Notes

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.”

Game Studies: the game

A game about academic game studies; how meta. Or perhaps, recursive. The Kill Screen headline asks if we really need academics to study videogames. Hmmm.

And so we have the game of Game Studies. This simple HTML5/WebGL game is playable in your web browser. The rest of the website is worth a wander around, too.

A series of five short levels, the game is simple: get the man to the goal by clicking on the ground until he walks there. Along the course of each level, the game will lampoon one of five different theories, whether by having the player dive into a pool to demonstrate “immersion”, having them walk into a circle to demonstrate “the magic circle,” having them play baseball while listening to Snow White to demonstrate the conflict between “ludology and narratology,” and the like.

I look forward to “Game Studies: the movie”, and hope Robert De Niro with a convincing beard plays me.

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.”

Four academic game vacancies in Europe

It’s another sign of the growth and health in academic game studies that every day seems to bring a new advert for a position in a university. Here’s four, from universities in Europe, spotted in the last few days. In no particular order:

First up, via a tweet from Petri Lankoski, a post for a senior lecturer in games at Södertörn University in Sweden. Swedish not essential, but it helps.

Second, in Bergen, Norway, via a tweet from Kristine Jørgensen, a postdoctoral fellowship in the Games and Transgressive Aesthetics project.

Next, via a tweet from Frans Mäyrä, a tenure track professorship position in gamification shared between Tampere University of Technology and the University of Turku in Finland.

Finally, via a Facebook post from Richard Bartle, a vacancy at Brunel University London for the position of Lecturer in Game Design.

RAGE: Realising an Applied Gaming Eco-system

The RAGE project is a European Union consortium project involving various partners from the academic and gaming sectors. It’s an interesting one to watch; their aims are to create a collection of assets and resources of actual use to game developers, including those developing in or for the education sector, helping to speed up the process of game development.

The project was partially born out of CETIS, the Centre for Educational Technology, Interoperability and Standards, with Paul Hollins being particularly active.

The RAGE project also tweets, and has some downloads and a blog. The project plans to hold events such as workshops and training courses across Europe. One to keep an eye on, especially if you’re into educational game development.

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”

Systematic literature review update

The November 2015 issue of Computers and Education contains the paper:

An update to the systematic literature review of empirical evidence of the impacts and outcomes of computer games and serious games.

Authors: Elizabeth Boyle, Thomas Connolly, Thomas Hainey, Grant Gray, Jeffrey Earp, Michela Ott, Theodore Lim, Manuel Ninaus, Claudia Ribeiro and Joao Pereira.

Data examined: 143 papers from 2009-14.

Abstract: Continuing interest in digital games indicated that it would be useful to update Connolly et al.’s (2012) systematic literature review of empirical evidence about the positive impacts and outcomes of games. Since a large number of papers was identified in the period from 2009 to 2014, the current review focused on 143 papers that provided higher quality evidence about the positive outcomes of games. Connolly et al.’s multidimensional analysis of games and their outcomes provided a useful framework for organising the varied research in this area. The most frequently occurring outcome reported for games for learning was knowledge acquisition, while entertainment games addressed a broader range of affective, behaviour change, perceptual and cognitive and physiological outcomes. Games for learning were found across varied topics with STEM subjects and health the most popular. Future research on digital games would benefit from a systematic programme of experimental work, examining in detail which game features are most effective in promoting engagement and supporting learning.

My notes: This is a comprehensive, but also easy, read for those of us interested in the evidence or proof for the effective use of digital games in teaching and learning. The data is clearly presented and discussed, and the listing of coded papers that closes the paper is a mine of relevant literature.

More information at:

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.”