Games Research Network

Researching analogue and digital games

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Deconstructing the Monolith: The subjective Experience of avatar use in gamers

A group of Researchers from the MMU Department of Psychology are recruiting participants for an interview study looking at the way gamers interact with video game avatars that resemble themselves.

Digital self-representations entered the mainstream with the release of the Wii in 2006. Consumers were able to quickly create quirky avatars that resembled them and then use these as in game characters. The success of this feature prompted many other developers to include digital self-representations in their products. read more

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

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. read more

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