Generation Analog 2024


Generation Analog 2024 Program

Analog Game Studies and Game in Lab are proud to announce Generation Analog 2024. This year’s online conference will take place July 24 and July 25, 2024. The online event is free and open to the AGS community.  All presentations will be recorded and made available after the event. Check out the presentations from previous years via AGS’s YouTube channel (like and subscribe!):

Registration is now open: !   Online event link will be sent prior to conference dates.  Session times are all Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).   Download the full program here.

HOME is this year’s conference theme. We will explore games and home, play and home, playing at home, being stuck at home, playing with others, and playing home alone. We will interrogate playing house, play(ful) rooms, game rooms, gaming tables, home squares, home bases, home teams, home brews, house rules, and play as (sometimes) “safe as houses.” Finally, we will imagine alternative domesticities, materialities and economies, found families and gaming groups, and even queer(er) and more radical places, spaces, and possibilities of play. In fact, according to Steven Vider in The Queerness of Home,

Home is not only about shelter and stability but also a sense of personal, cultural, and political connection and recognition, from our communities and a larger public…[and] the many ends that home may serve—the normative and the queer, constraint and liberation, isolation and community…Making a queerer home means recognizing the material, psychological, and cultural meanings embedded in the everyday practice of homemaking—neither to deny nor reify its power and primacy, but to question and expand its limits. (227-228)

Again, registration for Generation Analog 2024 is required and helps us track attendance and participation.  No spam, no harrassment, no hate, no abuse.

Day One 🏡 Wednesday, July 24

9:00-9:30 AM
Opening Remarks

Aaron Trammell (he/him), Evan Torner (he/him), Shelly Jones (they/them), Edmond Chang (he/they), Megan Condis (she/her), Emma Leigh Waldron (she/her)
Analog Game Studies

9:30-11:00 AM EDT Session 1A: Actually Playing The Home

​​Moderator: Shelly Jones (they/them)

Theorizing Homebrew: Homebrewing as White Geekdom and Aabria Iyengar as Counternarrative

Austin Anderson (he/him), Howard University

This presentation seeks to theorize homebrew by situating the concept within the border history of “white geek masculinity” that Aaron Trammell (2023) has powerfully suggested is embedded within hobby gaming culture. By connecting TTRPG homebrewing to the Homebrew Computer Club and similar communities, this presentation will highlight the racial and gendered inheritances of homebrew culture. The presentation concludes with a case study of Aabria Iyengar’s homebrewing in Dimension 20 to explore how she troubles some of foundational assumptions around homebrew.

Playing From Home, Working From Home: Actual Players’ Relationship to Play as Labor

Carson Barnes (she/her), Auburn University

This presentation is part of a larger project that collects qualitative and quantitative data on creators’ attitudes towards their own work, intellectual property, ideas of authorship and ownership, and monetization of labor. Here, I focus on respondents who “work from home” – playing in remote recording conditions. We compare their responses to those of studio-recorded play to note the similarities and differences in the ways these participants understand the role AP plays in their lives, aspirations, careers, and more.

Home Games: Actual Play and the Historical Development of the Tableside Aesthetic

DA Hall (any), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

This presentation argues that actual play shows have succeeded in large part due to the production of what I call a ‘tableside’ aesthetic that positions the viewer neither as voyeur to a private moment nor audience to a public performance but rather as included within a private, domestic space. Drawing on theories of queer domesticity and participatory fan culture, this paper shows that this tableside aesthetic allows for both the queering of the domestic space through a radical multiplicity of perspectives and for the suppression of voices perceived to be violating the domestic space, most often those calling for an explicit engagement with political issues. I trace the uneasy migration of performance and politics from Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Fireside Chats and Orson Welles’ infamous radio performance of War of the Worlds as historical precursors to modern examples such as the McElroy Family’s “No Bummers” policy and Dimension 20’s talkback show Adventuring Party.

The Home Group as Center of Calculation: The Media Ecology of Local Communities of Play

Nicholas J. Mizer (he/him), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
William J. White (he/him), Penn State Altoona

This study uses interview data from TRPG players to explore the contours of their engagement with TRPGs in the context of group play as well as individual media consumption. The goal is to understand how role-playing games, as a mechanism for the rationalized re-enchantment of cultural life, are articulated within a transmedia phenomenological landscape. The results will help illuminate the dynamics of situated learning within TRPG communities of play.

