Recent community posts
As some of you might know, a couple days ago a jam participant named Rinzai posted this comment in the jam community. Since responding to Rinzai--and this is my fault for not mentioning it in my response--I've banned them and removed them from the jam. I saw that another jam participant had taken the time to write another rebuttal to Rinzai. I felt that rebuttal was meaner than necessary in tone, so I deleted it. The second and more important reason I deleted it was because I felt that the rebuttal was unnecessarily, but unintentionally cruel: it was a rebuttal that yelled at someone who had no power to yell back, but I was the one who took that power away from them. Again, like I said, this second level of cruelty was my fault and I don't blame the other jam participant for not knowing that I banned Rinzai from responding.
I apologize for not being a better jam community moderator and not immediately archiving / locking Rinzai's post to prevent a potential dogpile. Punishment, especially pointless punishment, is not the same as accountability. In the interest of accountability, I ask all jam participants, and all who've seen Rinzai's post and my response, to not further attack Rinzai for what they said. Instead, I would like everyone--especially those of you who strongly disagreed with their comments like I did--to take the opportunity to reflect on what your political convictions are alongside what your terms for personal connection are. Consider how they might complicate each other, both for good and bad. Consider how you've dealt with those complications in the past--and consider whether there's something other than your convictions / terms for personal connection influencing those dealings. Do you recognize any patterns? Are those patterns you're okay with continuing?
And before I end this: to the jam participant who did respond to Rinzai--please know I mean this with the utmost sincerity--this isn't a callout post. It really isn't. I'm not upset with you. I understand why you did what you did. But the unfortunately common social media pattern of picking on a stranger who said something problematic and endlessly criticizing them when they're not responsive is not a pattern I wish to continue. That is all.
Hi Rinzai! You've brought up a lot of issues here. Before I respond, I'm going to be upfront with you and say that, based on your responses here and another comment I noticed you made in someone else's game jam, our frameworks of navigating the world, especially on the political and social level, seem opposed enough that we:
- Most likely won't come to an agreement no matter how much we talk
- Most likely will piss each other off the longer we talk
which makes me feel like it's not a good idea for us to keep engaging with each other on this issue. However, because this is an issue you clearly felt very strongly about, and because you seemed to have taken quite some time to type up this response, I'll dignify you with one answer: one thorough and honest answer.
After that I'm blocking you on here and not responding to further comments. I'd appreciate if you could also do the same but I can't tell you what to do.
My first qualm is that you only address "discrimination against marginalized groups". I shall table any exposition upon why discrimination against non-marginalized groups is destructive and unconscionable.
Okay. My honest first response to this is: weird! The first thing I thought of was this comic by Kris Straub which makes an analogy about how saying "All Lives Matter" is like spraying water at a house that's not burning when there's another house that's on fire in front of you. The fact that only addressing discrimination against marginalized groups was a qualm for you is a signal to me about what forms of discrimination you have a tendency to focus on, and I don't think we're invested in fighting against the same forms of discrimination.
Suffice it to say that, as it stands, we must confront our reality, as Omi-chan indicates on Omi's Creator Page, in full.
Hey, it's omi chun, and the chun is a Mandarin surname. I know enough about Japanese language to know that -chan is used as a diminutive suffix usually used for kids and young women. I'm neither, and this misspelling in the form of a suffix feels like 3 microaggressions at once:
- A (what appears to be) predominantly English-speaking person misspelling a non-English name
- Mixing up my Asian ethnicity with another Asian ethnicity
- Infantilizing / misgendering me with the inappropriate use of the suffix
which is pretty efficient as far is microaggressions from strangers on the internet go. If this was deliberate, good job. If this was an accident, do better.
If, by the end of this ascesis, we should be forced to conclude that it is in the best interest of the State to use discernment, then any disadvantage to a marginalized group would remain marginal.
The what? Why are you suddenly talking about the State? I'm the organizer of a game jam on a website for indie games. Truthfully the bulk of this paragraph read like word vomit to me so I'm not sure what I'm supposed to be responding to, but I'm going to try. In the plainest of language, here's a paraphrase of what I understood you wrote in the preceding sentences: "We must confront our reality. Paying attention to moral platitudes inevitably causes us to pay attention to the point of moral platitudes, which is to pursue the greater good of society. Trying to pursue the greater good of society is really hard." Yes, trying to pursue the greater good of society is hard, but the State isn't the one making decisions about how to pursue the good of society here. We are.
Outside of a dated Deleuzean analysis purporting an "Ethic of Minority", (a disastrous turn for the worse, you must agree, in Continental Philosophy, as well as an utter bastardization of Kafka) we must all be willing to enforce the traditional, Majoritarian Good as surely as we would sacrifice our own lives for it, so as not to live in shame for cowardice.
