I constructed a multifaceted theoretical framework to inform my investigation of the roguelike genre and its atypical model of death. I built six roguelike games to better understand the genre – and to practice effective roguelike feature implementation. I use the final, novel, roguelike as a tool to enable a revealing pilot user study comparing an otherwise parallel game experience with and without permadeath.
About James Bowie-Wilson
James Bowie-Wilson is a game developer and entrepreneur. He is passionate about emergent gameplay narratives, and expanding the range of voices shaping those narratives.
Growing up in the winter wonderland of Madison, Wisconsin, he attended the University of Southern California, graduating with degrees in Sociology and Interactive Entertainment. His Honors thesis explored the impact of gender on game developers in leadership positions. He won recognition as a National Merit Finalist, National Achievement Finalist, USC Presidential Scholar, and USC Renaissance Scholar.
He has worked with wonderful teams to build great games. The largest project in USC Advanced Games’ history, “Bloom”, was featured by Intel, GamesBeat, and VentureBeat; “Howie and Yarla” won an IndieCade award for storytelling and was featured by Fox News; “Hare-y Kare-y”, “Dear Humans”, and “Samsong” each won awards at Global Game Jams. He runs Roll Play Studio, an investor and accelerator funded, publisher supported venture with guidance from industry veterans.
When not dancing across keyboards, James breakdances across concrete as a member of Rhythm Attack, an international dance crew centered in Hong Kong.
Thesis: Roguelife: Digital Death in Videogames and Its Design Consequences