11:00-11:30 AM EDT Break
11:30 AM-

1:00 PM EDT

Session 1B: Homebreaking

Moderator: Evan Torner (he/him)

A Larp about Leaving Home: Reflections on the Design and Performance of On the Other Side

Daniel González Cohens (he/him), Tampere University
Antonio Pomposini Tabja (he/they), Tampere University

On the Other Side is an original live action role-playing game (larp) about moving abroad and how environment and culture interface with identity. Our goal was for players to reflect on who they are, where they are and how these questions intersect. We share some of the insights and powerful moments experienced through the game, and how players formed self-understanding and created embodied forms of knowledge through the artgame.

Playing at Vagrancy: Closed and Open Roleplaying Time in Addressless and Wanderhome

Nicholas Orvis (he/him), David Geffen School of Drama at Yale

What does it mean to play at houselessness? This paper examines two works that encourage players to do so (Wanderhome, 2021, and Addressless, 2022) and argues that the deployment of time in these works functions to very different ends. In one, the unhoused protagonists are treated implicitly as a problem to be solved, while in the other, they are woven into shifting relational networks in a constant process of becoming.

Wretched and at Home: Playing to Lose as a Solo Player

Deb Fuller (she/her), Instructor, Center for Talented Youth, Johns Hopkins University

This paper explores “playing to lose,” a collaborative roleplaying style where players prioritize narrative over victory, when used in the context of solo games like “The Wretched.” It examines the unique appeal of these solo experiences and the benefits of them, such as exploring themes of isolation and perseverance, that come from embracing a dramatic, often no-win scenario without a social audience.

Time to (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ : Exclusionary Game Platforms and Flipping the “Good Table”

PS Berge (they/she), Assistant Professor of Experimental Game Design, University of Alberta

In 2022, popular virtual tabletop Tabletop Simulator (TTS;Berserk Games) became a site of outrage after its automatic chat moderation banned users for mentioning queer identities. This spurred heated debate online about what kind of talk belongs “at the table.” While queer folks and allies demanded accountability from Berserk, reactionary gamers praised the exclusion of queer players by spamming “Good Table” on Steam. Drawing from review data scraped from Steam following TTS’s scandal, I demonstrate how the table became a conceit for the neoliberal faux-neutrality of reactionary gamers.  Finally, I further my framework for ludoarsony (introduced at Generation Analog 2023) to articulate flipping the table as a feminist practice in game studies: sending the game and the invisible cultural plane beneath it off their axes. I argue that flipping the game is itself a playful act that exists within feminist tradition of finding play in interruption.

1:00-1:30 PM EDT Break
1:30-2:30 PM EDT KEYNOTE I

Moderator: Evan Torner (he/him)

Wandering On Home

Jay Dragon (no pronouns)
Editorial Director
Possum Creek Games

Role-playing games model communities and friend groups, both within the game world and structurally outside it. Both around the table and in the world, people come together, squabble over social norms, and produce meaningful works of art. Jay Dragon discusses using games as a model for relating to others over time, thinking about the ups and downs of community-building, and as a map for eventually finding one’s way home.

2:30-3:00 PM EDT Break
3:00-4:30 PM Session 1C: Art Rooms

Moderator: Edmond Chang (he/they)

Building a Home for Games As Art

Leland Masek (he/him), Tampere University
Daniel Gonzalez Cohens (he/him), Tampere University
Daniel Fernández Galeote (he/him), Tampere University
Antonio Pomposini (he/him), Tampere University

How do we create “a sense of personal, cultural, and political connection and recognition” (Vider 2022, p. 227) for games as an artistic medium? This is a question at the very heart of the Games As Art Center (GAAC) in Tampere, Finland, founded in September 2023. It has hosted 100 events for over 1,500 participants focusing on games, playfulness, and artistic expression. We will present on our practical and theoretical considerations building a home for games as art.

