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CGSA 2022 Review

Posted by zacdracek

Yellow and grey logo of the Canadian Game Studies Association

Over the first week of June, multiple researchers from the Technoculture, Art, and Game Research Lab logged on to present and participate in the virtual space of the 2022 Canadian Games Studies Association’s (CGSA) annual conference. Formerly part of the Congress of Humanities and Social Sciences, CGSA has since developed into a separate four-day conference in which multidisciplinary scholars from across the world present their research, discuss prevalent topics in games studies research, network with like-minded academics, and celebrate all facets of the vast discipline. In place of a conventional physical conference, our impressive range of TAG members mobilized across multiple platforms to put forth a wide range of presentation topics and panel discussions surrounding the conference’s theme – ACTION!

TAG was incredibly well represented in both attendance and caliber of research. Ten members presented their unique projects, so it is impossible to cover each presenter’s topic and panel in-depth. So instead, this blog post gathers short summaries and tweets from the event. If you are interested in learning more about the presentations or the researchers, please click on the individual tweets to view each scholar’s Twitter account, or visit TAG’s research and member pages to learn more!

Playable Conspiracy: Translating Analogies into Serious Board Games

Scott DeJong

Presenting on the New Frameworks and Fields panel alongside David Murphy and Steve Wilcox, Scott presented the research-creation process – from concept, to design, to playtesting, to (near!) release – for his team’s upcoming serious board game, Lizards and Lies (2022), which works to play with issues surrounding conspiracies and socio-political misinformation.

3 Contests in a Trenchcoat: V&A Top 10, Games Broadcasting & 90s Canadian Gamer Capital

Andrei Zanescu, Michael Iantorno, & Marc Lajeunesse

As part of the Investigating ESports panel, which also hosted presentations from Nicholas Taylor and Matthew Howard, these three TAGsters teamed up to present their investigation into the early history of Canadian ESports media and programming. The three explored the content and context of the long-running YTV program Video and Arcade Top 10 (1991-2006) to address the show’s role in establishing Canadian gamer culture in the 1990s.

It Comes in Waves: A Social Impact Prototype Postmortem

Courtney Blamey, Mia Consalvo, & Lyne Dwyer

In another presentation from a team of TAGsters, this trio presented a post-mortem for their social impact game It Comes in Waves (2022) as part of the Playing Through the Pandemic panel with Christine H. Tran and Nathan Rambukkana. Through their post-mortem, the three dissected their game design process and implementation of themes surrounding the pandemic and socioeconomic class to reflect on their game’s design and execution as a social impact game.

Representing Bentley: A Critical Reading of Disability in Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves

Jules Maier-Zucchino

Constituting one-third of the Cripping Games panel alongside fellow presenters Brigitta Abboud and Sarah Stang, Jules explored the complicated representation of disability across the semiotic and procedural levels of Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves through the playable character Bentley.


A Messy Play: Callout Culture and Other Exclusionary Practices Game Fandoms

Sarah Christina Ganzon

Following up on her presentation topic from last year’s CGSA, Sarah extended her survey of Dragon Age fan and creator cultures as part of the Interrogating Game Cultures and Fandoms panel, alongside Ray Op’Tland and Rainforest Scully-Blaker, to further engage with the discourse of callouts and other “messy” cases of toxic gamer culture in fandoms through the lens of intersectionality.

The Social Value of Cosmetic Items in DOTA 2

Marc Lajeunesse, Andei Zanescu, and Martin French

Constituting a quarter of the Games and Affect panel alongside Gerrit Krueper, Jean Ketterling, and Markus Russin, our final TAG team presented their multi-year ethnographic research surrounding the affective relationships developed between players and digital cosmetics in DOTA 2.

Overall, the conference was a huge success, both for TAG members and the larger community of game studies researchers. We are already looking forward to next year’s CGSA conference  – which will take place in person in Toronto. However, far before that, TAG members are already gearing up for this year’s DiGRA conference, taking place both physically and online in Krakow, Poland from July 7-11, with an exciting keynote presentation from returning TAG director Rilla Khaled. If you can’t make it to this exciting conference, but still want to keep up-to-date on TAG’s research and presentations, keep an eye on the TAG blog for updates later in July.