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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
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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

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3.87  ·  Rating details ·  614 ratings  ·  78 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published March 20th 2012 by Seven Stories Press (first published January 1st 2012)
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Cow
Aug 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
Okay! This book is half essential manifesto, half terrible. So, .. three stars?

The good: Chapters 4-7, plus the appendices, wherein the author makes the case that video games are in need of revolution, and that that revolution is in the same way zines brought it to publishing: everyone creating, everyone sharing, everyone evolving. (And everyone getting to tell their own stories.)

This is solid, emotional, and excellent stuff. And it also is backed up by the appendices, which give examples of the
...more
Adrien
Aug 08, 2012 rated it did not like it
2 stars? 3 stars?
Fuck stars, whatever.

There are things I like about this book: what it's trying to say, what it *does* say, the few passages I highlighted in the instances where Anthropy says them very well and very clearly. I wish it dug into things more deeply (the state of video game development, the worker burn out and how, exactly, that is influencing the games like it's claimed, or the ways in which games can force a person to embrace a political ideology and the consequences of that...)
...more
Cari
Jun 01, 2015 rated it did not like it
This book, which reads more like a loaded editorial than an analysis on gaming culture is a frustrating read. To begin, I was asked to read the book as part of an introductory course on video game history that was half analysis of the medium, and half game creation. Otherwise I wouldn't have bothered to buy or even finish this book.
Anthropy does everything right as far as encouraging players to take advantage of little known sources like twine, or larger platforms like gamemaker to create,
...more
Valentin
Dec 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
As a manifesto, it's really good. Inspirational, witty, interesting. Even with some aggression towards the popular game making "one percent", the book is far from whimpering and criticising. Many manifestos I've read were about how bad our world is. This one is quite the opposite: it's a story about how you can try and create something the way you probably never considered seriously. Something relevant for you. And about people who have been doing exactly that, with very interesting results.

And
...more
Andy
Feb 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
One of the most inspiring books I've read in a long time. Anna's book is part manifesto about why games matter--they foster empathy and can be utilized in sharing experiences--and part how-to guide on creating personalized, small-scale videogames that buck the homogeneous, corporate-made publishing model that the industry relies on. It was one of the most inspiring books I've read in a long time. I really want to make a game now! I was thinking of writing a piece of interactive fiction in Twine.
Ryan Wolf
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you are thinking about making a game but are intimidated by all the tooling options, or scared that it won't be "good enough," this book is for you. It's a great message that making games is for everyone, along with solid advice on how to get started.

After years of talking about it, I finally made a game thanks to this book. Thanks!
Steph
Feb 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
p 137-139
What to Make a Game About?
Your dog, your cat, your child, your boyfriend, your girlfriend, your mother, your father, your grandmother, your friends, your imaginary friends, your summer vacation, your winter in the mountains, your childhood at home, your current home, your future home, your first job, your worst job, the job you wish you had.

Your first date, your first kiss, your first fuck, your first true love, your second true love, your relationship, your kinks, your deepest secrets,
...more
Zach
Apr 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: games
I'm not the target audience for this book. I play a lot of games, I've tried making them before, and I read Anna Anthropy's blog regularly. This book is probably for people who aren't so sure about this whole video game business, as it spends a lot of time talking about how games are usually made, and why that's a problem. The book talks about themes in games, and how limited they sometimes are, and how expansive they can be.

For the most part, I knew all this stuff already. But the last chapter
...more
Jamie Gaughran-Perez
Aug 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
If you're interested in games and game-making, this book does a great job of offering some perspective on possibilities. You can start small, it is easier than ever, their are people you can find that are doing the same. She has some axes to grind that I don't, but I understand where she's coming from and that didn't get in the way of her message coming through clearly. And the appendices and guides to various tools -- sure they will age fast, but are great at pointing you in a direction to make ...more
Book
Feb 15, 2020 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: indie devs
Recommended to Book by: tryhard game journos
I am a big fan of Dys4ia. In fact, I like it so much that in secondary school I remember setting up a play session of the game on multiple monitors for one of our lunchtime Diversity Society meetings. I didn't know much about Anthropy then apart from what I could easily glean from the prose of Dys4ia: that she had clearly experienced a gamut of anxieties and transfigurations that HRT entails. The game, to me, was incandescent, and it helped me to better understand that experience which is so ...more
Ben Villeneuve
Nov 28, 2013 rated it it was ok
This book is okay. I've never loved Anthropy's writing style or her idealization of raw, rough-draft game design (sometimes spending a long time on a thing is not the same as completely gutting its spirit! Sometimes spending a long time on an idea is the only way to make it reach its potential! Game jams are cool but they should not be the future of game design!), but her games are awesome and her creative voice cannot be denied. I think this book would probably work a lot better as a trio of ...more
Grig O'
Jan 07, 2013 rated it it was ok
if like me you grew up with computers, this book won't have a whole lot to offer, other than a host of links to games to be awed by. something like this was way more enlightening to me: http://www.newstatesman.com/lifestyle... - not to mention playing the actual games, which is the best way to learn

