Talking about Hidden Object Games

June 26th, 2018 by WEARN Nia

So, I have a Games Studies research that somehow keeps giving as a topic of study – Esther and I have been looking at Hidden Object Games, initially as a way of showing our students ‘how the research’ and then, as well, actual research.

As ever when you start submitting to interesting call for papers, slightly like buses, they all come along at once so I’ve been out at a couple of choice, boutique conferences (my favorite kind) talking about them.

First up – the excellent Gaming the Gothic conference at Sheffield University – organised by the inspiring Sheffield Gothic  study group – held with great care on Friday 13th of April

This talk looked at Gothic literature tropes that turn up in Gothic Romance / Crime Hidden Object Games – one of my favorite things, apart from getting a chance to showcase the stunning art work featured in these games , was talking about my first steps into production studies and the data I’d been gathering on where the companies that make these games were situated – I’ve been collecting this on a Google Map and it’s been a great visual aid. You can see the slides from this one here and there’s a lovely write up of the session here

Secondly I was up in lovely St. Andrews for a few days for another little conference looking at Literature and Gaming – and this time I was talking about slightly trashy crime based hidden object games, and noting their similarity to both crime based serial tv and to genre fiction – that talk is here


In both cases it was wonderful to talk to people after my talk who played these games, or new people that did, and wanted to thank me for shining a light on them. Who knows where else this little research side hustle will take us? You can follow the research here – https://hiddenobjectfiles.tumblr.com/ (on a tech note I can’t tell you how useful having a collaborative tumblr of thoughts and images has been putting together things for conferences)

Using Trello to track my research

January 17th, 2018 by WEARN Nia

I’ve talked before about Facebook groups for research I find super useful (There’s a PHD Parents one and #WIASN) – I’ve asked a lot of question and had some amazing help and support on them – and just for once a question came up  that I could actual help with.

And I do – and this is how I use it:

I love trello boards – I’ve been using them for year to manage big projects (music videos) , home projects (our kitchen) and academic projects – and currently I’m using it to manage my phd:

Here’s the board – individual cards are either things I’ve seen that have been posted online / things I need to look at / Things I need to do or update or check later

And as I do things I move them to done – so I have a track of that.

Other things I love:

  • You can e-mail directly to your trello board – in my case these e-mail go straight to ‘Other Stuff’
  • You can set deadlines – that feed into my Google Calander
  • I’ve connected up this trello board to my Google Drive so it can easily access files on there and shows previews (but other cloud services are available
  • Trello works really well on my phone too (via the app) – which means I can add thoughts, on the fly and access them in a more dedicated space when I have time to look at them
  • I have a Google Chrome add on that snips websites to Trello too

I’ve tried a few other things to keep tabs on things (Google Keep which I use for everything else) and Evernote I don’t use as much since I moved to Keep but I’ve not found anything as comprehensive as Trello for keeping tabs on everything – and seeing where I’m at.

Heroic Women – Game Changers

November 17th, 2017 by WEARN Nia

Sometimes events and requests come my way to do a workshop or a talk that’s a little bit difference – yesterday was one of those times.

Every year the Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service host a conference centered on Women in Communities and I was asked to do a workshop that featured games design – and I was more then happy to oblige because it gave me chance to use one of my favourite resources – ‘Heroic Women to Inspire Game Designers‘ I’ve used it before in classes but never in a workshop and it seemed the perfect match – and it was.

In 45 minutes we designed games based on the stores of these women, specifically thinking about targeting games to the women in the room and thinking about how we could use the aspects of the story to raise donations from the players for worthy causes. It was really inspirational to see both the amazing designs and share the stories of these women – heroic in such different ways. I got some great feedback and it was lovely to host a workshop without tech or computers getting in the way, and dispelling the idea that game design is something other people do, and empowering these groups of mainly women to think about how they design interactive experiences and engage communities.

Also the conference organisers used More than Minutes to take visual minutes, I love it when this happens at conferences and I think it’s the first time I’ve been featured on one of these.

You can see all of the minutes here