This is the academic blog of Michael Hancock, English PhD, at a southern Ontario university. It’s a place for sharing my research, teaching, and general musings regarding my area of study–videogames.
I came to videogames through something of a tangential path. My turn-of-the-century undergraduate was a Bachelor of Science in English and Mathematics at the University of Saskatchewan. While I’m not sure I’d recommend this major for others, for me, it kept my interests broad and my limits challenged. I narrowed focus in my Master’s degree and defended my Master’s Thesis on feminism and ecocriticism in the YA fantasy series of Tamora Pierce in 2008, also at the University of Saskatchewan’s English department.
For the PhD, I headed out east to the University of Waterloo. Through the encouragement of their digital media program, I switched focus to videogames, and I’ve spent more years than I care to mention on my dissertation that examines textual representation in videogames. That can mean a lot of different things, from the relationship between videogames and instruction manuals to the way 1999 CRPG classic Planescape: Torment indicates that characters really *mean* what they’re saying. Broadly, my research interests also include genre study (esp. science fiction and fantasy), narrative and games, and digital media studies. I’m a founding editor (and still occasional contributor) of First Person Scholar, a middle-state publication that publishes weekly articles on videogames, and I have a collection of gamebooks that most find impressive and disturbing once I explain to them what a gamebook is.