Suomen Pelimuseo, The Finnish Museum of Games

The Finnish Museum of Games (Suomen Pelimuseo) was open for the first time tonight; this event was only for the various partners who had made the museum possible, experts and makers, as well as to the important donators in the crowdfunding campaign. Pelimuseo is the first public organisation in Finland which has successfully run a crowdfunding effort to realise its goals: there were over 1100 people and organisations who took part (our UTA/SIS Game Research Lab was one).

This first look was exiting experience, and already convinced me that this museum will be a major success story. There is so much pent-up need for re-experiencing, reflecting and sharing of game culture, play histories and digital cultural heritage of the past decades that it is obvious this museum will have to face the positive problem of how to facilitate the requirements coming from its popularity. That is at least my feeling on the basis of this first evening, as a large crowd of game enthusiasts, parents with their kids, game designers, game scholars, game educators, historians, journalists, members of gaming subcultures of various kinds gathered together to celebrate and re-experience some of the formative elements from their personal pasts, as well as to meet for the first time some forgotten gems of digital, as well as analog (e.g. board game, rpg, larp) games of the past.

The Finnish Museum of Games will officially open its doors to audience in January 2017. It is located in Vapriikki museum centre, in Tampere. More at: https://suomenpelimuseo.fi/.

CFP: Spectating Play, 24-25 April 2017

Spectating Play – 13th Annual Game Research Lab Spring Seminar 24th-25th of April 2017, Tampere Finland

http://spectatingplay.com/call-for-papers/

Important dates

– Abstract Deadline: January 18th, 2017
– Notification of Acceptance: February 3rd, 2017
– Full Paper deadline: April 3rd, 2017
– Seminar dates: April 24-25, 2017

Call for Papers
This year’s Game Lab Spring Seminar focuses on the spectating elements of play. Below you will find detailed instructions regarding the CFP for this Spring Seminar.

Spectating play
Watching play unfold is almost as pervasive as play itself. Today, developments such as let’s plays, eSports, and streaming have made spectating play an important mode of engaging with digital games. Historically, sporting arenas have brought together not only skillful athletes, but huge crowds of spectators. The audience has an effect on the play, from the cheering of the fans of the home team, to rule changes implemented in sports in order to make them more television friendly. The spectator experience places different design considerations on a game than that of the player experience.

Digital games have always had spectators, be it in an arcade or a sibling waiting for their turn to play on the home console. However, during the last decade spectatorship has become much more visible, first through esports, and more recently through streaming. Numerous new genres of recorded play videos have emerged, from let’s plays to speedruns. Furthermore, the audiences of livestreamed games is hardly passive; amongst other things they comment, form communities, participate in playing, and financially support the players.

Simultaneously, in some play cultures the line between the audience and the player/performer is being blurred on purpose. From immersive theatre to larp and from reality television competitions to amateur livestreaming and onto phenomena such as the “Twitch plays Pokemon”, the structures around watching and playing are shifting.

Spectating Play is the 13th annual spring seminar organized by University of Tampere Game Research Lab. The seminar welcomes any and all scholarly work on the intersection of audiences and game/play.

The possible list of topics includes but is not limited to:

  • Streaming play
    • Live and recorded play
    • Genres: Let’s plays, speedruns, machinima, unboxing, reaction videos, etc.
    • Managing streamers and tubers
    • Production and business models of streaming
    • Cultures and practices of streaming
    • Boundary negotiation between work and play
  • Audience
    • Audience participation in games
    • Designing games for spectating
    • Audience theory for participant
    • Why spectate? Audience gratifications
    • Learning by watching (i.e. foreplayers, tutorials, walkthroughs)
    • Passive and ambient play
  • Performing for spectators
    • eSports
    • Performative game development (e.g. streaming, use of time-lapse videos and public game jams)
    • Arenas for play as performance
    • Arcade culture
  • Perspectives on spectated play
    • History of spectating play
    • The limits of recording as a document of play
    • How spectating play transforms into play practices

The seminar emphasises work-in-progress submissions, and we strongly encourage submitting late-breaking results, working papers, and submissions from graduate students. The purpose of the seminar is to have peer-to-peer discussions and thereby provide support in refining and improving research work in this area.

The papers to be presented will be chosen based on an extended abstract review. Full papers are distributed prior the event to all participants, in order to facilitate discussion. The seminar is looking into partnering with a journal so that the best papers would be invited to be further developed for publication in a special journal issue. In the past we have collaborated with Games and Culture, Simulation & Gaming, International Journal of Role-Playing, and ToDiGRA journals. The seminar will be chaired by Professor Frans Mäyrä (School of Information Sciences, University of Tampere) and Associate Professor Juho Hamari (UC Pori / Tampere University of Technology & University of Turku). There will also be two invited commentators, to be announced later.

The seminar will be held in Tampere, Finland and will be free of charge; the number of participants will be restricted.

Submission guidelines
The papers will be selected for presentation based on extended abstracts of 500-1000 words (plus references). Abstracts should be sent in the PDF format. Please use 12 pt Times New Roman, double-spaced, for your text. Full paper guidelines will be provided with the notification of acceptance.

Our aim is that all participants can familiarise themselves with the papers in advance. Therefore, the maximum length for a full paper is 5000 words (plus references). The seminar presentations should encourage discussion, instead of repeating the information presented in the papers. Every paper will be presented for 10 minutes and discussed for 20 minutes.

Submissions should be sent to: submissions@spectatingplay.com.

