picking up, but neither of them capture the mind-melting simplicity of the original. I believe it is one of the most essential games to play for anyone who is interested in understanding games as a medium. If I was to make a 'reading list' of games to promote game literacy, this would be at the top.

I first played Rhythm Tengoku pretty much eight years ago today. Sean and I were heading down to the London Games Festival, and when I found him on the train he thrust his GBA Micro into my hands, looked me in the eyes and said "Play this game". I put the headphones on and started a level and saw a baseball batter standing in an abstract green room. The music began. Baseballs were being spat out of a small pipe and I started smashing them out of the screen in time with the beat. Then the camera pulled back a little and revealed that the room was flying through space. I fell in love.

With the game, I mean.

The genius of Rhythm Tengoku is the way it unravels these quirky, inventive, sometimes genuinely touching stories out of what is the bare minimum of player input. It's a similar concept to Wario Ware, except with far longer levels that allow the developers to take you on a journey instead of just testing your reflexes. Most levels are played using only a single button, and the player's objective is to simply tap (and sometimes hold) that button in a way that responds to the rhythm of the music; there is a single mechanical 'perfect input' for each level that you could program into a button-tapping machine if you wanted to, but the human experience of playing the game transcends simply matching a beat. Rhythm Tengoku evokes such a range of emotions out of PUSHING A SINGLE BUTTON that it single-handedly justifies games-as-art.

I am not kidding.

When you play Rhythm Tengoku, you feel you are engaging in many little interactive short stories with different styles of gameplay - you are swinging a baseball bat in space, you are tap dancing with monkeys, you are cutting arrows out of the air to protect your lord - but you, in reality, the saggy blob of sentient flesh cradling a block of consumer electronics in your sweaty hands, are always pushing that one single button to do all these different things. It's a profound comment on the nature of games and gameplay! It relates the understanding that most videogames can be 'won' simply by pressing the right buttons at the right time, and that gameplay genres only exist within the bounds of aesthetic context, because ultimately players are just sacks of meat pushing the same plastic buttons regardless of what game is running; but also, that this cold, mechanical truth does not fully capture the typical play experience. Rhythm Tengoku teaches you that there is more to playing a game than simply pushing buttons when prompted.

It's an example of fantastic UX design. One of Rhythm Tengoku's design pillars was to create a rhythm game without any obvious on-screen button prompts, where players will learn to 'feel' the rhythm of the music. This is part of the reason why the minigames' narrative elements are so effective - unlike games like Guitar Hero, your eyes are focused on the characters instead of some ugly button prompt. There are no complicated HUDs to make sense of, no instructions that you can't figure out just from listening to the music and experimenting - it's worth confirming that the lack of localisation is absolutely no barrier to enjoying the game; only a handful of the unlockable bonus features involve any serious amount of text. 

It creates a sense of fusion between the music, your input, and the events unfolding on-screen. In a successful play session, it's very easy to achieve a sense of Flow in which you feel as if you are playfully tapping along to the music and, like some kind of zen archer, just happen to be smashing all those baseballs into space, clapping along with your band of musical monkeys, slicing all those arrows out of the air, and so on. Admittedly, success relies on you being capable of tapping a button in time with the music, but one of the game's objectives (spelled out in the lyrics of the Karate Man song on level one!) is to teach players a sense of rhythm.

And - seriously! - sometimes I think the game is actually better off going unlocalised. The experience of navigating menus in a language you can't read supports the surreal aesthetic of the game, in a roundabout way. And sometimes the lack of clear explanation forces you to devise your own interpretations of the bizarre exposition you've just unravelled.

One level in particular, known as 'Night Walk', features the surreal image of a man jumping along across a glowing staircase in space, with stars exploding in the background and little text messages flashing up on the screen. No doubt the Japanese text contextualises it a bit, but without that influence one is left reading ones own meanings into it. I like to imagine that this level represents the soul of a dead person climbing a neon staircase to heaven, with little messages flashing up to give closure to their life - "YOUR MOTHER FORGAVE YOU", "IT'S NOT YOUR FAULT THAT YOUR SPOUSE LEFT YOU", "NOBODY CARES ABOUT THOSE SWEETS YOU STOLE WHEN YOU WERE A CHILD", and so on.

