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April GameTalk - Dr. Emily Flynn-Jones

Game Talk:  Thursday, April 5th, from 7-9pm in the BGNlab in Brantford.  Open to the public.  

For our last GameTalk of the academic year, we welcome our post-doc, Dr. Emily Flynn-Jones. This GameTalk is an opportunity to meet her and learn about why she makes games and why she makes them with us. 

You will learn why she feels partly responsible for the 80s industry crash but isn't particularly sorry about about it, why she moved from television to games even though she stood on a mountain with Tom Hardy and worked in the Tardis, that 90s Nickelodeon shaped her game design philosophy, that she is a feminist and makes games that are political and personal and is dedicated to exploring subjects unspoken, and that game design is a form of catharsis for her. Cats might also come up.

Overall, this will be a talk about how who we are, how we have lived and what we love can inform our art. 

A content warning:

This talk makes frank reference to the speaker's experiences with anxiety, depression, mania, agoraphobia and death. While this sounds dark, these are crucial to why Flynn-Jones makes what she makes and she also has a healthy and appropriate sense of humour about her mental health so it won't all be grim. As the late great Carrie Fisher said: "If my life wasn't funny then it would just be true and that is unacceptable."

Here is information about visiting the BGNlab:


Play Against Hate - TONIGHT

Tonight the BGNlab will be hosting a thematic play session in protest of the Faith Goldy talk taking place on the Waterloo campus this evening. You can find out more about the speaker, this talk and why we oppose it in Steve Wilcox’s open letter to the university and his radio discussion. Our program is dedicated to making games with real world outcomes and often this is about addressing social issues. Tonight you are invited to come and play games against hate, ignorance and injustice as a way of responding to the intolerant opinions represented by Goldy in our own terms. 


Time: 7:15pm - 9:15pm (coinciding with the talk) 

Location: BGNlab 


The playlist is a WIP but will include: 

Titles from the Anti-fascist Game Jam    

Lost Wage Rampage 

Papers, Please

Hair Nah!

Easy Level Life 

So You’ve Been Called Out 

Parable of the Polygons

Syrian Journey

Freedom: The Underground Railroad 

We can even mod boardgames in the lab… 


You can play along at home using the hashtags #playagainsthate and #Laurier (the latter totally optional)  

Hope to play against hate with you later!


Gametalk for Mar 1: Daryl Andrews

Join us at the BGNlab on March 1st at 7pm to hear from Daryl Andrews, board game designer.

Daryl has designed and had 18 games published (and has over 30 coming out in the upcoming months from publishers).  He's worked with many game companies and will be able to talk about the process of making games and working with publishers to get your board games published.

His talk is on March 1st in the BGNlab and is open to the public.   You can find directions on visiting the BGNlab at  


Positive Play: A Sex Ed Game Jam 

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Positive Play brings together aspiring game designers, public health students, sexual health experts, and gender-equity organizations to explore positive depictions of sex and sexuality through games. Participants in this two-day jam (March 24-25th) will work collaboratively to develop games with learning outcomes related to one of the following topics: sex positivity, LGBTQ2S+ inclusivity, consent, and destigmatizing sexually transmitted and bloodborne infections.


Register HERE. (30 places)
Download our info sheet HERE



What is a game jam?

A game jam involves people coming together to explore novel game ideas and topics. Typically jammers work in teams to collaboratively design and prototype a game in a relatively short period of time. Here at WLU’s Game Design and Development program we practice sustainable jams, meaning fixed hours, regular breaks, and healthy food and drink options for all participants.

Why host a jam on sex ed?

Games have often struggled to depict sex and sexuality. In fact, sex is rarely present in games as designers tend to view the subject as taboo. When sex does appear in games it’s often cumbersome, crude, vulgar, and/or misogynistic, perpetuating negative stereotypes and practices. At the same time sexuality is often encoded in games as masculine and heteronormative—the view that heterosexuality is normal or preferred. Few games, for example, allow players to play gay or to pursue polyamorous relationships; rather they presume their players are straight men such that gameplay involves a form of what Adrienne Rich calls compulsory heterosexuality. This view of sex in games exacerbates our culture’s treatment of sex and sexual health as a taboo topic, which can lead to unsafe practices, discrimination, and a reluctance to seek care out of shame or embarrassment.

And yet how designers have approached sex and sexuality is at odds with the medium of games themselves. Play, for instance, is an inherently consensual act as being compelled to play would undermine the very concept of wilfully participating in an activity. Furthermore, flirtation, romance, and sex itself are at their healthiest when they’re viewed as consensual, fun, and playful. With this jam we’re looking to utilize this relationship between games, play, and consent to open up conversations on sex, sexuality, and sexual health. As a result the games designed during Positive Play will help mobilize public health and gender equity policies that advocate for safer, more equitable views on these topics.


We will be working with the Canadian Public Health Association and No More

The Canadian Public Health Association promotes health equity, social justice, and evidence-informed policies and practices.

No More is a community-based organization that speaks out against gendered violence and advocates for gender equity.

Speaker Slides 


Introduction by Steve Wilcox & Emily Flynn-Jones (BGNlab)

STBBI & Stigma by Rachel MacLean & Laura Bouchard (CPHA) 

LGBTQ+ Sex Positivity by Taylor Berzins & Karly Rath (ASCC) 

Consent by Jess Doroschenko (No More) 




LGBTQ2S+ Resources

Can I Play Gay?

LGBTQ Video Game Archive 



Dream Daddy - a dad Dating simulator 

 The Tearoom - A historical public bathroom simulator 

Mainichi - A game about the average day in the life of a trans woman 

How Do You Do It? - A game about exploring the mechanics of sex

Freshman Year - A game about sexual assault and consent 

Katawa Shoujo - A game about disability and sexuality 

Analogue: A Hate Story - A lesbian romance 


Thank you to our partners the Canadian Public Health Association and No More



BGNlab Climate Change Games

Over last summer, we hosted 12 students over the summer who created climate change games.  

Laurier has put together an article on the process, which you can see here:

You can try the games.  Part of the project was to create two games - one more of a learning game, and the other a recreational game.  You do the same activities in both, but we are studying if there is a difference between the games.

The learning game version is here: