I am very excited to announce that the Call for Papers for our collected volume Trophy Cases is now available. I am co-editing this volume with Dan Staines (Torrens University) and Sarah Christina Ganzon (Simon Fraser University).

Trophy Cases: The Theory, Design, & Cultural Politics of Video Game Trophies & Achievements

PlayStation Trophies, Xbox Achievements, and Steam Achievements (hereafter: “trophies”) are an essential part of contemporary video games that affect many aspects of design, distribution, and play. These frequently mandatory systems have been implemented in a variety of digital ecosystems, including industry-standards like PlayStation Store, Xbox Live, and Steam. Despite their ubiquity, there is currently limited scholarship focused directly on trophies specifically. The goal of this volume is to interrogate and analyze the theory, design, and player practices of trophies. We invite submissions from all academic disciplines focused on game studies and game design, as well as submissions from current and former game designers.

Proposed chapters can include but are not limited to:

-> Critical theoretical approaches to trophies

-> Demographic approaches to trophies (gender, race, class)

-> Trophies as game design practice

-> The ethics of trophy design and implementation

-> Industry perspectives of trophies

-> Political economy of trophies

-> Platform Studies of trophies

-> Player practices such as “trophy hunting”

-> Online communities dedicated to trophies

-> Trophies as paratexts

-> Historical forerunners to contemporary trophies

-> Case studies of specific/significant trophies

Submissions should be up to 500 words (+ references) and can be sent as PDF files to trophycasesbook@gmail.com by May 6, 2024. Questions regarding the volume can also be directed to trophycasesbook@gmail.com.

Please Note: This volume is under contract with Lexington Books with a proposed publishing date of November 2025.

11 September 2023

I was pleased to be invited to give a research talk in my new department’s DM Talks series. I agreed to participate right after I arrived in Atlanta and did not have a solid idea of what I wanted to talk about exactly. Luckily, I have been working on a book chapter that I thought would benefit from some public discussion while I was drafting the first version. I think that the talk went very well and I was able to get some great feedback that helped with the first draft. It was also awesome to get to talk about my research in detail with my new colleagues and our amazing graduate students.

The talk examines the Atelier Ryza trilogy and assesses the games’ attempts at decolonization (both narratively and through game design). While I think that the decolonialization attempts made by the series are not perfect, I argue that the games are significant and interesting from a postcolonial perspective. Please note that this video is rough. The talk was delivered in a hybrid format, so the audio is extracted from the original Microsoft Teams recording. My introduction of my other research and the question period have been cut for the sake of time and avoiding privacy issues. The screen recording has been replaced by still images of the slides from the talk and some limited gameplay from the Atelier Ryza games.

I hope to have the finalized version of this chapter published sometime in 2024.

9 June 2023

This year for the Canadian Game Studies Association Annual Conference I was able to work with my good friend and colleague, Scott DeJong. Scott does some really amazing work on disinformation while also designing board games (find his game, Lizards and Lies here: https://www.lizardsandlies.ca/). Naturally, as educational game designers, there are overlaps in our research and development activities. In particular, we have found that many educational games do not take full advantage of the unique affordances of board games and/or video games as a medium. As a result, we made a short video about our design experiences and how we deal with this (and similar) issues.

Discussing these ideas and later making the video with Scott was an amazing experience. At this point we consider the ideas to be in their early stages, but we hope to revisit this project soon and make a more polished version. Hopefully we will put something more together soon because these are ideas that I am interested in pursuing further.