Kara Stone is a independent game developer whose works blend interactive art, self-care, mental health, and feminism. Her non-traditional approach to gaming invites users to contemplate the necessity of agency, the nature of diagnosis, and the definition of a game. Her work is available for multiple platforms, including iOS, SMS, and Web; some, such as Medication Meditation, were developed through Dames Making Games and published by Golden Gear, both in her native Toronto.
In this episode of Polygamer, Kara and Ken discuss the portrayal of mental health in games such as Life Is Strange; how porting her interactive fiction game Sext Adventure from SMS to desktop changed its experience; the objectification and feminism of female protagonists in the films Her and Ex Machina; whether it’s important for gamers to know the gender of a game’s developers; and the value of being aware of and sensitive to ableist language.
Stream the audio edition of this interview below or from Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, Overcast, Pandora, Pocket Casts, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, RadioPublic, or the Internet Archive. Click past the jump for links to resources mentioned in this episode.
Links mentioned in this episode:
- Kara Stone
- Kara’s games
- Grants from the Canadian Arts Council
- Conventions & conferences
- Medication Meditation: not a self-help game?
- Medication Meditation: not a game?
- Life is Strange: Episode Four – Dark Room review
- Ken’s review of Her for Computerworld
- Ex Machina: A feminist sci-fi thriller
- Target will stop separating toys and bedding into girls’ and boys’ sections
- Actual Sunlight by Will O’Neill
- Cibele by Nina Freeman
- Leigh Alexander’s Breathing Machine
- Hot Coffee mod for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
- BMX XXX
- Taboo: The Sixth Sense — a Wikipedia “non-game” (see also: video games as art)
- Doing social justice: 10 reasons to give up ableist language
Full disclosure: I back Kara Stone on Patreon.