The Games Institute acknowledges that we are living and working on the traditional territory of the Attawandaron (also known as Neutral), Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee peoples. The University of Waterloo is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land promised to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River.
PhD Candidate Sabrina Sgandurra (English Language and Literature) presented at the Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA) 2023 Conference which ran from June 19 – 23 which took place in Seville, Spain.
Her presentation, titled “Our Player Friend Here… They Already Hold the Key…”: Redefining Genre Limits in Inscryption”, focused on the game Inscryption, a rogue-like deckbuilding game with escape-room style puzzles to the tune of psychological horror. Sgandurra notes in her presentation how Inscryption blends multiple genres of gameplay to create a larger puzzle that expands it to other games the developer Daniel Mullins Games has published. To this, Sgandurra examines how the narrative of Inscryption is influenced by these different genres and use of multimedia to tell an engaging story.
The central argument of Sabrina’s presentation sought to categorize and synthesize how Inscryption’s use of genre-blending establishes its lore through media-mixing, also known as intermediality. She categorizes mechanics and gameplay elements in terms of what is present, what is hidden and made clear through additional playthroughs, and what is hidden in the game’s code. All of this contributes to the overall horror of the game’s story and is greatly enhanced by the game’s community, who come together to examine the source code and speculation on the game’s lore—enhanced by intermediality when presented in this form.
If you'd like to stay up to date with Sgandurra's research, you can follow her on X (formerly Twitter).