2016. Web. [Public release forthcoming]
Allergies & Allegories is a web-based game that utilizes multimodal rhetoric to train players to recognize the social, cultural, and emotional experience of life with a serious food allergy. The game constitutes a portion of my dissertation as it pertains to my research on using multimodal media to translate knowledges between audiences. But it is also a collaboration between myself and researchers at GET-FACTS (Genetics, Environment and Therapies: Food Allergy Clinical Tolerance Studies). GET-FACTS is a Canadian Institutes of Health Research-funded knowledge mobilization initiative that raises awareness of food allergies in Canada. More specifically, GET-FACTS scholars have produced patient-centered research on the practical, commonplace experiences of life in Canada with a food allergy. Allergies & Allegories translates that knowledge into an interactive, multimodal experience through which players can learn to perceive and recognize the environmental, social, and cultural challenges food-allergic children face. In order to ensure that this knowledge reaches the widest audience, Allergies & Allegories is being developed as an accessible website, open to any with access to a web browser.
2016. Web. [Forthcoming].
My interest in the capacity for games to have a positive social impact has led to a partnership with Dean Mizzi, an undergraduate student from the GreenHouse at St. Paul’s University College. GreenHouse is a campus-linked accelerator focused on social innovation and entrepreneurship. The goal of The Games Archive is to create a searchable, sortable online database of games that seek to raise awareness of social, cultural, political, and environmental issues. Entries will include links to the predominantly free games, as well as journalistic and academic treatments of these games. The outcome here is to provide focus and direction for those looking to create and research in this nascent genre of videogames.
#gamestudies101/@gamestudies is a hashtag and Twitter account for sharing and collecting introductory game studies texts. The project is a Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory (HASTAC) initiative undertaken by myself and fellow HASTAC scholar, Emma Vossen. The intent is to 1) provide an avenue for those unfamiliar with game studies to quickly survey a wide range of introductory material and 2) to instigate a conversation amongst game scholars on what articles, books, blog posts, etc. best introduce newcomers to the study of games.
Twitter account: https://twitter.com/gamestudies101
Fall 2013 – Fall 2015. Web.
First Person Scholar (FPS) is a weekly web-based game studies periodical supported by the Games Institute at the University of Waterloo. As co-founder and editor-and-chief of FPS, the site has become a highly-trafficked, internationally-recognized middle-state publication that has brought together scholars, graduate students, developers, and videogame enthusiasts in the interest of expanding the critical conversation on games and their study. Since December 2012 I have managed a team of graduate students at FPS as we continue to publish essays, commentaries, and book reviews every Wednesday for over two years. Our articles have been cited in GameStudies.org, The New Yorker, and a curated selection of articles appeared in a recent issue of Loading…Journal of the Canadian Game Studies Association.
Game scholars often have unique critical perspectives on games and game design but they do not always possess the technical skills required to prototype those ideas into playable games. At the same time, focus on the technical implementation of a game can inhibit consideration of its overall argument. Out of this context arose the notion of a pseudo game jam. I brought this idea to the FPS staff and together we put out a call for what we called procedural poems—written descriptions of the processes and procedures that make up a game. The result was numerous submissions that were entered into a contest and evaluated in terms of their capacity to subvert the conventions of popular videogame genres.
Call for Submissions: http://www.firstpersonscholar.com/pseudo-game-jam/
PRAGmatic is a data visualization initiative funded by the Interactive MultiModal Experience Research Syndicate (IMMERSe). The objective of the project is to create a set of visualization tools that can display existing scholarship in such a way that newcomers to game studies can quickly familiarize themselves with the discipline, while at the same time existing game scholars can easily and intuitively explore large bodies of scholarship. In order to accomplish this objective I began adapting existing open-source web-based tools for this purpose, resulting in two prototypes. I submitted the prototypes to the 2013 SSHRC Storytellers contest, a Canada-wide event that evaluated SSHRC-funded projects for their exceptional scholarly contributions. PRAGmatic was short-listed in the top twenty and went on to be one of the final five winners of the contest. Work on PRAGmatic continues as I refine these open-source, web-based programs into discipline-agnostic data visualization tools.
Original Submission: “SSHRC Storyteller: Steve Wilcox” http://bit.ly/1l3fQCW
Talk: “Steve Wilcox: 2013 Final Five SSHRC Storyteller” http://bit.ly/1hFWKUD
This web-based game was inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s The Purloined Letter in which the titular letter was ‘hidden’ in plain sight on the thief’s desk or bureau. Taking up this idea in a twenty-first century context, I created a mock-up the desk of a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent. From a top-down perspective players had access to a tablet and a cell phone. Over the course of 8 weeks events regarding a murder-mystery populated the devices in real-time. The official investigation unfolded on the tablet where players studied evidence, read emails, and used a command console to access other networks. On the cell phone events regarding the main character’s personal life unfolded concurrently. The result was a unique narrative that made use of the affordances of digital media to tell an old story in a new way.
2011. Arcade cabinet.
This project involved working with Dani Stock to build an arcade cabinet and design an arcade game informed by new media theory. The result was a game that blended the relationship between the body, language, and materiality. Players were tasked with using the joystick to enter various directional patterns—where each pattern had a corresponding colour. The narrative premise here is that players were colouring pixels that were being assembled—off screen—into an image. Once enough ‘pixels’ were coloured, the cabinet would print out a colour photograph, showing the player for the first time the image they’d been building through a novel kinetic language. The cabinet, developed for a graduate course, later became an installation at THE MUSEUM in Kitchener, Ontario.