Thursday, August 3, 2017

Five or So Questions on Night Forest

Hello! Today I have an interview with Ross Cowman and Mo Golden on Night Forest, which is currently on Kickstarter. The game looks fascinating and I've heard really cool stories about it, so I hope you enjoy what they have to say!


Tell me a little about Night Forest. What excites you about it?

 Ross: Night Forest is a ritual game where we play wandering memories. It is a practice in self reflection, embodiment, and deep witnessing.

Mo: As for what is exciting, one thing for me is our collaboration and the meeting of our two disciplines and perspectives. I think it is a jumping off point for more interdisciplinary collaboration.

Ross: Yeah! Totally. I feel like watching your work in expressive arts has really inspired me to pay more attention to transitions and the process of immersion. This had a big impact on my work Fall of Magic and it is great to be able to now design something together.

What inspired you to make a game about memories, especially ones that can be forgotten?

Mo: There's so much that happens in our lives that we forget. By working with embodiment and evocative images, we can often retrieve what has been forgotten, which is really powerful and inspiring to me. Night Forest offers an opportunity to look at what we remember and what is lost.

Ross: We wanted to create a space where people could share things about themselves that they don't normally have cause to share. There is something precious about these rarely visited memories.

Why do players use a candle to signify their lasting memory? Is their physical presence otherwise important? (Along that, do you think this could play remotely?)

Ross: The candle does a lot of work in Night Forest, it creates an intimate space, it constrains your movement, it requires care and is actually kind of a burden. Becoming forgotten is a relief of that responsibility and also of the responsibility of having to share and explore your memories. Now you just listen.

Mo: The flame is alive and has to be cared for. It slows us down and focuses us. I wonder if it could be played remotely... My concern with that has less to do with the candle and more to do with moving around. Movement and having a physical experience are central to this game. I would be curious to see how that could work virtually.

How do you see players interact with each other when they share their memories, and do you see much variety in the memories they share?

Mo: There's a ton of variety, which is cool to watch. Even with the same card, there are infinite possibilities. It's a very personal and intimate experience, yet somehow really accessible. There's a tenderness I see in people while they're sharing.

Ross: There is a lot of listening and smiling and serious looks. For me it has been a reminder of how much we can still communicate without our voices. How much we can connect with just our faces and our energy. 

How did you design the content of the cards, as well as the appearance, and make them seem coherent and consistent?

Ross: The cards and images are designed to pull at each other. Contrast is a source of energy in nature, and it is the same with our imaginations.

Mo: I loved illustrating the cards. It was like swimming through a dream, making associations and letting myself be surprised by my pen. The choice to use black paper and metallic ink was so that the image would shine in candle light. The over all aesthetic takes players into a dark, wooded, magical place... even if they're looking at the cards in an office building in the middle of the day.


Thanks so much to Mo and Ross for their responses to my questions! I hope you all enjoyed reading and that you'll check out Night Forest on Kickstarter now!

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