Transforming Board Gaming Spaces: From Analog Taverns to Digital Living Rooms

Valerio Moccia (he/him), IULM University, Milan

Historically, spaces designated for board gaming have evolved significantly, ranging from taverns where patrons gambled over dice and cards, to parlors in Victorian homes, to modern living rooms. The convergence of analog games with digital components and the rise of the DIY movement have further transformed these spaces, with technologies such as Virtual Tabletop (VTT) software and phygital accessories. This study aims to analyze the transformation of gaming tables and rooms within domestic settings, focusing particularly on contemporary practices that incorporate screens or other digital devices.

Home Away from Home: The Material Rhetoric of LARP Props

Jennifer Hartshorn (she/they), Georgia State University

At typical American “boffer,” or live foam sword combat larps, participants typically stay in primitive cabins at state parks for the weekend, similar to what you might find at a scouting or summer camp. While the players only occupy the space from Friday night to Sunday afternoon, in some cases, players bring a carful of props and decorations to make the space not only comfortable, but conducive to immersion and roleplaying. By creating a kind of ecology in a semi-private or shared space, larpers who carefully curate their living area at events encourage immersion and enrich their roleplaying experience – even if they are the only one who sees it.

We Have Escape Rooms At Home: Escape Boxes, Space, and Genre

Mirek Stolee (he/they), University of Central Florida

Alongside the proliferation of live-action escape room locations, there have been many attempts to capture the escape room experience for the home. These escape boxes differ drastically in their understanding of the ‘escape room’ and ‘the home’ to which they are adapting the genre. This presentation analyzes boxed escape room experiences released between 2016 and 2023 through the lenses of space and place outlined by Marie-Laure Ryan along with Paul Booth’s ludo-textual analysis framework, revealing divergent understandings of the broader escape game genre along with normative assumptions about the homes in which the games are played.

4:30-5:00 PM EDT Break
5:00-6:00 PM EDT Session 1D: Homepunk

Moderator: Aaron Trammell (he/him)

The Lived Politics of the Negative: Tabletop Game Designers on Punk, Practice, and Utopia

Eric Stein (he/him), Trinity Western University
wendi yu (she/ela), Federal University of Bahia
Gabriel Henrique Caetano Barbosa (she/they)
Cezar Capacle (he/him)
Vitor Mattos (he/him)

Contra the capture of the radical impulse by the homogenizing marketing label ‘hopepunk’, this panel conceives of punk instead as ‘the lived politics of the negative’ (Muñoz, 2013). From this position, tabletop game play and design become potent refusals of the co-opting forces of the Global North, and concrete means for imagining and indeed realizing an outside and an afterward to the present crises shaping the conditions of our planetary existence. This panel mounts a challenge to colonial capitalist hegemony through the words and practices of four tabletop game designers, blending craft, theory, and experience to articulate a pluralistic and ethical vision of a punk at home and flourishing in the ruins of this crumbling world.

6:00-6:30 PM Break
6:30-8:00 PM Session 1E: No Home

Moderator: Megan Condis (she/her)

“Racism? In my D&D Campaign?’’ Critical Shenanigans Towards Fantastic Oppression in D&D Homebrew Campaigns

Diamond Beverly-Porter (she/her), Washington State University, Pisces
Shonte Clement (They/She), University of Texas at Dallas, Pisces
Luke Hernandez (He/They), University of Texas at Dallas, Aquarius

Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) was created as a white space and built upon the legacy of racism in Western culture. Through applying reparative play (Trammell 2023) and a critical autotheory lens, BIPOC D&D players challenge and subvert the racist tropes, along with the myriads of oppressive practices baked into the ‘serious’ gameplay, narrative, and environment design in D&D sessions. Through critical shenanigans in homebrew practices that disrupt and subvert these oppressive fantastic, and real, components in the adventure. We hope to share the ways joy is homebrewed in these trying times.

Unsettling Homecomings: Indigenous Futurist Games, Decolonization, and Reimagining Home

Kari Gustafson (they/she), Douglas College (Coquitlam, BC)

This presentation explores how anti-colonial and Indigenous futurist games, like Coyote & Crow, can offer a space to consider and reimagine concepts of home and homeland. They challenge our sense of “home” from games based in colonial values by offering critical alternatives for  storyworlding, character building, and gameplay. We will consider how playing and gamemastering with intention might be/come part of a practice and commitment to decolonization and reconciliation.

