Beyond the Console: Gender and Narrative Games
The Centre for Research in Digital Storymaking at London South Bank University is organising a two-day conference to showcase and explore narrative games through the experiential and critical lens of gender. From tabletop live roleplay to mobile apps with user story creation platforms, from interactive performance to interactive fiction, narrative games create vibrant participatory communities. Since their modern incipience, narrative games are also contestedly gendered. Little Wars, a live roleplay strategy game book by H.G. Wells (1913) is subtitled: ‘for boys and for that more intelligent sort of girl who likes boys’ games and books’. Yet in the networked age, narrative games have also opened up a diversity of stories. Open source authoring tool communities empower personal game authorship (Twine, since 2008); classic game genres, such as live table top games, are reconfigured as journeys of becoming (Monster Hearts, 2012); commercial mobile apps place ‘Hollywood-calibre stories’ of melodrama at the centre of their social media games (Episodes, 2014); live action role play games (LARP) reflect and incorporate gender neutrality in their immersive game design (College of Wizardy, 2018); while interactive performances invite audience members to play at being a different gender (Disaster Party, 2017).