Friendship Garden’s Inaugural event!
We purchased a booth on the main show floor of PlayNYC to showcase the efforts of some phenomenal game developers that were not able afford the incredibly steep cost of having a presence at the show. After receiving numerous submissions from across the globe, we selected 8 games to be displayed at the booth, and 4 of the developers were able to come on-site themselves to talk with media and players.
The booth itself was an attempt to be a vision of what an inclusive gaming space might look like. Pillows, blankets, and chairs were provided for developers if they needed a break, there were volunteers to take over if someone needed a break, each game had content warnings, and the developers themselves represented a vast array of identities, beliefs, and values.
Featuring the Developers and their Games:
Bahiyya Khan –
Doesn’t know what’s going on. // Goth gf // Cant stop crying. // Writes poems that are bad. Made 3 nice games. Please let me play bass in your emo band and please also teach me how to play bass. Love u.
Claire Meekel –
Johannesburg based multi-disciplinary artist, student and homewrecker. // Seizing the city is what I do everyday // 9 cats // 1 dog // and a rat problem
Tim Flusk –
A game developer decolonising game design and making media from the margins. They are doing their best to try and spread media across their country and continent that cater to the poor, queer, racially marginalised and other excluded demographics.
after HOURS by Bahiyya Khan, Claire Meekel, Tim Flusk, and Abi Meekel
A vignette, FMV game that allows players a glimpse into the life of Lilith Gray – a young woman who was molested as a child and suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder as a result. By spending a night alone with Lilith in her bedroom and subsequently, her head, players learn Lilith’s story by adopting a double gaze: that of the player witnessing Lilith’s story and piecing together why she behaves and responds as she does and to an extent, the gaze of Lilith herself.
IGF Best Student Game 2019.
Abi Meekel –
Artist. Student. Sexy and cool.
As It Is by Egghouse
A watercolor, storybook-like 2D side-scrolling narrative adventure game about helping small animals with their problems in a society where hunting and killing no longer exist. Follow Hedgehog & Hawk as they meet, learn, and become friends.
A ragtag group of online friends composed of students, game enthusiasts, and figure skating fans.
Black Room by Cassie McQuarter
A browser-based, narrative game about falling asleep while on your computer, on the internet. You play as an insomniac on the verge of sleep, moving through states of consciousness. Hallucinatory, pixelated visions appear and disappear as you click through fragile internet spaces. Conceived as a feminist dungeon crawler, Black Room features a female cast of recycled video game sprites from the 1970s-current day, brought together to form new, resilient narratives. Winner of the Nuovo Award 2019.
Cassie McQuater –
A new media and video game artist currently living and working in Los Angeles, California. Her practice involves hours of surfing the net, finding artifacts that touch her, and repurposing them as a way to reflect on and reinvent our relationship with interactive storytelling. Her current work, Black Room, is in part influenced by her grandmother, who stayed up every night playing Zelda until dawn.
Camp Ravenrock by Olivia Montoya
A queer sci-fi/fantasy Summer school visual novel/dating sim. It also has slice of life elements, queer friendships, mystery, and adventure. There are characters of color, disabled characters, and queer characters of all stripes! Explicit mention and discussion of asexuality and aromanticism!
Olivia Montoya (she/her) –
Also goes by Metaparadox online and is a solo dev of diverse queer narrative games, mostly visual novels and dating sims. She is queer, asexual, Latinx, autistic, chronically ill, a feminist, a secular humanist, a game jam participant, and a lover of DIY and zine culture, and all of these identities and interests affect her work. Olivia is also the founder and host of Ace Jam, a game jam about making games with asexual characters, as well as the admin of a Queer Game Dev Discord server.
EXTREME MEATPUNKS FOREVER by Heather Robertson, Aimee Zhang, Josie Brechner, Manolo Rosenberg
A serial visual novel/mech brawler about four gay disasters beating up neonazis in giant robots made of meat. Get ready for the worst road trip of all time.
Heather Robertson (she/her) –
A broken fleshmonster from Oklahoma. Her solo work spans over fifty games, and focuses on themes such as queerness, mental illness, trauma, and being crushed by forces outside of your control. One time an old man taught her how to fight wild dogs in an alleyway.
Final Spike by Sean Heron
A side-view 1-on-1 beach volleyball game. The objective is simple–score more points than your opponent to win! Players can knock the ball up with their bodies, launch it with a set, or knock it down to the ground with a blazing spike!