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.

That’s my back cover blurb for Anna Anthropy’s new book, 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. You might know her better under her pen name (pixel name?) Auntie Pixelante, creator of games like Calamity Annie, Mighty Jill Off, and Redder.

There are plenty of books about professional game design on the one hand and serious games on the other hand, but far fewer about the ways ordinary folks are making use of games—and why they’d want to bother. I wrote a bit about this in the “snapshots” chapter of How to Do Things With Videogames, but Rise of the Videogame Zinesters offers a whole book on the why and how of making games for yourself rather than for others. The book will be published in a little over a week, but I was able to see a copy at the Game Developers Conference last week, and it looked great.

To get a sense of what Anna is trying to advocate, check out her latest game, Dys4ia. It’s about Anna’s experience starting estrogen therapy as a trans woman, and it’s a great example of type of game made possible by new tools and new desires in game development.

published March 11, 2012