A Night in the Life of Tweed Couch Games

Allison here! Just a quick introduction to this. Jess and I are currently working on an amazing game project with the delightful and inspiring Squinky. We're not quite sure what the project will look like, but it has involved all three of us taking daily videos for many many days.  I decided one day, after mistakenly not booking a hotel for our last night in New Jersey presenting In Tune, to try a video every hour instead. So I present to you: A Night in the Life of Tweed Couch Games. 
The journey begins, 11pm:


12 am....


1 am...


2 am....


3 am....


4 am....


5 am....


6 am....


7 am...


After this Zach and I boarded a train and made our way back home to Montreal safely....

Jess's IndieCade East Top 5

Hi! It's Jess! As promised, I dug my top 5 list from IndieCade East up from between the couch cushions. Yeah, this list has decided as a group to run on a flat hierarchical structure, and so, these are not numbered and are in no particular order: 
  
Seeing old friends, meeting new ones
It was great to run into Critical Hit alumni Winnie Song (especially when I had just checked the amazing bag that she designed for TAG in at coat-check) - we spent a lot of time in the same room last year and she is a great person to have around. I also got to catch up with Squinky, the creator of Coffee: A Misunderstanding and Quing's Quest VII - I met them a few months ago when they were in Montreal, and boy are they fun to hang out with -- my only regret is missing the playthrough of Coffee: A Misunderstanding because of sillybutt Valentine's Day and being a newlywed and junk. We also got to meet loads of lovely developers, thinkers and other awesome people - many by hand-delivering the awkward Valentines that we wrote on the road (at great peril, I must say, if you read the first post on this blog). 

Watching a tiny adorable child repurpose museum architecture into a slide
Spotted at coatcheck: a young child sliding down the inclined wall, which, honestly, looked totally like that was what it was meant for. Budding gamemaker, perhaps? I sure hope so!

Playing the Translator Malfunction version of Consentacle with Allison
Okay, I know Allison already mentioned this one but I can't help it: we played Consentacle by miming our actions to each other and it was wonderful. We decided to roleplay rather than just going for the most points, but nevertheless we got almost as many points as it is possible to get in the game. It was great to negotiate, but even better when we were in synch and seemed to want exactly what the other wanted. We also now have our own set of secret sign-language signals...mostly about asking if we can lick each other. 

Meeting people via Valentine delivery
Again, I might have mentioned this earlier, but I adored looking through a stack of Valentines to find someone's name (we worked from the speaker list) and giving them a Valentine by way of introduction. Surprisingly great icebreaker. It was even okay when we lost Liz Ryerson's valentine (we lost a few, sorry, everyone - I blame our car accident and not our distracted wide-eyedness at being at the Museum of the Museum Image with all these amazing game designers at all), because we got to make a hand-made one instead! 

Being in such an inclusive space
IndieCade East, in a lot of ways, felt like home for our game. Usually, In Tune is the odd game out, because consent is not a common subject for video games. At IndieCade East, there were three games in the curated exhibit that were about consent or had a consent component (Realistic Kissing Simulator, Consentacle, and Dark Room Sex Game). Not only that, as Clara Fernandez, one of the organizers of the conference, so rightly said, half of the speakers at the conference were women, and it wasn't all that hard to do - and even that doesn't express the many ways that IndieCade promoted inclusivity also for people who don't fit into gender binaries, or people from all sorts of heritages and backgrounds. Most of the inclusivity talks included in the program filled to capacity - we know because we missed one that we wanted to see. 

BONUS ITEM: My Sorel boots and Zach and Allison's coats were photographed for #coatcheck. I took a picture of my boots back on my feet and tweeted it back at the original tweeter before bringing them back to Canada with me. 

Thanks again to IndieCade East and the Museum of the Moving Image for having us.

Zach, it's your turn.

Allison's Indiecade East Top 5!

Hello everyone,  Allison here! This is my top 5 list from IndieCade East.  Expect other lists to be popping up over the next week from the rest of the dev team : )
So, in no particular order:

Finally playing Squinky’s Coffee: A Misunderstanding
So one of the things I like most in the world is awkwardness. Not so much participating in it, but the interesting potential of awkward games.  The minute I knew I was going to meet Squinky I looked into their games. I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to play since then! Queerness, awkwardness and geekiness is my trifecta.  Making Zach say embarrassing things was just a bonus…

Leigh Alexander’s moderating
This one is sweet and to the point: Leigh Alexander’s moderating was one of the wittiest and most intelligent I have ever seen.

Finding that guy whose name I can’t remember (sorry) who was really good at Morse code
Zach and I don’t always communicate well with each other, so we felt like champs when we mastered Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes. Then we realized that we had only done it on the easiest of easy settings. Going further I learnt our greatest flaw: neither of us had the ability to distinguish blinking dots from blinking dashes.  Luckily, I got to play with a complete stranger later in the weekend. And guess what guys? As long as the person I’m directing can read Morse code, I’M A BOMB DIFUSING CHAMP! (…sorry Zach)

Silently miming orgasms as strangers walked by
Fellow Tweed Couch member Jess and I decided to play the ‘translator malfunction’ variant of Naomi Clark’s Consentacle. The time spent trying to silently communicate ‘release’ or  ‘envelope’ while strangers passed by, unsure what to think of us, was priceless.