Board Game Cafes, Consumption and Sociability in Japanese Urban Context

Dr. Allan Macedo de Novaes, Associate Professor in the Digital Games Program, Adventist University of Sao Paulo, Brazil
Dr. Lizbeth Carolina Kanyat Ojeda de Novaes, Associate Professor at the Department of Communication, Adventist University of Sao Paulo, Brazil

This study aims to explore the role of board game cafes as spaces of consumption, sociability and community building in a Japanese urban context.

It’s All Fun and Games till Somebody Loses an I: Ethnomethods of Bleed for Tabletop Role Play

Sarah Klein (she/her) University of Waterloo
Gerald Voorhees (he/him) University of Waterloo

Adopting an ethnomethodological orientation to TTRPG play as accountable action, we analyze a case study of an in-game sexual assault that precipitated the cancellation of the Far Verona stream, and identify four ethnomethods of bleed play through which character and player frames are acted upon by GM and players: 1. Epistemic moves, through which a GM controls the information players and characters have available, 2. Grammatical moves through which distinctions between character and player may be imposed or resisted in narration or dialogue, 3. Embodied moves, through which player-performers may merge with or differentiate from their characters, and 4. Metatextual moves, when players’ social worlds cross into the game world through slang, in-jokes, or cultural references.

End of Day One

Day Two 🏰 Thursday, July 25

9:00-9:30 AM
Opening Remarks

Aaron Trammell (he/him), Evan Torner (he/him), Shelly Jones (they/them), Edmond Chang (he/they), Megan Condis (she/her), Emma Leigh Waldron (she/her)
Analog Game Studies

9:30-11:00 AM EDT Session 2A: Uncanny Relationships

Moderator:  Emma Leigh Waldron (she/her)

Bluebeard’s House of Horrors: Domestic Dread, Feminine Fear, and Character Complicity in Bluebeard’s Bride

Sharang Biswas (he/him), independent game designer, writer, & artist

Bluebeard’s Bride, described by its creators as a game of feminist and feminine horror, is TTRPG focussing on the secrets and horrors found within the house of a new bride. As characters explore room after room in the folktale-villain Bluebeard’s mansion, they unearth terrible truths about the place they’re supposed to feel safest: their very home. This talk discusses how Bluebeard’s Bride upends traditional notions of power accrual common in TTRPGs, emphasizing loss of control and helplessness to make arguments about constructed spaces and social (feminine) power.

Familia Horribilis: Patriarchy, Queerness, and the Violation and the Defense of the home in Warhammer 40,000

Aasa Halla Aurora Timonen (she/her), Tampere University
Ian Sturrock (he/him), Teesside University

In this paper, we examine how queerness, and themes of invasion and defence of the home, play out in Warhammer 40,000’s (40K) Genestealer Cults. How home is depicted in relation to Cults offers a view on how 40K plays with fascist ideologies and propaganda, where the enemy is both internal and external threat, yet from the Cult’s viewpoint, they are the other fighting against the conformity and brutal oppression of the Imperium. Looking at these can offer insight on how games can create a universe where war is not an ideologically righteous cause, but a complicated political avenue for storytelling about the threats to home from within and without.

Bringing Actual Play Home: Kollok, Pandemics, and Meta-Games

Emily MN Kugler

The actual play Kollok (HyperRPG, 2022) centers its narratives on nostalgia, isolation due to pandemic and technology, and resistance to late-stage capitalism, while attempting to include its audience as player characters rather than spectators. I am interested in exploring how the homebrew aspects of the system interacts with its high-tech live studio points to the tension of performing a narrative as commodity to be consumed and questioning the systemic pressures to make play profitable.

Playing Games in Relationships: How Fog of Love Relocates Social Deduction

Megs Tyler (any), University of Utah

This presentation explores how Fog of Love reimagines social deduction for a domestic context. This includes analysis of the game’s mechanics of role selection and its appeals to queer and women gamers.

