Okay, I guess I forgot to blog for half a year. Again.
It’s amazing how much teaching three courses a term plus taking care of two small children during a never-ending lockdown eats into your time to write very long blog posts about the things you’re into. So, I’ll keep this one short, just as a way to kick off what will hopefully be a much less verbose and much sloppier regular blogging practice.
Since I last posted, I have:
• Become enamored with Netrunner yet again, and then fell out of love with it yet again. It’s still a beautiful game, but one that I’m finding myself uncomfortable playing with the current community, so I think my days with it are finally largely over. I still have a paper or two on it I might get out in the next year or so, but otherwise, I think I’m moving on to other interests…
• Continued participating in a weekly “goth club” with strangers over the Shudder Discord, watching countless old and new gothic horror movies, ranging from — The Long Hair of Death to The Voice from the Stone to The Whip and the Body to Tales of Terror to Viy. If you would have told me a year ago that I’d have watched dozens of 1960s, predominantly Italian, horror movies, I’d be pleasantly surprised and proud of myself.
• Started rethinking my teaching accordingly — I’m offering a new version of my comics course in the fall, this time focusing on “Monsters.” Trying something different with it this time — looking at horror and “monsters” as a through-line that has permeated comics history from its earliest days to, well, just this year. I’ve also decided to break off any superheroic content from that course and put it into its own, industry-focused “Superhero Media” course, which I’m also going to teach in the fall. I’m having a lot of fun thinking about these classes and how they’ll evolve — the Superhero class in particular will be my first time teaching something film-adjacent, as well as something that focuses heavily on media industries. Should be fun, I hope!
• I’ve found myself wholly uninterested in teaching about games in the ways I have in the past, and am ramping down my existing games-centric courses, with a few exceptions. While I’m finding I don’t have as much interest in teaching about commercial digital games as I once did, I’ve been having an absolute blast teaching my Interactive Storytelling course this year, and having students creatively engage with these media and stories they’re interested in telling with them. I’ve upped the RPG and “story game” content in that class, and I think to good effect — I’m now flirting with the idea of teaching a course entirely on the rise of non-digital games as a focus for media studies (using the Analog Game Studies journal and Paul Booth’s new Board Games as Media book as central readings). I’m rethinking my games instruction in the next academic year, and hope to have a few new, more exciting courses on the slate.
So, y’know, the usual. Lots about games and media in my life, much of it crossing over into my teaching. I’m fully vaccinated now and have been venturing out into the wilds of town a little more with the kids, but other than that, I’m content to stay in my little hole full of comics, books, Blu-Rays, and board games for a while longer.