JUEGOS RANCHEROS PRESENTS: THERESA DUNCAN’S ZERO ZERO
Rachel Simone Weil
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Want to get the first look at a long-lost but newly preserved videogame classic? Join us Thursday, March 5th, at 7:00PM at Austin’s North Door as JUEGOS RANCHEROS looks back fondly on the wistful wonder of being a kid again with Zero Zero (1997) by the late Theresa Duncan, alongside two games by Nina Freeman that serve perfectly as contemporary counterparts.
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In the 1990s, filmmaker and game designer Theresa Duncan did something pretty revolutionary: she helped create some of the first deeply smart and engaging CD-ROM games for girls. Her point-and-click adventure games were funny and surreal, recalling influences such as Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, while simultaneously incorporating bits of poetry, philosophy, and history. While Duncan’s games were widely acclaimed and innovative for the time, they slowly fell into relative obscurity.
In December 2014, the NYC-based digital art nonprofit Rhizome successfully raised funds through Kickstarter to preserve Duncan’s three games—Chop Suey (1995), Smarty (1996), and Zero Zero (1997)—with the goal of making them playable online for free later this year. JUEGOS RANCHEROS is pleased to present Zero Zero to the public in advance of Rhizome’s exhibition of the games in New York City.
Zero Zero is set in Paris on the last night of 1899. Pinkée, the game’s young protagonist, delivers firewood to neighborhood shops while asking the eccentric grown-ups she encounters what they think the future will be like. Their responses are strange and surreal, offering a poignant commentary on 20th-century history and technology. Join us and be among the few to have played Zero Zero in the 21st century!
In addition to Duncan’s work, we’ll also be showing two games from Nina Freeman: Space Dad — originally created for and presented at our Space Cowboy Arcade — and 2015 IGF finalist how do you Do it? Like Duncan, Freeman and her collaborators create games that touch on funny and poignant moments of being a young girl.
All the games will be playable Thursday, March 5th, at 7:00PM at North Door, 501 Brushy Street, Austin, TX 78702! The show is free and open to all the public, so come join us as we drink, play and meet the people changing the way we think about games!