Friday I’m In Love

Horror Machine by MRCLV/UNDEAD | Friday I'm In Love |
Horror Machine by MRCLV/UNDEAD available at Society 6

Hello Sweeties!

Despite having caught Rick’s flu-thing and been laid up all weekend, this was still a pretty big week at Gamerwife HQ. I managed to snag a writing gig that I’m pretty excited about and I’m working on writing for another website that I’m hoping to share with you all soon.

I also got to check out the Execution Labs summer cohort’s roster of games, which included surreal first person exploration game Anamorphine, the heavily Ghibli inspired Forgotton Anne, super-neat submarine sim Diluvion and Soviet space exploration game Outreach. Very cool looking games made by equally cool people.

My only real goal for this weekend is to get my office area back into livable shape and make some decisions about a new laptop (recommendations greatly appreciated).

Link Time!
Just in time for Halloween, a handy guide to whether you should wear black-face for a costume. (hint: The answer is no. The answer is always, no.)

Media matters. Science proves it.

While we’re on the topic of representation and minorities

Best comics about ladies by ladies.

A handy questionnaire for when you’re ready to give up on everything.

Baby panther!

Spoopy, sexy and just plain wrong.

Speaking of spoopy, here’s some horror table top game suggestions for Halloween.

It sounds like the Indiepocalypse might not be imminent as we thought.

And finally, on video games as art.

On Building A Community: Narrow Your Focus to Broaden Your Reach

Narrow Your Focus To Broaden Your Reach | Indie Biz |
I recently got an email asking me to help a developer spread the word about the Steam Greenlight and Kickstarter pages for their game. They seemed to do many things right in their press release, referring to me by name. Keeping things short and sweet. But they managed to leave out one one major detail that influenced my decision not to write about them.

There was no information about their game.

Sure, there were links to the press kit and Greenlight page, but nothing in the body of the email itself said anything about the game. Nothing about the genre, the platform(s), the setting, the mechanics. Nothing to give me a hint as to whether clicking on that link to the press kit would reveal something of actual interest to me.

What they had instead were several heartfelt paragraphs about the importance of building a community around their game. Which is true. Fan and critic communities can make or break an independent game that relies on word of mouth and reputation to gain users and sell copies.

However, if you don’t have any idea of who should be in your community, you’re probably going to waste a lot of time and money trying to build it. Like these guys did by failing to explain why I should be in their community, beyond my general support of independent game developers.

Sure, it makes sense for Call of Duty to go broad and spam things that appeal to men 18 – 35 with advertising. They have the money and resources to do that. But most independent game devs don’t. So trying to appeal everyone, or a wide demographic like men 18 – 35, isn’t going to work for them. A better approach is to get as specific as possible about your desired audience and focus your efforts on just those people.

The best way to do this is to start breaking down what makes your game unique. What’s the art style like? What’s the music like? What’s the gameplay like? This can be purely descriptive or you can find other points of reference that are already popular.

If you need to, make a Venn diagram of the 3 or 4 most unique/appealing/descriptive aspects of your game, with the point where they meet being the game itself.

For example, if your game is a JRPG style game where all the characters are magical ponies with a heavy metal soundtrack, your diagram would look like this:
Your Ideal Player | Narrow Your Focus to Broaden Your Reach |
Meaning your ideal player is probably a brony who loves Slayer and grew up playing Final Fantasy. Granted, your game might not have such three distinct selling points, but it’s still a good exercise to narrow down who exactly your “ideal” audience is.

The other thing about this technique is that all those other point where the circles in your diagram meet represent further niches where you can focus your marketing efforts. In our example this would include metal loving JRPG fans, JRPG fans who love horses, etc.

So, while narrowing things down at first seems like it will be very limiting, it is in fact a great way to hone in on unique niches that other games aren’t targeting directly. And while it might take a little extra work to figure out where these niches congregate, it will mean that your efforts in building a community have a much greater chance of being effective than just throwing things out into the wild and hoping that someone bites.

Did you like this article? Check out more Indie Biz advice here.

Fall To-Do List

Fall To-Do List |
So, I realize that I totally flaked on updating you all on my progress with my summer bucket list, but since I really only managed to do one of the things on it (rock a crop top, and even that didn’t happen until September), it’s probably for the best. While creating a list of things to do over the summer seemed like a good idea at the time, summer to me is more about lounging in the sun and letting the day take you where it will. It’s too hot and sweaty for plans. Which I guess is where I went wrong.

