Technoculture, Art and Games (TAG) is an interdisciplinary centre for research/ creation in game studies and design, digital culture and interactive art


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Everyone’s a fraud, and that’s okay.

Posted by Jen Whitson

This week, I began slowly planning my move to Waterloo University, and quietly freaking out about being an actual prof.  I ran across this article, written by Tanya Short, who just happens to be TAG’s newest game designer in residence.


Tanya writes about overcoming Impostor Syndrome and the fear that someday people will discover that you’re a big giant fraud.  Now….granted that article is patently written for game-makers, but I did what I always do with Tanya’s articles and switched out “games” for “academia”.  (This works really well for 7 Ways Game Developers Break Their Own Hearts).  Anywho…I think that every person who has ever entered grad school has, at one point, felt exactly the same way.  And so I thought I’d point you towards it.  Just a gentle nudge.   Like me, you may find it useful.

Tanya’s article ends like this:

“It can be terrifying to realise that you’re not particularly special; but this is the true, meaty center of impostor’s syndrome. You don’t deserve success more than most other people.

I’m sure you (like many others) are very intelligent, flexible, and worked hard to get where you are. But you (like many others) also had some good fortune in there.

And that’s okay. Really, it is. Just use your newfound powers for good. Keep learning.

Be the success you want to see in the world.”

Definitely good advice for us bookish types as well as for game developers.

In my opinion, Kitfox are TOTALLY using their newfound powers for good. 😉

Case in point: Kitfox has been really busy around TAG this week. Tanya kicked off Critical Hit’s Summer Speaker’s Series with some lessons for game designers.  The whole Kitfox crew -Jong Woo, Mike, Xin and Tanya- are mentors for our games incubator. And Kitfox’s artist, Xin Ran Liu paints for a live audience every Friday from 3-5pm on his channel.  You should go check it out.

And, beyond TAG, Kitfox Games has been super busy actually making games this week. Their new game, Shattered Planet, is currently being featured by Apple in their “Best New Game Updates” section for both iPad and iPhone. We celebrated the PC launch of the game at Critical Hit’s Midsummer Playtest Party and sales have been doing well.  And Tanya, along with Nicholas Barriere-Kucharski of Double Stallion Games, was interviewed by on the impetus behind each studios’ decision to move away from free-to-play revenue models.  If you’re at all interested in platform studies, the socio-economics of games, and how much game-makers have to hustle to make a living, I’d recommend you read it.

Once you’re done, though, try not to feel like a fraud comparing your productivity to Kitfox’s. That’s a vortex you may never escape from.

Check out Xin's twitch channel Friday afternoons.

Check out Xin’s twitch channel Friday afternoons.