January 2017, Wrocław: Matters of Construction

Website: enmattersofconstruction.wordpress.com

12 January 2017, Institute of Journalism and Social Communication, University of Wrocław, Wrocław, Poland.

From the conference website: “…an open seminar devoted to the subject of world-building in video games.

Video games available on the market today are introducing abstract worlds and implementing advanced mechanisms that enrich the interactive entertainment, transforming it into a unique medium possessing its own poetics. However, regardless of their size, budget or complexity, video games possess common formal features, one of which is the virtual world around the player.

Virtual landscapes, depending on the genre and platform in question, can have either marginal or crucial importance for the player, facilitating the process of immersion and further expanding the narrative sphere. Importance of the game world is even more vital when considering productions spanning several titles and platforms. Thus, importance of research dedicated to the process of world-building in games is becoming more important as creating games is further complicated by such factors as developer’s decisions, marketing factors, consumer demands, cultural texts and social trends.

Hence, we would like to focus our attention on the subject of world-building in video games. In particular, we intend to explore existing game worlds, world-building techniques, mechanics, theories and methods for analysing the aforementioned components in order to deconstruct utilized game-building methods and decipher why virtual worlds are so alluring to players.”

November 2016, Kraków: Games and Literary Theory

Website: gameslit16.wordpress.com/

18-20 November 2016, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland.

From the conference website: “Games and Literary Theory is an annual conference for scholars of literature interested in expanding the scope of literary theory, and game scholars concerned with adapting the methodological and theoretical approaches of literary theory for the study of games…

This year’s conference will focus on practices of interpretation and close gaming. We understand literary theory as a discipline engaged in general approaches to literature as a practice and as an institution, along with the production and enhancement of reading techniques. Many such reading techniques have successfully been applied in game studies (i.e. semiotics, pragmatics, hermeneutics, formalism, rhetoric, feminism, postcolonial studies), and continue to offer productive critical tools for exploring both games and literary texts. At the same time, however, interpretations of games often serve as case studies that demonstrate the validity of theoretical reasoning, while taking little interest in games in their own right.

Therefore, this year Games and Literary Theory encourages participants to use existing tools for presenting theoretically coherent and intellectually productive close readings and interpretations of specific games. We also welcome proposals that address topics in theory, or more general issues that may be instrumental in bringing together literary theory and game studies.”

December 2016, Utrecht: Games and Learning Alliance

Website: conf.seriousgamessociety.org

5-7 December 2016, Boothzaal, Universiteitsbibliotheek, De Uithof, Utrecht, Netherlands.

The Call for Papers has been extended to July 28th 2016.

From the conference website: “The Games and Learning Alliance conference (GALA 2016) is an international conference dedicated to the science and application of serious games. The conference aims at bringing together researchers, developers, practitioners and stakeholders. The goal is to share the state of the art of research and market, analysing the most significant trends and discussing visions on the future of serious games…

…The conference proceedings will be published on Springer Lecture Notes in Computer Science (LNCS) and the best papers in a special issue of the International Journal of Serious Games, as the previous years.”

October 2016, Jyväskylä: Play Cultures

Website: www.jyu.fi/hum/laitokset/taiku/play-cultures/cfp

10 October 2016, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland.

Abstracts are accepted in English or Finnish. Extended abstract should be 500 words, excluding the bibliography. In addition to the abstract, submit a 50 word biography. The deadline for submissions is 7th August 2016.

From the conference website: “The increased visibility of play and games in society has affected areas outside the core areas of videogames and toys. Videogames are one of the biggest sectors of commercial media. Playing with and collecting toys is increasingly acceptable for adults. Gamification and different kinds of playful approaches are becoming part of everyday life and work.

How are gamer/player cultures changing? What kind of new play cultures are emerging? How is the growing economic significance of games and related media affecting the cultural meanings attached to games and play? What kind of roles are play and games being given in education? Can playing and gaming improve and maintain well-being? Has gaming become more culturally accepted?

The conference will address themes such as:

  • videogames and gaming in media
  • subcultures of play
  • streaming and Let’s Plays
  • gamification in different cultural contexts
  • ludification and playfulness
  • eSports cultures
  • playfulness in learning and well-being”

October 2016, Paisley: Games Based Learning

Website: www.academic-conferences.org/conferences/ecgbl/

6-7 October 2016, The University of the West of Scotland, Paisley, Scotland.

This is a traditional academic conference, with a European field of speakers. Papers submitted to this particular series of conferences are often reproduced in several publications, and there’s been some interesting works concerning the evidence and proof of effective game use in learning within these.

Keynote Speaker Outlines.

From the conference website: “Welcome to the 10th anniversary of the European Conference in Games-based Learning. For the 10th anniversary we return to where ECGBL started, Scotland. Over the last 10 years, we have explored and debated different aspects of games-based learning. While we know more about the use of games in education and training since ECGBL started, there are still many open research questions and there is still a dearth of empirical evidence and, in particular, longitudinal studies.”

July 2016, Chapel Hill: Serious Play

Website: seriousplayconf.com

26-28 July 2016, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.

This is an annual conference dedicated to the wider applications of games and play. Consequently, there is less of an academic focus on “serious play”, but more of a cross-sectoral range of discussions. The speakers, drawn from all manner of fields and sectors, demonstrate this.

This year’s conference program.

From the conference website: “The Serious Play Conference, now in our 6th year, is a leadership conference for professionals who embrace the idea that games can revolutionize learning. Speakers, who come from all parts of the globe, share their experience creating or using games in the corporation, classroom, healthcare institution, government and military and offer tips on how to move game-based education programs ahead.”

August 2016, Madison: Games+Learning+Society 12

Website: glsconference.org

17-19 August 2016, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, USA.

This is, without much doubt, the main annual conference for games and learning in North America. Madison itself has been a centre for games and learning companies for a while now; this, and GLS, are somewhat by-products of the games research undertaken there.

This year’s schedule.

From the conference website: “The GLS Conference is the premier videogames and learning event. Now in it’s twelfth year, our event continues to be one of the top destinations where the people who create and research high-quality digital learning media can gather to discuss and help shape the direction of the field. GLS is best known for its high quality program, top notch attendees list, and playful atmosphere. Each year, we foster in-depth conversation across diverse disciplines including game studies and culture, game design, learning sciences and education research, industry, and policy. Our aim is to connect, learn, and explore.”

The journal of Digital Culture and Education

I’ve been accepted onto the editorial board of the journal of Digital Culture and Education. This particular online journal:

…is devoted to analysing the impact of digital culture on identity, education, art, society, culture and narrative within social, political, economic, cultural and historical contexts.

They have a nice archive of articles. It’s good – and healthy – to read academic research writing which isn’t just about games, but covers other aspects of online and digital uses. It’s also an Open Access journal, so content within is free to read.

In addition, I am currently:

Previously, I was also a member of the editorial board of Ariadne, specialising in games and gamification in the library and information science sectors.