Game Design & Writing for Games
You know those games you love playing? Someone wrote all that. From the narrative and plot to the character design and quests– even the manual (or tutorial). Want to learn how? Ask me. Take my class. Read my work. I also do extensive game design work, focusing not just on video games but also on tabletop and card games.
Cultural Rhetorics & Identity
From some work narrowly focused on Cherokee/Indigenous rhetoric to pieces that speak to all issues of race, gender and class, I’m trained in cultural rhetorics and critical race theory. I apply it across the board to all things I research and make. I also proudly embrace the “social justice warrior” label as I believe social justice matters.
Digital Rhetoric & Design
The world is increasingly leaning toward digital content, and while digital tech makes life easier, it’s not magic. I interrogate how it seems magical and how to leverage it. I’m an expert on digital identity and branding in digital space and have been innovating with online education since the 90s. I also teach design and design my own media.
Pedagogy & Program Development
Trained teacher. Teacher trainer. Grassroots program organizer. From publications to student groups, from major initiatives to Varsity programs, I’ve done it, and I keep on doing it.
A 15 year teaching veteran (check CV for details), Phill currently works as a Heanon Wilkins Fellow/Visiting Assistant Professor in the Armstrong Institute for Interactive Media Studies at Miami University in Oxford, OH.
Phill holds degrees in creative writing, political science, composition and rhetoric and digital rhetoric and professional writing with a focus on cultural rhetorics.
Phill currently teaches classes in video game theory, writing for games, Esports, visual rhetoric and design, digital rhetoric, and digital identity. He's also the co-Director of the Miami University Varsity Esports Program.
A voracious reader and avid gamer, Phill also researches (and consumes, and sometimes creates) all manner of pop culture, from comics to movies to pro wrestling.
Fusing theory and praxis, Phill's primary research all stems in some ways from the central hub of digital rhetoric. From Cindy Selfe to Ian Bogost. From Lev Manovich to Lisa Nakamura. Phill is working to belong in that conversation.
Those who can do. Those who do also teach. A trained creative writer who slowed away from publishing to finish his studies, Phill now applies his craft training to writing for games while using his understanding of the rhetoric of the user/player/viewer as well as the primacy of narrative experience to guide game design for digital and tabletop games.
Phill looks at issues of visual representation and visual rhetorics, from mascots to making effective logos. He's also a teacher of visual rhetoric and design, having led classes in numerous client based projects.
Though not always embraced by other theorists of race and indigenous culture due to his unique hybrid stance (based on his mixed-blood heritage and upbringing), Phill is trained in critical race theory and has worked to pioneer numerous social justice/equity projects and workgroups. He currently focuses on representation and diversity in games/the games industry.
Things I Do
Miami Varsity Esports
Video: Video Game Genres
Guest Post on NYMG
Some related readings: Bhabha, Homi.The Location of Culture. New York: Routledge, 1994. Print. Bruyneel , Kevin. The Third Space of Sovereignty: The Postcolonial Politics of U.S.-Indigenous Relations. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota Press, 2007. Print. Deloria, Philip. Playing Indian. New Haven: Yale U Press, 1988. Print. Gilyard, Keith. “Preface.” Rhetoric and Ethnicity. Ed. Keith Gilyard and Read more about CCCC 15 Presentation: Some things that will NEVER change[…]
One of the consistent dilemmas since the very beginning of the networked world– even before the world wide web– was that of identity. There was a hope, and even an early belief, that digital space could be democratic. As scholars like Lisa Nakamura have pointed out, there’s the ability for one to shed race Read more about For Our Cs Teaching Workshop: Avatars and Activity[…]
Dr. Phill’s Commentary: Why Race and Gender Remain a Problem for Games The game industry, decades behind American culture, doesn’t really want to embrace change. In spite of what demographics tell us, many in the gaming industry believe their audience is still almost all white teenagers. As such, the move to be more inclusive strikes Read more about Race and Gender in Games– a super-short problem statement[…]
Dr. Phill on A Lost Aspect of Video Games: The Arcade The last reading on your list last week was a piece by Jonathan Fiske wherein he laid out a Marxist reading of Pac-man/the arcade machine. What he told you, essentially, is that the player in the arcade played as much against the game as Read more about The Arcade: lost gaming community[…]
I’m starting a reflection on a series of activities I just did with my English 313: Technical Writing students over the last two weeks. I will be adding to this as time goes by, and I will likely present it soon in a venue near you (ATTW, computers and writing). It illustrates one of the Read more about Paper Planes and The Game-ification of Technical Writing[…]
We Are But Meme Machines from Phill Alexander
Again, originally offered to a class as an example, I am considering expanding on my reflections on CM Punk. This one starts from a Wikipedia definition of Kairos and goes weird places. The first is Kairos. I could give you a book definition, but the one on Wikipedia is surprisingly well written (go figure), so Read more about CM Punk and Kairos — the potential seeds for a deeper discussion[…]
My friend (I hope she’d consider me such) and colleague Billie Hara recently posted this spot on blog entry about digital identity on her personal blog. I wish to applaud her, and I encourage any scholars in our field who aren’t thinking about digital identity to make sure they turn their attention there, at least Read more about The “Myth” of Online Authenticity or Phill Engages Billie’s Post[…]
While eating dinner with my mother, we were watching Wolf Blitzer in ye olde Situation Room on CNN. This flashed across the bottom of the screen while Wolf discussed the viability of Donald Trump as a Presidential candidate. I then did a little Googling and found this site, which boasts, among other things, an Osamagotchi, Read more about Killing Games: or How Weird is it to Virtually Fire the Killshot?[…]
A while back I read an essay by one of my favorite comics, Patton Oswalt, in Wired, one of my favorite publications. In it, Oswalt laments the death of the geek and the emergence of a sort of “commonplace nerd.” He then resolves that the solution to our problems with pop culture are to destroy Read more about Things fall apart, Patton: or Phill Plays a Lot of Mortal Kombat[…]