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INDIE INTERFACES

Indie Interfaces seeks to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and resources between academic researchers and key stakeholders involved in the production, distribution, and reception of independent and alternative games (defined broadly). This project grows out of an ongoing collaboration with IndieMEGABOOTH (IMB), a high-profile organization dedicated to building collective venues to support and promote indie game developers, particularly at major game industry conferences. Our industry partners in this project are the organizers of the IMB, Kelly Wallick and Christopher Floyd, who are providing us unprecedented research access to to help broaden our knowledge of indie gaming communities, in exchange for valuable insight and critical perspective on their own operations and impact. We are seeking ReFIG funding to expand and deepen this research project, and to organize a symposium focused on support networks for indie game developers. Investigators: Jennifer Whitson Felan Parker Bart Simon
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RECASTING PLAYER TWO

The game development industry is currently on a mission to include “non-gamers” in local co-op games. Within the development community and among players, these games are said to have a “girlfriend mode.” Developers often cast player one as an expert player in their own image, while player two is a projection of antiquated gender stereotypes who has less agency and control over their play experience. This type of interaction would be better described as mansplaining in motion. We need more diverse games, not just in terms of theme, narrative and representation, but also in regards to mechanics and interaction modes. This project consists of a series of workshops with participants from the game development community, where we not just discuss and spread awareness of what is problematic with current games and development practices, but work together in creating better alternatives. Investigators: Mikael Jakobsson
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WOMEN IN TRANSMEDIA: A GENDER DIVERSE INDUSTRY?

There is a notable amount of high-profile, highly-visible and in some cases internationally recognised female practitioners, creatives and thought-leaders in the transmedia industry (the notion of a ‘transmedia’ industry is distinct to the traditional notion of the games industry – the transmedia industry encapsulates cross-platform projects which draw on the different mediums and delivery mechanisms of film, television, game and online, these include the design, production and delivery of Alternate Reality Games). The aim of this project is to examine the scope of female representation in this global industry and to establish the reasons behind why this is seemingly a more representative sector in comparison to the games industry. Investigators: Sarah Atkinson
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LIVE AMONGST GHOSTS

A project by Kara Stone The handmade and the digital are often positioned as polar opposites, especially within art communities and institutions. Although this is a common dichotomy, women and crafting have an integrally linked history with computer and digital technologies. Programming has been likened to weaving on a loom, pixels to cross-stitching, film editing to sewing. “Computer” was once a job position that women held. Yet technology has become gendered as masculine and craft as feminine, deepening a perceived crevasse that separates the forms of making. This research creation project explores the historical connection of the handmade, the technological, and the gendering of modes of creation. Process is an important factor in craft; the sensuous, rhythmic qualities of moving the body and touching materials. In videogames too, process can be seen as a defining feature and the rhythmic body can be called upon. Technocraft pays special attention to the process of creation and the process of play, as well as the role the affective body has in participating with the art piece rather than dismissing the body as the location of the interaction and focusing on the rational decisive mind. Working with craft and digital artists, this research creation […]
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SYSTEM.FAILURE

"Feminism is as important as ever. The ongoing diversification of game culture in this second decade of the 21st century has seen the emergence of a ‘culture war’ in which online groups sustain abuse campaigns against historically marginalized individuals and groups. Amidst this and other contemporary concerns it is possible to see a groundswell of a new generation of feminists rallying around the work at hand. As this activity grows it becomes increasingly important to acknowledge the schisms within the feminist movement itself. For all its successes feminism does fail individuals, groups, and classes of people whether intentionally or not, and real harm is often wrought on those most vulnerable. Shunning, factioning and ejection are just some examples of how communities can behave. A central part of building a sustainable coalition of feminist activity lies in building inclusive approaches to resolve conflict, reduce harm and to protect those at risk. SYSTEM.FAILURE recognizes that these are systematic issues and is a research-led game jam invested in exploring, through game design, failure in the context of contemporary feminism. Participants will look at how games can model the harm we inflict on one another in order to understand the dynamics of these situations and […]
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