I was honored to win a Hexagram Internationalization Grant for the period of February to May 2020. My original idea for the grant was to create a small game demo in RPG Maker MV and use it as the basis for a game-making and historical narrative workshop at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto. Unfortunealy, the entire project was scrapped due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Luckily, Hexagram allowed me to keep the funds which I used to cover non-refundable travel expenses.
Despite this, Hexagram invited me to speak about my grant during their 20th Anniversary Gala. Although I was unable to travel to Montreal to attend the gala, they were very accommodating and allowed me to submit a video in lieu of an in-person talk. Rather than simply reiterate how the project was cancelled, I took the opportunity to talk about the RPG Maker MV versions of Nagasaki Kitty. Though these projects are not directly connected to the grant, I thought that I should provide some kind of content other than saying, “Thank you for covering my non-refundable travel expenses after I had to cancel my project.”
Here is the video:
I would love to pursue my original proposed project (i.e., an international game-making workshop focused on historical narratives) again at a later date but I am also happy with the way that everything worked out. If the workshop had not been cancelled I would have been working on that rather than making a full version of a game (that would later spawn other, bilingual versions).
I recently had my first opportunity to be interviewed about my work. I felt excited and honored that Epoch Xperience reached out to me to discuss my RPG Maker MV game Nagasaki Kitty. Epoch is a company that focuses on historical research (not only in games but also in more traditional mediums) and was interested in talking to me about the design and historical work that went into Nagasaki Kitty. Below is the full hour-plus interview where we cover everything from my academic research to how people who are interested in making their own historical games can get started.
I want to thank Mark LoProto for both organizing/recording the interview and providing me with the completed footage to present here. I should note that the lighting and video issues in the completed interview originated on my end and were the unfortunate consequence of completing the interview remotely during a lockdown. Overall I was quite happy with how the interview went and hope that I get the opportunity participate in more of these types of activities in the future.
An interesting by-product of the pandemic for me has been an increased amount of time spent learning new software and platforms. I was required to create a video essay version of my talk for the Canadian Game Studies Association and I enjoyed that experience. As a result, I made another video essay based on my International Conference on Games and Narrative 2021 talk. I am lacking in the proper equipment (i.e. microphone, lighting, etc.) so I think that the quality of the video may be slightly lacking, but I still had fun making it. The gameplay clips were captured on a PS4, the audio was recorded and edited using Audacity, and the editing and combing of files was completed using the Microsoft Photos application (which has pleasantly surprised me with its ease of use and number of features).
I was extremely excited and honored to be able to discuss an important aspect of my research and methodology at the Canadian Game Studies annual 2021 conference. This was initially accepted as a paper for the 2020 conference and was a speculative paper intended to engage with how I was going to tackle my positionality within my dissertation. However, the 2020 conference was cancelled and all accepted papers were moved to the 2021 conference. As a result, this paper went from, “This is how I think that I will handle positionality within my dissertation” to, “This is how I handled positionality within my dissertation.” The fact that the 2021 conference was entirely virtual meant that I needed to record a video essay which can be found below.
I look forward to further engaging in this field and type of research in my future scholarship. In particular, I am becoming more and more interested in the idea of “erasure” both on the individual level but also at larger sites of power and within collective/cultural memory.
I was very excited to give my first game making workshop at the University of Waterloo’s Critical Media Lab.
I gave a talk as the first part of the workshop that was designed to give the students a brief background on me, my work and its theoretical underpinnings. I was pleasantly surprised with the number of insightful questions that I received during this part of the workshop. If I had let the students keep asking questions it seems like they would have taken up the entire workshop without getting to the critical making part!
After all the questions we did a group play-through of two of my games, Nagumo’s Ruin: The Battle of Midway and Nagasaki Kitty with audience members assigned as voice actors. I was also able to show off some of my work within RPG Maker MV. From here, I had the students download Twine onto their devices and provided an introduction to the tool that allowed them to start making their own games.
Overall, I had an excellent time giving my first workshop. In retrospect, I probably would have cut out the talk at the beginning and jumped right into introducing the tools. But I feel like I learned a lot about the time management of a workshop and what to expect from the students. I was very happy to hear that at least one or two of the students had started making something that they wanted to move forward with in the limited amount of time that they had to experiment with the tool. I hope they keep making games.
I would like to thank the students of the Critical Media Lab for being enthusiastic and making my first workshop such a great experience and Dr. Marcel O’Gorman for taking the time to drop in. Finally, a special shout-out to Dr. Lai-Tze Fan for the invitation, organization and support of the workshop. I appreciate you all!
This is a short lecture that I had filmed after one of my classes was cancelled. It is a short examination of how video games interact with the past.
Special thanks to Marc, Courtney, Patricia and Dan for helping me with the equipment and the editing of the lecture. Also, a quick shout-out to Mia and her mLab for providing the space, equipment, and opportunity.