In 2013, QGCon was thrilled and humbled to be bringing you 30+ amazing speakers from across the games industry and academia.
Samantha Allen is a George W. Woodruff Fellow in the Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Emory University. In 2013, she is also the John Money Fellow at the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction. Samantha is writing a dissertation that uses Silvan Tomkins’ theory of affect to rethink sexual fetishism apart from Freudian theories of the drive. Samantha writes online about gender, sexuality and video games. You can find her work on The Border House, Jacobin, Kotaku, Thought Catalog and more.
Matt Boch is Creative Director at Harmonix Music Systems, guiding the direction of some of Harmonix’s premier titles. Matt began at Harmonix six years ago, with a Visual and Environmental Studies degree from Harvard University. From 2007-2010, he worked as a hardware designer, developing the look, feel and functionality of Rock Band’s iconic set of instruments. Matt then moved from the world of plastic guitars to the arena of game design when he began prototyping what would become Dance Central, utilizing his love for both music and dance. Today he’s directing Harmonix’s newest innovation in music gaming, Fantasia: Music Evolved, a collaboration with Disney to bring the classic film into the 21st century. In his spare time, Matt is the lead singer for the Main Drag, a VJ and video artist, and makes video game remixes through his music project, AniGif.
Hanna Brady is a game writer and an avid follower of the fantasy genre. She has written for TinyCo’s Tiny Castle and Spellstorm and for the indie game Alone in the Lights. She’s won two competitions run by gameful.org and writes about fantasy lit at www.hannabrady.com. In her spare time, she organizes and leads writer’s workshops at her local indie bookshop. After writing for her day job she likes to curl up with her computer and write some more. She also enjoys chocolate, kittens, fencing, and playing the harp, but not all at the same time.
Derek A. Burrill is an Associate Professor in the Media and Cultural Studies Department at the University of California, Riverside. Professor Burrill’s research focuses on new media, film, culture and performance — in particular, videogames and their relation to theories of the body and masculinity. His first book, Die Tryin’: Videogames, Masculinity and Culture, is the first book on gaming to focus on masculinity. His work has also appeared in several anthologies and in the journals Modern Drama, Social Semiotics, Text Technology and Television and New Media.
Matt Conn is the Founder and Creative Director of GaymerX: the world’s first gaming conference with a focus on LGBTQ geek culture. Previously a founding member at BandPage, Matt believes that there is a better world that we can create for LGBT geeks and their allies and hopes to help bring that vision to reality. Matt’s experience in being a part of founding multiple companies in the startup world has helped him understand how to get things done in a way that is creative, impactful, and disruptive.
Mohini Dutta’s love for adventure and stories started while growing up on cargo ships with her family, while sailing around the world. She left a career in the advertising world of Mumbai to come to New York City to attend Parsons’s MFA Design and Technology program where she discovered game design. Lately she has been satisfying her penchant for storytelling and adventure by working at Antidote Games, where she is Co-Founder, resident explorer and Narrative Strategist.
Aubrey Gabel is a Graduate Student in the French Department at UC Berkeley. She specializes in 20th century French literature, with an emphasis on formal innovation, gender studies and translation.
Jesper Juul is associate professor at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts – The School of Design. He has been working with video game theory since the early 1990s at the IT University of Copenhagen, Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab and at the NYU Game Center. His previous books are Half-Real and A Casual Revolution. He recently published The Art of Failure, a book that combines personal confessions about failure with philosophy, game design analysis, psychology and fiction theory.
Deirdra “Squinky” Kiai released their first videogame at age sixteen (for which they still occasionally get fan mail to this day) and have since used their interactive storytelling skills to touch on such subject matter as feminism, race, gender, coming of age, and social awkwardness After previous stints in the game industry as a programmer, writer, and designer, Squinky is now pursuing an MFA in Digital Arts and New Media at UC Santa Cruz.
Jack Halberstam is Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity, Gender Studies and Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California. Halberstam is the author of five books including: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters (Duke UP, 1995), Female Masculinity (Duke UP, 1998), In A Queer Time and Place (NYU Press, 2005), The Queer Art of Failure (Duke UP, 2011) and Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender, and the End of Normal (Beacon Press, 2012) and has written articles that have appeared in numerous journals, magazines and collections.
Bill Jahnel is an Assistant Professor of History and History Advisor at Palomar College. While his academic credentials are from Austin College and Rice University, his gaming “cred” stretches back to leading the Games SIG of the Apple Corps of Dallas at age 14. He has been a reviewer and feature writer at Inside Mac Games and MacReactor (where he was an Assistant Editor) back in an era when the Mac was a more robust gaming platform. He has recently returned to writing reviews and features at the gaming blog Tomodom, including his feature series “Heroes in the Academy,” a look at video games and their business through academic models. He is strangely proud he still owns bagged copies of Ultima and Aklabeth.
Samantha Kalman is an Artistic Technologist, creator of the musical puzzle game Sentris, and founder of Timbre Interactive, LLC. She is a self-taught game designer, programmer, and musician. Her professional credits include Unity Technologies, where she shipped multiple versions of Unity for Desktop and Mobile, and Amazon.com, where she developed and co-designed interactive prototypes for Kindle. She’s been known to mingle with Seattle Indies, own a cat or two, and appreciate a glass of good wine. She is based in Seattle and keeps her development blog at http://samanthakalman.com.
Evan W. Lauteria is a PhD student in Sociology at the University of California-Davis. His research interests include the studies of gender and sexuality, transnational popular culture, and fan production. Evan has published in the UK Literary Magazine Berfrois on the topic of queer game mechanics, as well as in Reconstruction on the resistant politics of queer game mods. He is currently co-editing a collection on sex and sexuality in video games with Matthew Wysocki at Flaglez College in Florida.
