Games Research Network

Researching analogue and digital games

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Book Review – Tabletop Gaming Manual

Tabletop Gaming Manual
Matt Thrower
Haynes Manuals, 2018
ISBN: 1785211498

This new book from games journalist Matt Thrower is published by Haynes Publishing, who are perhaps best known for their car, motorcycle, scooter and ATV manuals, and who in recent years have developed an interesting and lucrative sideline in General Interest Manuals, with topics ranging from Zombie Survival to the Imperial Death Star. With such a wide range of fan culture on offer, it was surely only a matter of times before tabletop games got the Haynes treatment, and in Matt Thrower (who as well as his excellent Fortress blog is perhaps best known for his work with Shut up and Sit Down) they have the ideal gamer for the job. 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

International Games Week

2017 marked the tenth anniversary of the American Library Association (ALA) Games and Gaming Roundtable and their flagship initiate International Games Week (IGW). It is an initiative run by volunteers from around the world to reconnect communities through their libraries around the educational, recreational, and social value of all types of games, and this year saw the biggest series of events yet. In the UK, 95 libraries signed up to host an event, an increase from the 27 that signed up in 2016, with average attendance at each event an impressive 54. 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

Another Meetup board games group is starting… with a twist

There are many Meetup groups for adults interested in board games but those joining the new (and only) Chester group launching next week by staff at the Storyhouse may find a common theme connecting the games – science! This group has been started with support from the Games Research Network, following a day of training organised by the Institute of Physics for non-scientist community group leaders interested in the possibility of using games with their audiences to raise science capital, a concept used to understand why some people don’t believe science is something they should or can be part of. read more

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