11:00-11:30 AM EDT Break
11:30 AM-1:00 PM EDT Session 2B: Queer Vulnerability and Tabletop RPGs

Moderator: Edmond Chang (he/they)

Building Trans Homes through Embodied Play and Lyric Games

Percival Hornak (he/him), Independent Scholar

This paper uses affect studies and theories of TTRPG design to think through the role of embodied play in the process of gender transition and building trans community. Using Logan Timmins’ games LOGAN: An Autobiographical TTRPG and I’M A TRANS MAN AND I’M HERE TO FUCK as case studies, I argue for the role of play in discovering new gender possibilities and coming home to one’s body.

Hymn of the Nein: Queer Kinship, Found Family, and the Evocation of Home in TTRPG Fan Music

Drew Borecky (he/him), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

This paper aims to examine the transformation of narratives of queer kinship and found family across artistic mediums within TTRPG fan communities as a method of meaning-making for both musicians, and members of the community at large.  To demonstrate this, I examine TTRPG fan music by fan collectives the Cantata Pansophical (Critical Role) and the Sig Fig Collective (Dimension 20) as sites to explore the themes of queer kinship and found family by TTRPG and AP fans. Drawing from scholarship in the fields of queer studies, anthropology, fan studies, and musicology, I argue that these transformations seek to evoke a sense of a “home” found between friends at the TTRPG table and a sense of communal belonging among strangers that spans across TTRPG and AP Fan communities.

You Were Bought at a Price: War Metaphors and Queer Recovery in Beam Saber and This Body of Mine, I Will Make it a Temple

Dr. Daniel Cox (he/they), University of Central Florida

Drawing from earlier works like Mobile Suit Gundam (1979), the table-top role-playing game Beam Saber (2019) provides rules for play through powerful vehicles and robotic bodies where characters try to ultimately mentally and physically escape from an unwinnable conflict simply named The War. Responding to the same sources, This Body of Mine, I Will Make it a Temple (2021) forefronts trans bodies and queer recovery with an initial phase asking players to construct their previous mecha bodies and the cost conflicts have taken on their body and mind. This presentation examines the intersection between mecha media and queer recovery with a focus on embodiment in table-top role-playing systems.

Is There Room for Queer Chaos at Yazeba’s Bed and Breakfast?: Aesthetic Impact in Queer Domesticities and Queergaming

Susan Haarman, PhD (she/they), Loyola University Chicago

Yazebea’s Bed and Breakfast by Possum Games presents a game focused on found family and queer domesticity in a whimsically detailed world. Gameplay focuses on cooperation, complexity, and playing against the game’s rules – aspects of queergaming as articulated by Edmond Chang. But this picture of domesticity and home may inadvertently conform to traditional domestic ideals, prizing stability and harmony over complexity and fluidity. This presentation will incorporate different philosophical theories of aesthetics in conversation with queer theory to open up a broader conversation about the relationship between created worlds and queer gaming.

1:00-1:30 PM EDT Break

Moderator: Aaron Trammell (he/him)

On Recording Home Games

Emily Friedman (she/her)
Associate Professor of English
Auburn University

One of the most famous Actual Plays in the world insists that it is still playing a home game. What would happen if we took that seriously as a claim?  Drawing from survey data, interviews, and analysis of thousands of actual plays, this talk explores the wide range of play styles and audiences for roleplaying games—and the debates over authenticity that have ensued during the rise of Actual Play.

2:30-3:00 PM Break
3:00-4:30 PM Session 2C: Emotional Design

Moderator: Megan Condis (she/her)

making it up as we go along: designplay as dynamic sanctuary

Bea[trix] Livesey-Stephens (she/her), Abertay University
Dr. Niall Moody (he/him), Abertay University

Niall Moody’s making it up as we go along (2022) is a game that positions players as designers, creating and changing the rules of the game. The game and this presentation serve to interrogate game design as akin to the formal and informal labor that sustains a home.  Here, we speak to the fruitful interplay between design, play, and the informal consensus processes that arise out of a commitment to a shared communal space.

The Beauty of the Brew: How TTRPG Systems Structure Creative Co-Design

Scott DeJong (he/ him), Concordia University
Marc Lajeunesse (he/him), Concordia University (Technoculture, Art, and Games Institute)

In a Tabletop Role-Playing Game where players and game masters (GM) play through fantasy worlds, homebrew – or creative additions or changes to the game – offers a chance for everyone to get a voice. It can be expected that GMs have house rules or have made massive worlds, but when opened to players, homebrew allows players to construct the story and collaborate on building the world they play in. This presentation explores homebrew for players and GMs, sharing research on collaborative, co-constructed worlds and characters that allow everyone at the table to craft various parts of the story and the very foundations of TTRPG play sessions.