I mean seriously, if this was the afterlife experience being advertised by the church, who would be an Atheist?!

The very first thing I did when I got home from the London Game Festival eight years ago was to jump on Play-Asia.com and order my own copy of the game. That's not really an option any more - after eight years it's long out of print - but you can probably pick it up on eBay for about £25, and I think that's a bargain price for one of the best games ever made. Of course some of you might want to emulate it instead (nb. a homebrew localisation patch is available, if you're interested), but a note of caution on that: If your emulator suffers from any kind of lag at all, the game wlll be pretty much ruined for you. Don't let a bad emulator configuration sour you on the game itself.

Rhythm Tengoku is one of the most beautiful and brilliant games ever made. It's an elegent expression of the artistic potential of 'interactivity' precisely because it strips the concept of interactivity down to its bare essentials. It has more to say about game design theory than any other game I can think of - one thing I haven't even touched on in all this (because I don't want to spoil the fun) is the way the remix 'boss' levels flip previous levels on their head, intercutting brief flashes of gameplay to construct an experience closer to a typical game. It shows you the raw building blocks of what it means to play a videogame, and then teases you with humour and innuendo about how they could be combined.

Play this game.

 

zzt interviews: jeanne thornton

Sep. 30th, 2014 03:06 am
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Posted by auntie

rhygar 3

jeanne thornton is a good friend and big sister figure, and has been a part of my literary career since the very beginning, when she edited rise of the videogame zinesters. she’s the author of incredible books like the black emerald and amazing comics like bad mother, but back in the day she produced a bunch of games with a shareware game-making tool called zzt. when i was putting together a questionnaire for my book on zzt, which i sent to people who responded to an open call for interview subjects, jeanne helped me decide which questions went into it. as part of this process, she was also the first person to answer it.

1. what’s your name? this can be a psuedonym, an internet handle, whatever. a name to use when i quote you.

Jeanne Thornton / bongo

2. what are your preferred pronouns? (she, he, they, etc.)

she/her

3. what was your first experience with ZZT? how did you encounter it, what was playing it like? how old were you?

I was 13, and I found out about the game in 1996 by doing an AOL search for Calvin and Hobbes video games (at the time, I was involved in a weird Calvin and Hobbes email fandom community that was the first “online community” I was on whatsoever.) There was this neat, really rough C&H world that tried to emulate the Calvin and Hobbes strips where the characters go down the hill in a red wagon by using CW/CCW sliders; it didn’t work well. I remember thinking that the game engine seemed terrible even at the time.

4. did you make any / many ZZT games? what was your first ZZT game like?

I think the first game I tried to make was another Calvin and Hobbes one, to “do it better,” and then a ridiculous LucasArts-styled comedy game about college kids.I remember not knowing how to use STK at all and the boards being really big and gross, and I remember an “action scene” called “Drive like mad” that used bears to represent cars, because bears moved in a straight line, like oncoming traffic! I made a stupid little theme song for it and that’s all I really remember from the game beyond gross color choices.

(Weirdly, I didn’t know you could play ZZT full-screen for a long time, and I had gotten about halfway through making a sequel to that game that used STK colors without knowing that some of the colors flashed on and off—so like when you ran ZZT in a window, those colors showed up as dark foregrounds, light backgrounds, and some of the ASCII characters rendered differently because of whatever Windows installation I had. When I finally realized that you were *supposed* to run ZZT full-screen, I realized that like twenty or thirty boards of this game were just hideous and unusable because I’d inadvertently chosen “flashing colors.”)

5. what was your life like at the time you were making ZZT games? was there any major upheaval happening in your lie?

