Creative Director, Designer, Artist, Writer When Rivers Were Trails is an educational 2D adventure game (PC, Mac, Android, iPad) that follows the impact of allotment acts on Indigenous communities in the 1890’s. Developed in collaboration with the Indian Land Tenure Foundation and Michigan State University’s Games for Entertainment and Learning Lab as a component to Lessons of Our Landwith art by Weshoyot Alvitre and music by Supaman. Winner of the Adaptation Award at IndieCade 2019. Exhibited at Native American and Indigenous Studies Association Conference 2019, Asinabka Film and Media Arts Festival 2019, imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival 2019, Game On! El Arte en Juego Festival 2019, Serious Games Showcase & Challenge 2019, Open World Arcade 2019 at Akron Museum of Art, and “Regeneration: Breaking Time with Indigenous Video Games Exhibit” at Western Front Centre.
Writer Dialect is a story game where players participate in an isolated community whose language emerges and must be protected from loss as they establish values, interact, and face challenges through modular world-building. Designed by Thorny Gameswith writing by Elizabeth LaPensée. Winner of the Tabletop Award at IndieCade Europe 2019. Nominated for Game of the Year at the GenCon ENnie Awards 2019.
Thunderbird Strike, 2017
Designer, Artist, Writer In the 2D sidescroller Thunderbird Strike, fly from the Tar Sands to the Great Lakes as a thunderbird protecting Turtle Island with searing lightning against the snake that threatens to swallow the lands and waters whole. With design, art, and writing by Elizabeth LaPensée, programming by Adrian Cheater and Aubrey Jane Scott, and music and sound effects by NÀHGĄ a.k.a. Casey Koyczan. Winner of Best Digital Media at imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival 2017. Winner of Runner-Up at EarthGames on Tap 2018. Exhibited at “Thunderbird Strike: Art and Arcade” at Western Arctic Moving Pictures, “The Environmental Justice and Decolonization” Game Curious Series, Native American and Indigenous Studies Association Conference 2019, “Regeneration: Breaking Time with Indigenous Video Games Exhibit” at Western Front Centre, and more.
Where the Water Tastes Like Wine, 2017
Writer Where the Water Tastes Like Wine is a bleak American folk tale about traveling, sharing stories, and surviving manifest destiny. Designed by Johnnemann Nordhagen and developed by Dim Bulb Games and Serenity Forge with writing by Elizabeth LaPensée and more. Winner of Developer Choice at IndieCade 2017.‘Nuova’ Honorable Mention at Independent Games Festival 2017. RPGFan.com Best of Show E3 2017. Excellence in Narrative Nominee at Independent Games Festival 2017, AMAZE Award Nominee, IGN Best of Show E3 2017 Nominee. Exhibited at IndieCade 2017 and more.
Coyote Quest, 2017
Narrative Designer & Writer Coyote Questis a point-and-click adventure game for the web based on Coyote's Crazy Smart Science Show on Aboriginal Peoples Television Network that engages in Indigenous science through Coyote's tricky style. With creative direction by Loretta Todd, narrative design and writing by Elizabeth LaPensée, art by Nelson Dedos Garcia, music by Mob Bounce, design and programming by Silverstring Media, and production by Agentic Digital Media. Exhibited at imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival 2018.
Designer & Artist Inspired by traditional moccasin game, Mikan is a finding game on mobile (Android and iOS) created for the Duluth Children's Museum with design and art by Elizabeth LaPensée and programming by Tyler Coleman that passes on phrases such as jiimaan (canoe) in Anishinaabemowin.
Honour Water, 2016
Designer, Artist, Writer Honour Wateris a singing game for mobile (iOS) developed by Pinnguaq with art and design by Elizabeth LaPensée. Songs by Anishinaabe elders and Sharon Day sung by the Oshkii Giizhik Singers pass on teachings about water in Anishinaabemowin. Exhibited at imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival 2016, Water Moves MSU, Frozen River Film Festival 2016, Asinabka Festival 2017, Native American and Indigenous Studies Association Conference 2019, and more.
Little Earth Strong, 2016
Designer & Writer Little Earth Strong is a gameful health intervention program where youth are superheroes who activate gifts based on the Seven Teachings by completing powerup challenges. Elizabeth LaPensée designed and created art for the gameful program in partnership with the Research for Indigenous Community Health Center and Little Earth United Tribes.
Designer & Programmer With design and programming by Elizabeth LaPensée, art by Steven Paul Judd, and music by Trevino Brings Plenty, Invaders for web and mobile is a spin on the classic arcade game Space Invaders. Curated by Babycastles, SAW Gallery, and Bloodlines at Bridge Productions. Shown at imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival 2015, Indie Revolution Expo 2016, and Digital Games Research Association + Foundations of Digital Games Conference 2016.
