Interview with

Ken and Judd, Judd and Ken ... whichever order you would like to place their names in, they are often referred to as a unit. They've done so much collaborative work together, including co-founding the Learning Games Initiative (LGI) itself, they even experimented by going on the market a while back as a non-spousal "academic couple," which they detailed in the Chronicle of Higher Education. While ultimately that market experiment was unsuccessful in granting Judd Ruggill and Ken McAllister an academic home together, the two remain close collaborators on books, articles, conferences, and LGI itself.

Judd Ruggill, an associate professor of communication studies at Arizona State University in Tempe, today chairs the Game Studies, Culture, Play, and Practice area at the Southwest Popular/American Culture Association (SWPACA) conference, which is extremely popular amongst LGI members (they gather here yearly and collaborate, as Ryan Moeller described elsewhere in this webtext). Ken McAllister, professor of English at the University of Arizona in Tucson, formerly directed the department's Rhetoric, Composition, and Teaching of English graduate program. Together, they have authored the monograph Gaming Matters: Art, Science, Magic, and the Computer Game Medium and are working on a forthcoming book, Tempest: Geometries of Play, for the Landmark Video Games book series at the University of Michigan Press. When I asked them what collaborative pieces they might be proudest of, they described to me why Gaming Matters and their article on archival practices, "Computer Game Archiving and the Serious Work of Silliness," were pieces to which they would point new readers of their work. [Transcript available here.]

As current co-directors of the LGI, I was interested to hear about the formation of LGI from Ken and Judd. In the clip below, Ken described how the Learning Games Initiative Research Archive (LIGRA) was formed at the same time that LGI itself began. They emerged as a result of the pair's realization that too many game researchers lacked access to the games they were writing about. [Transcript available here.]

How do you decide what to put in a massive games-related archive like LIGRA? Ken and Judd offered a peek into their archival philosophy in our interview, describing LIGRA as a "a collection that is indiscriminate; we collect everything related to what we call a computer game complex," including books, magazines, trade journals, consoles and games, foods, toys, commemorative items, even a sheet metal replica of an Atari controller with Bake-lite buttons. [Transcript available here.]

The pair had an impressive list of authors they follow, ranging from individuals whose primary home is in rhetoric and composition to others in communication studies, interactive media, history, and others. [Transcript available here.]

We closed our interview by talking about the impact of social media on games and game studies, and Ken intriguingly described what he saw as the collapse of these two worlds, "the ways that they bring people together and separate people out, the way they create and collapse distance simultaneously." [Transcript available here.]


Works by LGI Members

This section includes a bibliography of scholarly resources and further reading on games written by Learning Games Initiative Members.

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Advice and Resources

This section provides advice for those who wish to enter the field of game studies. It also describes further resources for those interested in research on games.

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About the Interviewer

This section introduces the interviewer, Stephanie Vie (at the University of Central Florida), and describes her work with video and computer games.

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