[paragraph redacted]

Other stuff: I fell in love for the first time; I dated a girl for the first time—I remember going on walks with her around the neighborhood and telling her that a character in this game Rhygar 2 I was working on was “based on her,” which I don’t think was even true, but I remember really wanting it to be true. I remember feeling that my life at school with friends was distinctly not my “real life,” that this weird online world of ZZTers was more in tune with the kinds of friends I wanted to have, corresponded more with the world I wanted to enter. I felt kind of generally disconnected from reality throughout my adolescence, which got more pronounced as it went on for reasons I couldn’t at the time understand, and felt like being a part of this community, working on these games that this just ludicrously small population of people cared about, was real life.

I never mentioned ZZT to anyone I actually knew until later, beyond I guess a couple of close friends—installed it on one’s computer while staying over to make a game about a mutual enemy, confessed to another that I was making a game and showed it to him; he laughed at how completely primitive and awful it was. It had this real weird stigma of being a useless thing, something I had no possibility of communicating to the outside world.

Yet like all of my meaningful memories of adolescence somehow revolve around ZZT or people I met through ZZT. I spent most of my time in the real world just literally thinking of how long, in years, months, and days, it would be until I could graduate high school and move out of my house and into the larger world. I wasn’t picked on, and I had some friends and everything, but it’s like there was some profound sense of not fitting in with anything or anyone I knew in real life outside of a very few people: one girl I fell in love with, one good male friend whom I still talk to, that’s about it.I feel like I wasn’t even there at all, just like this wraith creature waiting to escape out a crack in the door.

6. what influenced or inspired the ZZT games that you made? other games, movies, music? events happening in your life? other ZZT authors?

All of them were shameless ripoffs because I didn’t know how to talk about my life whatsoever, and was in fact terrified of talking about my life whatsoever. When I play my old games, really infrequently, I’m just like completely ashamed because of how little they reflect anything in my life and how much they obviously reflect things I was reading or playing or whatever at the time. Simpsons jokes, the comic book adaptation of Clerks, Final Fantasy games generally, the Wheel of Time, the comic book Bone, just this shameful mishmash of influences.

The one authentic thing in there was this like obsession with women, in particular this proto-dyke character who was like a general and hated my (male) main character, but slowly this weird respect and understanding grew through infinite conversations. I remember thinking over and over that “if I were female, I could create something real; too bad it didn’t work out that way,” and then kind of burying that thought and trying to just replicate something I enjoyed. Now I’m inclined to think of it as this trans feeling before I even know that trans feelings existed: this deep, deep sense that life, creativity, emotion, and human connection were something that only women had access to, and I had just like been born wrong and had to make do, trying to access this thing from the outside. There was this weird quasi-Quranic thing for me about depicting women in any way, in my comics, in my writing, in anything—like I was really, really afraid to do it because it felt like it would be revealing something, like everything would fall apart if I did it—and this one big ZZT game was like one of the few times I felt like I seriously attempted it. And it was okay to do so because not that many people would ever see it, certainly no one I knew for real, and because it was wrapped in this big cloak of fantasy-novel mishmash about magic and destiny and whatever.

I don’t know how obvious it is to anyone else in the world that this was a big deal for me at the time—probably I thought more people were going to perceive what was going through my mind while I was doing it than actually perceived it. (In the never-finished ending, the main character dies, and the female general like goes on to be the main character of future games set in the main world; the idea of just having a female character be the main character just seemed like something too dangerous to actually do, something I was straight-up afraid to do ever.) Later, in one of my online comics, I did a story where the main character’s soul like transmigrates into a female body, thinking it was going to be this really explicit “coming out” kind of confession, but nobody got it at all! So I don’t know what I was even afraid of, or probably still am afraid of. ZZT was some kind of first step out of that all-consuming fear: putting a story I told containing elements I cared about somewhere where other people could see it in a way I couldn’t control.

7. did you interact with any online ZZT communities? how did you discover those communities? what were they like? what did you feel like your role or position in the community was?

