From June 5 – 7, 2019 I got to hang out with a bunch of TAGsters at Congress in Vancouver. Despite an eclectic collection of conferences occurring, I spent my time (as did many others from TAG) at the Canadian Game Studies Association’s conference (CGSA). It was three days of panels, presenting, staring with my mouth open at the beautiful University of British of Columbia campus, filling my mouth with sushi, and receiving a slew of new ideas to consider as I work on my thesis proposal.
After a warm-up student conference in Ottawa this past March, CGSA was the first national conference I have attended and presented at. Seeing the schedule, joining the association, and preparing my research for an audience of active researchers, I went into the conference with some uneasiness towards my place among such talented peers. As a first year student who was just starting their thesis work, I felt that my personal research project might not find its place. However, the associations friendly and supportive environment towards me as a young researcher was reassuring.
While some still consider CGSA a relatively small conference, each day was filled with amazing panels that covered an extensive range of topics in games studies. With a range of panels, workshops and discussions, I felt like I dived into a space where a range of disciplines coalesced and a place where questions were meant to be debated. Listening to discussions on “casual” gaming, the process of archiving games, narrative fiction, selfcare in research, and social sensemaking; my mind and notes became filled with new ideas that I hope to one day revisit. Despite this, I would have appreciated more times, or curated spaces for informal discussion with researchers from other institutions.
Entering the conference my own thesis work was in a state of ambiguity, where I was transforming my ideas to fit into the proper frameworks and timelines. Hearing of research, fields and concepts that I had previously not considered provided me with a renewed vigour towards the value of games research. Recognizing the breadth of meaningful research that was presented and range of topics, motivated and inspired me in the construction of my recently submitted thesis proposal.
I had the opportunity to present on a Platform and Infrastructures panel where my case specific presentation on data use in League of Legends, was accompanied by a discussion on the upcoming changes of game streaming services. The panel provided a great space for conversation and the discussions that occurred were great to hear and gave me many notes to work with.
As a first time attendee, the experience of CGSA in Vancouver was a welcoming and beneficial experience for myself as a young academic. As I move into my thesis work, I hope that these memories and ideas will help nudge my research into spaces that I would have otherwise not explored.