The Story War Kickstarter just reached $30k! That means we’re 150% funded and we hit our first major stretch goal milestone!

Our first new game mode is called Myth Master! It uses all the same cards as Story War and is structured similarly, the key difference is that you are playing as yourself manifested into the battlefield and you are summoning Warriors from the cards in your hand. The ultimate objective isn’t just to take out the other player’s Warriors, it’s to take out the human player who is controlling them, just like in Magic the Gathering, YuGiOh, and the Pokemon manga*!

“Myth Master” was actually the original working title for Story War. The first time I ever playtested it was in a hallway at Babycastles - I needed to find some people to play against, and Peter Berkman came out of an elevator and wanted to play. He recruited dozens of people to join in and we kept trying new rules and by the end of the night we had this system where players played cards from their hand one at a time to ‘summon’ a new Warrior into battle.

We eventually decided to go into a the more open-ended direction that currently exists as Story War’s default rules - which is that the Warriors just happen to all be in the Battlefield when the battle begins. This allows for creative conjecture as to why they’re in the Battlefield and their relationship to the setting and each other.

But summoning Warriors like Pokemon is pretty cool too! So now that we’ve hit $30k, I’m going to spend the next few weeks playtesting the Myth Master rule set and refining it and then packaging it in an easy-to-understand PDF rule sheet that you can print out for free!

We have a couple more game mode ideas we want to develop and a lot more expansion cards to make, so please, help us reach all of our stretch goals!

(* in the Pokemon manga the objective of battle is often to kill the other trainer, it’s pretty metal)



My arcade cabinet has narrowly escaped death at the hands of Babycastles!

I recently received word that the cabinet I had painted in 2010 for the Attract Mode x Babycastles ‘Heavenly Symphony’ show was going to be abandoned/thrown out by Babycastles without my knowledge. Luckily, it was saved by NYU Game Center! I am so happy that they stepped in to give it a new home where it will be safe and have continued use.

The unfortunate part of this news is that I am disappointed but not surprised to hear about its poor treatment from Babycastles. They have previously failed to tell me about my cabinet being vandalized (but were still going to put it in a show) in addition to forgetting to notify me about the shows that it appeared in (I heard second hand it was at the NY Natural History Museum for a night!) This is not ok.

That being said, I am forever grateful for Attract Mode for inviting me to put my work on a functional arcade cabinet. The 'Heavenly Symphony’ show was so cool to be a part of. Without a doubt, that cab has seen some rough times since then but I’m glad its finally come to rest at the NYU Game Center. I cannot thank you enough NYU!

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a pic of my of my huge mural for the art show Assalamualaikum Babycastles which just opened on tuesday night! ☆ it’s called “Mahejni,” aka “Crossbred” or “mongrel,” – it’s about 16 feet tall, painted in fluorescent acrylic ink, and lit by eight blacklights ☆☆ it’s about my experience being arab-american / half-white half-arab ☆☆☆

the show is open at Babycastles through august, so if yr around, go see it!!!!! ヽ(๏∀๏ )ノ there’s a great writeup/more info on the show here ☆

photo credit: aymann ismail / ANIMALNewYork)

We’re back with some more information about our Art Video Games in China curation at the Ace Hotel!

Games: Fish by Yi Wang, The Well by Peng Bi Tao, Cloudland by Huang Tianxiao, Mad World by Buran Deng

Curator: Bryan Ma with assistance from Amanda Chung, Wesley Bao

Opening: March 6th 6-8PM (free! all ages!)

Dates: March 6th - 31st

Location: The Gallery at Ace Hotel New York, 20 W29th Street, New York NY 10001


Tomorrow, June 6th at Babycastles Gallery…

~~Martha Hipley, Syed Salahuddin, Ari Spool and G Lucas Crane are growing by leaps and bounds! Celebrate their GEMINI BIRTHS AND RASTA BANANA FANDOM!~~~~~

Enjoy the musical stylings of:

ⓙⓔⓡⓡⓨ ⓟⓐⓟⓔⓡ, a very chill large-size rasta banana, playing 100% new tunes!!

ⓟⓡⓘⓝⓒⓔ ⓡⓐⓜⓐ, two fair rasta banana princesses, DJing 100% hot sex dance tunes!!

ⓗⓔⓐⓣ ⓢⓒⓐⓛⓔ, a blog-style rasta banana, DJing 100% smooth sex dance tunes!!

It’s all happening at the NEW Babycastles Gallery on 14th Street on the magical fairly isle of Manhattan.


Babycastles’ current exhibition is ASSALAMUALEIKUM BABYCASTLES, which you can read more about here!

$5 entry to support our musical guests and lovely staff!!


So I participated in a 48 hour game jam (like a 48 hour film fest, you get 2 days to make a game from start to finish based on a theme) this weekend at the Parson’s School of Design at the New School and co-hosted by the Babycastles folks and…

My super weird game won the Jury’s Grand Prize award!!

I’ll post more info on the game later, but for now bask in the glory of this awesome prize with me: A copy of We <3 Katamari signed and doodled on by Katamari and Noby Noby Boy creator Keita Takahashi. 

Takahashi is one of my favorite game designers, so this is now one of the most special things I own. 


Babycastles and NYU Poly wrap up this semester’s lecture series with Indie Tech Talk #11 with the prolific Adam Saltsman joining us from Austin, Texas.

Independent game maker Adam “Atomic” Saltsman will talk about his evolving relationship with “Mainstream Game Culture,” and what “Mainstream” even means these days. Saltsman will explain what factors are changing the Indie and Mainstream scenes, and break down what that means to him in practical terms.


The lecture will be preceded by and followed by PLAYDAY, with several games being on display for the attendees and passerbys, including work from Kaho Abe, Gigantic Mechanic, and Howard Tsao.

