The Netrunner Book

In the summer of 2018, I began serious work on a book project about the design and communities of customizable card games. Tentatively titled Always Be Running: Shaping the Culture of a Card Game, this book project focuses (perhaps inordinately) on the game Android: Netrunner. I’ve put together this page to describe the project for anyone who is interested in hearing more or interesting in participating (as an interviewee or in sharing their experience in some other fashion).

I have been involved with this game and its community for the past five years; I’m @scd on Stimhack, Stimhack Slack, and Jinteki.net. This book project will involve both discussion of my experiences (some brutally frank ones, involving my own struggles with learning, anxiety, and competitive play) as well as interviews with members of the game’s community as seen in face-to-face and online settings. My goal with this book is to provide both a take on how we can understand personal engagement with games as well as a new model for how we can tie together all of the many strands of a game into an interesting, compelling story. In my eyes, the story of Netrunner is one of creativity, competition, diversity, and challenge; I seek to help others understand more about the life cycle of a game, its community, and the ways games provide interesting new lenses for understanding multiple forms of media.

I’m attending Android: Magnum Opus and the final World Championships in early September, 2018, where I’d love to chat with any interested players about their experiences with the game. I’ve also written a few pieces about Android: Netrunner already — you can find my piece “Mandatory upgrades: The evolving mechanics and theme of Android: Netrunner” at the Analog Game Studies journal, and I have another piece under review at Well-Played, entitled “From !Ruined to NISEI: Organizational tensions in competitive Android: Netrunner.” Additionally, the latter paper has been turned into a talk that I presented at the 2018 University of California-Irvine Esports Conference — click here for a great Twitter summary of the talk by Samantha Close and click here for the slides (warning: lots of big images). I also presented regarding interface design and community practices around Jinteki.net at the Society for Cinema and Media Studies in 2018; those slides are available here (again, big PDF, so be warned. Check out these pieces/slides and if you have questions about any of this, let me know.

If you’re interested in learning more or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email me at my first name dot my last name at virginia.edu. Please put “NETRUNNER BOOK” in the subject line, and I’ll try to get right back to you.