Anna Anthropy

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Anna Anthropy
Anna Anthropy at GDC 2013.jpg
Anna Anthropy speaking at the 2013 Game Developers Conference
New York City[1]
Alma materSUNY Purchase
Southern Methodist University[2]
OccupationGame developer, writer
Known forDeveloper of the freeware games Mighty Jill Off (2008) and Dys4ia (2012)
Editor for The Gamer's Quarter

Anna Anthropy is an American video game designer[3] whose works include Mighty Jill Off and Dys4ia. She is the game designer in residence at the DePaul University College of Computing and Digital Media.


Game design[edit]

In 2010, working with Koduco, a game development company based in San Francisco, Anthropy helped develop the iPad game "Pong Vaders".[4][5] In 2011, she released Lesbian Spider Queens of Mars, an homage to Midway's 1981 arcade game Wizard of Wor with a queer theme and "some fun commentary on master-slave dynamics."[6] In 2012, she released Dys4ia, an autobiographical game about her experiences with hormone replacement therapy that "[allows] the player to experience a simulation or approximation of what she went through."[7] Anthropy says her games explore the relationship between sadism and game design, and bills them as challenging players' expectations about what the developer should create and how the player should be reprimanded for errors.[8]

Rise of the Videogame Zinesters[edit]

Anthropy's first book, Rise of the Videogame Zinesters, was published in 2012. In an interview at the time of its release, Anthropy said it promotes the idea of "small, interesting, personal experiences by hobbyist authors ... Zinesters exists to be a kind of ambassador for that idea of what video games can be."[9] The book also deals with a detailed analysis of the mechanics and potentialities of digital games, including the idea that games can be more usefully compared to theater than film (Anthropy: "There is always a scene called World 1-2, although each performance of World 1-2 will be different") and the role of chance in games.[10] Anthropy also criticizes what she refers to as the video game industry being run by the corporate "elite" which design video games to be formulaic and do not take creative risks. Zinester wants consumers to see video games as having "cultural and artistic value" similar to artistic mediums such as comic books. The video game industry being run by "elites" does not allow for a diverse cast of voices, such as queer voices, to give their input in game development and design and stifles the creative process. As Anthropy puts it, "I have to strain to find any game that's about a queer woman, to find any game that resembles my own experience." [11]



  • Rise of the Videogame Zinesters Seven Stories Press, 2012. ISBN 978-1609803728
  • ZZT Boss Fight Books, 2014. ISBN 978-1-940535-02-9
  • The State of Play: Creators and Critics on Video Game Culture. Seven Stories Press, 2015. ISBN 9781609806392


  1. ^ "The power of Twine". Retrieved April 17, 2018.
  2. ^ Jed Lipinski (April 10, 2012). "Video-game designer Anna Anthropy describes the life of a radical, queer, transgender gamer". Capital New York. Retrieved February 2, 2015.
  3. ^ a b . (November 28, 2009). "The Weblog Interview: Anna Anthropy Talks Indie Game Goodness". Retrieved June 11, 2015.
  4. ^ a b "Koduco Games". Archived from the original on August 26, 2010. Retrieved June 11, 2015.
  5. ^ a b "PongVaders: Episode One Version: 1.0 Review". Macworld. Retrieved March 1, 2011.
  6. ^ "Review: Lesbian Spider-Queens of Mars". Archived from the original on April 15, 2011. Retrieved June 11, 2015.
  7. ^ "Dys4ia: Autobiographical Trans Video Game About Changing Gender". Archived from the original on March 17, 2012. Retrieved March 16, 2012.
  8. ^ "auntie pixelante › craft and punishment". Retrieved June 11, 2015.
  9. ^ Schultz, Marc (March 16, 2012). "What Videogames Can Be: A Q&A with Anna Anthropy". Retrieved June 11, 2015.
  10. ^ Anthropy, Anna (March 16, 2012). "Excerpt: Rise of the Videogame Zinesters". Retrieved June 11, 2015.
  11. ^ Anthropy, Anna (2012). Rise of the Videogame Zinesters: How Freaks, Normals, Amateurs, Artists, Dreamers, Dropouts, Queers, Housewives, and People Like You Are Taking Back an Art Form. New York: Seven Stories Press. ISBN 978-1-60980-372-8.
  12. ^ "Afternoon In The House Of Secrets". July 30, 2007. Retrieved June 11, 2015.
  13. ^ "And the Robot Horse You Rode in On". July 30, 2007. Retrieved June 11, 2015.
  14. ^ "dys4ia". Retrieved June 18, 2012.
  15. ^ "Gay Cats Go To The Weird Weird Woods". Retrieved June 11, 2015.
  16. ^ "Sugarcane". July 30, 2007. Retrieved June 11, 2015.
  17. ^ "Keep Me Occupied!". January 28, 2012. Retrieved June 11, 2015.
  18. ^ Gillen, Kieron (September 17, 2008). "Whip It: Mighty Jill Off". Retrieved June 11, 2015.
  19. ^ Alexander, Leigh (September 16, 2015). "This 'empathy game' reveals a real challenge for indie games". BoingBoing. Retrieved September 17, 2015.
  20. ^ "Sugarcane". July 30, 2007. Retrieved June 11, 2015.
  21. ^ "Queers in love at the end of the world". Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  22. ^ Gillen, Kieron (March 29, 2010). "A Scarlet Letter: Redder". Retrieved June 11, 2015.
  23. ^ Meer, Alec (August 3, 2009). "Don't Squeal, Piggy: When Pigs Fly". Retrieved June 11, 2015.

External links[edit]