I give presentations and guest lectures, mostly focusing on narrative design and writing in video games and the intersections of mental health and video games. I have spoken at PAX West (Seattle, 2017), Indiecade (LA, 2016), Indiecade East (New York, 2016), NXNE (June, 2016), and many others. I have also given guest lectures at universities, including Sheridan and Wilfrid Laurier University.
Dames Making Games x Hand Eye Society x TCAF, 2019 (Toronto)
Featuring the classic hand-drawn animation style of SmallBu Animation and the work of Pillowfight (the developers behind WE KNOW THE DEVIL and HEAVEN WILLBE MINE), Later Alligator is a playable cartoon about a doofus named Pat in a big, 2D animated city.
The team is at TCAF with Comics × Games and will join us at DMG for a info-packed Q&A about the business of indie game studios!
Panelists: Lindsay Small-Butera, Jo Kreyling, with myself as moderator
The Black Museum, 2019 (Toronto)
Join writers KAITLIN TREMBLAY (Dames Making Games) and EVAN MILLAR (Rue Morgue magazine) for a detailed look at the evolution of horror in video games, as well as an in-depth exploration of must-play titles. From the genre’s humble 8-bit and text-based beginnings to the cinematic, grandiose nightmares of today’s big budget/indie adventures, find out what games stood out upon release and influenced an entire generation of developers and players alike.
Panelists: Evan Millar
Building A Better World Through Games
Ubisoft Toronto, 2019 (Toronto)
I moderated a panel about how women are working to build a better world through games. This included talking about what our vision for a better world in games means, as well as the strategies we’ve employed to help solve the challenges we’ve encountered.
Panelists: Soha El-Sabaawi (Riot Games), Gabi Michel (Xbox), and Brie Code (TruLuv)
PAX West, 2018 (Seattle)
In Game Narrative 20XX, game writers and narrative designers will speculate wildly on the future of interactive storytelling in the years and decades to come—and what that means for the future of games as a whole.
Panelists: Aaron Linde [Narrative Designer, ArenaNet LLC], Walt Williams [Writer], Jolie Menzel [Narrative Designer, Ubisoft San Francisco], Kaitlin Tremblay [Narrative Designer, Ubisoft Toronto], Alex Kain [Narrative Designer, ArenaNet], Josh Scherr [Writer, Naughty Dog].
MIGS, 2017 (Montreal)
“At First I Thought I Was Sick”: Designing Emotionally Charged Games and Mental Illness Advocacy is about writing and designing emotionally charged games and how to establish an understanding between players and fully developed protagonists. This talk focuses on difficult to discuss topics, feelings, and emotions (and is largely focused on mental illness and healing), in order to discuss two central themes: 1) how to navigate conversations about these emotions with players in a way that cares for player well-being, and 2) how to compassionately portray mental illness to facilitate a deeper understanding of the experiences of those experiencing mental health difficulties. This talk provides tools for game developers to approach difficult subjects, such as mental illness, with greater compassion and understanding in order to allow for a safe space to honestly discuss and explore pain and trauma in interactive experiences.
Blackwood Gallery, 2017 (Mississauga)
I facilitated a workshop on the intersections between mental health, body theory, feminist advocacy, and game creation. The workshop is presented in collaboration with CCT405: Ethics and Code, taught by Professor Tero Karppi in the Institute of Communication, Culture, Information & Technology.
Fantastic Arcade, 2017 (Austin)
I was on a panel talking about the development, design, art, and writing of A Mortician’s Tale, along with Gabby DaRienzo, Jen Costa, and Andrew Carvalho.
PAX West, 2017 (Seattle)
I was on a panel talking about about different forms of successes, what being successful means, and the amount of work that goes into success, along with Tanya DePass, Brandon Stennis, Zoe Quinn, Shana Bryant, Kahlief Adams.
It’s Too Hard to Say: Writing Difficult Emotions in Video Games
Different Games, 2017 (Toronto)
I presented a microtalk on how I approach writing difficult emotions in games. This talk will centre around writing and designing experiences of mental illness in my games and writing grief in A Mortician’s Tale (Laundry Bear, 2017).
ACCUTE, 2017 (Toronto)
I presented a paper about the feminist use of body horror in game development focused on mental health and healing. The panel is called Transforming the Machine: Feminist Interventions in Digital Poetics and includes myself, Lai-Tze Fan, and Julia Polyck-O’Neill.
Rendezvous with Madness Film Festival, 2016 (Toronto)
Join creators and players from Toronto video gaming communities to discuss how gaming and mental health aspects intersect. This panel will include discussions about who is making games today, how experiences with mental health affect creating and playing games, mental health topics explored in games and how gaming can assist with mental wellness, creating communities and artistic expression. Join moderator Sarah Saucier to talk with gamers Al Donato, Kaitlin Tremblay and Marishka Zachariah!
Toronto Public Library, 2016 (Toronto)
Kelsi Morris and I participated in a Halloween event at the Toronto Public Library, where we discussed the themes and stories in our anthology Those Who Make Us: Canadian Creature, Myth, and Monster Stories.
Indiecade, 2016 (Los Angeles)
This talk will explores how to get started as an independent games writer. Kaitlin will draw on how her experience as a professional editor and published writer has affected her breaking into games writing, as well as the experience of other games writer, in order to talk about what games writing is and how to do it.
Indiecade, 2016 (Los Angeles)
This panel consisted of myself, Alex Holowka, Andrea Ayres, and Jenny Jiao Hsia and looked at how game development and mental health intersect.
NXNE Future Land 2016, Toronto
Navid Khavari from Ubisoft and I discuss narrative creation and character development in assumed versus explicit narrative games.
Indiecade East, 2016 (New York)
A lightning round talk on why I make games about healing, and the differences between video games and publishing as industries for creatives.
Narratives in Video Games
Sheridan College, 2016 (Oakville)
A guest lecture to Jason MacIsaac’s students about narratives in games, with a central focus on how and why I write horror games as a means of expressing mental illness within a feminist framework.
So, I’ve Become a Gamemaker
Wilfrid Laurier University, 2015 (Waterloo)
A presentation to Dr. Andrea Austin’s English and Film Studies students on how I became a gamemaker, my thoughts on storytelling and games, and what role my English degrees helped me in this career path.
WordPlay, 2015 (Toronto)
As part of the main stage activities, I interviewed Sam Barlow in an interactive, audience-participation Twine interview about his work on Her Story, Silent Hill, and writing in video games in general.
Gender and Games Presentation (Grade 7/8 Middle School Class)
Toronto District School Board, 2014 (Toronto)
A presentation on stereotypes regarding gender in video games for a Grade 7/8 middle school classroom. With the students, I discussed stereotypes that exist both in video games themselves and in the industry surrounding them regarding the way we talk about girls who game.
York University, 2014 (Toronto)
A presentation on the rhetorical use of dismemberment in my games as a feminist strategy of rejecting idealized beauty norms and of reclaiming control over my body. Also, a workshop co-led with Kara Stone on how to use Twine.
Dames Making Games, 2014 (Toronto)
A presentation on my first game Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before, and on how to talk about eating disorders in video games.