The Oldest Game - Creating A Newsgame about Sex Work in Canada

TOG at Arcade 11

by Sadie Couture

We finally have a finished game! Our team has been working hard in the past months finishing this large, and at times unruly, project. We’ve been working on randomizing the experiences, integrating the interview audio, and adding some finishing touches to the ending.

We managed to get the game ready enough to present it at Arcade 11, a a five-day event put on by members of Technoculture, Art and Games (TAG) and the Milieux Institute for Arts, Culture and Technology. As a part of the  Montréal joue game festival, Arcade 11’s theme for this year was research and research/creation, which fits so well with TOG, a game which so much research has gone into!

The event took place at Concordia’s 4TH SPACE, and was a resounding success. Lots of people played the game, we got to engage with players, and hear their feedback.

Many thanks to the TAG Lab for these images, and if you’re interested in seeing more you check out their flickr with all the images from Arcade 11!

We are doing a few more sessions of playtesing, both remotely and in person, and are hoping to have the game released in May 2019!

Almost Finished!

by Eileen Holowka

Big news: we’re nearing the end of production of The Oldest Game

It has been almost six years since this project started, but now the game is almost finished and we’re excited to let you know what we have been working on.

First, we finished conducting our interviews. The responses we received were so incredible, detailed, and informative that we decided it would be a shame to only use them for the finale of the game. Instead, we agreed to include short audio clips throughout the game as well, not only to provide more experiences directly fromsex workers, but to also offer a wider range of perspectives. The Oldest Game is randomized, so no playthrough feels exactly the same and many different aspects of sex work can be shown. But there are still a lot of perspectives missing from the game, as we focus mainly on three types of sex work. By including segments of the audio interviews throughout the gameplay, we hope that the game can offer a more diverse representation of sex work.

Besides this main decision, we have mostly just been working hard to put all the pieces of the game together and test for bugs. We hope to conduct a final round of playtesting with sex workers before we release the game. 

Stay tuned!

Interview update!

by Sadie Couture

The Oldest Game team has been busy conducting interviews for a vital aspect of the game: including the voices of those with lived experience as sex workers.

The people we have spoken to so far have been incredibly generous with their time and insights, sharing with us their experiences of doing sex work in Canada. Many of the themes we identified in our research have come up during these interviews, but these conversations provide even more complexity. We have heard from sex workers first-hand about the misconceptions around violence in sex work, as well as the huge impact stigma has on their lives. Further, we have seen the incredible diversity of sex workers, their backgrounds, and their lives.

After we finish our interviews, we will be integrating the insights of these sex workers into the game as new scenarios, as well as audio and textual samples. As this is a newsgame, (a serious game about a news issue) we are experimenting with how we can include quotes from stakeholders in this format. We are hoping that the audio and textual excerpts from these interviews will function as a textual quote in an article, or an interview on televised news does, providing a perspective from those involved in the issue. For TOG, this is an important aspect of our foray into this medium, and is invaluable in providing direct, lived experiences from real people who are living the lives we are attempting to represent.

We are so grateful to the people who have participated so far. We know that sex workers are often over-researched and that their lives are the subject of much analysis. We hope that we can use these interviews as a way of amplifying the voices of sex workers, and their honest and complex world-views. These perspectives, above all, are the ones that we need to hear in response to policies such as Bill C-36 and SESTA/FOSTA. We aim to give accurate representation towards these voices in our game in return.