I'm not familiar with Deleuze's Ethic of Minority, I'm not a scholar of Continental Philosophy, and I'm not deeply invested in saving Kafka from bastardization, as much as I have enjoyed some of his works. However I did go Google "Deleuze ethic of minority" to figure out what you were generally referencing, and I found this Wikipedia page, which cited this academic article, which contains this quote elaborating on what Deleuze and Guattari meant by "minority" on page 3 which I find relevant for writing my response:
"Minor literature must be capable of undoing the classiﬁcations and procedures that reproduce territorial borders and State-based geopolitical relations, including those premised on an alignment between identity and nationhood (e.g. ‘the Australian novelist’). The second characteristic of minor literatures is that ‘everything in them is political’ (Deleuze and Guattari 1986, 17). The minor does not render society as a passive surface onto which protagonists’ actions are inscribed. Rather, the social is shot through with conﬂicts and leakages that illuminate the contingent and open-ended dimensions of community."
Dated or not, this seems like potential for good fun to me. I don't consider myself part of the "we" in your position. I'm not interested in enforcing "traditional, Majoritarian Good," much less sacrificing my life for it. If that makes me a shameful coward, then alright, I'm a shameful coward!
Upon this I doubt anyone will disagree. What follows is a bit trickier: "If you have to ask whether your game or song promotes discrimination, it probably does." This one's a more common pitfall. Clearly, none of us KNOW what this entails. Even our own subjective experiences are extremely vague and suspect, and we can speak with even less certainty about the experience of others, as well as their frames of reference. I haven't read the same books you have, probably. Nor have we even begun to perform a complete ontological and phenomenological investigation into what constitutes discrimination as a subjective phenomenon, and those who claim to be experts on the matter have largely betrayed our trust and lust for a satisfying set of answers to these Questions.
I disagree with all of this. I don't think we have to "perform a complete ontological and phenomenological investigation into what constitutes discrimination as a subjective phenomenon" to know what discrimination entails. In fact I think theoretical answers about what discrimination entails ultimately matter less than our practices, which may or may not be grounded in theoretical understandings. In short: what do we do when we discover we have power over each other? Individually? Structurally? Historically? What do we do when we discover we're not the first ones to have the kinds of realizations we're having? What do we do with our histories of power and where we think those histories have led us today? What do we do with our powers today and tomorrow?
You don't need to have theoretical understandings to respond to these. You just respond. You are always responding, whether or not you're conscious of it or not. That's survival. "If you have to ask whether your game or song promotes discrimination, it probably does." This is a rule about how to respond. It means that if there is any room for the possibility that your work would cause someone to respond in a way to protect themselves from something you made--because the way you held your creative power up to them carried echoes of your predecessors holding power violently over theirs--respond by not making it. Don't respond by making someone break down their perception of pain to you. Respond by saving them the effort.
Much less are we qualified to say that our ancestors were wrong for employing discernment in the defence of their own communities, especially in drafting Rules that serve the same archetypal function as the Rules herein posted.
I wasn't aware we needed qualifications to be critical about our own ancestors. They're dead. We're the survivors of their justice. It's right to be critical.
In short: we ALL "have to ask". There is no way around that, and part of the Organizer's task is to answer, however subjectively.
This is probably the only part I can agree with, previously aforementioned criticisms notwithstanding.
Finally, you say, " Games or songs that are about resistance against discrimination are fine". Yet how can that be permitted? Clearly, a double-standard is at play which is in itself discriminatory. We know historically that most forms of "resistance" were both ideological and practical failures that produced devastation on a Mass Scale. Would a "content warning" truly pardon such rhetoric?
I don't think we have the same ideas of resistance against discrimination at all. I don't know what "double-standard" you're going on about. Earlier I alluded to my definition of discrimination, which I'll now clarify here: to discriminate is to willfully carry the echoes of your predecessors holding power violently over those your predecessors subjugated. To end the echoes is not discrimination. Let me repeat that. To end the echoes is not discrimination. I support the ending of those echoes by any means necessary. By any means necessary does not mean creating new echoes--that is a strawman's understanding. The phrase "by any means necessary" originated from Frantz Fanon's speech, "Why We Use Violence", where he, as a colonized man speaking to colonized people, as a comrade of African descent speaking to fellow African comrades, said:
"Violence in everyday behaviour, violence against the past that is emptied of all substance, violence against the future, for the colonial regime presents itself as necessarily eternal. We see, therefore, that the colonized people, caught in a web of three-dimensional violence, a meeting point of multiple, diverse, repeated, cumulative violences, are soon logically confronted by the problem of ending the colonial regime by any means necessary.
The violence of the colonial regime is not just lived on the level of the soul, but also that of the muscles, of the blood. This violence that wills itself to be violent, which becomes more and more boundless, irreparably provokes the birth of an internal violence in the colonized people and a just anger is born that seeks to express itself."