[poster by Colin Snyder]

We’re excited to announce a month-long pop-up arcade at the Ace Hotel!

The Armory Show partnered with the Ace Hotel to put together a free, open to the public installation and we are so excited to have been invited to be a part of this. The exhibit is called Art Video Games in China and was curated by our friend Brian Ma. We’ll be bringing our arcade cabinets of course, and maybe some other stuff too?? We’ll definitely keep you updated in the time leading up to the show.

Dates: March 6-31 2014

Location: The Gallery at Ace Hotel New York, 20 W 29th Street, New York NY 10001

The Games For Change conference is coming up June 17-19 and although I can’t afford to attend (is a ticket really $560??), I found this great listing by our friends at Babycastles with a listing of their Games of Change Hall of Fame, a curated selection by Syed Salahuddin and Kunal Gupta.

Their selections are:

Hidden Agenda, a 1988 DOS game found here.

Lim, an online game by Merritt Kopas.

Papers, Please by Lucas Pope, photo above, where you act as an immigration inspector. For Mac or PC.

Vigilance, by Martin Le Chevallier, from 2001, for Mac and PC, that lets you play as the security guard in a camera booth watching crimes committed in public and allowing you to take action (or not).

Wait, by Lindsay Grace, who we profiled in the original Punk Arcade exhibit with his game Big Huggin’. In this game, the player is encourage to slow down, smell the roses, and play very minimally.

These and 5 more honorable mentions are listed in the Hall of Fame. Find out more and give them a try!

Art & Video Games: A Look at how Video Games are Breaking Free

  • Monday, April 7, 2014

    7:00 PM

  • Pivotal Labs

  • Anyone who’s spent a few frustrated hours playing Flappy Bird knows that video games have been rapidly evolving and diversifying over the past two decades, aided in part by the diminishing costs of development and distribution. These falling costs have helped usher in a new wave of creativity in video games, allowing artists and developers to experiment more with video games as a diverse artistic medium. Full-body motion tracking and control, immersive virtual reality headsets, touch screens, open-source software libraries and inexpensive, hackable hardware have given artists and developers a broader canvas than ever before.

    This meetup will explore the unique ways that artists, developers, universities, museums, and galleries have been: creating new forms of physical input and feedback, interrogating the traditional paradigms of play mechanics, locating universities as sites of study and creation of games as emergent, multi-disciplinary art forms, defining criteria for the exhibition and inclusion in gallery and museum space, and even pushing the boundaries of what type of electronic games qualify as “video” games. 


    7:00pm – Doors

    7:30-8:30pm – Presentations and question-and-answer session

    8:30-10:00pm – Conversation continues over wine & snacks

    Jamin Warren
     is the founder of the arts and culture company Kill Screen. Formerly a culture reporter for the Wall Street Journal, Jamin has been a vocal advocate for games as culture and serves as an advisor to MoMA’s department of Architecture and Design. Jamin hosts also PBS’s Game/Show and his thoughts on games and digital culture have been featured in the New Yorker, New York Times, Paris Review and others. Jamin is also a frequent contributor to NPR, and has spoken at SXSW, Tribeca Interactive, XOXO, and more.

    Phoenix Perry focuses on embodied games and user experiences. As an adjunct Professor at NYU she teaches game development and design, visual design and web development. From digital arts practitioner to Creative Director, she has extensive experience in new media, design, and user interfaces. A consummate advocate for women in game development, her speaking engagements include GDC, The Open Hardware Summit at MIT, Indiecade, Comic Con, Internet Week, Create Tech and NYU Game Center among others. Perry’s creative work spans a large range of disciplines including drawing, generative art, video, games, interfaces and sound. Her projects have been seen worldwide at venues and festivals including the GDC, E3, Come out and Play, Maker Faire at the New York Hall of Science, Lincoln Center, Transmediale, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, LAMCA, Harvest Works, Babycastles, European Media Arts Festival, GenArt, Seoul Film Festival and Harvestworks. In 2011 she co-authored the book, Meet the Kinect with Sean Kean and Johnathan Hall. Finally, she has curated since 1996 in a range of cultural venues, the most recent of which is her own gallery, Devotion Gallery until 2014. Devotion was a Williamsburg gallery focused on the intersection of art, science, new media, and design.

    Jason Eppink creates interactive experiences, curates events and exhibitions, and throws raging art parties as the Associate Curator of Digital Media at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York City. When he’s not doing that, Jason Eppink engages in public space magic, open source scheming, moving image mischief, photon reappropriation, and linguistic subterfuge. Good Magazine proclaimed him one of the top 100 most important, exciting, and innovative people making our world better and changing the way we live. Jason also corrupts young minds as an
    adjunct professor at New York University, where he teaches students how to make animated GIFs and video games under the auspices of art.

    Kaho Abe is a NYC-based game designer and media artist interested in improving social and personal experiences through the use of technology, fashion, and games. Kaho is currently the Artist-in-Residence at the NYU Game Innovation Lab where she develops games with custom controllers with the goal of fostering more face-to-face interaction during play. An important part of her practice is sharing her work, methodologies, and techniques with youth and adults through teaching classes, workshops, and afterschool programs on designing and building alternative physical-game controllers. She is an Educational Fellow at Eyebeam where she co-hosts a monthly play-testing event with Come Out and Play.

    Kunal Gupta is one of several founders and a co-director of the Silent Barn, an all-ages studio, residency, and event space in Brooklyn.  He is also founder and director of Babycastles since 2009, an art games movement in New York City with exhibitions at the Museum of Natural History, La Gaite Lyrique, Museum of Art & Design, Telfair Museums, Science Gallery, Museum of Modern Art, Museum of the Moving Image, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Clocktower Gallery, and SFMOMA.