Leigh Alexander is a writer and critic focused on the ways technology and media intersect with culture and self-expression. She is a freelance writer for the Guardian’s technology site, while at VICE Motherboard, her ongoing column Oracles of the Web explores the junction of tech and magic, faith and belief, with topics like “emoji spellcasting”, online cults, digital rituals and more.
She also regularly contributes to the wonderful futurist journal How We Get To Next, on topics from the lethality of life in microgravity to diet trends, space buckets and whether chatbots can practice religion.
She recently published Monitor, a cyberpunk novella set in the Android: Netrunner universe, for Fantasy Flight Games. She’s also author of the favorably-received ebook Breathing Machine, a memoir of growing up alongside computer games and the early internet (Amazon, iBooks, Google Play, Kobo platforms), as well as, Clipping Through, a sloppy series of essays on life and work through video games set around the annual Game Developers Conference. Her well-received Silent Hill 2-themed short story MONA, about unhealthy appetites, was illustrated by renowned artist Emily Carroll.
Her series of short weekly videos called Lo-Fi Let’s Plays, where she softly explores obsolete computer games for the delight of fantasists and ASMR-heads alike, debuted on Rock, Paper Shotgun (visit the full YouTube channel here) and now survives as a periodic community-funded passion project.
Prior to launching a career in digital culture commentary she was a renowned (and controversial) video game writer and critic focused on trying to grow the damn things up a little. Most recently, she was editor-in-chief of Offworld, Boing Boing’s site dedicated to unsung voices and alternative culture in video games. With senior editor Laura Hudson on board Offworld successfully raised over $65,000 to create a hardcover collection of games writing entirely by women and people of color.
As longtime editor-at-large for industry mainstay Gamasutra, she contributed game criticism, design analysis, industry trend editorial, and interviews with developers to the world’s best, ugliest website on the art of game development.
She was a longtime featured columnist for Edge magazine, Kotaku, and Vice’s Creators Project and VICE UK and her features have appeared at Polygon and Boing Boing. She used to be NYLON Guys’ games editor, and in the past she’s contributed to Rock Paper Shotgun, Shut Up & Sit Down, Slate, The Atlantic, Paste, The New Statesman, The Guardian, The New Inquiry, the Columbia Journalism Review, TIME and others.
With designer Ste Curran she co-founded the consulting imprint Agency, which works with firms of all sizes to streamline game designs and improve the way they communicate with audiences.
She has a long history of public speaking at conferences, on TV and radio, with particular attention to games for social good, feminism and increased diversity in tech spaces, where she usually talks with an excess of enthusiastic speed. She has juried an infuriating number of festival prizes, including the 2013 BAFTA games prize. Back in the day, she once led an entire conference summit on avatar-based interaction in virtual spaces, went on to regularly present at the Game Developers Conference, and delivered keynotes at the Toronto International Film Festival’s Women in New Media Day, Nine Worlds Geekfest, Copenhagen’s Spilbar, GameCity in Nottingham, Different Games, Games For Change, Rensselaer Polytechnic’s Gamefest, the University of Michigan’s John Seely Brown Symposium, and more. Some of these talks are available upon request.