Gamic Race The Killer of Sheep of Videogames Fallout 3’s Curious System of Race The Trap of Representation Spatialized Difference in Videogames Colorblind Character Design in Videogames

Portfolio

A collection of my professional and creative projects including writing, learning design, content strategy, and photography.

Recent Articles

Here's a small collection of the writing I've done for this website. You'll find mostly writing about game culture with a particular interest in race in video games. Click here to browse through the full archive.

What Trolls Can Teach Us About Race

Mar 3, 2014 | No Comments
What Trolls Can Teach Us About Race

I’ve got a new article out in Fibreculture that I’m proud of and think readers of this blog would enjoy. It’s called “/b/lackup: What Trolls Can Teach Us About Race” and it’s an adaptation of some research and writing I did for my dissertation. This is an article years — I think about four total — […]

The Killer of Sheep of Videogames

Mar 9, 2013 | No Comments
The Killer of Sheep of Videogames

[NOTE: A version of this work was presented at the 2013 Society for Cinema and Media Studies conference. Here is a PDF of the slide deck.] Measured Representation We’ve seen the fight for diversity in videogame culture gain ground in recent years. Women, people of color, and LGBTIQ identifying individuals and communities have productively re-framed and countered the […]

So Far Away

Nov 9, 2012 | No Comments
So Far Away

In Red Dead Redemption, the build-up to crossing over from the United States to Mexico is tangible. Up to this point you’ve been confined to New Austin, the mythical 1911 region of south Texas that is your training ground. Like Grand Theft Auto, RDR funnels movement cleverly. The player is faced with a region that is expansive but just […]

Fallout 3’s Curious System of Race

Jan 4, 2012 | 5 Comments
Fallout 3’s Curious System of Race

Fall In Non-fantasy roleplaying games don’t often allow the player to choose a race.  However, Fallout 3, Bethesda’s open world roleplaying game set in post-apocalyptic Washington DC, allows players to select from four races: African American, Asian, Caucasian, and Hispanic, with Caucasian—unfortunately but not unsurprisingly—the default choice. An explicit breakdown of races in this way, along lines […]

From Black Box to No Box

Dec 12, 2011 | No Comments
From Black Box to No Box

We’re used to Nintendo’s E3 press conferences being awkward and odd. It’s part of their charm. But this year was particularly strange because many audience members, especially those watching at home, were utterly baffled: was Nintendo announcing a new console or just another Wii peripheral? It wasn’t long after the Nokia Theater emptied that journalists […]

Coming of Age in Hillsbrad

Dec 5, 2011 | No Comments
Coming of Age in Hillsbrad

When first entering World of Warcraft’s (WOW) world of Azeroth, you’re provided an intensely guided and relatively safe area, called a starting zone, from which to learn about the game and experience it in microcosm. Depending if you’re Alliance or Horde and what race you choose, you’re located in a particular geographic region, well guarded […]

The Costly Stakes of Videogame Literacy

Sep 28, 2011 | 2 Comments
The Costly Stakes of Videogame Literacy

I had the opportunity to visit the University of Southern California’s Game Innovation Lab (GIL) last August. Directed by Tracy Fullerton, GIL is a significant component of the now vibrant indie game development scene. GIL is largely responsible for proving that academic game development can gestate innovative and relevant design that escapes the ivory tower and […]

Smuggle Truck’s Failed Satire

Aug 22, 2011 | One Comment
Smuggle Truck’s Failed Satire

From Representation to Experience I am always looking out for games that handle race and ethnicity in progressive ways. Unfortunately, they are rare. Certainly we see examples of detailed character creation systems that offer myriad options for visualization, and fighting for broader representational options is important, but we almost never see games, especially in the […]

The Trap of Representation

May 23, 2011 | 9 Comments
The Trap of Representation

When we evaluate race in games, character creation seems to draw most of our focus. And there’s good reason for this: character creation appears to facilitate the kind of bodily manipulation promised by digital technologies during the mythic imaginings of the early internet. In some way we’ve been desiring a tool for identity play that […]

Spatialized Difference in Videogames

Mar 13, 2011 | 12 Comments
Spatialized Difference in Videogames

Maps, Levels, and the Orchestration of Conflict The notion that maps, and the cartographic processes behind those maps, are functions of power, most commonly imperial power, is a fundamental assumption of critical geography. As the diagrammatic products of territorial struggles between political forces, maps are both representations of the world and constructions of that world. […]

Videogames as Critical Race Pedagogy

Mar 4, 2011 | 7 Comments
Videogames as Critical Race Pedagogy

Education Beyond Edu-games Researching and designing educational videogames continues to be one of the most popular forms of research within the critical tendency of game studies. Without question, the push to leverage the strong and unique persuasive and educational aspects of games via the design of new games is a worthwhile endeavor. However, focusing on […]

Making Men Uncomfortable: What Bayonetta Should Learn From Gaga

Dec 2, 2010 | 14 Comments
Making Men Uncomfortable: What Bayonetta Should Learn From Gaga

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Bayonetta. I gave up on it about a month ago, mostly because I found it tedious, incoherent, and punishing (purely from a receptive standpoint), but also because I felt embarrassed playing it. I found myself having to explain the indulgence to my partner, who, while sitting next to […]