Make Your Own Video Games

Anna Anthropy’s new book aims to teach game design to kids

Game maker Anna Anthropy is no stranger to book publishing. She’s contributed to multiple anthologies in the past, including Merritt Kopas’s Videogames for Humans (2015) and Seven Stories Press’s The State of Play (2015). She’s also written multiple works of her own, including 2012’s Rise of the Videogame Zinesters and Boss Fight Books’s 2014 critical overview ZZT. This November, Anthropy has another book planned for release. But her demographic is a little different: she’s writing videogame guides aimed at young kids. Published by No Starch Press, Make Your Own Video Game!: With PuzzleScript, Scratch, and Twine is an all-ages approach…


The sequel to dys4ia explores the failure of empathy games

Despite being about “the experience and aftermath of getting hit by a car,” you’ll probably expect Anna Anthropy’s latest autobiographical game, titled Ohmygod Are You Alright?, to take the subject lightly at first. Get a little further into it, however, and you may understand why Anna says that “you could call it a survival horror.” The game’s intro is upbeat. You’re told that you (that is, Anna) have just got back from hosting a New York gallery show that landed you some decent cash. It’s Wednesday, and as with every Wednesday, your friends are waiting to meet you at the pub…


Anna Anthropy and Merritt Kopas’s new game is jilted love in deep space

If only breakups were as much fun to watch in real life as they are in deep space. SPACE/OFF is a bomb-dropping, laser-zapping spaceship battler inspired in equal parts by Star Control and DIY pixel art. It’s also a game for two about separating from the one you’d thought you’d spend forever with, or at least share many more months of meaningless sex.  You may recognize the creators behind this button-mashing lovers’ quarrel. Merritt Kopas is the creator of the incredibly clever square-slider LIM, and Anna Anthropy is, well, Anna Anthropy, author of subversive games and important books. You’d think…


You should totally check out Anna Anthropy’s new book

Designer Anna Anthropy—whose games like dys4ia and Lesbian Spider-Queens of Mars look at sexuality outside the normative way ordinarily found in games—has a hot-off-the-presses new book; and as usual, the subject is something near and dear to her heart.  ZZT the book, courtesy the retro game-focused imprint Boss Fight Books, is an exegesis of ZZT the game, a classic game creation tool for DOS that Anna cut her game-designing teeth on. But knowing Anthropy, don’t expect this to be a straightforward technical account of how she created her first games, but an untidy search for self-identity through games rules and code.  Great writing about games…


The teletext photo editor turns your selfies into beautiful, abrasive pixels

Teletext the World is a photo-editing website and tool that can transform any photo into primary, abrasive teletext imagery. It kinda looks like an Anna Anthropy game.  But what’s a teletext anyway? A brief history lesson: teletext predated the World Wide Web by transmitting info like news and weather to television sets in bright bold colors. The lone remnant of it in the digital television era is closed captioning, although I believe there are some troopers out there somewhere in Europe sticking with it.  The web app reminds me of Christine Love’s Interstellar Selfie Station, but with less emphasis on the…


Videogame designers big and small agree on what’s broken, just not on how to fix it.

Anna Anthropy, acclaimed designer of games such as Dys4ia and author of Rise of the Video Game Zinesters, thinks that game development should be blown wide open. According to Zinesters, Anthropy wants everyone in society – particularly the outcasts – to be making games, so that the actual opinions of the underrepresented become the majority. The cream will rise to the top in her scenario, and the underground will become the mainstream. She has little patience for the celebration of adolescent male power fantasies we so often see in big budget titles. Believe it or not, Heavy Rain creator David Cage’s recent DICE talk…


Anna Anthropy’s Hunt for the Gay Planet exposes how far games need to go for true equality

In case you dismissed as outright lunacy BioWare’s facepalm-worthy decision to create a separate planet for gay and lesbian players in Star Wars: The Old Republic, queer game author Anna Anthropy has made a game to remind you of it.  – – – The Hunt for the Gay Planet is a quick, quirky text adventure about a queer pilot on a mission to find the gay planet of Makeb, which according to the Wookieepedia was a planet inhabited by Jabba and his Cartel during the Second Galactic War. As you know if you played the elegantly-put Dys4ia, a game which deals with…