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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 [Kindle Edition]

Anna Anthropy
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Book Description

"Anna Anthropy is a key personality in the ongoing paradigm shift that is slowly changing the way videogames are understood, by creators and players, and by the wider culture." 
—Patrick Alexander, Eegra.com

"Equal parts autobiography, ethnography, and how-to manual, this book concisely makes the case for the unique power of 'zinester' games."
—Adam Parrish, NYU's Interactive Telecommunication Program (Tisch School of the Arts), and author of the ZZT game "Winter"

"These days, everybody can make and distribute a photograph, or a video, or a book. Rise of the Videogame Zinesters shows you that everyone can make a videogame, too. But why should they? For Anna Anthropy, it's not for fame or for profit, but for the strange, aimless beauty of personal creativity.”
—Ian Bogost, Director, Graduate Program in Digital Media, Georgia Institute of Technology

"Rise is a great guidebook to understanding—and more importantly, participating in—this dynamically evolving culture." 
—Jim Munroe, co-founder of the Hand Eye Society and the Difference Engine Initiative

“Here, Anna Anthropy demonstrates how people from every background and walk of life are breaking free of the commercial cowardice of major publishers, and bringing their individual visions of the game to life. . . . If game design is to be an art, as those of us who love games fervently hope, it must be rescued from its crushing commercial pressures. You can be a part of its future.” 
—Greg Costikyan, author of I Have No Mouth and I Must Design

"Anna gives the world of video games a crucial perspective from her seat of authority within outsider culture, and illustrates how essential it is for the space to empower voices of all kinds if it is to evolve."  
—Leigh Alexander, editor-at-large of Gamasutra


Editorial Reviews

Review

"When Anna Anthropy thinks of video games, she sees the potential to transform a genre. Anthropy show[s] us how the medium can be used for a greater good.”
—Huffington Post

Rise of the Videogame Zinesters is about education. It is a how-to, indie history lesson, design theory 101, a manifesto, and, surprisingly, as memoir. It serves as an entry into the importance of games and how to make them. But it also is about why making them for ourselves is important.”
Popular Science

“Anna Anthropy's forthcoming book Rise of the Videogame Zinesters is about the personal potential of games—how simple tools allow all kinds of people to tell their own stories interactively. But it's also a clever, thoughtful examination on game design, and why the medium is important and interesting.”
—JoyStiq

“Anna Anthropy is an independent videogame designer and critic, and a key personality in the ongoing paradigm shift that is slowly changing the way videogames are understood, by creators and players, and by the wider culture.”
—Patrick Alexander, Eegra.com

“These days, everybody can make and distribute a photograph, or a video, or a book. Rise of the Videogame Zinesters shows you that everyone can make a videogame, too. But why should they? For Anna Anthropy, it's not for fame or for profit, but for the strange, aimless beauty of personal creativity.”
—Ian Bogost, Director, Graduate Program in Digital Media, Georgia Institute of Technology

"Free of the constraints the giant studios labour under, one- and two-person teams are using an artisinal approach to make deeply personal and innovative videogames. Rise is a great guidebook to understanding—and more importantly, participating in—this dynamically evolving culture."
—Jim Munroe, co-founder of the Hand Eye Society and the Difference Engine Initiative

“Once upon a time, the game industry was a fervent of creativity, as innovators explored the potential offered by the new technology of home computing; today, it is a lackluster, thud-and-blunder torrent of commercial dross, selling to a diminishing audience of young males. Here, Anna Anthropy demonstrates how people from every background and walk of life are breaking free of the commercial cowardice of major publishers, and bringing their individual visions of the game to life -- and perhaps more importantly, pointing you to tools and ideas that will, should you so choose, allow you to create your own games. If game design is to be an art, as those of us who love games fervently hope, it must be rescued from its crushing commercial pressures. You can be a part of its future.”
—Greg Costikyan, Senior Game Designer, Disney Playdom

"Anna gives the world of video games a crucial perspective from her seat of authority within outsider culture, and illustrates how essential it is for the space to empower
voices of all kinds if it is to evolve."  
—Leigh Alexander, game critic

"You would expect outspoken game designer and polemicist Anna Anthropy's first book to be controversial. You might not expect it to be so heartfelt—even inspirational. Equal parts autobiography, ethnography, and how-to manual, this book concisely makes the case for the unique power of "zinester" games—independent video games made primarily by one person. For newcomers to video games, it's a great introduction; for established video game designers, it's a wake-up call. If you're teaching a course about video game culture or video game design, this book deserves a spot on your syllabus."
—Adam Parrish, NYU's Interactive Telecommunication Program (Tisch School of the Arts), and author of the ZZT game "Winter"

About the Author

Anna Anthropy is a prolific game developer and critic and is the creator of Calamity Annie, Mighty Jill Off, and Lesbian Spider Queens of Mars among many other games, which are available on her website, www.auntiepixelante.com. She lives in Oakland, California, with her pet girlmonster and two lovely cats.