but i'm glad to have read it and i sure hope its optimism will inspire some people
Michael
Nov 12, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
To echo a common sentiment about this book:
It is indeed essential that a book like this exist, but a shame it was so sloppily written and fact-checked. But it definitely introduced me to a boatload of interesting games and concepts, and got me genuinely excited about the future of gaming.

I also appreciated some of the witty asides.
Kat Hulu
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
Read previously.

Probably should’ve been a zine?
...more
Dang Ole' Dan Can Dangle
Dec 04, 2012 rated it did not like it
The Garage bands of the 60s and the punk bands of the 70s proved that anyone and a few friends can become musicians. Disposable and instant cameras allowed anyone to become a photographer. Camcorders and camera phones turned anyone into a filmmaker. Paper and ink, and later typewriters and computers, made everyone a potential writer. Crayons and fingerpaint...well, you get the point.

Making an art form accessible and its tools widely available does a lot for the art. It demystifies the way
...more
Dessa
Apr 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, 2012s
“It’s possible that your interest in digital game creation is purely academic and doesn’t extend to becoming an author. In that case, I hope what you take away from this book is that the videogame isn’t the creation of a corporation, but if an author, that this form is important, and that people are using it to do exciting things.

What we call a videogame is not a product. It’s the creation of an author and her accomplice, the player; it is handmade by the former and personally distributed to
...more
Vanessa G.
Jan 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Contrary to my expectations, only the first few chapters feature scholarly content. Anthropy gives reasons why most big games resemble one another in many ways and criticizes the videogame industry and its culture of crunch before explaining why there is a need for fresh ideas and individual creators of indie games. The rest of the book is part manifesto, part manual: The author invites everyone to create their own games and discusses first steps and tools for doing so. This can be inspiring and ...more
Nick
Mar 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a great book on video game history and theory and self publishing. I read it to think about applying game dynamics in consumer software development.
Roger Whitson
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Anyone who has ever loved games and thought about making their own games — even if that thought lasted only a half a second before they felt intimidated by programming — would cherish this book.
Brittney Arafat
Nov 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this book. It was unique and has me interested in making my own games. Also I tried some of the mentioned games and am glad for the opportunity to experience different gaming perspectives.
Audre
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Inspiring
Elizabeth
Aug 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
WARNING: will make you want to make videogames
Jake Hollman
Apr 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Excellent read! Very inspiring, and it will definitely help me in my future endeavors!
Fil Krynicki
Mar 18, 2013 rated it liked it
I recently finished [Anna Anthropy](http://www.auntiepixelante.com/)'s book [*Rise of the Video Game Zinesters: How Freaks, Normals, Amateurs, Artists, Dreamers, Drop-outs, Queers, Housewives, and People Like You Are Taking Back an Art Form*](http://www.amazon.ca/Rise-Videogame-Z...). The book acts as a manifesto and roadmap to democratized game-making with an as-close-to-zero-as-possible skill barrier. Anna argues that this is what is necessary for games to be expressive and individual. ...more
Olivia Dunlap
May 26, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
If there was one thing I could say about this book, it's that it's worth a read.

I'm currently a student studying English and computer science with the desire to pursue a career in game design. So, naturally, this book caught my eye (how couldn't it; do you see that awesome title??). Anna Anthropy, the author of this book, offers a lot of encouraging words, and has some amazing points to make. The book, however, it not perfect. A few things annoyed me about it that I feel like are worth
...more
Nick Cummings
Mar 31, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: games, design
Rise of the Videogame Zinesters is, like the title says, an account of how games are finally a medium for the masses and no longer the exclusive product of big corporations and strict publisher-developer business models. It's a good thing that this is happening, and it's great that author Anna Anthropy recognized that this movement needs more people to both document and champion it.

