Pitt Games Reading Group Spring 2023

Spring 2023 Term

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All meetings will take place in CoL 329
Questions? Email: JUB128[at]pitt.edu | Sign up for the mailing list!

Meeting Date: January 11, 6:00 PM
Game: Sakura Wars
Sakura Wars - Wikipedia
• Developer: Red Company, Sega CS2 R&D
• Release: 1996
• Platform: Sega Saturn
Accompanying Reading: Wikipedia: Takarazuka Review
English Translation Patch: Romhacking.net

Meeting Date: February 8, 6:00 PM
Game: Illusion of Gaia
Fichier:Illusion of Gaia Logo.png — Wikipédia
• Developer: Quintet
• Release: 1993
• Platform: Super Nintendo
Accompanying Reading: The Mental Female by Mariko Ohara
Available in English (with content alterations) or play in Japanese with Translation Guide.
Discussion Questions:
• Illusion of Gaia’s writer had no experience writing for games, and the pacing of the game is strange as a result. How do you feel about the extended sequences where “nothing happens”? Does this kill the pacing for you? How does it feel to experience these sorts of moments, more typical to books or film, in a game where there’s an expectation of interactivity?
• The game seems concerned, on some level, with serious issues around colonization and slavery – they’re omnipresent in the setting despite not directly intersecting with the plot. How do you feel these sensitive subjects were handled? Were there any moments that were shocking or upsetting to you?
• The growth/progression system in this game is unusual – it’s not a standard JRPG take. What works in the design, or is this experiment a failure?

Meeting Date: March 15, 6:00 PM
Game: The Missing: J. J. Macfield and the Island of Memories
The MISSING: J.J. Macfield and the Island of Memories on Steam
Please be aware that this game deals with a number of sensitive subjects.  We do not want to outright spoil the experience, but if you are concerned that playing the game might be an issue for you, please feel free to reach out and you will be  provided with a specific list of potential triggers.
• Developer: White Owls, Inc.
• Release: 2018
• Platform: Windows, PlayStation 4, XBOX One, Nintendo Switch
Accompanying Reading: None
Discussion Questions:
• How does this game handle its portrayal of queerness?  Does this feel like a positive, nuanced perspective, or could it do better?  The game’s designer, SWERY, has a mixed history with this kind of thing, so it’s worth considering.
Think about the iconography and visual expression of the game.  How do the mechanics of navigation tie to the narrative themes of the work?  Where are they best in synergy?  Do they ever fight against each other?
Were there any sections of the game that you found particularly difficult to complete?  This can be either for gameplay challenge or narrative reasons. 


Meeting Date: April 5, 6:00 PM
Game: Citizen Sleeper (group vote choice!)

• Developer: Jump Over the Age
• Release: 2022
• Platform: Windows, PlayStation 4, XBOX One, Nintendo Switch
Discussion Questions:
• What are the politics of this game?  How does it portray various real-world social systems, and what perspectives does it have about them and the ways that they function?
• Is the Sleeper a “real person”?  The game dispenses with this question fairly quickly, with the Sleeper acknowledging that they know they’re a copy of a person and not the original, but it rarely comes up again.  Does the real-ness of their identity matter in the way we feel about the story?
• There are many points in this game where you can make decisions that alter the state of the world and change the direction of the story.  What decisions did you prioritize, and why?  Did you make any choices you regret?  How do you feel about your choices in retrospect?


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