very nice rat fur texture


pondlife issue #0

welcome to our first webzine, rats.

in here, you will encounter & things about rats & things concerning rats. we chose the theme "rats" somewhat arbitrarily: b/c we love & b/c we wanted to make a bunch of small games () together & b/c we hoped it would allow us to cohere our explorations of our divergent interests & b/c we're trying to figure how to make sustainably in every sense of the word.

this is one long scrolling page. you can keep scrolling down to see more stuff. if you don't like the thing on screen, you might find something you do once you scroll down a little farther. there are things to play & things to read & things to look at, &c. all sorts of things.

thanks for visiting,

p.s. (you will find the table of contents below)



family event ii (game night)

remove the game pieces from the box and give each player their player piece. set up the game board. put all of the player pieces in the nearest trash can, and shake the trash can (taking care to not let any trash escape). in turn order, search the trash can for your player piece, setting aside any pieces of trash you find. once all players have found their player piece, whoever has collected the most trash wins.

family event i

enter a large pile of garbage. follow the sweet scent of rot, search gleefully. consume immediately and continue, or bring it home with you.

family event iii (rocks)

find some people. hide in a tight circle while they throw rocks into a pot lid without purpose. one may pull you by the tail as another attempts to smash the pot lid over your head (watch out for the rocks). shriek performatively but not farcically.

in the trash

one common objects that was in our shared ideas was a trash bag full of rats inside. Do rats procreate inside of them? Is it possible for a trash bag to migrate because of the rats inside of it. If so, does the collective consciousness of the rats inside the bag have a consciousness of its own.

what is the rat searching for in the bag? how does it know when it has found it? when it has found enough? do rats enter or leave the bag as friends or enemies? what does it feel like to squeeze through the gaps in the trash, grime, dark? to grasp with claw, tooth, tail? to emerge, finally, into the streetlight? with object of desire? without?

A world full of bags, with a world full of rats and trash inside. many thoughts about that, but implementing a physically realistic bag of rats was outside the scope of this project. (if you think the world is really in need of a fully fledged videogame about rats inside a bag, please e-mail us ).

please send us an e-mail. we should make this game. an animate bag of street trash. life diving from (and through) bag of trash to bag of trash. side-by-side w/ the juice, the tissue, the bread crust. the only mobile one amongst yr peers. and how mobile you are.

click to start
Princess is visiting the place where they harvest ideas from rat culture and make them palatable for mass market consumption


a screenshot of a website w/ a rat illustration and tabs numbered 001 through 005
click to start


oh, no…

there are a bunch of rats in the subway station. rats are gross; the sight of them disgusts & terrifies you. but they love the subway station, and they love you.

and they all act the same.

this game

is a larp or theatre game for as many players as your space allows.

you'll need two spaces: the station and the train. the station fits everyone, comfortably, big enough for them to mill around. the train is an adjacent space that fits everyone, uncomfortably.

one or more players should play the facilitator. they make sure the game gets up and running, but they get to play, too.

one or more players should play the conductor. they drive the train, call out stops, &c. they set the pace of the game. the same player(s) may be both facilitator and conductor.

this document

is for the facilitator of the game. other players should not read this document. if you are not the facilitator, you should stop reading here.

as you read further, you'll see indented block quotes, like:

don't forget that "all rats act the same".

read these quotes aloud to players. of course, feel free to paraphrase anything you'd like as you're explaining the game (anything, that is, except the phrase "all rats act the same").

in these block quotes, you may also see stage directions that indicate things you should say to specific players, like the conductor.

a rat


hand of rat facing right

why i dislike rats as a theme for making games

while they are interesting characters, and their cuteness or grossness is very appealing, rats have too much personality. its very easy to make a game that has a rat in it, but it is hard to make it be about the rats as an object. its hard to interact with the rat as a rat, not with the rat as a character. (the continuous use of cheese shows this a lot, we are making games with the caricature of rats). additionally the games are not about the ratness of the rat, or in any way attempting to simulate/immerse/contemplate the behaviours of rats. (sadly rats in bags didn't happen, but still, that is rats in bags as an object not the rats themselves). using some design-speak, it is very hard to come up with the affordances of the rat (in this sense, its hard to objectify a rat). one of my main interests in a theme like this, is its dissection (you can only dissect a dead rat, (or kill it in the process)). i want a theme that is more dissectable, that we can explore many uses of our object, that we can make people think of the object in ways they haven't before. to make videogames like still lives of objects. animals are not good objects, they are good characters.