Clara Fernandez-Vara's closing words
I’m going to start by saying I don’t often cry for reasons that matter. I cry for stupid reasons all the time. When I’m tired and get the wrong salad dressing. Or while watching movies. I bawled through most Pixar movies.  Like… way more than most people.  With serious issues I have trouble with tears. But when Clara spoke it took all I had to not cry the way I did that one time the Wendy’s lady gave me raspberry vinaigrette instead of ranch.  Her words were important words that we should all hear. Words that I couldn’t do justice to, so I’ll just say this: make space for girls. Create space for them to play.  We need those spaces.

 

Indiecade: Beginnings

Hi there, everyone, this is Tweed Couch Games and we've decided to write this first blog post in a dark car on a winding road on our way to Indiecade East... likely heading towards our demise.

WE SET OUR SCENE:

Of all of them, Jess seemed the most likely to be the serial killer, though we can't be sure. She claimed to have been sick since the end of January and was now allegedly recovering from strep throat. She may have been laying back in the tall grass about it. She now claimed that she might have pleurisy, but the others had their doubts.

Zach and Allison had already established plans to eat our driver after any two hours in distress. This plan has become known as the Cannibal Countdown.

While waiting for paper work to be finished after their road accident, they came perilously close to the two hour limit. Tom the Driver, whose only affiliation to Tweed Couch Games was through Jess the Serial Killer, was warned about traveling through the Adirondacks. His mother told him to bring a blanket, candles and matches, and some water. Tom also had the foresight to throw in an electric torch. As it turned out, that water would be responsible for their first brush with what they realized might be their end: someone needed to pee.

The intrepid game devs reflected on their earlier accident:

Passing slowly left of a jack-knifed truck, the travellers suddenly heard a crunching thud. No screeching tires had warned of the impact. The passengers of the car briefly wished they had stayed home to sweatflix (def.: v. The act of changing into sweatpants, reclining on a couch, and spending the evening watching schlocky Netflix shows. Usually witnessed as the ultimate manifestation of comfort between romantically involved couples). The perpetrator swerved into the ditch to come to rest a fair-to-moderate distance away. Tom the Driver lept from his seat, the driver seat, and ran to the other car to check on the other driver. His first aid training was ready to kick in but the second driver was already calling to his wife to explain how he had totaled another car.

"Oh, Canadians in a rental? Trying to make more work for me? This won't take any time at all," the state trooper said.

Their spirit undampened, the TCG-crew decided to practice their IndieCade talk while the damage was assessed around them. They thoughtfully decorated the forms handed to them by the EMTs and police troopers on duty with heart stickers leftover from Fun Module no. 1: Make Valentines for All the IndieCade East Speakers. Upon Tom's return to the car, he noticed a small shard of red breaklight that had lodged itself in the driver side mirror. Allison claimed the piece for scrap booking purposes. At this point it was mere minutes until the cannibal countdown rule would come into effect.

"Okay, here's your accident report. You're free to go."

Lured by the promise of truckstop food and bathrooms, the carload of Canadians took off down the road to what they would later learn to be The Seven Mile Mountain. The cast became more and more unsettled as they read the names of roads and houses passing by: Long Pond, Beaver... something... ? and an overabundance of summer camps – thankfully none of which had names involving crystals or lakes. The game devs started to consider the very real possibility of their being serial killed as they travelled down this road. There was much debate as to whether the red or brown barns were more ominous. The Adirondacks were dark as anything.

Passing darkened house after darkened house, the team longed for a simpler time just some hours ago when their only concern was completing Fun Module no. 1, happily, obliviously making individually crafted valentines for every presenter, mostly based on bad puns involving their names, or lyrics from “I Love Indie Nostalgia and You,” the XYBA indie hit composed just for In Tune. Their fingers had been tired and their puns dried up, but at least they didn't have to worry about which barns were more likely to hide blood spatters, the red or brown.

Seven kilometres down the Seven Mile Mountain they came upon a light admidst the darkened houses. A light above a pool table. Allison stepped outside the car looking young, white, female and unassuming. She knocked plaintively at the door. A woman, dressed in a karate gi, seemed unsure if she wanted to respond. Eventually, the young game dev's puppy dog eyes won out and the door was opened.

"I just had a gang of snowmobilers in here and thought you were one of them. I almost didn't open up."

The woman was kind. The game devs peed. She assured them there was food along the way. She lied.

No matter what horrors the road had in store, IndieCade East lay ahead, and they would talk about consent and hand out their adorably awkward Valentines.