For years, auteur Theresa Duncan’s video games suffered in obscurity, in spite of the critical acclaim it received in its time. Today, a very unique Kickstarter wants to provide a way to make her games available to the public today, but not in the way that you would expect.
Rhizome, a contemporary arts organization based online and in residence at NYC’s New Museum, wants to bring Duncan’s three games made for young girls; Chop Suey, Smarty, and Zero Zero, back in such a way that they would be accessible to a digital audience. However, instead of, say, bringing them to Steam, or offering digital downloads, Rhizome wants to host them themselves, to be emulated complete with OS, on a modern browser.
All three games were perhaps lost in the shuffle, as Chop Suey released on 1995, the same year as the PlayStation, and the following years would be affected by the paradigm shift brought by 3D gaming. All three games came out in this era exclusively on the Macintosh, Chop Suey by Magnet Interactive Studios, Smarty andZero Zero by Tom Nicholson Associates on 1996 and 1997 respectively. However, for the few Mac gamers who played and experienced these games, they would offer an alternative paradigm to the prevailing trends in gaming, and for some, especially young girls, they would prove highly influential.
Rhizome’s release, if fully funded, will open up these games to a considerably broader audience, including gamers who missed out on them the first time. The project is being undertaken with the blessing and assistance of Duncan’s friends and family, including her mother Mary Duncan.
Rhizone’s initiative is ambitious on its own, and is in some ways similar to archive.org’s Internet Arcade. They need $ 20,000 to fund the enterprise, and if they prove successful in hosting emulation in this way, they may look into curating similar games in the future.
You can watch the pitch video below, starring no less than Mary Duncan, and help fund the project here.