Games Research Network

Researching analogue and digital games

Month: February 2017 (page 1 of 2)

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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Building Materials

New research has been published that investigates the use of Minecraft to teach college students in the US about materials science.

The interdisciplinary research team (which included a materials scientist, two chemists, and a games design expert) developed a ‘mod’ for Minecraft, a game about placing blocks and going on adventures in which the default protagonist is a character called Steve. The ‘Polycraft World’ mod enables players to use material science and chemistry to complete specific in-game activities. These activities range from the harvesting and processing of natural rubber to make pogo sticks, to the conversion of crude oil into a jetpack via chemical synthesis and distillation techniques. The students are also provided with instructions on how to complete these activities and the underlying theory behind them via an accompanying Wiki.

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The cost of eSports

Brendan Sinclair’s gamesindustry.biz article ‘eSports market to hit $696 million this year’ confirms the exponential growth of eSports, predicting a continued rise in the eSports economy with figures predicted to rise by 41.3% in 2017 from an estimated $493 million in 2016. By 2020 Newzoo (providers of market intelligence covering the global games, esports, and mobile markets) predict that the eSports market will reach $1.5 Billion. You can read Sinclair’s analysis in full here.

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C4P: 6th EAI International Conference

Here’s an upcoming conference on interactivity and games design that may be of interest to members of the Network.

6th EAI International Conference: ArtsIT, Interactivity & Game Creation
Colocated conference DLI 2017
OCTOBER 30–31, 2017 | HERAKLION, CRETE, GREECE


ArtsIT, Interactivity & Game Creation 2017 is meant to be a place where people in arts, with a keen interest in modern IT technologies, meet with people in IT, having strong ties to arts in their works. Since 2009 the event has become a leading scientific forum for dissemination of cutting-edge research results in the area of Arts, Design & Technology – now extended to include the open related topics Interactivity (Interaction Design, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality etc) and Game Creation (e.g. Serious Games, Gamification, Leisure Gaming, GamePlay, etc.).

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