Super Friends in Miao

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sfa-bannerThe Super Friendship Arcade doesn’t come together very often, but when it does, Cape Town becomes about 9000 times better. This night is about bringing friends and strangers together, presenting them with some of the most exciting games that South Africa and The World has to offer. It’s about experiencing games in a new light. It’s about making games accessible to a wider audience in an atmosphere that’s welcoming, creative and exciting. It’s about changing the way people see games and each other and it’s quite likely the most beautiful social event I’ve ever experienced.

I’m not exaggerating in the slightest when I say this; The Super Friendship Arcade changed my life.


I could spend ages writing about these nights. And I will. For now, I’ll simply add that these nights are pure magic, in it’s most pure, righteous form.

Thanks to my enthusiasm for the nights, my experience in putting events together and the runaway success of a certain musical puzzle game, I was recently pulled into the circle of friends behind these nights.

And so, we began making plans for the next party.

And so, we started making plans for the next jam.

And so, this past Saturday, I found myself in my favourite new spot in Cape Town, surrounded by some of my favourite humans.

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Assembled to make things for the next SFA party, twenty or so friends made their ways in and out of Miao on Saturday. We drew and composed and coded and soldered. We made plans and drank beer and laughed at collections of people playing flutes along to pop songs. We listened to girls screaming and boys rapping and it was grand.

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Some very exciting projects were born at this jam. Richard unveiled Quadra-Butt; a 4 player, single-button, top down cabinet. I think it’s safe to say we’ll see some awesome games made for this thing.

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Raxter and Anja were the first to make this happen, teaming up on Gung Ho Hippos. This is basically a trippy, digital re-imagining of Hungry Hungry Hippos featuring awesome art, severed heads and so much screenshake.

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Richard and I also made some early steps in making a Quadra-Butt title. The plan is to make a cooperative first person runner in a fantasy world. We’re calling it “Run Stepdad! Run!”. It will be our first game to feature giant slugs.

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Adoné started what may have been the most exciting new project of the day; a home-made lazer-tag system!  She hasn’t given it a name yet. I’m calling it SFAzer-tag for now.

Rodain, Matt, Jason, Mona and I all started building foundations for Pug Stacking, a cooperative platform runner about the power of friendship and dog biscuits.

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Those are 4 big ones you can look forward to playing yourself at the next Super Friendship Arcade. We had a bunch more friends by working on interesting stuff or just hanging out. Morne was working on emulating a micro-console we’re trying to build. Peter was working on Cadence. Patrick was studying Unity. Ben was making magic blocks jump around a screen and shoot tiny blocks at each other.

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All in all, this made for a most excellent way to spend a Saturday with friends. Miao were incredibly gracious in opening up especially for us and their awesome establishment made for the coolest clubhouse we could have asked for. Now, I just can’t wait till the night comes where people get to play with all the fun stuff that was born at this jam!

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Here we go magic.

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And it starts like…

It’s strange seeing the first words of this new blog manifesting in front of me. Twenty. Twenty Two. Twenty four.

I wrote thousands upon thousands of words on my old blog; So Many Animal Calls. This happened between sometime in 2007 and October last year. That blog was, primarily, about music (or rather, adventures around music). Bands from Pretoria and DJs from Joburg and so many of the best moments of my life. Somewhere on that ugly blogspot, between those thousands of words, there are stories and pictures and comics about making robot suits with my friends, animating visuals for shows, performing visuals with keytars, playing other people’s songs for packed dancefloors, playing short animations for half-full cinemas, drawing heaps of kittens, traveling South Africa with some dear friends and other bits of The World with others.
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This blog won’t be about any of those sorts of things. This blog is going to be about the one thing that, for years and years, I’ve found more exciting than anything else. This blog is going to be about games.

At the time of writing this, I’m a little over 31 years old. Ever since the first time I saw a Double Dragon arcade cabinet, I’ve dreamt of making my own games. I estimate that as at least 25 years worth of wishing. Now, in 2015, making games is no longer just a dream. At long last it’s becoming a reality.

I’ll surely ramble in detail about how this came to pass. For now, let me just say I’m so happy that the stars aligned. I was led to a tribe of incredible humans already making fantastic realities of their own dreams. They welcomed me into their chaotic, extended family. With a rotating cast of various family members, I worked on 10 game projects last year.  These times were some of the greatest creative experiences of my life. The best part is knowing there’s so very much more to come.
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I’m so looking forward to writing about the things I’m going to make. I am just as enthused to write about the amazing things other people are making around me. I’m surrounded by a small army, comprised of some of the most creative, friendly, motivated, kind and brilliant people that I have ever met. It’s not going to suddenly happen with one game, but together, collectively, I’ve no doubt this gang is going to change this world. Imagining our own little realities and bringing them to life. Game by game, transform this world into a better place than it was when we got here. Thread by thread, reweave the fabric of The Universe.

No magic; just magic.