Just made it back from the mind-boggling and overwhelming National PCA/ACA 2011 conference in San Antonio, where I was privileged to present some continuations of the thoughts on Bayonetta that I began to develop here on the HASTAC Scholars blog as part of the "Re(de)fining Sexuality in Games" panel. My fellow panelists and I mostly took gaming culture to task for being strongholds of gender normativity and policing, although I admit that much of my frustration is still angled at game studies scholars themselves. Look for an expanded version of the paper here on HASTAC soon.
One thing that really hobbled my PCA experience was the lack of wireless connectivity for conference attendees. I'm a backchannel surfer enthusiast - I've lost my share of followers to #mla11, #thatcamp, #HGI, and, most recently though least remarkably, #pcaaca11. Would have loved to tweet more but frankly a phone keyboard is insufficient for the fast pace required to tweet conference presentations, and I quickly lost interest when I couldn't follow the rest of the conversation anyway. There have been plenty of debates on the utility of backchanneling and I don't want to repeat that discourse here, but here is a plea to conference organizers: take a page from MLA and arrange for Internets in your sessions rooms plz. The wonderfully robust backchannel of that conference still lives on in my fond memories.
The highlight of my PCA/ACA trip was reuniting with my Humanities Gaming Institute colleagues and attending their panel reporting on the work they've done since our NEH Summer Institute last year. Congratulations to Ruth McClelland-Nugent (Augusta State University), Grace Hagood (University of South Carolina), and John Hodgson (University of South Carolina) who recently received another NEH grant to continue developing their early modern English society game, Desperate Fishwives. The game is modeled after cooperative board game Arkham Horror and hopes to teach students about the way social dynamics and norms were enforced during the 17th century. Hoping for a playable version at the end of the summer...
I did my best while at PCA to plug for HASTAC with my attire (hooray HASTAC shirt!) and presentation slides, and I picked up a few followers on Twitter. Hopefully they will click through my tweets and check out our community! Updates on Bayonetta forthcoming.