Kara Stone

Cyclothymia is a game about the moon by Kara Stone.


Why Try It: Unique, hand-drawn visuals and vocals-based audio; a textless narrative about astrology & mental health.

Mood: Introspective

Author’s Notes: “Cyclothymia is a narrative through astrological ties to emotional cycles. Its name comes is a mental health disorder - something I feel. It also brings out the juxtaposition of the medicalization of feelings and the super hippy-dippy new-age mode of understanding, as I jump between both.”

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Accordingly, in Sext Adventure, Stone sought not to give people the opportunity to sext with a robot of their choice, but to instead let the player explore what that kind of relationship would be like, separate from the sexual aspects. It’s the opposite of what she said she would expect from a game with this kind of title, and it’s a fun side effect to surprise others.

“If I had heard about a sexting game I would assume it would be by a bunch of white dudes who think they’re being funny, aimed at other white dudes that are very heterosexual and very heteronormative,” she said. “But it’s fun to surprise them.” Because her work challenges the traditional definition of a game, she has had people say what she creates are “not games.”

“We don’t fit the typical game maker and therefore the games we’re making don’t get to be called videogames because it’s still seen as a very masculine media and culture,” Stone said, explaining what it’s like to be a female game maker. “People like to make up these rules but they’re only in place for. you know, women and trans people and gender non-binary people, people don’t think fit into the category or stereotype of video game maker.”

Stone got her start at Dames Making Games, an organization that provides workshops and programs for women, non-binary, and queer people interested in games. Previously having studied filmmaking, Stone was struck by this seemingly novel concept, that she could make games. She joined a workshop called Junicorn that helped people make their first game. Six months later, she released Medication Meditation.


-Sexting with robots with Kara Stone (Kill Screen)

THIS SOUNDS AMAZING I’m gonna try out Sext Adventure when I get my new phone this weekend


I wanted it to be very apparent that you’re using technology. It starts out as what you would think to see from a sexting app, but as you play, the bot becomes more and more agentic, and expresses its own desires and its own feelings. That’s why the images get progressively more glitched out. It’s to draw attention to that you’re using a machine, not just a fake human. Which in turn is supposed to represent how we’re using our phones to mediate intimacy and how that’s affecting us.

Over at Vice, I spoke with Kara Stone about her brand new game, Sext Adventure, and that’s why there are three pictures of men ejaculating on my phone, MOM.

“You don’t have to be home, or by your computer. You just need to have your phone on you, which you do, you have it on you all the time. You’re always touching them, sleeping with them, very intimate with them. It’s interesting how technology is mediating our intimacy with each other now through sexting.”

I spoke with Kara Stone, again, this time about Sext Adventure, a choose-your-own-climax where you talk dirty with a robot trying to get the hang of this ‘human erotica’ thing.

- July 2, 2014. Vice.

The divine witches of cyberspace

[Zach] Gage is a prolific game designer, but historically he’s had no special interest in divination. To some extent, there’s a natural intersection of games with superstition—both are systems enthusiasts use to experience a feeling of logic and harmony in their worlds.

“I definitely think the superstition has a ridiculously rich history in games, though, especially dice games,” Gage says. “I know some Dungeons and Dragons players have ‘low dice’ and ‘high dice,’ and that players sometimes give their dice ‘timeouts’ when they don’t behave. Craps players often have pre-throw rituals, or specific grips. Even outside overt faith-based dice practices, superstition is basically why randomness works so well in games.”

Artist Kara Stone’s work frequently explores the places where community and technology meet. Her recent spiritual Twine work, Feminist Confessional, allows you to receive various prescriptions for penance based on the “sins” you’ve done against feminism—I whispered to it I’d called another woman ugly, and it told me to prostrate myself and sing Nicki Minaj’s verse from Truffle Butter. Into it. I felt better immediately.

The Ion Man Cometh: Talking With Greg Tate

Critic Greg “Ion Man” Tate has been writing about America’s cultural scene for nearly 30 years, with a syncopated and signified prose style inspired by Amiri Baraka, Ralph Ellison and The Black Arts movement.

His most influential writings appeared in The Village Voice and Vibe magazine, and in his books, Flyboy in the Buttermilk: Essays on Contemporary America, Midnight Lightning: Jimi Hendrix and the Black Experience, and Everything but the Burden: What White People Are Taking From Black Culture.

His latest anthology, Flyboy 2: The Greg Tate Reader, explores a continuum of topics, including the beyond category music of Wayne Shorter and Joni Mitchell, visual artist Kara Walker’s sumptuous silhouettes and legal scholar Randall Kennedy’s intrepid investigations of the N-world. [Read More]