“A great fangirl who may in fact be a droid if the amount of podcasts and blogs she participates in is any indication”

 

– Matt Applebee, Far Far Away Radio

 

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About

Hi, I’m Saf.

I’m a freelance narrative designer, editor, writer, and podcaster residing in Auckland, New Zealand. I am the Chair of the New Zealand IGDA chapter, the director of the Not Saf For Work podcast network, and an IGDA Next Gen Leader.

My experience includes media analysis, prose (from short fiction to novel-length), game writing, narrative design, reviews, event coverage, and columns of various tones. My past editorial writing can be found at Not Saf for Work, Tosche Station, and Making Star Wars.

I am also familiar with photography, the Adobe Creative Suite, audio and video editing, social media, community management, and event organization.

Need a talented and passionate designer? I’m your gal.
Contact me at safdavidson@gmail.com or at @wanderlustin.

Games

I am a freelance game narrative designer, writer, and editor known for my collaborative spirit and quirky humour. For the past year I’ve been working on an unnamed prototype with Dinosaur Polo Club as well as a handful of other games yet to be released or announced.


Bloom

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A branching interactive fiction with mechanics based around the Spoon Theory, created as an expression of living with a chronic illness. More information here.


Love is Dead

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Love is Dead is an action/puzzle game about love, death, and pancakes. I was brought on to do some cutscene writing, taking on a quirky, humorous tone. This was an amazing opportunity, as I adored the original Flash game, I Saw Her Standing There, when I played it years ago. Love is Dead can be purchased on Steam now.


Like You Mean It

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It’s time to dance…. like you mean it.

Like You Mean It is about communicating not with your words, but with your heart. This game was designed from its inception to be as earnest and sincere as possible. Although the concept of a dance-off is inherently competitive, Like You Mean It twists a dance-off to instead become a sincere conversation.

This game was created for April Fool’s Jam, which required the game to play a “joke” on the player. We wanted the punchline of that joke to be as wholesome as possible, rather than cruel. Therefore: a game about exchanging compliments with an alien who can only communicate via dance. Like You Mean It came third for its “joke/Fool Factor”.

This was the first game created by The Emilies, a team consisting of Ruqiyah and I. We designed the game together and I wrote over 100 compliments to help create an experimental, emergent, and wholesome game.


if not us

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Seven years ago, five heroes were brought together to save the world. Their success came at the cost of their leader’s life; the secret behind it cost them their friendship.
Now they’ve been summoned for a new heroic quest.
if not us is about the moment when they realise everything isn’t going to be okay.

if not us is an interactive fiction anthology told through five mechanically diverse interactive fiction games. I edited if not us, working with Ruqiyah to polish the narrative to tell clear and cohesive story.


Dynacorp
(in development)

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Dynacorp is a procedurally generated platformer about one bot’s effect on an alien ecosystem. I worked with Rox Flame, the creator, to create lore for the characters and planet, and helped with refining the narrative arc of the game. I also assisted with writing promotional material during its crowdfunding campaign.


Loverwatch
(on hold)

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A dating sim based on Overwatch, initially spawned from #iluJam. I wrote Mei’s route, which I have narrative control over. I worked collaboratively with the team to write a story that not only contained meaningful choices, but also fit with the other two routes and the existing universe of Overwatch. Website here, which includes my post about making choices matter in branching narratives. Though this game is unfinished, my script is available to read when requested.


Witch vs Twitch

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Created during Global Game Jam 2016 with the theme, “Ritual”. Within our larger team, I worked in a writing duo as a narrative designer, editor, and writer, creating the lore for Witch vs Twitch‘s world and scripting the dialogue for the two characters. Though the game is unfinished, my original dialogue and lore documents contain much of what I wrote.

Prose

I write science fiction that often explores humanity, relationships, and moral ambiguity. I have a particular fascination with artificial intelligence in fiction, and how the portrayal of such can contrast with and highlight human emotion.


