Welcoming everyone to the session "Materiality & Liveness"

Talking about WWE and the impact of it being termed an "essential business" during COVID shutdowns

Professional wrestling bridges the gap between sports & entertainment

When both entertainment & sports were shut down, WWE was still available with both athletics and storytelling and thus the potential to appeal to fans of both sports and media.

Lucas's argument: WWE didn't have live audiences during shutdown like they usually do. They had to have a national audience to stay open for working, but only at facilities closed to the public.

WWE met both criteria when most other sports couldn't.

WWE moved toward "cinematic matches" - "like an extended version of a video game cutscene" - wrestlers in story-specific environment with editing, effects, and supernatural elements.

Matt Griffin:

Playful Nostalgia: (Re)creating Video Game Spaces as Mods

Nostalgia for 3D platformer video games from the late 90s/early 00s like Super Mario 64, Sonic Adventure. Newer games are emulating (but not, y'know, ~emulating~) the older games.

Marketing and branding include a pitch toward nostalgia: "It's just like N64" "It's just like the Gamecube"

How do players take up this nostalgia themselves? For example, players create environments from old games in newer video games - e.g. creating an area from Super Mario Sunshine in A Hat in Time

We aren't limited to a single mod, so you could play in A Hat in Time, a Sonic Adventure level, with Sora from Kingdom Hearts as your player, riding a Kart from Mario Kart Double Dash.

Factors that influence textual meaning: paratexts, plays, fan-made histories, "mods as simulacra"

"Player-made mods construct nostalgia through remediation and play"

Emma ✨:

Talking about authorship in TRPGs (!!! calling @theroguesenna & @friede)

Looking at changes in D&D and other TRPGs related to race.

Summer 2021 was the #SummerofAabria when Abria Iyengar was guest DM on multiple actual play shows

AP has often been associated with the creation of a single DM but when Iyengar's work raised the question: how does authorship change when you have a guest DM? Who has authority?

Now notions of canonicity are taking root in actual play. How do TRPGs exist as both a transformative and an original work?

DMs like Iyengar can use their work to critique traditional depictions in fantasy.

Dylan McGee:

The cultural afterlife of plastic toys and how they're curated and collected online now

Fans have to make consequential decisions about material objects (collectable toys) based on digital images

"attachments and affects can be complicated when realizing that what arrived in your mailbox was not exactly what you bought online"

Buyers read the materiality through images: What quality is the plastic? How much has it been damaged? Is it authentic? Is the blister packaging still attached?

During COVID, there's been a boom in the fan economy of vintage collecting.

A lot of collectors have liquidated their collections because they didn't have enough income during COVID.

The Japanese Yen to the dollar is at a 32 year low, so lots of Japanese collectors are liquidating them and selling to buyers overseas (mostly in America).

These collectors then only have immaterial access to their collections - images and memories.

Matt Griffin:

There are important distinctions between player-made mods and official re-releases. There's more freedom to mix-and-match. Legality is an interesting question. Mods aren't strict emulations (in the code sense).

Court case in 2016 found you can't copyright ALL of a game. For example, you can't copyright game mechanics. Player-made mods do give players a sense of ownership.

People get introduced to older "texts" (video games) through these mods - e.g. you play an area in A Hat in Time, and decide to then go explore the game it's originally from.

Reproducing a cartridge like Limited Run games does introduces a new materiality that's different from mods. The gatekeepers are different: purchase vs. download from fansite.

Emma ✨:

Players of D&D often have a strong intertextual awareness before they even sit down at the table, usually have engaged deeply with fantasy through literature, film, video games.

There's often either a dissatisfaction with or true love of fantasy media that the player brings to the table and uses as inspiration for their character.

If the rules are dissatisfying/frustrating (e.g. I want to play as a dark elf and it's wrong of the rules to penalize me for that), this is where homebrew comes in. This leads to players & DMs bring worldview to the game.

based on personal experience, "play seems to become more valued as you have less recreational time." When work happens at home during lockdown, it can feel like all of life is work so

Additionally, the interpersonal aspect adds extra value. For example, RPing just hanging out in a pub became a fantasy it was valuable to play out.

Rules can give real-world obstacles a clear stat block and make it possible to fight these things in a really satisfying way.

Dylan McGee:

Unlicensed toys also became part of the market and are often more highly valued by collectors than official, licensed ones.