A Cooperative of Practical Dreamers
We think that play can be a reflective tool to think through the big questions. Our goal is to put that tool in your hands.
We sowed the seeds of Soft Chaos, and they grew.
After many years of creative collaboration, the Soft Chaos Cooperative was legally founded in 2021 to help us reflect the kind of structures we want to see in the world. What brought us together are our shared values and our talent for meaningful, thoughtful design that sticks with you long after you've finished playing.
Meet the Soft Chaos Team
We're a chaotic good bunch of critically-engaged, award-winning game designers known for great games and even greater hair.
Allison Kyran Cole
Designer, Event Manager, CSI Cyber Enthusiast
Dr. Jess Rowan Marcotte
Designer, Writer, Adventure Cat Trainer
Designer, Programmer, Bad Pun Aficionado
Projects We Love
Each creator has those projects that are near and dear to their hearts, whether or not they won the most awards or are the most technically impressive. These are ours.
Allison's Pick: Dr. Mike Love
Dr. Mike Love's In Search of the Fancy will always hold a special place in Allison’s heart. It won Most Glorious Trainwreck at the NYU Game Center’s Global Gam Jam the year it was created, and she somehow convinced a Brooklyn theatre festival to give it a run. This Immersive theatre experience asks players to think about intimacy, trust, relationships, attention currency, and the absurdity of celebrity all through the lens of a ridiculous couples retreat run by a fictionalized version Mike Love (of Beach Boys fame).
Jess's Pick: In Tune
Here's one from the vaults. Allison, Jess and collaborator Zara developed In Tune: A Game About Navigating Consent in 2014. At a time where VR was having a moment, it brought back the idea of physical, face-to-face intimacy that went beyond romantic relationships. It asked people to reflect on what their assumptions about bodies and consent were, all while helping players grow closer through shared experience and discussion. As new(ish) designers, we learned so much!
Squinky's Pick: rustle your leaves to me softly
One of Squinky's running jokes over the years has been to submit a potted plant to an indie games festival. In 2017, that became a reality - sort of, anyway. Together with Jess, they designed an art installation where players are asked to physically stroke a plant and, through the magic of electronics and skin conductivity, generate a whispered ASMR soundscape sensual enough to make people blush in public. Amazingly, it got showcased at Ars Electronica the following year!
Who Doesn't Love
- Allison was once a professional Canadian in Walt Disney World.
- Jess used to have a part-time job as a professional "maki roller" with the same responsibilities as a sushi chef. They still love to have sushi parties where they stuff all their friends to the gills (ha-ha) and teach them basic sushi-making skills.
- As a teenager, Squinky memorized pi to 500 decimal places. As of this time of writing, they still remember about 100 of them.
- Allison once organized a two-day-long scavenger hunt for Jess prior to their wedding.
- Squinky named themself after a throwaway line in The Secret of Monkey Island.
- Squinky named Jess's cat Guybrush, also after a character in The Secret of Monkey Island.
- By way of introduction, Allison and Jess asked Squinky to play a game about consent, which resulted in Squinky riding Allison like a horse. Then, they all ate soup dumplings together and quickly became fast friends.
- Members of Soft Chaos have cosplayed the following things together: famous meme cats of the internet, Super Smash Bros. characters, the gayest Sailor Scouts from Sailor Moon, and the main characters from the board game Consentacle.
We hardly ever send emails. But it is how we tell people about new projects, events, crowdfunding campaigns, and other initiatives we're involved in. It's also one of the ways we ask for playtesters! If you want to be one of those people, you know what to do.
A conversation/interview about queer games and the queer games avant-garde facilitated by Bo Ruberg and inspired by their book, The Queer Games Avant-Garde, featuring Jess Rowan Marcotte and D. Squinkifer.
Selected Press & Interviews
- Party of One Podcast
To promote our Indiegogo campaign, Jess did an actual play of Cadences with Jeff Stormer.
- I Pretended to Pretend to Be a Star Trek Character Online!
Alexis Ong wrote about Strangers on the 'Net and her experience with the game for Fanbyte.
- IndieCade alt.ctrl Show! (twitch.tv)
Alistair Aitcheson and Tatiana Vilela dos Santos interviewed Jess and Squinky about alt controllers.