The Truly Terrific Traveling Troubleshooter at QGCon 2017
By Jess Marcotte Here is a bit of context for those who may not know me. The 2017 Queerness and Games conference was my first queer games conference as an out nonbinary queer person, having come out in 2016. It is only in the past few years that I have been exposed to language that described my personal experiences with gender and sexuality, and there was some time between knowing the words and deciding that I should come out. Going to QGCon this year, therefore, had a fair bit of personal significance for me. I started making games in January 2013, and my work as a designer addresses intersectional feminist issues. [If you are interested in my work, you can find out more at http://jeka.games] For this year’s Queerness and Games conference, I was there to showcase a game called The Truly Terrific Traveling Troubleshooter, which is a physical/digital hybrid game about emotional labour, radical softness, and the “traveling other.” What I mean by emotional labour is “the frequently invisible work of caring, keeping othersí in mind and taking their needs into account, managing oneís own mood and masking so-called ‘unpleasant’ emotions for the benefit of others, managing other peopleís […]
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FEMINIST WAR GAME JAM
The proposition of a feminist war game is a potentially uneasy one. War is traditionally the arena of men and hyper masculinity while women, LGBTQIA+ persons and people of colour are most often marginalized and victimized by war. Critical questions could be raised about the relationship between masculine systems and violence, questions that could be addressed in relation to the wealth of conflict-based games on the market. A feminist war game might also present historical anti-war feminist activism, re-humanize the dehumanizing and objectifying functions of traditional military systems, or subvert the mechanism of war. The aim of this game jam is to have conversations about feminism and war through the creation of games. WHERE AND WHEN Dates: March 24-26 (Friday 6pm – 9pm, Saturday & Sunday 10am – 5pm) Location: OCAD, 230 Richmond Street W (3rd Floor Lab) To register please email [email protected] This jam will be held in a feminist space, and while open to all, please consult our safer spaces policy before registering. Participants will receive a small honoraria for taking part. Healthy breakfast and lunch to suit a variety of diets will also be provided on the Saturday and Sunday.
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IS IT A JAM? IS IT A FAMILY?
By Gina Hara Last weekend, we gathered around a fake fireplace to create, code, knit, pet pets, share knowledge and support each other in making games. This was the fourth year of the game-making marathon we like to call GAMERella. 48 people made a game this year – more than ever. In addition, 81% of the participants identified as women or non-binary and over half of them made their very first game at GAMERella. This is important to us because GAMERella’s main goal is to create change on a foundational level, for people whose stories have not yet been heard through the medium of games. As always, the jam was preceded by a series of workshops on some basic game making tools to empower people and allow them to meet other like-minded folks, as well as to teach them entry-level game making skills. The workshops were given by members of the TAG Research Centre and other generous volunteer game makers. Some of these workshops are available online! Fourteen games were made at the Montreal location and several more by people who jammed from home or in Poitiers, France at our sattelite location. Many of the games created can be seen […]
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ReFiG Call for Project Proposals 2016
ReFiG is now in its sophomore year. Dedicated to supporting work that promotes diversity, inclusion and equity in games across the sectors of formal education, informal learning, the game industry and games/cultures, we invite applications for project funding. Projects may involve the development of games, the provision of skills relevant to game making or community-focused projects. However, all must include a research agenda. This call for projects is specifically targeted, looking for work in subject areas that represent significant research gaps in terms of gender, intersectional identities and games. Other projects will be considered, but priority will be given to research related to the topics detailed below. Applicants must apply under one of our 4 sectors. The objectives of these sectors are detailed below as well as potential project themes. Funding between $1,000 and $10,000 CAD can be applied for. GAMES/CULTURE Games do not exist in a vacuum — they are products and producers of culture. As cultural artifacts, they are not just played, but watched, traded, critiqued, modded, and (theory)hacked. They are played alone at night before sleep, and in front of millions in international livestreamed tournaments; they are watched in between bouts of homework, and in bars and […]
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Our annual conference is rapidly approaching. The conference is taking place at Concordia University in Montreal on October 28th & 29th with workshops and a social on the 27th. Check out our schedule refig-2016-speaker-schedule-final and register for our workshops and keynotes refig-workshops-2016_10-14.
