15❦ A Hundred and Seventy Seven Emotions

“The Triumvirate has always been rumored to track intersombral travel — shipping, especially — but I never expected THAT.”

In which the Proprietor, bleary from travel and a bit out of sorts, welcomes two new guests, who seem nonetheless somehow familiar.

John Harness and Takuma Okada discuss their experiences creating and curating the Emotional Mecha Jam on itch, and ruminate on the role of game design in communicating personal experiences.

Time and place, memory, mortality, melancholy, identity, sexuality, and Giant Robots are all on the menu tonight. It’s a frank conversation, and in moments an adult one.

(Marked explicit for language and adult sexuality)

Takuma Okada (@takuma_okada_)
John Harness (@cartweel)


Jason mentioned Dungeons & Dragons, GUMSHOE, Invisible Sun, and Bluebeard’s Bride as shining examples of game systems which incentivize very distinct stories as a result of their design.

The Emotional Mecha Jam closed with 177 unique entries, exploring 177 unique emotions and stories about “GIANT ROBOTS AND THE SAD PILOTS THAT DRIVE THEM”. Please do visit, take a look, support some art, play some games, feel things.

Specific jam games mentioned in this episode include:

You can download John’s game Welcome to Paradise, Baby! (and other projects) on his itch page, or follow him on Twitter at @cartweel. You didn’t add an ‘h’, did you? Try again.

Takuma’s No Road Home empire extends across itch.io and SoundCloud — and you should absolutely check out her Patreon for regular musings and projects.

You can also hear John’s episode OR Takuma’s episode of Taylor Labresh’s Game Closet podcast, or hear more from Takuma on Women Loving Wednesdays and RPG Design Friends.

Takuma mentioned Waypoint’s BattleTech coverage as an inspiration — check out this review also — and John rhapsodized about Mobile Suit Gundam Wing.

As regards itch.io, here’s that Tabletop Gaming Forum that was created in part by the influence of DC (whom you must also follow immediately).

Oh! And RAINN and Trans Lifeline, who benefited from Emotional Mecha Jam’s charity bundle, both do amazing work.


Gamers Giving logo: heart, inscribed on a d20, with angelic wings

This episode was sponsored by Gamers Giving (@gamersgivingco), a Denver-based 501(c)3 charity by gamers, for gamers. Gamers Giving organizes events and fundraisers which benefit members of the gaming community who have experienced tragedy.

Sign up for their quarterly newsletter to keep up with their good work.


Casey Ross (@caseyrawz)

Sound Effects ©2018 BBC

Monte Cook Games (@montecookgames)

Invisible Sun

Invisible Sun is the intellectual property of Monte Cook Games, with whom Zeros.Bar and the Secret Cellar have no affiliation.