Games Research Network

Researching analogue and digital games

Month: June 2017

Minecrafting Ceramic Narratives

From the 7 — 10 August 2017, our colleagues at The Manchester School of Art will be blurring the boundaries between digital and physical making, this Summer School will allow students to develop skills in researching, translating ideas, and using RaspberryPi. Students will develop new and exciting surfaces for ceramic ware by translating traditional ceramic scenes into innovative modern depictions, utilising Manchester School of Art’s specialist workshops and equipment.

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Podcast: Drawn to the Flame

I recently had the pleasure of chatting to Frank and Peter from Drawn to the Flame, a podcast about Fantasy Flight’s Arkham Horror Living Card Game.

We talked about our histories with board gaming, why we enjoy Arkham Horror, and how it plays with the idea of the ‘magic circle’, which plays a significant role in my research.

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Book Review – Mass Phenomena Computer Games

Massenphänomen Computerspiele: Soziale, kulturelle und wirtschaftliche Aspekte

(Computer Games as Mass Phenomenon: Social, Cultural and Economic Aspects)

By Jeffrey Wimmer

UVK Verlagsgesellschaft, 2013. ISBN: 978-3867640886

The major premise of this book is that since so many computer games are now networked, it is worthwhile studying them not merely as a form of entertainment but rather as a form of mass communication. Jeffrey Wimmer argues that the growth in popularity of computer games has resulted in a situation where they have come to form a significant element of people’s increasingly online interaction with the world. These games are therefore a complement to social media and other leisure-time and/or professional uses of digital media. This is particularly true of the younger generation and therefore means that computer games must be seen as a significant factor in young people’s socialisation. It is no longer a question of whether computer games influence people’s social behaviour but how. Naturally, this has led to some concerns, principally with regard to computer game addiction and the depiction of violence.

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Event: The Future of Esports

The Future of Esports: Challenging Work and Gender Issues in the UK’s Professional Computer Gaming Industry

Part of the Sociological Review Research Seminar Series

Funded by The Sociological Review Foundation

Wednesday, 16th August 2017
Ground Floor, ‘MadLab’, 36-40 Edge Street, Manchester, M4 1HN

‘Esports’ or electronic sports is the umbrella term for organised, competitive computer gaming usually played by paid professionals. It is an emerging entertainment market worth an estimated $1.5 billion and is comparable in size to many traditional sports, with audiences of tens, even hundreds, of millions of people worldwide. This one-day symposia seeks to build expertise between early career researchers, professional players, and industry experts who are interested in problematising the social, cultural, and economic dimensions of Esports. Sociological research on Esports has begun to highlight the precarious working conditions, such as temporary contracts and exploitative pay practices that characterise professional computer gaming. Similarly, early research into women and Esports suggests that these competitive gaming environments tend to reproduce ‘hegemonic masculinities’ which can leave women isolated and a structural disadvantage in terms of employment opportunities. At this moment, there is the need to launch fruitful and long-term collaborative research agendas to understand the nature of these issues, and establish the networks needed to bring about practical and sustainable social change. Papers and talks will be presented by academics, organisers, and campaigners, addressing a range of issues from exploitative labour practices, gender representation, social inclusion, as well as the challenges of studying player careers, and the complexities of different Esports ecologies.

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CFP: Indie Interfaces Symposium on indie game dev (Sep 28-30, Montréal)

Call for Papers – Indie Interfaces Symposium
Technoculture, Art and Games Research Centre
Concordia University, Montréal, Canada
Thursday, September 28 – Saturday, September 30, 2017

Indie Interfaces” is an intimate industry-academic symposium designed to facilitate knowledge exchange between academics and influential actors working in the field of indie games. Held in Montréal, a city renowned for its diverse and vibrant game development communities, this pathbreaking event will combine roundtable discussions among industry attendees and academic research presentations to foster productive, critical dialogue and collaboration. Moving beyond definitional debates about what counts as indie, this symposium is intended to stimulate innovative, interdisciplinary academic work that can feed forward into game industry practices.

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