Presently, Soft Chaos has several unreleased projects in the works. Their first project together is This Is Fine, winner of the 2019 Golden Cobra for Best Apocalyptic Game. Their latest work, Strangers on the ‘Net, is concerned with addressing community and connectivity in the current world context, leveraging awkwardness, teenage feelings, and what it was like to grow up on the internet in the nineties.
(2020.) UNLOCK. UNPACK. is an escape-room-in-a-suitcase… Sort of.
There are infinite clues and no time limits. The experience is for two to three players who are asked to collaborate to solve three puzzles. The goal is to grow closer through shared experience, to build connections to themselves, to each other, and to past players who they may never meet face to face. Everything needed to solve the puzzles is included with the suitcase. (But it’s okay to need a hint or two, or three!) When players solve one of the three puzzles, they gain access to a thematically-linked question, along with the answers of past players. Write to your self, past, present or future, or to a stranger who might need your words, or maybe, to the person sitting next to you. You decide.
(2019.) THIS IS FINE: An Apocalyptic Networking Event, by Jenny Bacon, Allison Cole, Jess Rowan Marcotte, and Dietrich Squinkifer, is a short larp about networking during a literal apocalypse. “Never acknowledge the Apocalypse. That would be impolite.”
You can download the PDF needed to run the game here.
WINNER, GOLDEN COBRA 2019 for BEST APOCALYPTIC GAME.
The Golden Cobra Judges say:
Here is what the Golden Cobra Judges had to say: “‘Never acknowledge the apocalypse. That would be impolite.’ This Is Fine is the kind of game that so very much inspires us that we invent a new category for it. In this case, a lot of y’all were designing with the end of the world in mind, so we came up with the Best Apocalyptic Game award. This game is the one that best expresses that unique feeling of simultaneously having to bow and scrape in the neoliberal corporate dystopian present and having to live with the knowledge that it’s all so freakin’ pointless because the world is ending. A straightforward, tight design that welcomes new players and lets players play close to home without surrendering them to the crushing terror of it all.”
“[This is Fine] deals with a very specific intersection between the immanence of the end of the world and the equal immanence of needing to go to work in an empty corporate hellscape. It takes us to a corporate networking event while the *literal apocalypse* is destroying all relevance and context outside. But you REALLY need that job so…. The act structure captures Humans In Denial wonderfully.”
You have been chosen to return to Earth’s early 21st century in order to collect trace residue from participants in our experimental research program for further analysis. You must be very excited!
TRACES is a physical-digital hybrid game experience about time travel and trans experiences in a Western 2018/2019 context. It uses RFID technology and custom interfaces to guide players through a space while they are being observed and approached by the denizens of 2019.
In transgalactica: A Tune Your Own Adventure, by Jess Rowan Marcotte and Dietrich Squinkifer, you are a trans person hurtling through space in a tiny spaceship and listening to a radio. Follow the trail of broadcasts from T.R.A.N.S. (the Trans Radio Artists’ Network in Space) to find them and join them. Made for Global Game Jam 2018. It can be played online here.
In rustle your leaves to me softly: an ASMR plant dating simulator, by Jess Rowan Marcotte and Dietrich Squinkifer, players form a relationship with one or more plants by touching and stroking them and listening to the ASMR soundscape feedback that is generated by their actions. The plant responds to the player’s touch by playing soothing sounds and plant-related words and poetry. Each plant has a different personality and preferences, determined by their physical properties, which players are invited to gently explore. This game explores what it is like to anticipate and respond to the desires of an “other” that we cannot know the mind of.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: ARS ELECTRONICA 2018, HEXAGRAM CAMPUS EXHIBITION.
(2017.) The Truly Terrific Traveling Troubleshooter, by Jess Marcotte and Dietrich Squinkifer, is a radically soft game that fits entirely inside a carry-on suitcase about emotional labour and otherness. In this game, we speculate about what would happen if emotional labour were valued as it should be — as in, the same way we value other labour.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: QGCON 2017 ARCADE
[Designer/Writer/Artist/Voice Actor/Maker of Physical Crafts]
(2014.) In Tune, by Allison Cole, Jess Rowan Marcotte, and Zachary Miller, is a game that deals with bodies, their interactions, and giving/withholding consent. Players are asked to negotiate and communicate their own physical boundaries with a partner using skin-to-skin contact as the main controller of the game.