Colleen Macklin is a game designer, an Associate Professor in the school of Art, Media and Technology at Parsons The New School for Design and founder and co-director of PETLab (Prototyping Education and Technology Lab), a lab that develops games for experimental learning and social engagement. She is a member of the game design collective Local No. 12, best known for their collectible card game, the Metagame. Her work has been shown at Come Out and Play, UCLA Art|Sci Center, The Whitney Museum for American Art and Creative Time. BFA Media Arts Pratt Institute, MA International Affairs, The New School.
Joe Mcdaldno is the designer of Monsterhearts, The Quiet Year, and numerous other story games. They’re a founder and organizer of Terminal City Story Games, a queer-friendly weekly story games night in Vancouver, BC. They coordinate Game Chef, an annual tabletop game design competition that currently runs in five languages and attracts well over a hundred participants each year. They’re stoked on advancing queer themes and content in tabletop games.
Chris McRoberts is an undergraduate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His focus for his future graduate studies is queer theory, racial studies, and feminist approaches to video games. He hopes for the prospect of one day teaching video games in the university arena. Further academic interests lie in queer approaches to the works of Ian Fleming, relations with Japan after WWII and nuclear threat in the Gundam anime series, and of course Gaymer Culture: what it is, its formation, and proliferation. He is currently finishing his undergraduate studies in English and Creative Writing in Champaign, Illinois.
Growing up sharing games on the Atari 2600 with her mom instilled in Carolyn Petit a deep sense that games, and spaces where games are discussed and celebrated, are for everyone, regardless of age, gender, or anything else. As an editor at GameSpot, she occasionally breaks out of the review routine with pieces about the representations of women and queer characters in games.
Amanda Phillips is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of English with an emphasis in Feminist Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her dissertation takes a vertical slice of the video games industry to look at how difference is produced and policed on multiple levels of the gamic system: discourse, hardware, software, representation, and corporate practice. Her interests more broadly are in queer, feminist, and race-conscious discourses in and around technoculture, popular media, and the digital humanities. She is a 2013-14 Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellow.
Toni Pizza, a current MFA candidate at the NYU Game Center, is a sociologist turned game designer. Fundamentally un-embarrassable and simultaneously afraid of speaking in public, Pizza is a co-organizer of the Different Games Conference and a co-founder of Personal Best: Best Practices in Feminist Game Design, an event series at NYU.
Maddox Pratt lives in the Pacific Northwest where they make theatre, paint, and create digital art and poetry. They have their MA in Existential Phenomenological Psychology which informs their approach to creating art with a focus on lived experiences. Maddox is a tender queer who questions binaries and is in love with nuance and complication.
Danielle Riendeau recently transitioned from a long stint in the non-profit world to full-time game criticism as a senior reviewer at Polygon.com. A game designer and screenwriter, she’s interested in unconventional narratives, social justice and the parallels between them. She also moonlights as a graduate instructor at Northeastern University, where she teaches game design and development and interactive storytelling, and a volunteer at BayKids.
Toni Rocca is a Genderqueer (no pronoun preference) with a no-nonsense look on the importance of diversity with a personal and professional mission to make sure nobody is being swept aside or marginalized. With an arsenal of social media, he brings a special point of view to the table and values the importance of consulting people of different gender expressions and sexualities to ensure decisions are not being made in an autocratic manner! Most of all, Toni is always willing and eager to talk to anyone who may have any questions or concerns and welcomes anyone at all to shoot her a tweet: https://twitter.com/tonitonirocca
Liz Ryerson is an outspoken jill-of-all-trades – a composer, game designer, game critic, and (not terribly adept) visual artist. Her personal mission is to help games love their own weirdness and be much more willing to accept the value of and engage in dialogue with other kinds of art and culture.
Adrienne Shaw is an assistant professor in the Department of Media Studies and Production at Temple University. Her research and teaching focus on popular culture, the politics of representation, technology, cultural production and qualitative audience research. Her primary areas of interest are video games, gaming culture, and gender and sexuality studies. In addition to authoring several book chapters, her research has been published in Ada, New Media and Society, Critical Studies in Media and Communication, Games and Culture,among others. Her forthcoming book is tentatively titled Playing at the Edge: Gender, race, and sexuality in video games.
Joli St. Patrick is the designer of the Dreaming Crucible and Wilding Tales storytelling games, with several others in development. They’ve tabled at the Portland Zine Symposium, organized the Indie Hurricane story gaming expo within Vancouver, WA’s Gamestorm convention, and are a regular game facilitator in Portland, OR’s Play Out Loud game community. They blog about the intersection of story, gameplay and emotional authenticity at Story by the Throat! They strive through collaborative story to tear down the culturally mandated narratives of gender and sexuality, and build fresh, liberated identities from the rubble.
Kathryn Bond Stockton is Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Utah. Her most recent books, Beautiful Bottom, Beautiful Shame: Where “Black” Meets “Queer” and The Queer Child, or Growing Sideways in the Twentieth Century, are published by Duke University Press and both were finalists for the Lambda Literary Award in LGBT Studies. She has taught at the School of Criticism and Theory at Cornell University and this past year she was awarded the RosenblattPrize for Excellence, the highest honor granted by the University of Utah.
Zoya Street is a freelance historian and journalist from Britain, living in the Bay Area. He runs an e-zine about games history called Memory Insufficient, and crowd-funded and self-published Dreamcast Worlds, a book based on his master’s thesis in History of Design at the Royal College of Art.
An urban planning and psychogeography enthusiast, Dax Tran-Caffee has organized a handful of DIY citywide games over the years in the midwest & the bay area. He aspires to draft game models that transcend their base mechanics to have societal impact. He is also a puppeteer (Villainette), an accordionist (Corpus Callosum), and a queer graphic-novelist (Failing Sky).