Backstory

Hosted by Alex Roberts, Backstory is an ongoing series of interviews with game designers, organizers, scholars, and other members of the role-playing community. This show is all about the person behind the work. What draws them to gaming? In what context do they work and play? What are they most excited about for the future? Alex loves getting to know people, and you’ll love coming along for the ride.

Alex Roberts is a giggling cutie who wants role-playing to be safe, healthy, and fun. She play tests, runs, and promotes live-action and tabletop games from her impenetrable ice spire in the frozen wastelands of Canada.

In a previous life she made and wrote about video games. At the moment, she is probably reading a very cute comic book.

13. Evan Torner

What do game design and education design have to say to each other? How about larp and VR? Larpwright and academic Evan Torner joins us to talk uncertainty, ideology, transparency, and other fun things hiding in your games.

Full Show Notes

12. Kira Magrann

Can games unite the mystical and the digital? Writer, game designer, and cyberwitch Kira Magrann is here to talk magic, technology, and her new digital zine, RESISTOR. Kira on Twitter Kira on Tumblr RESISTOR A Cyborg Manifesto Eliza Gauger’s Problem Glyphs The Witch (2016) Aleister Crowley Meg Baker on Rituals in Play Mad About the...

Full Show Notes

11. Sara Williamson

Freeform designer Sara Williamson chills and chats with Alex about co-designing, designing for bleed, designing adaptations, and the potential of touch as a game mechanic. Also: a few very exciting announcements.

Full Show Notes

10. Sean Nittner

Podcaster and Big Bad Con organizer Sean Nittner shares his love of Actual Play reporting, staying positive, and making gaming events safer and more inclusive. Key quote: “If you feel awkward or like you’re going outside your comfort zone… you’re probably on the right track.”

Full Show Notes

9. Kathryn Hymes

Game designer and computational linguist Kathryn Hymes shares her love of locksmithing, larpspotting, and the incredible power of play. Is this the golden age of gaming? We certainly think so.

Full Show Notes

8. Glenn Given

Game designer Glenn Given joins Alex to talk about the theater, philosophy, taxonomy, loving analog games in a digital world, and the curious gratification found in following the rules. Want to hear Alex call Wittgenstein a dirty word? You should hear what she says about Hegel. This episode comes with a content warning for brief discussion of self-harm. Take care, heroes.

Full Show Notes

7. Shanna Germain

Shanna Germain, co-founder and Creative Director of Monte Cook games, joins Alex for a deep dive into her creative process and bevy of current projects. We chat about everything from the challenges and rewards of designing games for kids to the interesting parallels between the role-playing and kink communities. What could be more intriguing than that?

Full Show Notes

6. Sarah Richardson

This episode we’re joined by game designer, graphic designer, illustrator, and Director of Marketing at Magpie Games: Sarah Richardson! She chats with Alex about designing, GMing, and what is really at the heart of the OSR movement. Plus: two very special announcements about two very special events!

Full Show Notes

5. Sarah Lynne-Bowman

Sarah Lynne-Bowman, PhD, sits down with Alex to chat about educational larps, transformational larps, and what place words like “fun” and “self” can have in role-playing discourse. We also take a moment to defend that Lightning Bolt guy. See you at Living Games, heroes.

Full Show Notes

4. Laura Simpson

Designer and artist Laura Simpson chats with Alex about too many things to list! Highlights include her upcoming game Companion’s Tale, designing in community, and pretending to be a vampire on the internet. If you remember what a MUSH is, you’re in luck.

Full Show Notes

Alex Roberts

Follow Backstory on Twitter