Recent Comments

Tyler1 championship first esports toxicity
Eric A James

The same day this piece was published, Riot Games lifted the permanent ban on Tyler1’s account. Really demonstrates what you were saying.

Tyler1 championship first esports toxicity
Eric A James

I totally agree. While companies like Riot Games have done a lot of work in rolling out new tribunal ban systems for their games, featuring cosplayers and artists rather than toxic streamers, and hiring women casters (though not nearly enough), they’re constantly struggling with the fact that streamers such as Tyler1 are a huge part of what unites their playerbase/spectators. Even beyond the historic relationship between gaming fandoms and hate, what makes developing a set of ethical guidelines for esports (which I love your characterization of) even more difficult is that eSports fandom seems to behave something like an entanglement between traditional sporting fandom and online televisual fandom. The macho structural (and legal) limitations of the former combine with the absurdist humor of the latter in some hard to manage ways.

Eric A James

Thank you for great thought teaser on (re)playability! Modded and alternate-objective Lets Play videos and streams such as MATN’s are great evidence of the ways that gaming communities have adopted this long-standing emphasis on ludic gaming experiences for community formation. In particular, I’d love to delve into the ways that these alternate paths of play are built in collaboration with an audience and emulated across streamers. The “how can I break this well?” question just so well unifies gaming spectatorship, devoted fandom, and modding communities.

While I agree with Lindsey that hardcore play has a powerful influence on the ways that games are modded and played differently for spectators and is worth investigation - especially in the Machinima history of games - I would also want to explore ways in which these replays (particularly non-violent Minecraft gameplay videos) are a practice in playing differently, in making the game suit other creative ends beyond difficulty. For future research, I might recommend looking into Pokemon communities. Especially because the base Pokemon games are so similar, streamers and community members alike have come up with a bunch of different alternative ways to play the game (Nuzlockes are amazing) that get played up in streaming communities for a bunch of different exciting reasons.

Tyler1 championship first esports toxicity

This is a great post that touches upon some important issues in esports and game studies. You’re also asking similar questions that Laurel Rogers and myself ask in our IMR post.

I have to wonder: Are streamers like Tyler1 successful not in spite of their toxic behavior, but because of it? As you’ve observed, many people identify with his brand of sexism and toxicity. In addition, I wonder what our expectations should be for platforms like Twitch, who in some ways benefit from this sort of behavior, even as they might seek to control or ban it.

What would a set of ethical guidelines for esports look like?

-Dan Lark

Lindsey Decker

Interesting post! (Re)playability also seems to be in play with forking-path RPGs, I think, given the wealth of playthroughs that are done to show video game spectators the different paths through a game’s story, the different potential endings, etc.

I wonder, do you think that the rise of (re)playability and lets-play replays has anything to do with the increased emphasis on (among self-identified “hardcore gamers”) game difficulty, with games like Dark Souls, etc.? It seems like the MATN example you’re discussing here is partly about replaying with different self-imposed difficulty conditions, and I know that there are also lets-plays where streamers do non-violent Minecraft playthroughs on survival mode, or play through various games on stealth. Or do you think these videos are more aimed at a casual gaming audience, or an audience somewhere in-between casual and hardcore?

John A. Riley

Thank you for drawing attention to this trope. I was wondering if you could elaborate on what you think the most striking examples of it are? I’d especially be interested in examples that date from around the time that Stranger Things is set.

A Picture of the author's Farfetch'd from the Pokemon Go app.
Michael Iantorno

This theme of nostalgizing place seems to be present across many of Nintendo’s core franchises. Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of Zelda, filled the land of Hyrule with memories of his childhood explorations of rural Sonobe. He once referred to the world as “a miniature garden that you can put into a drawer and revisit anytime you like” - as if the game serves as a portal to the less-industrialized, simpler times of his youth.

It is interesting to consider how fantasy reinforces this nostalgia. As you mentioned, Pokemon Go imagines a somewhat modern setting where industrialization and urban sprawl never reached the level where it is today. Zelda takes things one step forward, turning the forests and neighbourhoods of 1950/60s Japan into a sprawling fantasy kingdom.

Title Slide - Giving Fans Latitude: The Nexus Between "Official" and Fan Cartogr
Jamie Henthorn

It’s so interesting to see the pieces together. How much do you find fans try to align their work with the original world builders’? I played a good bit of Skyrim and have my own emotional map of the game, places I’d return to again and again, locations that were particularly fun or challenging.

Silas University Map from the web series Carmilla
Michael Iantorno
Tanya Zuk

Making headcanon explicit is always intriguing, as it brings attention to the differences in interpretation present across fandom. Harry Potter is a particularly compelling example, as the franchise has already weathered much debate concerning how visual and aural elements were presented across the feature films (as compared to the books).

It would be an interesting exercise to see how an audio map would look and sound if it was derived from literary content that has not received a movie, television, or radio adaptation. With no audio-visual baseline, would we see a greater variation in headcanon between participants?

Stranger Things Season 2 Will's Map
Jamie Henthorn

Bob’s nerdiness makes him so endearing. I loved these scenes for all the reasons you mention.

I know it’s not mapping fantasy, but your post has me thinking about the act of mapping trauma and the process of taking connecting a strong emotion to the real world has me thinking of attempts to map trauma in the world. The first thing I thought of was ihollaback ( The group has an app and encourages individuals to document and locate street harassment. Several of these apps have been tried in a variety of locations and most of them have ultimately failed to be maintained over the long run.