Ninagamomin ji-nanaandawi'iwe, 2015
Designer, Artist, Programmer Ninagamomin ji-nanaandawi'iwe (We Sing for Healing) is a musical choose-your-own adventure text game for web with design, art, and programming by Elizabeth LaPensée and music by Exquisite Ghost. Shown at imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival 2015. Curated by Planet IndigenUS 2015 and SAW Gallery.
The Gift of Food, 2014
Designer & Writer The Gift of Food is a board game about traditional Northwest Native foods by the Northwest Indian College. Designed and written by Elizabeth LaPensée and produced and co-written by Elise Krohn with art by Roger Fernandes and graphic design by Annie Brulé, this delightful game is packed with traditional food knowledge. Each player balances foods and medicines in their basket while reinforcing the values of collaboration, stewardship, generosity, and gratitude as they strive to thrive through the seasons.
Gathering Native Foods, 2014
Co-Designer Gathering Native Foodsis a suite of touchscreen mini-games co-designed by Elizabeth LaPensée in collaboration with the Hibulb Cultural Center and Natural History Preserve on behalf of Tulalip tribes and Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. Mini-games include clam digging, wild blackberry picking, and salmon catching in ways that honor land and community available in museums through a national tour of Roots of Wisdom: Native Knowledge, Shared Science.
Max's Adventures, 2013
Designer & Writer In the social impact game Max's Adventures designed and written byElizabeth LaPensée, Max the Fox and his friends engage youth in wellbeing through being active, eating healthy meals and snacks, and balancing with water while they complete quests that take place in nature and online.
Co-Designer Mawisowin is an arcade style web game for the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network show Back in the Day. With conceptual design by Elizabeth LaPensée and design and programming by Ed Stastny, this fast paced game is a race to pick berries and clear diseases on bushes before they wilt.
Designer & Writer Techno Medicine Wheel, designed and written by Elizabeth LaPensée in collaboration with T’Uty’Tanat-Cease Wyss, is an alternate reality game from the Aboriginal History Media Arts Lab. Little People lead players on adventures throughout traditional territories in Vancouver, British Columbia as they learn about traditional medicinal plants and their care and uses.
Venture Arctic, 2007
Writer Venture Arctic is an eco sim from award-winning indie game company Pocketwatch Games with writing and cultural research by Elizabeth LaPensée that challenges the player to act as Mother Nature, acknowledging the impact of oil industry on the life far north in the midst of growth in the sun and destruction in the wind.
They Come for Water, 2019
Writer "They Come for Water" in MOONSHOT: The Indigenous Comics Collection Volume 3 (forthcoming, AH Comics)features writing by Elizabeth LaPensée and illustration by Weshoyot Alvitre. With Earth's water toxified, a company turns to extraction on Mars, bringing back a sickness that turns people cannibal. Because Anishinaabeg have been denied access to drinking water, they thrive, but must protect their community from the infected.
Of Ash and Snow, 2019
Writer & Colorist "Of Ash and Snow" in Sovereign Traces Volume 2: Relational Constellation (MSU Press and Native Realities Press) with writing and colors by Elizabeth LaPensée and inks by Mitchell Bercier is a romance about two Métis who cross paths during the peak and collapse of logging industry in the early 1900's.
Writer Written by Elizabeth LaPensée with art by Richard Pace, "They Who Walk As Lightning" in MOONSHOT: The Indigenous Comics Collection Volume 2 (AH Comics) highlights a young woman who returns to thunderbird teachings as she works alongside her family to face the impact of toxic spills in their community. Bronze Medal for "Best Graphic Novel - Drama" at the 2018 Independent Publisher's Awards. "Best Anthology" at the 2018 Joe Shuster Awards.
Deer Woman: A Vignette, 2015
Writer Deer Woman: A Vignette, which later grew into Deer Woman: An Anthology(Native Realities Press 2017), tells Deer Woman's side of the story while passing on self-defense teachings in support of Arming Sisters. Written by Elizabeth LaPensée, edited by Allie Vasquez, and illustrated by Jonathan Thunder. Awesome Foundation Portland's Peoples' Choice Award.
The Observing, 2015
Writer Written by Elizabeth LaPensée for MOONSHOT: The Indigenous Comics Collection(AH Comics) with art by GMB Chomichuk, "The Observing"retells a historical story of an unexpected encounter while hunting. Bronze Medal for “Best Graphic Novel” at the 20th Annual Independent Publisher’s Awards. Named "The Best Book of 2015" by the School Library Journal.