“They Didn’t Make It Home”: Designing for Unfairness in Right 2 Roam

Dr. Mona Bozdog (she/her), Lecturer in Immersive Experience Design, Abertay University
Professor Robin Sloan (he/him), Professor in Game Design & Culture, Abertay University

This paper will discuss the design of Right 2 Roam (R2R), a tabletop boardgame inspired by stories and personal experiences of women walking home alone. R2R aims to draw attention to the injustice and inequality of personal safety in public space by incorporating these imbalances of power in its game system.

Close To Home: Pandemic-Era Design

Lizzie Stark (she/her), Six of Hounds
Jason Morningstar (he/him), Six of Hounds and Bully Pulpit Games

In 2020, in-person play became physically and ethically impossible, which dramatically changed our design process. Join us to learn how the pandemic continues to impact our practice and community. It isn’t all bad!

4:30-5:00 PM EDT Break
5:00-6:30 PM EDT Session 2D: Cozy Capture

Moderator: Shelly Jones (they/them)

Home-owning: The Lost Fantasy

Alyssa J Rodriguez (She/They), NYU Game Center and Anima Interactive

Focusing mainly on Dungeons & Dragons, home-ownership as a playable narrative and mechanic is an elusive concept for players and designers due to the influence of 1970s American politics, which has led to alternative concepts of home with a focus on escapism and nomadic lifestyles to this day. When it is explored, the high fantasy setting default to pre-20th century for home-owning as mechanics and status symbols through NPCs such as nobility, scholars, or rulers. As a result, in modern TTRPGs, home-ownership has become even more difficult to conceptualize especially for millennial and Gen Z players and designers, being influenced by games and narratives that lack the idea entirely while contending with the harsh reality that home-ownership is less attainable than ever, and how do designers approach this design challenge to reclaim that fantasy?

Food for Home: Designing a Keepsake Game

Sreyashi Mukherjee, PhD (she/her), Teaching Assistant Professor of Strategic Communication, University of Pittsburgh
Greg Loring-Albright, PhD (he/him), Assistant Professor of Games, Media, and Culture, Harrisburg University of Science and Technology.

We will discuss the design process of Food for Home, a Keepsake Game about food, family, and home. It is designed to be played in the kitchen while players reflect on the place of food in their life as they cook and simultaneously create a written/drawn reflection on the process of cooking a significant dish; the game allows them to encode aspects of memory via the play experience. This presentation will serve as both a design reflection and as a theoretical exploration of food and cooking as it relates to home, family, and diaspora, in addition to textuality and (re)mediation.

Practicing Consensual Play

Kathleen Morrissey (she/her), Ph.D candidate in Computational Media at WPI

This paper explores how players can play with consent in games with intimate themes, blending insights from various fields like psychology, queer game scholarship, and spirituality. Using Thirsty Suitors as a case study, it looks at different approaches to consent: being true to oneself, going along with prompts, or rejecting prompts. Through this, it aims to make gaming more inclusive by normalizing discussions about BDSM, sex work, and queerness, and empowering readers to think critically about consent and self-expression in games.

The Use of Table-Top Roleplaying Games as a Therapeutic Intervention for Individuals with Social Anxiety: Gaming, Therapy, and Zoom at Home

Charley Sharkey (she/her), TBG Canada

Tabletop roleplaying therapy is a relatively new application of therapy whose inventive nature holds the possibility of changing the landscape of traditional group counselling. Throughout this presentation we will go over the origins of the tabletop therapy modality, experiences with using it/ applications regarding social anxiety, and further future directions for this modality. We hope to inspire experienced and new therapists, and provide a unique perspective on the narrative therapy lens.

6:30-7:00 PM EDT Closing Remarks

Aaron Trammell (he/him), Evan Torner (he/him), Shelly Jones (they/them), Edmond Chang (he/they), Megan Condis (she/her), Emma Leigh Waldron (she/her)
Analog Game Studies

End of Day Two