To kick off the year, on 30 January 2023 we heard from four current research students working on games/games culture. Dody Chen (Bristol) went first, delivering a video presentation about her PhD research. In her talk, ‘Streamers’ Localisation of Video Games in Live Game Streaming’, Dody navigated her role as both streamer and researcher, and explained how her case study approach, along with practice-led research, will help to better understand how streamers localise video games from English to Chinese in real time, as well as the impact that this type of localisation might have on streaming audiences.
Claudia Jones (Bristol) spoke next about her Masters research, ‘Playing through Pain: The Ethics of Black Historical Narratives in Gaming.’ Claudia set the scene by noting that only 2% of employees in the both the US and UK games industry identify as Black. Considering the size and impact of the industry, Claudia is interested in the question of who is allowed to compete to create historical consciousness in virtual worlds. Her research looks at the ethics of Black historical games broadly speaking, with a particular focus on how Black historical games can serve as an archive of collective memories.
After a coffee/networking break, Jemma Stafford (Leeds) showed how her research has developed since she completed her Masters degree at the University of Bristol. Her PhD, which focuses on the English localisation of Chinese games, was outlined in her talk: ‘Crouching Button, Hidden Typo: The Reception of Chinese Videogames Translated into English.’ Jemma showed how a multimodal, paratextual, UX and reception-based methodology will help her to examine a series of research questions focused on the ways in which English localisations of Chinese games are often negatively perceived, and how this might help to inform future design decisions.
Finally, Edward Knight (Bristol) spoke about ‘Nurturing Inclusivity in the Video Game Industry: A Ludonarrative examination of Blackness in contemporary video games.’ Edward is pursuing his PhD at the ESRC Centre for Sociodigital Futures. The Centre’s unique approach, which considers how the social and digital are interwoven and the possible futures that await us, underpins Edward’s aim to understand both the current state of the video game industry, and its possible futures. In doing so, Edward’s research aims to challenge, call out and disrupt the same exclusionary trends that Claudia drew attention to, and which limit Black people and their presentation of them. His research focuses on games, the gaming industry, and game culture, and takes a mixed methodological approach, including both conventional and creative methods of investigation.