Product Details

  • File Size: 4194 KB
  • Print Length: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Seven Stories Press (March 20, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005K98PTO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #261,531 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I eagerly ordered Anna Anthropy's book, being a fan of her important ongoing work in the "indie game" scene. Anna is a creative force and a passionate advocate for games as folk art and digital vehicles for self-expression. She also makes legitimately fun games! This book offers perhaps some of the earliest thoughts in an increasingly public conversation about games' status as art, and serves as a great introduction to an "alternative" world of game development that the average person may not be aware of. This is a large topic simply because of its many facets, and as a shorter read, the book can only act as a primer to these many facets - such as tools for game development, contemporary folk game auteurs, and their games, etc. 'Zinesters is well-written and I think Anna does this topic justice while making the subject accessible to anyone who may have no more experience with game development than simply consuming its output. I think the book falls short in convincing a skeptic that games as art are on the same "level" as the more classic forms. For me, it's an unimportant matter, but some might be looking to this book to convince them. Finally, Anna appears to be of the mind that game creation is a kind of zero-sum, um, game where having less "white male"-developed games is necessary to have more non-"white male"-developed games. Game development is more democratized/open/folk than ever now, while simultaneously "white male" games are consumed more than ever - I think this merely reflects the dichotomy of "pop/mainstream" art and "folk/alternative" art that seems to be present in every artistic medium.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A call to create January 27, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
While the introduction is a little bit bumpy (Anna and I want very different things out of games, and Anna's introduction makes it seem as though the book is almost meant for an exclusively LGBT audience), I found myself won over by her enthusiasm for independent game development. Anna urges you to make something, make anything, and mentions a variety of tools and tricks for churning something out with a minimum of labor. Game development can be very difficult to get in to, so her insistence on easy, personal, fun projects is refreshing and enabling.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rallying cry for us all November 16, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
anna anthropy's book is part biography, part how-to guide for budding game designers and part manifesto for the disenfranchised. Not only does it provide a pretty good, short-and-sweet overview of the history of games development, it gets the reader thinking about how they engage with games in a totally different way. By the end of this you will definitely want to start making games yourself, and anna has all the resources you need to get started.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for the video game curious. January 14, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I'm having an enjoyable re-visit of my past (I almost forgot about downloading shareware from BBS) while having my eyes opened to what's going on in the game industry (and what's not going on in the game industry). Guys, don't be afraid about the other side and grab this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Personal, useful November 29, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Anthropy perfectly lays out why more diversity is needed in the world of game design, why you ("yes YOU") should contribute your as-of-yet unheard voice, and how you can really actually make and distribute your own game, for real, right now.

For people already entrenched in the status quo mentality, it's a huge wakeup call and yet another important step in finally ushering diversity into the realm of 'gamer culture.' For people who have never made a game before, it's exactly the call-to-arms that it sets out to be.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Timely Perspective on Videogame Creation July 22, 2012
By Raughn
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've never played a game made by Anna Anthropy, but after reading this book, she is one of my favorite game designers. Her enthusiasm for the art form, and for its potential if placed in the right hands (i.e., yours and mine) is genuine and contagious.

Rise of the Videogame Zinesters begins with Anthropy's opinions on why true authorship is nearly non-existant in commercial videogames. Her argument is succinct, difficult to contradict, and reads like a treat to any gamer who has grown weary of brown shooters, annual sequels, and bars filling up at the end of every multiplayer match in everything.

Anthropy then makes the case for why empowering individuals to make games, the way everyone is empowered to write a story or post a YouTube video, could save the art form from the videogame industry's play-it-safe redundancy.

Well, really, the power is already out there, which is the final thing that Anthropy helps her reader to understand, by pointing out resources and examples of how the tools have already been used to make some very special games.

Anthropy's book is fun, surprising, and timely; and important read for anyone who cares about videogames.
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3.0 out of 5 stars 50% what it claims to be October 20, 2014
By Gavrilo
Format:Paperback
The book is not half-bad, it is half off-the-point. The good half: an explanation about how video cames can stand out as an art form, with several good examples and a good rationale.

However this point has to be stretched out even to cover half of this short book. The other half is autobiography and tips and tricks to start developing your own game. I can't say that the autobiography was poorly written or that the advice was bad, it's just not at all what I bought the book for.

But I repeat, the other half is pretty solid and may justify the purchase of the book by itself.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars But this book!
A fantastic book!
Published 1 month ago by Sean Mackaay
5.0 out of 5 stars We're making history!
I'd love to tell the author how inspiring this book is. As an indie developer, it just makes you feel there's a whole world out there ready to find new games that challenge the big... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Maximiliano Villa
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Read
This is a book anyone interested in making or researching games NEEDS to read. This belongs in the canon of contemporary games literature. I cannot recommend it enough.
Published 9 months ago by Owls
5.0 out of 5 stars Queer Theory meets Game Design
This is a quick read, more like a manifesto for the indie games movement than a guide book although the last chapter includes a walk-through of some programs you can use to get... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Tori Morris
4.0 out of 5 stars Read and Heed...
A unique and valuable perspective that serves as a sort-of manifesto and how-to for the new era of do-it-yourself indie game making.
Published on March 14, 2013 by fiendish
1.0 out of 5 stars As a trans, queer, kink, indie game developer, I find this book...
As a trans, queer, kink, indie game developer, I'm absolutely appalled by the amount of flawed logic, whitewashing of the history of game development, and bigotry seeping from the... Read more
Published on March 4, 2013 by Devi Ever
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Essential reading if you're into indie games / queer games / scratchware scene or studying games. Personally I'm more of the latter group and found this a very illuminating &... Read more
Published on February 4, 2013 by Stahljunker
2.0 out of 5 stars One sided and reductive
The most interesting, largely because it's the most problematic chapter in Anna's book is the first one, entitled "the problem with videogames. Read more
Published on December 11, 2012 by C. M. A.
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