The Revolutionary Potential of Independent Video Games

Delaney McCallum


Faculty Advisor: Michael Loriaux


Delaney is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Radio/Television/Film at Northwestern University with concentrations in Comedy Arts and Media & Game Design. She will be completing the Senior Directing track in 2020 – 2021, creating a senior thesis film (an animated documentary). Delaney is fascinated about the intersection of digital art and comedy, and aspires to work in animation and game design.

Through her Media and Game Design Concentration Delaney has created a number of interactive digital art pieces, including True Bad Stories (2018), Insomnia (2019), and Message from an Anonymous Lover (2019). During the summer of 2020 she worked as an Animation and Game Design Intern at Change Lab LA. She helped illustrate and implement two dimensional assets in mini into educational, philanthropic mini-games. In my free time, Delaney is either doodling, pondering dog adoption, or watching RuPaul’s Drag Race.


My research is about the medium of independent video games, as opposed to mainstream studio video games. I explore how and why independent game artists have potential as revolutionary artists.

As a huge video game fan myself, I found that I was doing research in my free time by accident just by playing independent video games online. I began to think about how the artistic elements of those games applied to the theoretical concepts I was learning while studying in NUs Art, Literature, and Contemporary Thought Program. I knew that I would enjoy expanding my knowledge of the games in relation to the material I was reading in class.

In the future, I predict that more and more attention will be given by researchers to independent game artists because they are pushing technological and creative boundaries. I would hope that future researchers expand on my work by investigating how a players analytical skills and brain functioning change and adapt while navigating independent video games, especially instillation and virtual reality pieces.

I plan on pursuing a career in animation, illustration, and game design.