Dead Pixel Co is my culture consumption blog.
What is culture consumption?
It’s what happens when your senses encounter some manifestations of our culture.
In other words, this blog is where I write about things I’m reading, listening to playing, watching, etc, and any other thoughts that arise from the resulting melange.
My current blog about cultural production is at Brooklyn Game Ensemble, where we are making a game.
Who are you?
My name’s Naomi Clark. I am @metasynthie on Twitter (and at most other places). Here are some of the things I’ve done that are relevant to this blog, and answers to the question of “where you might know me from.”
- I was the juniormost editor of Word, an early online magazine that specialized in autobiographical non-fiction, interactive multimedia experiments, absurdist humor and documentary journalism. We also made toys and games such as Fred the Webmate, which I contributed dialogue for, and Sissyfight 2000, which I co-designed with Eric Zimmerman.
- For several years I produced websites, games, and digital toys for LEGO. I’m probably most proud of helping to create the first version of LEGO Digital Designer, a software tool and website that lets you easily build with 3D bricks, upload your creations, and buy the toys. My favorite project, however, was probably Junkbot, an original creation by a team that included Frank Lantz, Eric Zimmerman, and Nick Fortugno — all amazing game design luminaries.
- I was part of Gamelab, a long-running independent game developer in New York where we made casual games such as Diner Dash, games with social messages such as Ayiti: the Cost of Life. I didn’t work on either of those titles, but I did work on some of my favorite games ever, such as Egg vs. Chicken (designed with Frank Lantz, Mattia Romeo and Greg Trefry), a fortress-defense game where a band of revolutionary Marxist eggs travels through time, and Miss Management (with Nick Fortugno and K. Thor Jensen), a game that tries to weave an office-politics sitcom narrative tightly into gameplay. Gamelab is gone but survives in Gamestar Mechanic, a website where kids make their own games through a creative tool and a series of learning quests that I contributed to.
- I’ve worked on a lot of games for social networks in recent years, including the quirky Dreamland (deisgned with Eric Zimmerman and Nicole Leffel) and the environmentally conscious Trash Tycoon (designed with Greg Costikyan, Rob Meyer, and Jared Sorensen).
- I helped form the Brooklyn Game Ensemble, a group of collaborators working on a game that involves a library, semantics, and exploration of a procedurally generated 3D space.
- Depending on the semester, you can find me teaching a variety of courses on game design and development at the NYU Game Center, the School of Visual Arts’ Design for Social Innovation program, and the New York Film Academy’s Game Design School. I like writing, thinking, and speaking about games, so I’ve shown up to talk at conferences like DIGRA in 2013, No Show in 2012, the Queerness and Games Conference in 2014, Different Games, and more.
- In 2014 I was one of the organizers of the conference portion of the Indiecade Festival of Games and I’ll probably help organize it again!
- I helped to get the Sylvia Rivera Law Project in New York City started and I’m still a member. We are a collective, non-hierarchical organization that seeks to build power in communities that are hit hardest by intersections of racism, poverty, transphobia, and ableism, among other things. This tends to involve a lot of struggling with the criminal justice system, the prison-industrial complex, and various government institutions, which we do by providing free legal services, community organizing and events, and the occasional lawsuit. I’m technically the Board Chair, which means hilariously nothing in a non-hierarchical organization. I got to speak at Occupy Wall Street in 2011, though.
- I used to blog at Feministe under the pseudonym Holly, about gender, race, games, anti-oppression politics, popular culture, and much more. It was a very rewarding but exhausting job.
- I once tried to make a documentary about the San Diego Comic-Con with K. Thor Jensen, a brilliant writer/artist/game-designer who is my childhood best friend, former roommate and co-worker at both Word and Gamelab. The documentary project was a miserable failure, mostly because I never edited it OR let Thor have the footage. Oops. Now I only READ comics and WATCH films, and I’m currently reading the back DC Comics library from 1987-2012 so that I can think about superheroes and culture.
- I used to hang out on these BBSs in Seattle. In my teens I helped build, write, and code for MUDs like AmberMUSH and DuneMUSH, as well as early MUDs based (without permission) on roleplaying games like Vampire: the Masquerade and Cyberpunk 2020. Later still, I was an admin and moderator of the strap-on.org forum for vitriolic young queers & trans people of the early 2000s.
- I learned to play the drums from Rock Band, and then on acoustic drums; eventually I helped start a local country band called The Low & The Lonesome. I’m now on a long hiatus from music due to burnout and collaborative difficulties. On the other hand, I’m still an ardent supporter and fan of indie rock band The Shondes, not least because they’re my dear friends.