The beating heart of my research is experience, but never an assumed or default experience. Broadly, I’m interested in the ways we navigate our worlds – the way we move in digital worlds, in the classroom, in our communities. Embodied experience within a system is a complicated snarl, and I’m fascinated by the ways we design for various entanglements. 

Current & Recent Projects

Teaching and Shaping Game Studies: What do we teach in game studies? How do our publicly available courses and syllabi shape an idea of game studies? What themes do we highlight and which do we diminish in these public-facing documents? Which voices do we most privilege? In this project, I have been exploring syllabi for university-level courses in games (across disciplines) to discover just what it is we talk about when we talk about games in the classroom.

  • Preliminary findings from this project will be published as a chapter in Historiographies of Game Studies (eds. Karabinus, Kocurek, Mejeur, & Vossen, punctum books).

Hobbyist Game Development Communities/Professionalization and Work Skills in Hobbyist Communities: In this long-running project, I explore hobbyist design communities and their procedures, workflows, and products.

  • Rachel Atherton is my frequent, wise collaborator in this award-winning research, and together we have published articles and conference proceedings detailing our findings.
  • Recently, I have been studying how work skills gained in hobbyist communities compare to professional skills, and how these skills might be presented in employment documents. Preliminary findings from a pilot study were presented at the ACM SIGDOC conference in 2021, and may be found in the proceedings. In 2022, I hope to continue and expand on this work with a new team of collaborators.

Digital Experience Archives: At GVSU, I am part of a small team working to established a digital archive focused on experience. In 2022, I will be working on the first part of this project – archives tracing playable Black women characters in games. There have been so few of these characters since the beginning of digital games, and despite sometimes problematic depictions, players have formed attachments to many of these characters over the years. This project seeks to explore the ways we enter and experience digital worlds and how digital travels can shape our identities, but as part of this collection, we hope also to create archives of games and footage that can be used for this research project and beyond.

Publishing and Citation Practices in Game Studies: My dissertation, completed in 2020, focused on publishing practices in game studies, work I first detailed here. In this project, I use mixed methods analysis to perform contextual analysis of publishing in game studies, and I continue to refine that research for publication.