My big research task this spring has been my new book project, currently titled The Queer Games Avant-Garde: LGBTQ Video Game Makers and the Future of Interactive Media. This book is something like a spin-off from my monograph, Playing Queer, which I wrote in the fall — and so far it’s been really eye-opening and also a lot of fun.
The project is structured around interviews with contemporary indie game makers who either identify as queer or make work related to queer issues. Rather than rehashing the narratives about “diversity” in video games that we’ve already heard, these interviews are focused on the topics like the designers’ artistic influences, creative practices, and politics.
There will be about 20 artists profiled in the book, and I’ve completed around 15 interviews. I’ve already learned so much from these amazing creators. Here’s an excerpt from the book proposal:
Unlike a traditional monograph or edited volume, The Queer Games Avant-Garde features a wide range of voices. Rather than label queer games as a unified “scene” or a “movement,” this cacophony suggests resonances across many artists’ work. Those who have encountered queer games of the sort discussed in this book before may have only heard of a small handful of games. However, in truth, there are hundreds of scrappy, small-scale, personal, and highly influential games that address LGBTQ themes or could be considered queer–and that number is growing every day.
Exposing readers to the work of many queer game-makers, some well known and some just now entering the scene, offers a much wider, richer, and more nuanced sense of this work its increasing influences on how mainstream video games are made. These interviews delve deeply into the power and also the pitfalls of making queer games. The interviews become primary documents for future scholars to draw from as the field of queer game studies continues to grow. They also serve as sources of inspiration for others who want to make video games from the perspectives of marginalized people.
Stay tuned for more info soon as the project enters its final stages. The full manuscript should be under review by this summer, and hopefully these fascinating interviews will be in your hands by 2018!