Yeah I started posting on the AOL boards, and then eventually migrated to IRC when the AOL boards got shut down. I don’t know if I had any role in the community but I was super arrogant and had some vague notion of trying to make the “best ZZT RPG ever,” even though I knew like nothing about programming, art, or good storytelling. Whenever I think of ZZT days I feel terrible thinking of just how arrogant I was, whether or not anyone knew that, like I was this basically “false person” even in this online community.

I remember spending all this time on IRC in this channel my friend Vinhalf-owned called #darkdigital, talking about music or like pornography or games or who knows what. I remember feeling distinctly uncool always—like I enjoyed totally different music than everyone else, didn’t watch MTV, read long fantasy novels no one else liked, felt cut off from cultural things they were talking about. I grew up in Texas where David Bowie wasn’t played on the radio (beyond Let’s Dance and a couple of other 1980s songs) because he was a Weird Gay Freak, and thought his music was this weird arcane thing—just these really mainstream tastes that I still had no way to access and soaked up online. I feel like most people got their sense of culture from real places and I just got it from the people I met in this one IRC channel, these things that were and are still important to me. I remember trying out slang in IRC that I was too reserved to say in real life, reciting the lyrics of songs endlessly, sometimes trying to be cruel to people because I was afraid to actually offend anyone. It was this combination of real life and like hurtful playground—something about online distance made it possible to encounter people with fewer barriers and fears.

8. what sort of reactions did you receive to your work, if any? did any reaction to your game have a strong positive or negative effect on you?

People really really liked one of my games, this like ridiculous Final Fantasy style RPG epic. When I got a piece of fan mail from some kid I didn’t even know, it felt like this was going to be the beginning of my “real creative life,” like I could instantly move into adulthood if the final chapter of this game was really, really good. Everything would begin then.

I worked really hard on the final chapter of the story and never managed to finish it because I was trying to make it so elaborate that it consistently crashed the ZZT “board limit” of 20kb, corrupting the entire file and ruining like months’ worth of work. I made most of the whole game twice only to have this happen, and the second time I just gave up altogether because I wasn’t a good enough programmer to get around the limit. I felt totally doomed by this decision, like I had just wanted to do something great in this little isolated pocket universe of ZZT, and now I was ruined forever because I couldn’t even do that. (Someone who was a fan of the previous games even went through the files and “fixed them” to use less memory and I just didn’t even want to talk to them.) Even today—like literally today, while I’m typing this—I keep thinking in the back of my mind that ANYTHING I TRY, I WILL FAIL AT, because I didn’t release this stupid game when I was like 15. It’s a useful fear and I attribute stuff like finishing my novel, getting a job in publishing briefly, doing comic strip collections to having decisively failed at this one thing that could only have possibly mattered when I was 15 and never, ever wanting to go back to that feeling again.

I don’t know why this was so important to me and I think it’s a strong indication that I was a bad person that I put so much stock into this one stupid thing. But it was like this laboratory of being an adult creative person.

One of my IRL friends actually did end up playing my games, and said he was disgusted by this one board in the never-finished final chapter with these two characters in bed together; like this visceral horrified reaction at the notion that I had depicted sexuality of any kind really stayed with me. I hated knowing that anyone in my life was playing this; it still makes me really uncomfortable when people I know in real life read anything I’ve written.

(Weirdly, like a month before writing these responses in 2013, I got another fan letter about the game asking me what the ending was going to have been—I barely remembered most of the details of it and had to re-download the game and dig around in the boards to try to remember. It’s creepy how something like that follows you, and originally I thought it was some creep from like 4chan trying to mess with me for being trans; as far as I know it wasn’t?)

