English Language and Literature

Elise Vist profile headshotElise Vist, BA and MA (English, Carleton University), is a Ph.D. graduate who studied fans, immersion, and queerness. Her research focused on hockey fans and Real Person Fanfiction, but she has also written about immersion and queerness in games, including dys4iaDragon Age: Inquisition, Lord of the Rings: Online, and the worldwide scavenger hunt GISHWHES. She is also passionate about creative and playful game design, running workshops using University of Alberta's Cobble Cards. As a co-founder of the Games Institute Janes (GI Janes), Elise encouraged women and non-binary people to find joy in gaming. 

Sample Projects

Cyborg Games article 

This paper describes the genre of “cyborg games,” using examples of independent videogames (such as Gone Home) to illustrate the genre, as well as AAA mainstream games (such as Mass Effect) to describe the genre’s limits. After defining key terms (cyborg, blasphemy, and disorientation), the paper offers a close reading of two of Anna Anthropy’s games, dys4ia and Defend the Land. These close readings show how cyborg games are disorienting to normative bodies, and why those moments of disorientation are necessarily jarring for normative players.

GI Talk on Immersion

This talk explores immersion, the #spnfamily, and Supernatural conventions. 

Lady Hobbits

Lady Hobbits imageEmma Vossen and Elise Vist made the Lady Hobbits video in Neil Randall's Lord of the Rings class in the coursework year of their PhD. Because of the critiques they leveled at Jackson’s adaptation of LOTR, Emma and Elise decided to make their own adaptation, using the LOTRO game to make a machinima. their adaptation gender-bends and (somewhat, due to the limitations of character creation) race-bends the main characters of the LOTR in order to show that the story is just as interesting and relevant if the characters are not white men. It was very important to us that the story was still recognizable as Frodo’s journey, even with female hobbits. They also wanted to have some fun with the book, bringing in their own politics and making a few jokes that point out odd moments in the narrative, but they took care not to make jokes about the hobbits being female characters.

First Person Scholar

front page of the FPS website

First Person Scholar (FPS) is an online game studies periodical created and maintained by graduate students at the University of Waterloo through The Games Institute. FPS aims to occupy the niche between academic blogs and journals in establishing an informed, sustained conversation. Their articles are relatively short, thought-provoking pieces that are intended to stimulate debate on games and games scholarship. Elise is the Associate Editor of First Person Scholar.

Sample Publications and Presentations

2014 Three Minute Thesis Competition Finalist


For more information, please see Elise's personal website.

University of Waterloo