An Actor’s Truth, the Future of Indies and the End of the AAA Everyman
It’s a thrilling time for independent games: leading the medium in formal experimentation and diversity of representation, they are rapidly expanding our perception of what games can be, and who can both make and be depicted in them. In recent years, they’ve swiped peer-given award nominations from bigger, more established developers, many of whom cite indies as inspiration for their work – or for going indie themselves. Many independent games have even become household names, as widely recognizable as Call of Duty or Halo.
Where AAA has too often defaulted to a flawed conception of a hypergeneric ‘everyman’ – usually a stoic, gun-toting, thirty-something white male brunette – indies’ motley crew of heroes embrace boldly specific character detail as the basis for human (player) connection.
Sarah and Ash would like to point out that indies’ special commitment to the specific over the generic is also the long-standing foundation to creating a good performance as an actor.
We will share aspects of our performance and character development process to connect strong acting decisions with this principle of inviting specificity. We’ll discuss the principle at play in modern successful indies with previously underrepresented protagonists, such as Gone Home, Mainichi and others. We’ll take a look back to debunk the legacy of games as exclusive purview of white male teenagers, and explore the impact of genre trends on representation – tying the current fracturing, reimagining and cross-pollination of genres to the flourishing of character diversity.
The future of indies is the future of games, which looks much like the present and in some ways the past – but even more fearlessly, joyfully crowded with diverse empathic opportunities.
Ashly Burch and Sarah Elmaleh are actors and game voiceover artists/siblings. Ashly is lead actress and co-writer/creator of hit web series Hey Ash Whatcha Playin’? and can be heard in games such as Borderlands 2 and Gravity Ghost, Children of Liberty, Aliens: Colonial Marines, Saints Row 4, Awesomenauts, Towerfall and Guided Fate Paradox. You can also hear her goofin’ in cartoons such as Adventure Time, Bee and Puppy Cat and Attack on Titan. Sarah’s indie game roles include goody two-shoes older sisters, often to Ash (Gone Home, Gravity Ghost, Children of Liberty), a strong-yet-vulnerable Latina doctor (Resonance), a cranky flapper (Blackwell Epiphany), an eager British spy handler (Codename Cygnus), fiercely opposing Japanese goddesses (Skulls of the Shogun), and your classic insidious shipboard computers (Gemini Rue and Redshirt).
Ashly Burch is a voice actor, writer and raps about representation and issues of gender and identity in the games industry. Well, she doesn’t actually rap, she
Sarah Elmaleh is an actor who loves to voice games, and also chat animatedly about them. (That’s not a pun. She sees now how it could look like one, but she
Check back for the full event schedule and more 2014 speakers as they are confirmed!
Kara Stone – Mental Health and Video Games
Mental Health and Video games will explore depictions of mental illness in video games and the possibility of affective games. Most mainstream video
Kara Stone is an art-maker interested in video games, interactive arts and traditional crafting. She achieved an MA in Communication and Culture at a joint program at York and Ryerson University, focusing on mental health, affect, feminism, and video games. Creating games such as Medication Meditation, Cyborg Goddess, and Sext Adventure, her work has been featured in Vice, Wired, The Atlantic, and NPR. All her work is feminist art with a focus on gendered perspectives of affect but is much more fun than it sounds.
Lindsay D. Grace – Affection Games: Loving Your Way into the Hearts of Players
This presentation outlines the rarely discussed world of affection games. Affection games require players to flirt, hug, kiss, and make love to meet their
Lindsay D. Grace is the designer and developer behind one of the strangest and most loved affection games, Big Huggin’, involving a giant 32-inch teddy bear controller. Also, he was born and raised in New Bedford, MA, so he holds a special place in my heart for the Boston Festival of Indie Games.
Maddy Myers – Indie Marketing 101: Advice From A Games Journalist
Games journalist Maddy Myers has been working for press outlets since 2007. She wants to give indie game makers the tools they need to tell her — and other
Maddy Myers is currently the Assistant Games Editor for Paste Magazine; she also freelances for other media outlets. She previously worked as a games columnist, features writer, and web producer at the Boston Phoenix for six years. Her writing about video games has also appeared at re/Action, Five Out of Ten, Gameranx.com, the Border House, and Kill Screen.
Michael Mosley – The Mind of a Freelance Journalist
What is it like being a freelance videogame journalist and how does somebody get into the field? Using his own experiences, Freelance writer Michael Mosley
Michael Mosley is a freelance writer/photographer and PR representative, he has been writing about videogames for over five years starting off as a news reporter and quickly became a featured writer on ‘For The Love of Gaming’ and ‘Omnigamer’. Michael has done live coverage of New York Comic-Con and BFIG, currently he serves as PR for the videogame website ‘A Pixelated View’ while also writing a comic book.
Pete Vigeant – Fun Things Are Fun
The third and final installment in his Karl Rohnke trilogy, designer Pete Vigeant will explore the lessons in game design from a master of field games. This talk
Pete Vigeant is a game, media and experience designer that creates large group live-action and digital interactive experiences. As a Senior Designer for ESI Design, Pete draws upon his passion and expertise in game and youth-focused design to develop interaction, media, concept, and game design for numerous ESI projects. Pete is a founding partner of The Completely Surrounded, a consulting group that has worked with camps, colleges and institutions to bring large games to thousands of participants. @greenghoulie
Xiao’an Li – Five Steps To A Better Soundtrack
This talk aims to provide indie developers with the tools to work with composers more effectively, eliminating unnecessary revisions and making your dollar go as
Singaporean composer Xiao’an Li has toured as a performing guitarist and frontman, playing in jazz festivals and at events with thousands in attendance, recording guitar for chart-topping platinum music artists and producers along the way. He has composed for video games, commercial spots, and has also arranged music for concerts in Boston involving music industry luminaries. He is currently music director/resident conductor of East Coast Scoring (www.eastcoastscoring.com), which provides services in orchestral recording and production. You can follow him on twitter at @lxiaoan