Games Research Network

Researching analogue and digital games

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4th Games Degrees End of Year Showcase

Saturday 21st April, 11:00 – 15:00. John Dalton C0.17, C0.13a and C0.13b

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! read more

Video Games and Gambling

Loot Box

This summer GRN member Dr. Tom Brock will be joining Dr. Mark Johnson and others at the University of Alberta to research the relationship between video games and gambling practices.

‘Skin betting’ and ‘loot boxes’ are two example of a new trend in games design called ‘online real money gameplay’ that disguise gambling practices as video gameplay experiences. The research will involve interviewing games designers, analysing game mechanics, and undertaking a ‘state-of-the-art’ policy analysis to examine the motivation and impact of designers’ choices for the future of the gaming industry. read more

CFP: Gaming the Gothic

When I was a little kid, I was obsessed with the spooky elements in digital gaming. My favourite Super Mario levels where the Ghost House stages, Zombies Ate My Neighbors was like looking into a more honest mirror, and once Resident Evil came out I was never the same. Now that I’m an adult, I am working on a PhD in Spooky Gaming. (Technically the Ludology of the Gothic, but who’s counting?) Which is why I was beyond happy when Gaming the Gothic reached out to me to be on their organizing committee. read more

Gambling and Game Studies

Yesterday afternoon, Dr. Mark Johnson from the University of Alberta gave a very interesting paper on the history between gambling and video games. Mark argued that ‘chance’ is an inherent feature of all games – we tend to wager something when we play. He also raised concerns about the modern day games design practices, and queried whether companies, like Electronic Arts, are purposively turning their games into ‘casinos’. This is important for understanding the future of play, particularly in terms of the way that money it. Mark ended his talk by suggesting that more research is needed into ‘daily fantasy sports’, ‘skin betting’, and ‘loot boxes’,  a project that I will be collaborating with Mark on this summer. read more

Event: Dr Mark Johnson – The Importance of Gambling to Game Studies

Wednesday, 14 Feb 2018
, 14:30-16:00.

Geoffrey Manton Building, GM307.

This talk will explore a number of potential intersections between game studies and gambling studies, focusing on how both disciplines can yield a wide range of insight into the domains studied by the other, yet have remained almost entirely separate up to the present day. Game studies has been almost universally uninterested in exploring games in which gambling takes place – casino games, card games, many online games – due concerns over the ethical weight the word “gambling” carries, a dominant focus on video games and to a lesser extent board games, and the central roles of scholars from humanities and social science rather than psychology and other positivistic disciplines which dominate gambling studies. Gambling studies, meanwhile, emphasises questions of problem and responsible gambling which leave little room for critical studies, has only just begun to address the importance of understanding video games to contemporary gambling practice, and can often view any form of gameplay as the first step towards pathology, deviance, and negative life outcomes. read more

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