Mountain Sound

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With the cities aflame and massive warships silhouetting the sun, the human race is once more on the verge of destroying itself. The countryside was supposed to be far from the war, but death spreads like a virus—not that Efa would know. An android built for many jobs, Efa was given only one: to protect the sheep placed under her care.

Until a dying girl stumbles upon the flock, shattering Efa’s peaceful existence and forcing the android to think beyond her basic programming. The war is coming—has already come—raising new questions neither of them can answer alone. All Efa knows is that she cannot abandon her sheep.

•••

My first serial, now complete, which tells an isolated story of an abandoned robot shepherd and a runaway orphan girl as they deal with the aftermath of a war that has destroyed both their lives.


Tourist

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After a fatal car crash, Allegra finds her artificial mind placed in a new body previously belonging to a young woman named Melissa. This body comes with more baggage than Allegra expects: Melissa’s best friend claims she was murdered, and seems determined to force Allegra to help her solve the mystery.

Newly struggling with depression and a shifted sexuality, Allegra must learn to navigate a stranger’s past, new relationships, and dark secrets that threaten to tear apart the lives of those she cares for.

My current ongoing serial set in a not-too-distant future, where AIs are placed within human bodies to live their lives alongside their biological counterparts. It is a mystery and a coming of age story about young adulthood, dealing with loss, and the fraught relationships that spring from the liminal spaces between being a teenager and becoming an adult.


How to Say Goodbye (With no Words)

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A short fiction about a girl who meets a boy at a swimming hole and how her life is affected from then on. It’s a story about love, and a story about loss.

It is also about falling in love with a robot.

Reviews

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Saf’s Review: Life Debt

“Though Life Debt is still third person present and still written with Wendig’s particular flair, the prose of this novel feels far more accessible and less eccentric than that of Aftermath’s, as if Wendig has settled more into writing Star Wars.”


Written for Tosche Station.

Lieve Oma: An Ode to Grandmothers

“With a simple, bright visual style, the game is kept visually lighthearted while the story touches on very real topics and themes that are relatable for both young and old.”

 


the-banner-saga-croppedTeacups & 1UPs: The Banner Saga

“I became bitter, and I could feel the same happen to Rook, the protagonist of much of the game. He and I became one, saddled with hundreds of people we couldn’t feed, and faced with decisions we didn’t want to make.”

 

Articles

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Panem Today, Panem Tomorrow, Panem Forever in Our World

“How Katniss was used to advertise the films in our world is exactly how she was used to sell violence and compliance in the series.”

An analysis of how Young Adult dystopian fiction often reflects our world, how our world reflects much of The Hunger Games‘ Panem in return, and how this was made apparent by the advertising campaigns for the films.


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Start With What You Know Is True: Mental Health in The Hunger Games

“The idea that childhood is happy is a misplaced one; depression doesn’t discriminate by age, and many young people in our world grapple with mental illnesses that nobody will talk about.”

A look at how mental health is portrayed within The Hunger Games, mainly within the novels, and how important that representation is for young adults in the real world.


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Why Shouldn’t We Share Games, Too?

“Play, even in adulthood, cannot be overstated in its importance. It can even help us with facilitating connections: playing a game that encourages helping others will in turn make us more likely to do the same in the real world.”

A guest post written for Leaping Tiger about the importance of sharing beloved games with friends, whether multiplayer or otherwise.


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Leia Organa, and the Women Left Behind

“Where Leia is stripped of her clothes and turned into a sexual object, but keeps her strength and agency regardless, Padmé is separated from her political role—her own strength—and turned essentially mute.”

An examination of the representation of women in SFF, and of why Leia Organa still stands out.

Podcasts

I’m an award-nominated podcaster who has appeared on a variety of podcasts since 2014. Though my main podcasts are Star Wars related, I also often speak about gaming and literature. I am known for my sense of humour and my passion for matters that are important to me such as diversity, mental health, and good storytelling.

Last year, I launched the Not Saf For Work podcast network. My intention for the network was to create a platform to bolster underrepresented voices and help new podcasters reach their potential. The NSFW network has grown and continues to grow and I’m extraordinarily proud of my podcasters.


