- Ian Schriber informed her that she was a “black box designer” (she has a mysterious process)
- “Mechanic is the Message” series of games (all physical, non-digital games)
o The New World
§ Game about slavery boat ride
§ Created to teach her daughter about the slave trade
o Síochán leat (aka “The Irish Game”)
§ Cromwellian invasion taking of Irish lands by English
§ Inspired a lot by family, background
· “What’s the point in being Irish if the world doesn’t break your heart”
· Always this feeling that things will go wrong
§ Grew up Irish Catholic
§ Game is to pack a train – turns out to be for the Holocaust
§ The game is about regret, complicity
o Mexican Kitchen Workers
§ In prototype
§ Kind of broken right now – “maybe it’s done?”
o Cité Soliel
§ In prototype
§ Same board, 2 games being played
§ During the daytime you make your moves, during the nighttime your people are being used as resources for a gang
o One Falls for Each of Us
§ About the Trail of Tears/The “Indian Removal Act”
o Games were never intended to be shown or shared with the world
§ Game design challenges - accidentally released
- Why tragedy?
o Inspired by photographer Zig Jackson, who decided not to take a picture of a place where a massacre happened
o Question of “do you take the picture or not?”
o So, do you make the game or not?
o What kinds of games could we make?
o Tragedy is a topic, it’s not in game
o Unfortunately she gets comments from her friends like “Brenda likes to make people cry” J This is not the aim!
- Personal Process
o Very different to make such personal games by yourself
o Getting reactions like “BRENDA BRATHWAITE YOU NEED TO STOP MAKING GAMES!!!”
o The industry is steeped in the idea that games need to be fun
o She believes that the game already exists, she just has to find it – it will reveal itself
o Inspiration in process:
§ Richard Serra’s work (large scale sculptures). His sculptures have odd properties, they change your physical space, which has an effect on you
§ Jackson Pollack’s process of circling the canvas, trying to figure out where to start. She has this with ‘circling the game’
- Process for this game
o During a road trip, started thinking: what would it mean to leave my home, my ancestors’ home for someone else?
o In general, in cases where there is human on human tragedy, there is a system (which can be used to create a game)
o Started by studying maps
§ How did they try to remove them? How did people respond?
§ Understanding that history/research aren’t accurate
o Andrew Jackson – architect of act
§ Decided that she wanted players to plays as white men (she has been accused of ‘appropriating other people’s cultures’ for her games – so this was sort of in response to that)
o Should the board be a map of the USA? Debated for 4 months
o Her other games make you feel complicit. In this case, she wanted that, as well as wanting you to realize that this act was absurd
- The game so far
o 4 players, (play as white men) have to remove Indians
o In the game you have resources, which you can spend on the Indians to help them, or to grow your own country
o Winner = accumulates the most progress
o The indian figures: 50,000 figures!!!!
§ Deliberate sense of scale!
§ 1 to 1 of how many people were really moved on the Trail of Tears
§ There is no convenient way of moving that many game pieces
· It shouldn’t be convenient!
- More process
o Doesn’t like to make games with anyone around
o Individually dying the pieces
§ Putting them down on newspaper in the kitchen
§ Haiti in the news, so putting pieces down on terrible photos – sense of interconnectedness
o Design process: try to feel what they feel
- Didn’t finish game in time for GDC because had to crunch for project. Feels regret for this
- Why tragedy?
o Brenda was personally attacked in 2006
o Horrific – feels as though brain has been halved
o Made a game in her imagination to help her cope with it: experienced what happened as a system to come to terms with it
o The game “The Path” was also helpful in dealing with tragedy, gave great release
§ Games can do anything, they are a magic medium