Three CD-ROM Games for Girls Could Return Through Kickstarter


Three artistic games directed at young girls in the ’90s will be made available on modern browsers if Rhizome’s Kickstarter is successful.

Lots of adventure games for kids in the ’90s were aimed at boys; it’s not that different today. Arts organization Rhizome has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the relaunch of three games by Theresa Duncan.

Theresa Duncan’s games Chop Suey, Smarty, and Zero Zero, all released in the 1990s, were based on the common experiences of young girls while embracing their imagination.

Speaking in a video for the Kickstarter is Duncan’s mother, Mary Duncan, who describes her daughter’s games as whimsical portrayals of the every day to take girls on a journey of discovery.

“You see that in boys’ games,” Mary Duncan said. “Particularly at that point in time, there wasn’t a lot of that in girls’ games.”

Should this funding campaign be successful, Rhizome will make Duncan’s three games playable for free in any modern browser. In addition, Rhizome is working with the New Museum in NYC to hold a public event and an online exhibition of Duncan’s work in the context of feminist gaming history.

Duncan committed suicide in 2007. She moved on to film and writing after making games directed at a group of people games were ignoring: young girls. These three CD-ROM games encouraged players to explore the world, and it especially encouraged young girls to be adventurous.

Beyond a celebration of young girls, Rhizome’s project is also a work of digital preservation. The CD-ROMs are inaccessible today, so Rhizome will use Emulation in Service to use the game as it appeared without needing additional software. Emulating the game allows it to be played as closely as possible to its original. The games will be available for free for one year, after which the rightsholders would have to agree to an extension. After this project, Rhizome stated it “will be able to re-enact many more artworks on a wide array of legacy systems.”

The Kickstarter campaign is asking for $20,000, over half of which is developer costs and server infrastructure. The campaign will end on Dec. 18.

Source: Rhizome (Kickstarter)

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