Games Research Network

Researching analogue and digital games

How to REALLY Win at Gloom: an Interview with Keith Baker

In a recent session, members of the Games Research Network met up to play Gloom, a card game designed and created by Keith Baker and distributed by Atlas Games. Following the game, we put some questions to Keith, which he very kindly agreed to answer, and which we share here for your reading pleasure.

We began by asking Keith to describe the game.

Imagine a few people sitting around a table debating whose family has had things worse:

“I had to walk to school barefoot in the snow.”

“That’s nothing. I was cursed by the Queen and shunned by society.”

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3rd Games Degrees End of Year Showcase

Manchester Metropolitan University is looking forward to hosting its third annual Games Degree Showcase, an opportunity for third-year students to show off the projects that they have been working on, and for industry representatives and members of the public to come and have a look (and even a play). 

Here is an invitation from Matthew Crossley, course leader for the BSc in Games Design & Development at Manchester Metropolitan, and a member of the Games Research Network.

Following another fantastic Games Degrees Showcase last year, the School of Computing, Mathematics and Digital Technology will again be hosting an End of Year Showcase for our Games Degrees!  We would love for you to come along and to bring your friends and family – the event is open to all!

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Serious games: Game of Resilience

Serious games which exceed pure entertainment goals and are designed for education purposes are becoming more and more popular to “convey ideas and values” (Frasca 2007). Learning in this way is based on experiences, turning a passive consumer into an active player, who seeks and engages with information voluntarily (Ouariachi et al. 2017).

Floods, terrorist attacks, cyber-attacks and riots are only some of the threats encountered in Game of Resilience. This game of strategy and cooperation is designed by Paul Kudray, inspired by his real-life experiences when working as an emergency service commander. Paul Kudray holds an MSc in Disaster Management (Coventry University) and is now an International Business Resilience Leader working with and assessing clients in the public and private sectors.

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Warlock of Firetop Mountain – From Analogue to Digital

First, a moment of disclosure. I like actual – I’m trying to avoid the word real– things. I read David Sax’s recent book The Revenge of Analog with pleasure, nodding along at all the right moments, and generally subscribing to the argument of the book’s subtitle, that ‘real things matter.’ I’m also a long-standing fan of Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone’s Fighting Fantasy Adventure Gamebooks, a series I read when it was first released in the 1980s, and on which I’ve written before in an attempt to confirm my sense that the print form has affordances that don’t translate easily to the digital realm. So, when I downloaded Tin Man Games’ reboot of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain I did so with a set of preconceptions – pre-formed questions at least – that make it necessary to say that what follows isn’t so much a review of the app – which would require a measure of concern for the intended player-readers — as a series of thoughts on the remediation of Jackson and Livingstone’s first gamebook into a new digital format.

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Book Review: Understanding Counterplay in Video Games

Understanding Counterplay in Video Games

By Alan F. Meades

London: Routledge: 2014. ISBN: 9781138804920

An insightful and interesting read, Alan F. Meades’ Understanding Counterplay in Video Games explores one of the most problematic issues within multiplayer video games: the antisocial and oppositional forms of play, such as cheating, hacking, griefing and illicit game modifications, which is known collectively as ‘counterplay’. Meades’ intention is to reframe the debate, away from the suggestion that these acts are simply ‘childish’ or ‘malicious’, to recognise the meaningful value(s) that counter players attribute to transgressing the authority of game rules. The book shows that the motivation to cheat the game, modify the system or grief another player, is a complex and often contradictory experience, one which reveals a key tension within Western play philosophy: that violent, destructive and unrestricted play is not only pleasurable, but often provides the impetus for social and political change. Meades navigates this argument carefully, across seven chapters, and draws from ethnographic research with counter players to consider the moral imperative(s) that underwrite their transgressive behaviour.

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