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Rise of the Videogame Zinesters: How Freaks, Normals, Amateurs, Artists, Dreamers, Drop-outs, Queers, Housewives, and People Like You Are Taking Back an Art Form [Paperback]

Anna Anthropy

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Book Description

March 20 2012
Part critical essay, part manifesto, part DIY guide, and altogether unprecedented, Rise of the Videogame Zinesters shows why the multi-billion dollar videogame industry needs to change—and how a new generation of artists can change it. Indie game designer extraordinaire Anna Anthropy makes an ardent plea for the industry to move beyond the corporate systems of production and misogynistic culture and to support games that represent a wider variety of human experiences.
Rise of the Videogame Zinesters is a call to arms for anyone who's ever dreamed of making their own games. Anna’s guide to game design encourages budding designers to bring their unique backgrounds and experiences to their creations and widen the playing field of an industry that has for too long catered to an adolescent male consumer base. Anna’s newest game, Dys4ia, an autobiographical game about her experiences with hormone replacement therapy, has been featured in The Penny Arcade, IndieGames, and TigSource.

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Rise of the Videogame Zinesters: How Freaks, Normals, Amateurs, Artists, Dreamers, Drop-outs, Queers, Housewives, and People Like You Are Taking Back an Art Form + How to Do Things with Videogames + Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Seven Stories Press (March 20 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1609803728
  • ISBN-13: 978-1609803728
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13.2 x 1.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 136 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #40,947 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"When Anna Anthropy thinks of video games, she sees the potential to transform a genre. Anthropy show[s] us how the medium can be used for a greater good.”
—Huffington Post

Rise of the Videogame Zinesters is about education. It is a how-to, indie history lesson, design theory 101, a manifesto, and, surprisingly, as memoir. It serves as an entry into the importance of games and how to make them. But it also is about why making them for ourselves is important.”
Popular Science

“Anna Anthropy's forthcoming book Rise of the Videogame Zinesters is about the personal potential of games—how simple tools allow all kinds of people to tell their own stories interactively. But it's also a clever, thoughtful examination on game design, and why the medium is important and interesting.”

“Anna Anthropy is an independent videogame designer and critic, and a key personality in the ongoing paradigm shift that is slowly changing the way videogames are understood, by creators and players, and by the wider culture.”
—Patrick Alexander, Eegra.com

“These days, everybody can make and distribute a photograph, or a video, or a book. Rise of the Videogame Zinesters shows you that everyone can make a videogame, too. But why should they? For Anna Anthropy, it's not for fame or for profit, but for the strange, aimless beauty of personal creativity.”
—Ian Bogost, Director, Graduate Program in Digital Media, Georgia Institute of Technology

"Free of the constraints the giant studios labour under, one- and two-person teams are using an artisinal approach to make deeply personal and innovative videogames. Rise is a great guidebook to understanding—and more importantly, participating in—this dynamically evolving culture."
—Jim Munroe, co-founder of the Hand Eye Society and the Difference Engine Initiative

“Once upon a time, the game industry was a fervent of creativity, as innovators explored the potential offered by the new technology of home computing; today, it is a lackluster, thud-and-blunder torrent of commercial dross, selling to a diminishing audience of young males. Here, Anna Anthropy demonstrates how people from every background and walk of life are breaking free of the commercial cowardice of major publishers, and bringing their individual visions of the game to life -- and perhaps more importantly, pointing you to tools and ideas that will, should you so choose, allow you to create your own games. If game design is to be an art, as those of us who love games fervently hope, it must be rescued from its crushing commercial pressures. You can be a part of its future.”
—Greg Costikyan, Senior Game Designer, Disney Playdom

"Anna gives the world of video games a crucial perspective from her seat of authority within outsider culture, and illustrates how essential it is for the space to empower
voices of all kinds if it is to evolve."  
—Leigh Alexander, game critic

"You would expect outspoken game designer and polemicist Anna Anthropy's first book to be controversial. You might not expect it to be so heartfelt—even inspirational. Equal parts autobiography, ethnography, and how-to manual, this book concisely makes the case for the unique power of "zinester" games—independent video games made primarily by one person. For newcomers to video games, it's a great introduction; for established video game designers, it's a wake-up call. If you're teaching a course about video game culture or video game design, this book deserves a spot on your syllabus."
—Adam Parrish, NYU's Interactive Telecommunication Program (Tisch School of the Arts), and author of the ZZT game "Winter"

About the Author

Anna Anthropy is a prolific game developer and critic and is the creator of Calamity Annie, Mighty Jill Off, and Lesbian Spider Queens of Mars among many other games, which are available on her website, www.auntiepixelante.com. She lives in Oakland, California, with her pet girlmonster and two lovely cats.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars As the public becomes more aware of "indie games", this book makes the case for "folk games". March 26 2012
By new Object - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I eagerly ordered Anna Anthropy's book, being a fan of her important ongoing work in the "indie game" scene. Anna is a creative force and a passionate advocate for games as folk art and digital vehicles for self-expression. She also makes legitimately fun games! This book offers perhaps some of the earliest thoughts in an increasingly public conversation about games' status as art, and serves as a great introduction to an "alternative" world of game development that the average person may not be aware of. This is a large topic simply because of its many facets, and as a shorter read, the book can only act as a primer to these many facets - such as tools for game development, contemporary folk game auteurs, and their games, etc. 'Zinesters is well-written and I think Anna does this topic justice while making the subject accessible to anyone who may have no more experience with game development than simply consuming its output. I think the book falls short in convincing a skeptic that games as art are on the same "level" as the more classic forms. For me, it's an unimportant matter, but some might be looking to this book to convince them. Finally, Anna appears to be of the mind that game creation is a kind of zero-sum, um, game where having less "white male"-developed games is necessary to have more non-"white male"-developed games. Game development is more democratized/open/folk than ever now, while simultaneously "white male" games are consumed more than ever - I think this merely reflects the dichotomy of "pop/mainstream" art and "folk/alternative" art that seems to be present in every artistic medium.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Queer Theory meets Game Design April 22 2013
By Tori Morris - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a quick read, more like a manifesto for the indie games movement than a guide book although the last chapter includes a walk-through of some programs you can use to get started. Anthropy mixes her personal history with observed comments about the game industry and design freely - that's the zine part of this book. Don't let that put you off! There are really good ideas in here about how games could reach a broader audience and be more inclusive.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read Feb. 4 2013
By Stahljunker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Essential reading if you're into indie games / queer games / scratchware scene or studying games. Personally I'm more of the latter group and found this a very illuminating & relatively painless reading experience.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Read and Heed... March 14 2013
By fiendish - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A unique and valuable perspective that serves as a sort-of manifesto and how-to for the new era of do-it-yourself indie game making.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A call to create Jan. 27 2013
By hipscumbag - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
While the introduction is a little bit bumpy (Anna and I want very different things out of games, and Anna's introduction makes it seem as though the book is almost meant for an exclusively LGBT audience), I found myself won over by her enthusiasm for independent game development. Anna urges you to make something, make anything, and mentions a variety of tools and tricks for churning something out with a minimum of labor. Game development can be very difficult to get in to, so her insistence on easy, personal, fun projects is refreshing and enabling.

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