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.

19. Katherine Cross

What do digital and tabletop roleplaying have in common? Can worldbuilding in a game help us change the real world? And just what is the “real world” anyway? Scholar and critic Katherine Cross is here to talk digital citizenship, identity plurality, and more.

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18. Ross Cowman

How do you teach analog game design? What makes a game “for kids?” How does the context in which we encounter games influence how we play? Designer and community organizer Ross Cowman talks design, play, music, and more.

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17. Gabriel de los Angeles

What role can Larp play in education across the lifespan? Can it help us develop responsible, reciprocal relationships with our land, waters, and communities? Gabriel de los Angeles joins us to discuss his work integrating role-playing into STEAM education.

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16. Jacqueline Bryk

Is Pokemon Go a larp? What’s the difference between torturing your characters and torturing your players? Can game design help you conquer your fears – or just spread them around a little? Larpwright Jacqueline Bryk is here to pose all these questions and many more. We may answer a few of them, too.

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15. Kat Jones

Larpwright and theorist Katherine Castiello Jones talks sexuality, intimacy, feminism and other hot topics in game design. Can a game about painting your nails make a point about intersecting axes of oppression? We certainly think so.

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14. Johanna Koljonen

Experience designer, broadcaster and author Johnna Koljonen joins us to talk about the difference between role-play and character play, between feeling safe and being safe, and between design and tradition.

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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.

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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...

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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.

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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.”

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