A just anger, not just on the level of the soul, but the muscles, the blood. This is the kind of response I am referring to when I talk about responses in the context of discrimination. The violent response of survival. Hence later on in the speech Fanon says that "the violence of the colonized is the last gesture of the hunted man, meaning that he is ready to defend his life." I refuse to call the mass devastation born from this violence something to be pardoned for.
Speaking specifically to the Algerian revolution against French colonialism, Fanon elaborates: "We do not say to the settler 'You are a stranger, go away.' We do not say to him: 'We will take over the leadership of the country and make you pay for your crimes and those of your ancestors.' We do not tell him that 'to the past hatred of the Black we will oppose the present and future hatred of the white man.' We say to him: 'We are Algerians, banish all racism from our land, all forms of oppression and let us work for man, for the flourishing of man and for the enrichment of humanity.' I refuse to call the mass devastation born from this kind of revolution something to be pardoned for.
Of course, all rhetoric must be allowed, which is why instituting Rules of this kind is perhaps just one more vestige of Corporatism with which we must battle if we are to truly embrace our human dignity. Rest assured that it is out of my enduring but tormented faith in such a dignity that I write to you. I look forward to the Competition. Thank you for your consideration and your understanding. It seems like a matter most people would rather "talk around" than to address directly, and that is sufficient cause for distress.
No. Not all rhetoric must be allowed. This isn't corporatism. I think we have very different ideas of dignity. I also don't think you read the rules very carefully because this jam isn't in fact a competition at all. I don't understand your position and this is as much consideration as I'm giving you. This is me addressing you directly. Rest disturbed.
Oh, I see! The reason why I didn't add that was because Absolution to me is giving up play. I feel like adding counters (i.e. adding more material to play with) would take away from that argument.
Thanks! Do you have more specific ideas on what you mean by "counters?" I have a clear idea about why I didn't include counters for Absolution, but I don't want to just jump to that response if we aren't talking about the same thing!
As someone with a fickle attention span, it took me a really long time to come around to reading this, despite having claimed a community copy of the game almost an year ago (at the time of posting this comment). I started reading, fast, as I always do (it's never about the quality of what I'm reading; it's about me racing to win as much information from the text before my attention span ends). Then I got to the second to last paragraph of Destinasyon 2, and that was when my mind and attention span stopped racing. I thought: "Well, now I want to hear how she's delivering this line, this sudden statement of escalation in intimacy*, how she's pacing this out."
*(In retrospect, I realize this wasn't really as abrupt of an escalation as I had initially perceived it. "Agreements," after all, begins with "Hello, dear beloved." I think I just didn't believe the "I" in the text really meant it until "I" showed it through actions, which is less a reflection of the text and more a reflection of me.)
I put on the audio recording and started following the text back along, from the beginning. There's a reason I avoid audio/visual media like the plague, and it's because they always play at the recorder's pace, which is usually too slow for me. Normally I'd be playing the media in double or triple time, staring at the minutes remaining to see how much longer I'd have to wait until the end. But that did not happen for this piece. I was completely enraptured for a little over half an hour, mostly in synch with the pace of narration. In the few moments where my impatient eyes did skip ahead, I felt curiosity and anticipation, not resentment at the audio for having to catch up. I even enjoyed listening to the minor discrepancies between the audio and the text, as well as the interruptions from background noises. It made the experience feel more "real"--not violently filtered to reach some state of purified aesthetic perfection--more honest, more something I felt like I could trust, which was important for this kind of adventure.
My favorite part was Destinasyon 5, "All Your Dead Wives." Favorite quote: “I hate saying this word” you say. “It cuts” I tell you. It made me tear up. It made me feel like I was understood. Still, I wouldn't speak of an "intended audience" when it comes to this text. I would say, this text holds space for you. This text was written to hold space for you, and you might not feel like that's true at first or forever, and that's okay.
Thank you for creating this.
REVIEW: The strongest section of this game was probably the memories section, as detailed by the clubs section of the catpendium. I found myself journaling about a lot of topics that I otherwise wouldn't have been thinking about, and the game got real personal real quick. It made me rethink a lot of the relationships I had pre-quarantine and why I had them.
I think what I would have liked to see more from this game was weirdness. I thought there was a lot of potential for this game to turn into one of haunting magical realism, especially with the whole premise of what cats actually were.
All in all, this was an entertaining way to spend the evening with my cat--who I discovered also really likes to play with dice. Thank you for this experience.
Say hello! Suggested format: name, pronouns, and what you're interested in making for the jam (with no obligation to follow through with the interest, of course).
i opened this game expecting to be scared and i finished it wanting to cry goddammit i have so many feelings now HOW DARE YOU
thank you so much, i loved this game, keep doing what you're doing.