Keynote on Pervasive Play & Social Media

This Friday I have been invited to present the keynote in the Social Media in Education seminar, organised by TAOKK & TAMK in Tampere. My title is “Mobile and Pervasive Play – the New Potentials for Communication, Information Seeking and Learning” (Mobiili ja kaikkialle levittäytyvä pelillisyys – viestinnän, tiedonhankinnan ja oppimisen uudet mahdollisuudet). You can find the seminar program from here: http://www.tamk.fi/cms/tamk.nsf/($All)/B33A81D7444E0FA7C2257D46001F9A05?OpenDocument .

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Filed under digital culture, events, game studies

Imatra

Imatran kylpylä

Imatran kylpylä (Suomen Ilmakuva Oy/ eKarjalan kuvapankki)

I will be talking today about “Playfulness and the Transformation of Learning” (“Pelillisyys, leikillisyys ja oppimisen muodonmuutos”) in teacher education event in Imatra, Eastern Finland. There will be also an opportunity to provide some demonstrations on the most popular digital game genres, where I also will make use and recommend our (Finnish) introductory online course in games genres and literacy at http://pelitieto.net.

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Filed under events, game studies, travels

CFP: DiGRA 2015

Call for papers: DiGRA 2015

Diversity of play: Games – Cultures – Identities
14-17 May 2015, Lüneburg, Germany
www.digra2015.org

Video game culture has had a self-image of being a distinct cultural form united by participants identifying themselves as ‘gamers’ for many years. Variations in this identity have been perceived either in relation to preferred platform or level of commitment and skill (newbie, casual, core, pro, etc.). Today the popularity of games has increased dramatically, games have become more specialized and gaming is taking place in a number of divergent practices, from e-sport to gamification. In addition, the gamer position includes a number of roles and identities such as: players, learners, time-fillers, users, fans, roleplayers, theory crafters, speed runners, etc. Furthermore, techniques like gamification and game-based learning, as well as the playful use of computer simulation for training purposes, is making it difficult to distinguish games from non-games.

Additionally, video game culture is merging with other forms of popular culture and new mobile technologies are making distinctions between digital and non-digital gaming blurred. Yet, whilst the forms of play seem to have become more diverse, the content of games is often only challenged by independent titles. This is the case despite a maturing audience, some of whom now seem to urge for more diverse themes and representations within games. In the light of increasing criticism of the representations and practices that have dominated much of games culture, it seems that the relationship between the identity of the ‘gamer’ and the content of games is undergoing a change.

Traditionally, game studies has tried to find common ground, seeking shared definitions and epistemologies. DiGRA 2015 seeks to encourage questions about the ‘Diversity of play’, with a focus on the multiple different forms, practices and identities labeled as games and/or game culture. The conference aims to address the challenge of studying and documenting games, gaming and gamers, in a time when these categories are becoming so general and/or contested, that they might risk losing all meaning. Given this, what concepts do we need to develop in order for our research to be cumulative and how do we give justice to the diverse forms of play found in different games and game cultures?

As in the previous year, DiGRA 2015 will accept submissions in five categories: full papers, abstracts, panel, workshops, and events. All submissions will be peer-reviewed using double blind reviewing. In addition, all submissions will receive a meta review and authors of rejected full papers will have the possibility to send a rebuttal if they perceive they have been given biased or uninformed reviewers. The conference welcomes submissions on a wide range of topics, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Game cultures
  • Games and intersections with other cultural forms
  • Online gaming and communication in game worlds
  • Gender and gaming
  • Games as representation
  • Minority groups and gaming
  • Childhood and gaming
  • The gaming industry and independent games
  • Game journalism
  • Gaming in non-leisure settings
  • Applications of game studies in other domains
  • Gamification
  • System perspectives and mathematical game theory
  • Hybrid games and non-digital games
  • Game design characteristics
  • Technological systems
  • Simulations

Deadlines

  • Submission deadlines 22 January (hard deadline)
  • Acceptance/rejection notification 16 March
  • Rebuttal deadline 19 March
  • Camera ready deadline 14 April

