Jessica E. Tompkins

Ph.D. Student

Contact Information

  • Email:
  • Website:
    WordPress Blog

  • Research and Creative Interests

    video games, fandom, identification, game design, gender,


    I received a Master’s degree in Media Arts in the Department of Art at the University of South Carolina, Columbia in May 2014.  As an enthusiastic video game player, I'm specifically interested in game studies and research. My M.A. thesis qualitatively explored historical representations in video games in service of learning, persuasion, and awareness. In this pursuit, I designed and developed a beta-version of a historically-contextualized game, Resurrection Man, that places players in the role of a 19th century grave robber.

    Currently, my research investigates game development in the context of a globalized industry; the design and depiction of game characters; players’ meaning-making of game narratives; and how video games may affect self-perception and identity. Specifically, I'm conducting an experiment to explore how player’s identification with game characters effects self-perception and gameplay experience. In another project, I'm exploring how video game fandoms creatively disrupt dominate codes of gender in games.

    In addition to my role as a graduate student at IU, I also lead the Women in Game Design special interest group affiliated with the Center of Excellence for Women in Technology. In this position, I develop a variety of workshops to encourage woman's participation in learning game development skills and software in a supportive environment. I've also hosted game nights and film screenings to build a community for women game designers and gamers. I have also participated as a member of IU's student-led game development club, Hoosier Games

    I've shared my research at the International Communication Association annual conference as well as the National Communication Association annual conference. I have published in the Journal of Communication and have a book chapter under contract in a Call of Duty essay collection. 

    You may view my CV here.