This book, in a mere 208 pages, is
a short history of games and their makers,
a declaration of independence,
a
...more
Patrick
Feb 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
This short, provocative book by a noted developer is partly a simple introduction to making your own video games, and partly a manifesto which calls for broader representation in games through making them easier for individuals to make as a form of self-expression. Its arguments are well-cited and compelling, though it hardly purports to be totally objective; indeed, the author makes it pretty clear that it mostly comes from her own experiences as an alienated player of titles which have clearly ...more
Mjhancock
I wouldn't go so far as to call it a manifesto, but Antropy's book is definitely edging toward screed in her argument supporting the development of homebrew, indie-made games. Her model for how she would like to see games work is the zine: intensely personal for the author, creative, cheap and easy to make, easy to distribute in low levels. The book is divided into eight chapters. She starts by talking about what's wrong with the videogame industry: essentially, that it puts industry before ...more
Phil
May 25, 2013 rated it liked it
I think Anna Anthropy's has done great work in spreading a sort of punk rock DIY mentality to game creation, and her articles and interviews are always a treat. I found this book to be curiously lacking in passion and depth, however. The title (and statements she's made in interviews, etc.) made me expect an inspirational manifesto, but while the book was logically structured and informative, it lacked much in the way of impact. There wasn't much about people "taking back an art form," instead ...more
Ryandake
Aug 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
what a fabulous little book for people who don't program, love games, and want to make their own.

part screed, part practical advice, this little gem will help you alter the way you think about videogames as an experience.

like a lot of over-15 gamers, i adore games but often cannot find anything i want to play if i'm not in the mood to shoot something, put an arrow in it, slice it in half with a sword, zap it to cinder with my magical electrical powers, burn it up with my fire spells... you get
...more
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i write smut, pulp fiction, and life-changing books about the decentralization of access to the means to create art. also, i make games.
“What to Make a Game About? Your dog, your cat, your child, your boyfriend, your girlfriend, your mother, your father, your grandmother, your friends, your imaginary friends, your summer vacation, your winter in the mountains, your childhood home, your current home, your future home, your first job, your worst job, the job you wish you had. Your first date, your first kiss, your first fuck, your first true love, your second true love, your relationship, your kinks, your deepest secrets, your fantasies, your guilty pleasures, your guiltless pleasures, your break-up, your make-up, your undying love, your dying love. Your hopes, your dreams, your fears, your secrets, the dream you had last night, the thing you were afraid of when you were little, the thing you’re afraid of now, the secret you think will come back and bite you, the secret you were planning to take to your grave, your hope for a better world, your hope for a better you, your hope for a better day. The passage of time, the passage of memory, the experience of forgetting, the experience of remembering, the experience of meeting a close friend from long ago on the street and not recognizing her face, the experience of meeting a close friend from long ago and not being recognized, the experience of aging, the experience of becoming more dependent on the people who love you, the experience of becoming less dependent on the people you hate. The experience of opening a business, the experience of opening the garage, the experience of opening your heart, the experience of opening someone else’s heart via risky surgery, the experience of opening the window, the experience of opening for a famous band at a concert when nobody in the audience knows who you are, the experience of opening your mind, the experience of taking drugs, the experience of your worst trip, the experience of meditation, the experience of learning a language, the experience of writing a book. A silent moment at a pond, a noisy moment in the heart of a city, a moment that caught you unprepared, a moment you spent a long time preparing for, a moment of revelation, a moment of realization, a moment when you realized the universe was not out to get you, a moment when you realized the universe was out to get you, a moment when you were totally unaware of what was going on, a moment of action, a moment of inaction, a moment of regret, a moment of victory, a slow moment, a long moment, a moment you spent in the branches of a tree. The cruelty of children, the brashness of youth, the wisdom of age, the stupidity of age, a fairy tale you heard as a child, a fairy tale you heard as an adult, the lifestyle of an imaginary creature, the lifestyle of yourself, the subtle ways in which we admit authority into our lives, the subtle ways in which we overcome authority, the subtle ways in which we become a little stronger or a little weaker each day. A trip on a boat, a trip on a plane, a trip down a vanishing path through a forest, waking up in a darkened room, waking up in a friend’s room and not knowing how you got there, waking up in a friend’s bed and not knowing how you got there, waking up after twenty years of sleep, a sunset, a sunrise, a lingering smile, a heartfelt greeting, a bittersweet goodbye. Your past lives, your future lives, lies that you’ve told, lies you plan to tell, lies, truths, grim visions, prophecy, wishes, wants, loves, hates, premonitions, warnings, fables, adages, myths, legends, stories, diary entries. Jumping over a pit, jumping into a pool, jumping into the sky and never coming down. Anything. Everything.” 5 likes
“Smaller games with smaller budgets and smaller audiences have the luxury of being more experimental or bizarre or interesting than 12 million dollar games that need to play it as safely as possible to ensure a return on investment.” 1 likes
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