Nina Freeman’s next game is based on her mom’s 1960s childhood

Game designer Nina Freeman first rose to prominence with How Do You Do It (2014), a game exploring precocious sexuality based on her own experiences as a child. The following year, her senior thesis project at NYU-Poly was commercially released as Cibele, a game about online gaming, sex, and falling in love on the internet. Interested in themes of sexuality and self-reflection, Freeman currently works as a designer at Fullbright. Freeman’s latest project, Kimmy—made in collaboration with Laura Knetzger and Aaron Freedman—shifts the focus to childhood. Based on her mother’s experiences as a babysitter in the 1960s, Kimmy will explore what it was to be a child before the…

The First Tree

A pretty game about a fox will explore how we cope with death in the family

David Wehle is a game designer and recent father now coping with the loss of a loved one. Life and death have been, to put it lightly, on his mind. His upcoming game The First Tree is a personal, painful reckoning with a universal experience. The First Tree is a game with two parallel stories: one follows a fox searching for her lost family, and the other a young couple learning to live with a death in their own family. When asked about his influences, Wehle pointed to games such as Journey (2012), Gone Home (2013), and this year’s Firewatch,…


Degraded portraits of royals reflect their obsessive inbreeding

It is commonly known that the in-marrying of families was an aristocratic trait used to ensure the purity of a monarchy or empire’s bloodline. Unlike the infamous incestuous relationship between Cersei and Jaime Lannister in Game of Thrones, these relationships held significant political power, and weren’t considered subversive, but rather the norm. Michelle Vaughan explores this idea through the Spanish-Austrian Habsburg royal family in the exhibition Generations. the idea of degradation through the pursuit of improvement In these works, Vaughan works conceptually with the idea of degradation through the pursuit of improvement. Hyperallergic likens this, aesthetically, to our modern pursuit of perfecting digital images,…


The Year of Mom

It begins with her. Whether the birth of a nation or your own life, it all began with her. Inside her, existence takes shape. Outside her, the shape of her existence is forgotten. As American poet and feminist Adrienne Rich says, “Life on the planet is born of woman.” Yet, somehow, the begetter of planet Earth has been all but cursorily kept out of humanity’s central myths, social structures, and ideologies. In Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution, Rich weaves autobiography with literary and historical research to paint a universal portrait of motherhood as it exists under patriarchy.…

Who's Your Daddy

The eternal battle between parent and child becomes a hilarious videogame

What better way to start the day than finding out your baby son is trying to roast himself in the oven? Flare your nostrils wide and inhale that pungent aroma. Ah, the smell of searing tot flesh in the morning. Oh no, wait, that’s a bad thing. That’s a terrible thing! You’re supposed to be a parent and dedicate your every waking (and non-waking) hour to safeguarding this child from danger and death. What the hell is he doing in the goddamn oven?! This, I’m sure, is not how parenting goes. It’s bloody awful, and hard, and yeah you’re probably going to…