9. are there any ZZT games that you remember as having a strong effect on you?

tucan’s game p0p was for some reason very influential—tucan’s whole aesthetic made me feel bad about my entire life. There was this richness to it, this sense of joy in language, of being grounded in these kind of real visions: I may be remembering it wrong, but there was this one board where you crawl through these vines and look through a spyglass and see these singing, hallucinatory whales, and it depressed me on some level because it’s like you could feel the joy tuc took in depicting those whales, and I wished I could do that. In particular there was this game by this guy Chronos that I don’t think was ever formally released—I feel like he must have emailed it to me or something like this—that was just this really dense, elaborate, well-programmed reconstruction of his high school. He was doing it as some kind of gift for friends of his. I remember wishing that I could do that, but it felt like there was nothing about my friends or about my life to say, that it was just this weird blank. This one game called Quest for the Floating Isle that felt somehow really pure—it was a big Zelda-style map of a huge island, and the entire game was just exploring this island and solving inventory-related puzzles, all of it really sunny and polished and without this strong sense of individual overwrought teenage “voice” a lot of ZZT games had, which I liked. The Sivion games, because on some level I felt like they were sort of also inauthentic in the same way I suspected my games were inauthentic—like there was this really elaborate presentation of something that wasn’t deeply felt. I felt like the author must have been the same kind of scumbag and took weird joy in this.

10. do you still make games or other forms of art? has working with ZZT informed your current work in any substantial way?

There’s this line in Jaime Hernandez’s Love and Rockets comics where Hopey and Maggie are trying to explain punk to this jerky Christian guy, and Maggie says that punk is in everything you do, “the way you stir your coffee in the morning.” I feel like it has something to do with that—there’s no explicit connection but it’s stuck there in the back of my mind. One specific weird memory: in college, thinking about how a paragraph of text in a novel should be as dense as a board in ZZT, like how you should be able to “push on” different nouns in a sentence and have things happen. When I try to write a paragraph of description of a place, I’m on some level thinking about ZZT, how the environment would appear in ZZT. When I think about color combinations in the comics I draw I think about what would look good in ZZT. It’s always there.

11. what’s the greatest risk you’ve taken in your life, unrelated to ZZT?

Transitioning, being public/out about transitioning. It was the most horrifying thing to me to have something fundamental about my identity be publicly, uncontrollably *visible* in this way. Thus it was this thing I didn’t let myself become fully aware of for the longest time, and that I didn’t let myself acknowledge as any kind of actual option in my life until long, long after I became aware of it. It’s still really, really hard, and there’s at least one point in every day when I think about how this is clearly impossible. I don’t know what would have become of me had it not been for ZZT, if I had tried to find creative outlets in person in the small Texas town I grew up in. I really don’t know what would have happened had I not had this sort of safe-yet-dangerous online space. NOTHING GOOD.

Yes Gay YA strikes back!

Sep. 29th, 2014 04:51 pm
rachelmanija: (Engaged!)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
Due to the upcoming release of Stranger, I am doing some interviews in which I will be asked how or if things have changed in terms of LGBT characters in YA novels. I am armed, of course, with the most recent statistics. (Summary: representation has increased from 0.6% of all YA novels to 2%. However, most of those books are put out by LGBTQ-specialty small presses, and the percentage of LGBTQ characters in YA novels from American large presses has actually gone down.)

However, I spent the intervening years mostly focused on grad school, and so am not caught up on recent books. Are there any YA novels that have come out since 2010 with LGBTQ characters that I should check out or at least be aware of? What about self-published books? Any prominent LGBTQ teenage characters in non-book media (comics, movies, etc?)

Any changes in your own personal experience? For example, I have noticed that just in my circle of friends/acquaintances, kids seem to be coming out younger (13-15, as opposed to 18-20) and with less or no negative reactions from others. Obviously, these are kids from liberal families in LA. But I always knew liberals in LA, and I did not encounter any kids coming out at age 13 until about five years ago. Ditto straight teenage boys wearing gay rights buttons.
purplefringe: Amelie (Default)
[personal profile] purplefringe posting in [community profile] vidding
title Cold War
fandom: Sleepy Hollow
characters: Jenny Mills
music: Cold War by Janelle Monae
summary: Do you know what you're fighting for?
notes: spoilers for all of S1
warnings: Some fast, stuttery cuts, some depictions of violence

link: Dreamwidth / LiveJournal

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