On Crumbling Platforms at CGSA 2019

I presented a talk on game making tools as sharing practices as part of the Sharing Games: Proliferation, Posterity, Practice panel of the CGSA 2019 conference.

Here is the description of the presentation and some of its slides.

Game making is a loosely connected set of situated practices which involve a diverse, entangled arrangement of materials, knowledges, and repertoires. The notion of industrial pipelines for digital game making is inadequate to describe this diversity. Different communities create tools and processes and then circulate and appropriate them in ways that combine play, work, and creation beyond professionalized, commercial development. The design of such tools both supports and is shaped by the practices around them. Examining this relationship is a messy affair, but is key to positioning such practices: questions of gatekeeping, political positioning, and critical literacy are intertwined with how such tools and practices materialize and present game making.

In my presentation, I will look at different digital game making tools in terms of their game formats, arrangements of use and circulation, and how they support hybridity of hardware / middleware / software. What roles do these features play in circulating diverse visions of game making? My case studies range from fantasy consoles (PICO-8), to free and open-source standalone game engines (Superpowers, Duality), web-based tools (Bitsy), smartphone game making tools (Flatpack), and in-game editors in commercial consoles (Nintendo’s Toy-Con garage). The focus of analysis is not on the game design features of games created with such tools, but on the usually hidden and assumed overall systems of objects and interpersonal relationships (Burckhardt, 2012, p.165) around them. Throughout this close analysis, I examine tension lines and highlight intersections for critical design interventions and an active engagement with how game making circulates.

Works cited

Boluk, S., & LeMieux, P. (2017). Metagaming: Playing, Competing, Spectating, Cheating, Trading, Making, and Breaking Videogames. Minnesota, UNITED STATES: University of Minnesota Press. Retrieved from

Buechley, L., Rosner, D. K., Paulos, E., & Williams, A. (2009). DIY for CHI: Methods, Communities, and Values of Reuse and Customization. In CHI ’09 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 4823–4826). New York, NY, USA: ACM.

Burckhardt, L. (2012). Design is Invisible in Lucius Burckhardt Writings: Rethinking Man-made Environments: Politics, Landscapes & Design. (J. Fezer & M. Schmitz, Eds.). New York: SpringerWienNewYork.

Galloway, A., Brucker-Cohen, J., Gaye, L., Goodman, E., & Hill, D. (2004). Design for Hackability. In Proceedings of the 5th Conference on Designing Interactive Systems: Processes, Practices, Methods, and Techniques (pp. 363–366). New York, NY, USA: ACM.

Harvey, A. (2014). Democratization, depoliticization, and the queering of game design. GAME – The Italian Journal of Game Studies, 1(03), 13.

Freedman, E. (2018). Engineering Queerness in the Game Development Pipeline. Game Studies, 18(3). Retrieved from


Doctoral Colloquium at AoIR 2018

This doctoral colloquium was a great opportunity to get early feedback on my research directions from peers and experienced faculty. I presented a position paper with an outline of my research proposal, titled “Critical controllers: how alternative game controllers foster reflective game design”.


Designing Cook Your Way at CGSA 2018

I went to Regina, Saskatchewan, from 29 May to 03 June, to participate at the 2018 Annual Conference of the Canadian Game Studies Association (CGSA). The conference was part of the 2018 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences.

In the event, I presented a talk in a panel which featured my fellow student members (Jess Rowan Marcotte, Dietrich Squinkifier, and Rebecca Goodine) of the Reflective Games research group, directed by Dr. Rilla Khaled. Our panel showcased and discussed the group members’ research-creation work, focusing on design approaches and how our projects aim to encourage critical reflection in games and their design.

My individual talk at the panel (about the design process of Cook Your Way, a political game discussing the experience of migrants in relation to issues of identity and otherness) also sparked interesting conversations with other researchers. Topics discussed ranged from the representation of power in the game to how the different layers of design in the game reinforced its message and reflection through play.

Sample slide.

Indie Interfaces

In September 2017, Anita Cavaleiro and I presented a talk about indie dev meetups in Brazil at the Indie Interfaces conference at Concordia University in Montréal. More info about that event can be found here.


Different Games 2016

In April 2016, I presented the talk A critical analysis of the Brazilian independent games scene about how the independent games scene is configured in Brazil at the Different Games 2016 event at the NYU Magnet. It was a great opportunity to play interesting games and to get to know other researchers and game makers in an event focused on diversity and inclusion.