Games Research Network

Researching analogue and digital games

Month: July 2017

Book Review – Gary Gygax and the Creation of D&D: Rise of the Dungeon Master

Gary Gygax and the Creation of D&D: Rise of the Dungeon Master

Written by David Kushner and illustrated by Koren Shadmi

New York: Nation Books, 2017. ISBN: 9781568585598

From humble beginnings in basements and community centres, table-top roleplaying games have become a cornerstone of geek culture. Fantasy roleplaying game, Dungeons and Dragons, devised by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson in 1974 and now in its fifth edition, is one of the most recognisable and identifiable aspects of this culture, often referenced in mainstream pop culture, thanks to television shows such as Freaks and Geeks (1999-2000), Community (2009 – 2015) and, more recently, Stranger Things (2016-2017). Indeed, Dungeons and Dragons is a cultural commodity that commands considerable Geek ‘capital’. Though it is still by no means a common pastime, the game has, as Michael Witwer argues, helped establish our dominant cultural moment: “We live in an era when it is chic to be geek.” Kushner and Shadmi’s graphic novel, Gary Gygax and the Creation of D&D, published earlier this year, celebrates Dungeons and Dragons in this context, exploring its origins in the Indiana wargaming scene of the 1970s, through to its success as a global cultural product today. read more

Help with Games Development

Are you an academic that is developing a game for your research, or a teacher that is working on a new classroom resource? Then perhaps the Games Research Network can help.

As a group of academics who research games and gaming, we can help you to playtest and develop your games for research or teaching purposes. We are also keen gamers with several decades of gaming experience and have worked with other researchers and teachers in helping them to develop their games. read more

Multiplatform 2017

On the 21st June, the Games Research Network hosted its first annual symposium, Multiplatform 2017, in Manchester. We were joined by academics from universities across the UK, and beyond, to discuss research into games and gaming, in both the digital and analogue formats. The symposium began with a Key Note address from Professor Paul Booth, who joined us from DePaul University, Chicago, and included presentations on the lack of research into modern tabletop games, the role of games as a paratext, and a consideration of the ethics of gameplay. read more

Call for Papers : One-day symposium Japan in the Digital Age

Here’s a cfp that may be of interest to anyone working on Japanese games.

Call for Papers : One-day symposium Japan in the Digital Age

Date: Saturday 28th October, 2017

Venue: The Shed, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester

Keynote Speakers

Prof. Ian Condry, Professor of Japanese Cultural Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Mr. Kazuhito Gen-I (源井 和仁), award-winning media practitioner, working on 2.5 Dimension project (theatre adaptation of anime, manga and videogame) read more

Book review – It’s All A Game

It’s All A Game: The History of Board Games from Monopoly to Settlers of Catan
Tristan Donovan
New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 2017
ISBN: 9781250082725

Following in the footsteps of Replay: The History of Video Games (2010), Tristan Donovan’s new book, It’s All A Game turns to the analogue world to offer an enjoyable meander through the history of board games ranging from Ancient Egypt to the contemporary moment. With chapters covering games including chess, backgammon, The Game of Life, Monopoly, Risk, Cluedo (presented by Donovan as Clue for his presumably larger American readership), Scrabble, Mouse Trap, Twister, Go, Trivial Pursuit, and Settlers of Catan (to name but the headline games), it’s a rapid journey through the world of games and gaming, and Donovan proves to be an amiable and knowledgeable guide. read more