Lautapelikysely, Hybrid Social Play

Pelaatko tai pelaavatko perheenjäsenesi lautapelejä usein, satunnaisesti tai harvoin? Vastaa lautapeliaiheiseen kyselyyn!

Kysely on osa Turun, Tampereen ja Jyväskylän yliopiston yhteistä Hybrid Social Play -hanketta. Hankkeen tutkimuskohteena ovat erilaiset tuotteet kuten lautapelit, leikkivälineet ja raha-automaatit sekä niiden yhteydessä hyödynnetyt sähköiset ja digitaaliset ominaisuudet kuten älypuhelimet, tietokoneet ja sosiaalisen median palvelut.

Tutkimuksen kannalta on tärkeää, että saamme vastauksia erilaisilta lautapelaajilta. Vastaaminen ei edellytä aktiiviharrastusta. Voit valita, mihin kysymyksiin vastaat. Kyselyn yhteydessä järjestetään lautapeliarvonta 15.12.2016 mennessä vastanneiden ja yhteystietojensa jättäneiden kesken.

Kyselylomakkeeseen pääset alla olevasta linkistä. Täyttäminen vie arviolta 10-30 minuuttia riippuen kirjoitusinnostasi. Kyselylinkkiä saa jakaa eteenpäin. Kiitämme vastauksista!

https://www.webropolsurveys.com/S/DB26641B9FCA0CD6.par

Vaasa Game Days, Suomen pelitutkimuksen seuran syyskokous

Huomenna, 24.11. Vaasassa kokoontuu Suomen pelitutkimuksen seura ensimmäiseen syyskokoukseensa (ks. kokouskutsu alla ja Seuran verkkosivut). Vuosikokous kytkeytyy Vaasa Game Days-tapahtumaan, missä itse pidän luennon otsikolla “Pelitutkimuksesta pelillistyvän kulttuurin ja yhteiskunnan tutkimukseen”. Ohjelma: http://www.vaasagamedays.fi/pages/news_display.php?nid=57.

Kokouskutsu: Tervetuloa Suomen pelitutkimuksen seura ry:n syyskokoukseen.

Aika: torstai 24.11.2016 kello 10.00-12.00

Paikka: F223, Fabriikin 2. krs/Viestintätieteet, Vaasan yliopisto
Kokouksessa käsitellään sääntömääräiset asiat ja valitaan toiminnantarkastaja vuosille 2016 ja 2017.

Käsiteltävät asiat:

1. Kokouksen avaus

2. Valitaan kokouksen puheenjohtaja, sihteeri, kaksi pöytäkirjantarkastajaa ja ääntenlaskijaa

3. Todetaan kokouksen laillisuus ja päätösvaltaisuus

4. Hyväksytään kokouksen työjärjestys

5. Vahvistetaan toimintasuunnitelma, tulo- ja menoarvio sekä liittymis- ja jäsenmaksujen suuruudet vuodelle 2017

6. Valitaan hallituksen puheenjohtaja ja muut jäsenet vuodelle 2017

7. Valitaan yksi tai kaksi toiminnantarkastajaa ja varatoiminnantarkastajaa tai yksi tai kaksi tilintarkastajaa ja varatilintarkastajaa vuosille 2016 ja 2017

8. Muut asiat

9. Kokouksen päättäminen

DiGRA-FDG 2016 Proceedings

The Full paper and Abstract Proceedings of the 1st International Joint Conference of DiGRA and FDG are now available online in the DiGRA digital library:

Abstract proceedings:

http://www.digra.org/digital-library/forums/13-abstracts-digra-fdg2106/

The full paper proceedings are available here:

http://www.digra.org/digital-library/forums/13-digra-fdg2106/

The Expanse, and renaissance of space operas

The Expanse, poster
The Expanse, poster.

There is currently clear need for some escapism, the would help to overcome the lack of vision and hope in today’s political arenas, and provide energy to keep on doing something to keep this planet of ours as humane and sustainable living environment as possible. In domain of entertainment, space operas have held one specific place for visions of future, and for hope. Star Trek television series is a good reminder of this. I started recently watching a new, streaming video series The Expanse, that I knew nothing about beforehand. Soon, I found myself spellbound, and had to spend most of Finnish Father’s Day glued to binge watching the entire first season.

Without providing too many spoilers, this is a (semi-)hard science fiction television series (based on a book series of same name) that is taking place in the future of our Solar System, where humans have colonized Moon, Mars, and several major asteroids in the “Belt”. There is a mystery, and threat of interplanetary war, that sets events into motion, but most drama is taking place at the level of single individuals, representing different factions, sets of motivations, and life stories.

The Expanse could not be possible without many “adult” science fiction series that have come before it, Babylon 5 in particular comes to mind. There is gritty, even dystopian feel of unfair and unfinished world in The Expanse, and it is made clear that children and other innocents are always suffering from the fundamental struggle for power and wealth, that is not going away at least in those 200 years that this series takes place in the future. Yet, none of the people are completely evil nor totally good, rather depicting how certain idealism and self-sacrifice is also an inalienable strain of humanity. Saying that, the end of season one was rather heavy going, bringing up memories of holocaust and military-scientific evils of the worst kind of our history. I would very much welcome the season two as soon as possible, to see how all of this is going to evolve further. Or, I just need to get my hands to some of those books. It is great to see that there is again faith in science fiction that can take also political and existential questions into agenda, yet also firmly keep true to its entertainment roots.