Location & Date

14-17 May 2015

Lüneburg, Germany
At Campus of Leuphana University of Lüneburg
Scharnhorststr. 1
D-21335 Lüneburg
For more information and the latest updates regarding the DiGRA 2015 conference, see www.digra2015.org

Program Chairs
Staffan Björk
Jonas Linderoth

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Chili peppers and avanto

Avanto (cc by Tero Maaniemi)

Avanto (cc by Tero Maaniemi)

My new pet theory is that avantouinti (literally “hole-in-the-ice-swimming”) and love of chili peppers are somehow related. At least here in Tampere I can find people who do both: go out in extreme cold, and jump to the lake, and eat extremely hot chilies. It might be that there is need for extra endorphin, if you live up in North, perhaps? Both the pain/taste of chilies and the effects of visiting hot sauna, and submerging in icy water appear to create some kind of mild shock effect to your system, which in turn releases endorphins. Endorphins in turn are natural pharmaceuticals for pain and stress, and seem to interact with the opiate receptors in somewhat similar manner like morphine does.

On the other hand, it might just be a cultural thing: heavy metal music is also popular in the North, and I have also witnessed crowds of black-clothed folks gathering in the annual chili festival in Tampere. For some, it is just that the strong things attract?

As to the health benefits, there are studies that prove both being likely good for us, see e.g. Huttunen, Pirkko; Kokko, Leena; Ylijukuri, Virpi (2004). “Winter swimming improves general well-being”. International Journal of Circumpolar Health 63 (2): 140–144. And: Knotkova, H., Pappagallo, M., & Szallasi, A. (2008). Capsaicin (TRPV1 Agonist) Therapy for Pain Relief: Farewell or Revival? The Clinical Journal of Pain, 24(2), 142–154.

Chilies (cc by Tommi Arina)

Chilies (cc by Tommi Arina)

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Fafnir: third issue is out

Siegfried kills Fafnir (wikimedia commons)

Siegfried kills Fafnir (wikimedia commons)

Spread the word: We are proud to present the third issue of Fafnir – Nordic Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy Research! The issue can be read at http://journal.finfar.org.

Fafnir is a new, peer-reviewed academic journal which is published in electronic format four times a year. It is published by The Finnish Society for Science Fiction and Fantasy Research (Suomen science fiction- ja fantasiatutkimuksen seura ry).

The third issue celebrates fantasy. The articles, discussion and reviews in the issue postulate on questions of fantasy literature, fantastic milieus and the imaginative with the discussions on human and humanoid aesthetics in The Chronicles of Narnia, on the subject of the woods as topos in fantastic literature, and on the genre logics of speculative fiction with the example of Finnish weird.

In addition to this, the third issue offers you two literary reviews on recent books by Brian Attebery and Sanna Lehtonen which present new and important insights into fantasy.

Please do remember that Fafnir welcomes submissions of research articles, short overviews, academic book reviews, essays, opinion pieces and the like. More detailed information on the journal and the upcoming issues is available at journal.finfar.org.

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Filed under publications, science fiction & fantasy

Gambling in Finland

Gambling in Finland (Gaudeamus)

Gambling in Finland (Gaudeamus)

I got my copies of Gambling in Finland: Themes and Data for Qualitative Research (Gaudeamus) today. It is a tightly packed volume of “what” and “how” of gambling studies, showcasing some interesting Finnish research projects and new data sets. Together with Jani Kinnunen, we have a chapter on “Online Gambling and Data” there – you can check more details, including the table of contents from here: http://www.gaudeamus.fi/gambling-in-finland/

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OASIS: Season Two

There are no rules (Kati Heljakka)

There are no rules (Kati Heljakka)

Today is the opening of Second Season in OASIS, our experimental play/library/living-room space in School of Information Sciences. There will be bubbly wine and heady ideas available in OASIS today, starting 2 pm – welcome! The invitation is here: http://oasis.uta.fi/season-2-opening-oasis/ Pictured: “There are no rules”, playful work of art by Katariina Heljakka.

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Filed under events, game studies, university