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Play the prologue of ‘Linda & Joan,’ a video game about the worst year of its creator’s life


Play the prologue of ‘Linda & Joan,’ a video game about the worst year of its creator’s life – TechCrunch

It’s not hard to see why Russell Quinn calls 2017 the worst year of his life. That was the year he moved back to the United Kingdom to take care of his mother, and the year in which both his mother and grandmother died within a month of each other.

Quinn recalled returning to Los Angeles afterwards and “trying to unpack all of this trauma that had happened.” During that time, he said he was “reading a lot about how other creative people dealt with grief” and realized there’s “a rich history” of novelists writing about their personal tragedies.

So Quinn — a designer and programmer who previously worked as digital media director at McSweeney’s and co-created the digital novel “The Silent History” — decided to make a video game about the experience.

Grief isn’t exactly a popular subject for games, but Quinn suggested that this was the approach that made sense to him.

“I’m not a novelist and I’m not a filmmaker,” he said. “I had been wanting to make a game for a while, and it seemed to make sense to tell my story in the medium that I am most used to.”

He admitted that the development process could be emotionally taxing. For example, he delayed creating a 3D model of his mother, instead letting a pink cylinder stand in for her character, because he worried that her death would “become far too real once I put her in the game.” But once he created the model, “I realized: That is not my mother. It’s an actor, it’s an avatar. From that point onward, I felt like a director directing actors on a stage.”