MFAVN’s Jenny Goldstick (Class of 2015) had the opportunity to present her thesis project at Indiecade this year. THIS IS MY MEMORY OF FIRST HEARTBREAK, WHICH I CAN’T QUITE PIECE BACK TOGETHER is a fascinating interactive project that allows the audience to interact with Jenny’s memories of an important event in her life.
She was kind enough to answer some questions we had about her experience and why her project was such a good fit for the event.
What stood out about Indiecade this year?
Well, it was my first time at Indiecade, so for me it was just about experiencing it all and taking it everything in. Overall there was a wide range of games, from more table top/tactile, to arcade, to
shooting games. It was at the Museum of Moving Image, which I thought was a great setting for it.
Did you spot any trends in what people are making?
One thing that struck me is that it seems like, even in the indie scene, many people are making games that are not necessarily experimental – there are still shooting games being made by independent game makers, for example. There seem to be many experimental games, too, though, I should mention – meaning experimental with the story, or the format, or the artwork, or something else.
You brought your own project to Indiecade to demo. Can you tell us more about THIS IS MY MEMORY OF FIRST HEARTBREAK, WHICH I CAN’T QUITE PIECE BACK TOGETHER?
Sure. THIS IS MY MEMORY OF FIRST HEARTBREAK, WHICH I CAN’T QUITE PIECE BACK TOGETHER, is an interactive graphic memoir centering around my memory of first heartbreak. Users experience a series of fragmented memory scenes, after which they can click on a “memory trigger object” to connect them to a related scene. Choice has no bearing on the outcome of this interactive story, as the characters inevitably break up every “loop” of game play, but users can choose how to get there and learn more about the characters each time they experience the tale.
How did the demo go?
Demo-ing the game at Show & Tell was so much fun! I was so glad I got to do it. It was awesome to get feedback from real, live gamers who came from a variety of backgrounds with many different interests. I appreciated the honesty and interest of the people who dropped by to play – the vibe I got was that people really are just interested in games for games’ sake, like they just love it and are passionate about it. Many discussed with me how to make the game more effective or engaging on a conceptual level. Many had marketing insights, too. I got the sense that there is a friendly community who understands the sort of unique breadth of games and the wide range of opportunity.
What’s next for THIS IS MY MEMORY OF FIRST HEARTBREAK, WHICH I CAN’T QUITE PIECE BACK TOGETHER?
I’m not sure what’s next. I took a break from the project for a while after graduating because I think I was too close to it and burned out – little edits I wanted to make started to seem like big hassles. They tell me this is common! But anyway, recently I’ve started to become more excited again about putting it “out there”, so I’ve been putting feelers out in different directions. I asked many people who came to check out the demo if they felt that the project is a game. Most of them thought it could definitely live in a game space. A few mentioned that I should look more into interactive fiction. I am also thinking about how to project might fit into gallery settings…
In our experience at MFAVN the project is definitely a storytelling game experience. The interactivity is simple and familiar but the different paths you can take through the same story highlights how memory can be a fickle and selective thing. Thanks for talking to us, Jenny! We look forward to seeing what you have in store for us next time.