Fall, on the other hand, always inspires me to get down to business and get things done. I don’t know if it’s a holdover from my school days, when fall and homework went hand in hand, or if it goes even further into genetic memory of when my ancestors had to get the harvest ready before winter descended, but for some reason fall just seems like “get it done” time. So, I decided to share a little list of things I’m planning to get done this fall.

1. Keep Incorporating Yoga Into My Daily Routine

Although I started having trouble keeping up around week 3, I’ve really been enjoying the 30 Day Yoga Challenge I’ve been doing and would like to keep up daily practice through the fall and winter. Adrienne’s videos are so easy to follow and varied that I actually look forward to working out every day. Also, the difference I’ve noticed in my temperament, ability to focus, productivity, and energy levels is so marked that I’m hoping daily practice will help me combat my annual bout of SAD.

2. Retake My Office Space

We have yet to repair the shelf that crashed all over the place two months ago and my laptop screen has recently decided it no longer works, so “my” office space hasn’t really been that in far too long. While working from Rick’s PC is an okay holdover, the fact is, I need a new laptop and I need my own desk space that I have full ownership over. Especially now that I am getting serious about blogging and freelancing. The reasons this hasn’t happened yet is part laziness and part lack of money, but mostly it’s been because my office hadn’t been a priority. That has to end.

3. Get A Jump On My Christmas Knitting

I’m already doing pretty good on this one, thanks to a yarn sale and some Ravelry inspiration. Also, I’m very excited to finally have a baby girl I can knit lacy dresses for. I also kind of want to try my hand at some knitted toys for the littles. Can anyone recommend a good pattern?

4. Revamp Into A Portfolio site

In addition to getting extra serious about blogging, I want to get extra serious about writing and freelancing as my primary source of income. Right now, I own the domain, but it’s redirected to this blog. Eventually I’d like it to be a more general portfolio site for my writing and freelance work, maybe even including my voice acting work. We’ll see how it takes shape, but suggestions for layouts and formatting are greatly appreciated.

5. Drink Lots of Homemade Chai

Back when I first moved to Montreal (8 years ago!) I was introduced to homemade chai by a tea connoisseur friend. Now, whenever the weather starts to cool down I instinctively start hoarding loose leaf chai from Camellia Sinensis to enjoy on dreary Sunday mornings. I’m also very excited to see that they’ve released a non-caffeinated blend for movies nights tucked under a blanket.

What’s on your to-do list for fall?

Friday I’m In Love

Katamari of the Dead by Hector Mansilla | Friday I'm In Love |
Katamari of the Dead by Hector Mansilla available at Society 6
Hello sweeties!

Woof. What a week.

But I say that in the best way possible. I finally managed to light a fire under my butt and got myself set up on some freelancer sites so I can finally start making some money doing something I know I’m good at. I think that after leaving Cardboard Utopia I swung a little too far in the opposite direction and it’s taken me a while to feel confident getting out of my comfort zone. But I really feel like I’m back (BABY!) and ready to take on the world.

Still chugging away on my 30 Days of Yoga Challenge. I’m a few days behind, but I managed to get back to daily practice this week, so I still consider it a win. I’m starting to notice some differences in my body now, and I have a feeling I’ll be able to keep my heels down in downward facing dog by the end of the challenge. Go me!

This weekend will likely involve a Sherlock Holmes board game night and apple picking. Depending on how badly I catch Rick’s virus.

Link Time!
So much excite! [re]meshed is a new site for lady gamers, by lady gamers. From Sara Warn (After Ellen) and the team behind Pixelkin.

I’m sure most of you have seen this already, but wouldn’t you watch the f*$%k out of it?

Another awesome use for VR: putting men in women’s shoes.

And speaking of VR, am I totally nuts for wanting to give this contraption a try?

Do yourself a favour and take the time to watch this video of a sloth eating carrots.

This interview with Aberford writer Adam Clark makes me even more excited for this game. Back it on KS now.

Obsessive planner? Get a jump on your holidays with Lazy Lady’s free Holiday Planner!

Representation, even in a game with butt attacks, matters.

And finally, Nekoatsume toys!!!

What were your favourite links this week?

September Favourites 2015

September Favourites 2015 |

Alright, so I’m back to including cosmetic favourites in my regular monthly favourite videos. And I’m no longer producing videos for N00b Beauty. I know, it seems like I didn’t even give it a chance, but I realized that it was better to focus on what I know and try to make this blog and my writing the best they can be. I was spreading myself too thin, didn’t have the resources to do what I wanted to do with my videos, and as a result wasn’t having as much fun as I thought I should.

So, I’m back to one channel, where I’m going to put all of my video focus and make it the BEST channel it can possibly be.

And be sure to check out the description box for details about everything mentioned in my September favourites.

What were you into in September?