Copper Heart, 2015
Writer Written by Elizabeth LaPensée for MOONSHOT: The Indigenous Comics Collection(AH Comics) with pencils by Claude St-Aubin and color by Andy Stanleigh, "Copper Heart" reflects on a man's childhood experience with the memegwesiwag who come to the aid of his sister when she falls ill. Bronze Medal for “Best Graphic Novel” at the 20th Annual Independent Publisher’s Awards. Named "The Best Book of 2015" by the School Library Journal.
Our Words, 2012
Writer & Artist With art and writing by Elizabeth LaPensée, Our Words in INC's Universe #0 is a one-page comic which reflects on the burning of birchbark scrolls and recognizes comics as a way to share stories and teachings.
The Nature of Snakes, 2012
Writer & Artist The Nature of Snakes is a reimagined traditional story told through writing and art by Elizabeth LaPensée and Anishinaabemowin translations by Perry Bebamash. Premiered at imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival 2012.
Writer Falais an urban Native remix of Alice in Wonderland in web comic form written by Elizabeth LaPensée which was created through winning the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network's Comic Creation Nation Contest.
The West Was Lost, 2008
Writer The West Was Lostis a steampunk web comic written by Elizabeth LaPensée which was created through winning the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network's Comic Creation Nation Contest. Shown at imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival 2010.
Along the River of Spacetime, Forthcoming 2020
Designer, Artist, Writer Along the River of Spacetime is a virtual reality game about activating Anishinaabe knowledge to restore eco-systems with art, design, and writing by Elizabeth LaPensée. Made possible thanks to the Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship 2018.
Designer & Artist Manoominike is a motion responsive interactive experience within a wigwam structure which shares Anishinaabe practices of ricing. It was created for the Duluth Children's Museum in collaboration with Ojibwemowining Digital Arts Studio with design and art by Elizabeth LaPensée, technical direction and video art by Joellyn Rock, and programming by Logan Sales.
Writer A First Nations teen resistantly steps up against Wetiko to protect the community at Gods' Lake from urban expansion and destruction in the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network's Animism, an animated series, alternate reality game, and short story anthology with writing by Elizabeth LaPensée. Shaw Rocket Prize Finalist 2013.
nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up, 2019
Artist Cree filmmaker Tasha Hubbard’s nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up is a feature-length documentary which reflects on the tragic murder of Colten Boushie, a young Cree man from Saskatchewan who was killed by a bullet to the head by Gerald Stanley, who was later found not guilty of second-degree murder. While reflecting on Indigenous and settler histories, Hubbard follows the Boushie family's pursuit of justice in the hopes of restoring safety for Indigenous youth across the Prairies. Premiered and awarded Best Canadian Feature Documentary Award at Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival 2019.
Thunderbird Strike, 2017
Director & Artist The experimental stop motion animation Thunderbird Strike directed and animated by Elizabeth LaPensée and edited by Kaitlin Rose Lenhard with music by NÀHGĄ a.k.a. Casey Koyczan follows a thunderbird flying from the Tar Sands in Alberta to the Straits of Mackinac in the Great Lakes protecting the land and waters. Premiered at imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival 2017. Shown at “Water Is Life” at the Raíces Cultural Center, Native Spirit Film Festival 2017, Voices from the Waters International Traveling Film Festival 2017, Children's Film Festival Seattle 2018, and Bellingham Children's Film Festival 2018.
Hands to the Sky, 2016
Director & Artist The experimental stop motion animation Hands to the Sky directed and animated by Elizabeth LaPensée with music by the Métis Fiddler Quartet follows fallout from oil extraction and transforms into healing. Awarded Best Animation at Dreamspeakers International Indigenous Film Festival 2017. Premiered at imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival 2016. Shown at Media Democracy Days 2016, Standing Strong for Our Precious Water Art Exhibit and Concert Benefit, Vancouver Indigenous Media Arts Festival 2017, Queen City Shorts May Showcase, Egger Gallery at the Washington Pavilion Visual Arts Center, Montréal First Peoples Festival 2017, Asinabka Festival 2017, 2017 Soo Film Festival, Voices from the Waters International Traveling Film Festival 2017, 13th Annual Indigenous Film & Arts Festival, Red Nation Film Festival 2017, and Queen City Shorts 2018.
Director & Artist Stories of spacecanoes and space/time travel across dimensions unravel to "Trade Song" by the Métis Fiddler Quartet in the experimental stop motion Returning directed and animated by Elizabeth LaPensée. Awarded Best Animation at Montréal First Peoples Festival 2016. Premiered at imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival 2015. Shown at LA SKINS FEST 2015, Asinabka Film & Media Arts Festival 2016, Festival Ciné Alter'Natif 2016 in France, Indigenous Film & Arts Festival 2016, Media Democracy Days 2016, Short Films From Around the World 2017, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian's Native Cinema Showcase 2017, 2017 Soo Film Festival, and Dreamspeakers International Indigenous Film Festival 2017.