Dr. Lesley Willard:

Introducing topic. How do scholars in fan & media studies articulate their discipline? How do these disciplines interact? When don't they?

Shares current book project: discussing labor & affordances on Steam. Last Nov Steam launched Steam Playtest, a way for indie developers to test games early. How does this impact the labor market for games?

Steam Playtest has been called "Beta testing for beta testing." Steam also has Early Access, which lets indie developers charge for in-development games.

All of this involves relying on Steam users to perform labor, to do QA work for free or pay for the opportunity to participate in the development process.

These features displace pro playtesters & QA reps.

This reliance on fan affective labor isn't unique to games, but Steam playtest/Early Access provides a rich area for case study.

Nick Bestor:

How do we define the type of interaction at play in licensed tabletop (esp card) games? Are the people best understood as fans or players?

Describing experience of going to tournament for the Game of Thrones Living Card Game.

Now talking about writing tournament report to post to Fantasy Flight (game publisher) forums.

Licensed games matter and in many ways. Bestor describes needing another outlet for GoT fandom beyond books & shows.

Story worlds vs/as game worlds.

Do Bestor's experiences make him a fan? A player?


Who/what counts as a gamer? A game?

How does a fan identity get drawn out differently in fan-created product places like Etsy for example, Stardew Valley blanket yes, but it's hard to find fiber crafts for FPSs like Call of Duty.

When we consider game fandom, we should "remember the cozy fandoms and that digital leisure is not one-size-fits-all."

Latina Vidolova:

Discussing "Netflix Anime Festival" & how Netflix often creates "anime" that doesn't even have an anime studio/creative team.

Netflix is redefining what "anime fan" means by describing anyone who has watched any "anime" on Netflix as a fan, when Vidolova sees this as a tension between defining fan & user.

Gamers come into play considering "Netflix Geeked," a subbrand that includes sci fi, fantasy, superheroes, & more (with video games & anime as part of that "more")

Generalizing what anime means - animated adaptation of video game property = "anime"

Netflix branding defines fan according to engaging with these at all rather than a coherent community.

Netflix & Crunchyroll have both created animated Youtubers do promote anime & video games.

e-girls on TikTok create a mise-en-scene of playing video games; identity of player or fan is secondary to creating aesthetic image.

Fan studies "is attuned to affective attachment to particular story worlds and relationships" while the TikTok egirls are more about putting together pieces and fragments.

Game studies looks at these kinds of "fan fragments" and how they come together in a different way than fan studies does. e.g. how do people choose an avatar?

Amanda Cote:

Discussing crunch time in the game industry and the relationship players have with it. Industry pros sometimes try to rally fans around crunch practices.

Method - analyzing player reactions to articles about crunch practices; study is ongoing, but so far more fans seem to support crunch practices.

Gamer identity is forefronted both among supporters & critics.

Consumer identity and fan identity are also present. Value judgments justified by identity all around: if you're a fan, wouldn't you object to crunch time bc you care about the people making the game?

Gamer/consumer/fan identites have been examined more in fan studies than in game studies.