Not Saf For Work podcast network

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Whoa Nessie

What do you get when you combine a nerd and an animal enthusiast? You get a podcast that takes you on a wild ride from the Scottish Highlands to a galaxy far, far away.  Follow hosts Amelia and Jade as they quest to discover the truth.


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Queerly There

Queerly There is one part love letter, one part nerdy critical analysis, one part frustrated queer rant. Rowan, an intersectional feminist, huge nerd, and big queer, explores queer representation in media with humour, sincerity and in-depth research.


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Sapphic Skywalkers

What do you call a lesbian in space? A SPLESBIAN. Sapphic Skywalkers is hosted by two queer Star Wars fangirls, Lynn and Natalie, talking about their favorite splesbians in the galaxy far, far away, both canon and headcanon.


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The Intergalactic Express

The Intergalactic Express is a wild romp through time and space, AKA the explorations of Saf, Ruqiyah, and Alex as they put on their creator hats and analyse the creative process behind their favourite (or least favourite) media. Hosted by me.


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The Lasso

Wonder Woman has always stood for truth, justice, and love. Mike and Maia cover everything from comics to animation to the silver screen, making this your one stop shop for discussion, reviews, and perspectives on Diana of Themyscira.


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The Imperial Senate Podcast

Charlie Ashby, Nicky Kumar and Kristen Bates host a podcast dedicated to discussing STAR WARS! From the latest news to reviews and in-depth conversations about minor characters, the Imperial Senate Podcast is your number one destination for SW related fun.


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Soon to join: Ace Space

A podcast about being ace and loving space hosted by Nic and Sho. Featuring discussions about asexuality and aromanticism, representation, and more.

 


 

Podcasts I co-host

 

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Rogue Podron

A weekly book club podcast reading through the old Star Wars X-Wing novels, with much added humour.

 


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Western Reaches

A fortnightly grab bag discussion of books, games, and other media hosted by two female writers. Very diversity focused, with frequent interviews and diverse topics. Filled with humour, deep analyses, and the camaraderie of two good friends.


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Blaster Canon

A monthly Den of Geek podcast that breaks down Star Wars beyond the films, digging into ancillary material both canon and otherwise.

 


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Of Dice and Droids (Mercenary group)

An RPG campaign podcast set during the Rebellion era of Star Wars using Fantasy Flight Games’ Edge of the Empire system.

 


 

Previously appeared as host/co-host on:

  • Ace Space
  • Now, This is Podcasting!
  • Forcecast
  • Queerly Represent Me’s “book club” podcast

 

Public Speaking

Talks

  • The Roads Not Taken: Giving Players Choice – Play by Play 2o17
  • In Defense of the Linear: Telling Tailored Stories – NZGDC 2017
  • Power and Control: What Narrative Styles Say About Us – Play by Play 2018

Panels

  • Narrative Simplified, Telling Stories with Visual Design – NZGDC 2016
  • Why Do Queers Love Robots So Dang Much?! – GX Australia 2017
  • Representations of Mental Health in Games – GX Australia 2017
  • The A Is Not For Ally – GX Australia 2017
  • Queerly Represent Me and The Underrepresented – GX Australia 2017
  • Modern Visual Novels – GX Australia 2017
  • How To Podcast Like A Jedi Master – Star Wars Celebration Orlando 2017
  • LGBTQ+ In A Galaxy Far, Far Away! – Star Wars Celebration Orlando 2017
  • Women in a Galaxy Far, Far Away – Star Wars Celebration Orlando 2017
  • 2017 State of Queer in Games – PAX Australia 2017
  • Paxmance 3: Tokyo Drift – PAX Australia 2017
  • We’ve Come a loooong Way Since Bioshock – PAX Australia 2017
  • Writers Anonymous – PAX Australia 2017

Other

  • Twine workshop for children and young adults – Play by Play 2016
  • Speaker at Drowning in Moonlight, Carrie Fisher Memorial Gala – Star Wars Celebration Orlando 2017