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FEMINIST MIX TAPE GAME JAM
The Feminist Mix Tape Game Jam is a two-day event in collaboration with the UK’s XX+ Jam and supported by ReFiG. This jam invites women, trans persons, non-binary folk and allies to participate. The feminist focus asks participants to create a game in response to a piece of music from our feminist playlist (the browser version is a bit quirky but works fine if opened in the free Spotify App). The interpretation can be literal, figurative, abstract, based on a single lyric, the artwork or music video associated with the song, or concerned with the artist themselves. The game for is also flexible: digital or analogue, it’s up to you. Date & Time: Friday October 14 6-10pm & Saturday October 15 10am-6pm. Location: OCAD, 230 Richmond Street W (3rd Floor Lab). To apply please send an email with “Feminist Mix Tape” in the subject line to [email protected] and include 1) your name, 2) 2 lines about why you want to participate, 3) if you have any dietary requirements, need child care, or accommodations for disabilities. Care ethics at our jam: We have a safer space policy in place. You can find out more details here. We also strive to be […]
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Hive Mind or Internet Mob Podcast
Recently, our Postdoctoral Research Fellow Emily Flynn-Jones was on a panel with the excellent Brianna Wu at Spur Festival in Winnipeg. They talked about gender, harassment, inequity and a more inclusive future for gaming. You can listen to the panel here.
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REFIG 2016 CONFERENCE CFP
ReFiG has launched and is in its 2nd year. Dedicated to supporting work that promotes diversity, inclusion and equity in games across the sectors of formal education, informal learning, the game industry and games/cultures, we invite paper proposals for presentation at our conference to be held at Concordia University in Montreal from October 27-29, 2016. We invite proposals that address the above areas, and/or that focus on feminist methodologies for studying games and communities, or propose new directions, new theories and new forms of meaning making. Thematic areas may include but are not limited to: Games/cultures Analysis of player communities, diversity and inclusion Representational analysis of gender, race, ability, sexual orientation in games Examinations of marketing practices Descriptions of demographics or player behaviours Game industry Reports from embedded research in industry establishments Reviews of inclusion and diversity policies at games studios and/or affiliated online communities Policy development for inclusive practices in the industry Feminist game post-mortems Informal learning Reflections on game design workshops Descriptions of effective safer space policies for informal learning environments Papers detailing the career pathways of former participants in informal learning initiatives Participatory action research or embedded research reports from informal learning sites Formal education Post-mortems or […]
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The Cost/Benefit Ratio of Fieldwork at Game Industry Conferences – Jennifer R. Whitson
In this blog post about game developer conventions I want to make two points: The first is about the parallels between precarious indie dev and academic work, and the second is about the exorbitant cost but vital need for ethnographic research in indie communities. For the past decade, I’ve been studying the game industry. Specifically, I’m interested in what seems to be a precarious balance between creative work and “business”. In short, doing what you love while still managing to support yourself and your family. For those of you who are game developers or have seen documentaries like Indie Game the Movie, it will come as no surprise that most independent game developers struggle to make ends meet. They borrow money and go into debt to fund multi-year projects that, more often than not, fail to earn enough to keep them afloat. This precarity creates selection pressures for developers. If you are young, single (or better yet, have a partner with a secure income), don’t have a family to support, and/or have a nest-egg bank account, you are more likely to turn to indie dev as a career. With our partners, the IndieMEGABOOTH, Drs. Felan Parker, Bart Simon and I […]
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#GirlsMakeGames: Moving Making to the Next Level
PROGRAM OVERVIEW / WHY #GIRLSMAKEGAMES? / DOWNLOAD PARTICIPANT’S GAMES Taking place on the unceded and occupied territory of the Coast Salish people, in late March 2016, eight girls and gender nonconforming youth gathered on Penelakut territory / in Galiano Island to challenge social barriers in gaming. #GirlsMakeGames was a 4-day opportunity to engage a diverse group of relative beginners–all of whom hail from communities traditionally pushed to the margins of mainstream culture–in an immersive program where we learned how to make video games and contribute to the shifting of dominant power-structures in game-making/gaming culture, tech culture, and the world at large. With the big picture goal of transforming gaming culture as an essential piece of the core objectives, we learned very quickly that enhancing basic code literacy is a necessary first step for anyone seeking agency and influence within the gaming world (especially for those who are often excluded from and/or misrepresented in this world and elsewhere.) coding and game-making is an ongoing process, requiring practice and teamwork to fully realize our respective visions of more inclusive, girl and gender nonconforming-centered games. safer and more accessible spaces must be created for these processes, including the process of social change, to […]
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