New major research initiative

Positive news today: our collaboration with the games & digital culture studies centres in University of Jyväskylä and Turku gained fresh power as Academy of Finland decided to grant funding for our consortium “Creation of Game Cultures: the Case of Finland)”; see:

Kauhajoki school shootings

Less than a year ago I wrote about the Tuusula/Jokela school shootings; today, the same seems to repeat in Kauhajoki, another peaceful small town. I can only feel sorrow, and repeat what I have said earlier: there appears to be deep lack of dialogue and contact in our society, particularly between generations. If there is no real contact and wellbeing constructed daily in close human relationships, then the road is open for self-destruction. And one should never forget that these incidents are, after all, suicides. The child of media age will be drawn to a media spectacle, rather than the quiet and lonely death of previous generations… Another grim day, indeed.

Gambling studies seminar, Sept 24

Next week we will be presenting core findings from our online poker player study in an expert seminar — if you are interested, contact Tellervo Nenonen (tellervo.nenonen(at), there might still be places in the seminar. More information:

Imaginary Japan Conference

Today I am again in Helsinki, this time participating in the Imaginary Japan Conference; see:

Much really interesting talk about Japan, its role in the world of new media and media culture. My talk is titled “Japanese Fantasy and the East-West Dialectic”. (Pictured is Ateneum, where they have a Hokusai exhibition — much of Japan going around today!)

Online poker study published

This should be of interest to all those who are focused on player experiences, and particularly to the role of money on the table: how does it affect players when they know that they are playing for real money, and against other (real) players? Unfortunately in Finnish, but an English abstract is also available: see

Järjellä vai tunteella? Nettipokerin pelikokemus ja pelaamisen hallinta
Svartsjö, Mikko; Kinnunen, Jani; Paloheimo, Eetu; Mäyrä, Frans
Stakes, Raportteja 24/2008

D&D Tiny Adventures: Low-Interactivity Gaming

I admit, I am probably in the target group for these ones: I have been looking recently in the convergence of games and media and the emergence of “low interactivity” games (games that allow also other gameplay modalities on top of the classic “immersed gamer” one”). These are not exactly the same as “zero player games” that play automatically themselves, but pretty close: you can enjoy the adventure with only minimal input coming from player in key points. One of the most recent fun ones has been Dungeons&Dragons Tiny Adventures, which is a very stripped-down version of D&D that still brings back those memories of true old-school RPG adventures. Very much recommended.

D&D Tiny Adventures: The Secret of Saltmarsh
D&D Tiny Adventures: The Secret of Saltmarsh

AVEK Award to Pia Lindman

It looks like this will be one of those 13-hour work days. But lets not complain when everything you work on is so interesting and challenging. The late-night part of today’s agenda was acting the part of award jury and handing the 2008 AVEK media art award to Pia Lindman (pictured). She is really interesting contemporary artist, with work that explores topical yet timeless themes like emotions and universal/inter-cultural communication with wit and intelligence. Congratulations! (And shame on me for not remembering to thank fellow juries Minna Tarkka and Janne Gallen-Kallela-Sirén for their crucial expertise in my short speech — my only apology is that I saw the program and realized that I would be speaking only half-an-hour before I was on the LUME main stage…) More on the event e.g. in Helsingin Sanomat and in the AVEK info bulletin.

Gambling seminar

Originally uploaded by FransBadger

I am today participating in a gambling addiction seminar in Helsinki (in SES Auditorium, under the “Kino K-13” sign pictured). The speakers are providing an update on the dark side of gaming in Finland in 2008. I will be presenting our own studies of the player experiences and control issues of online poker in two weeks (an invitation-only seminar in Sept. 24th, organised by SOCCA/Helsinki).

Visiting Admiral

This and the next two weeks are probably the busiest ones in entire Autumn term (at least that is what I keep telling myself — we’ll see). There are many wonderful things in this fall, too, including spectacular crop yield of mushrooms. Also, Laura’s work on flowering plants is starting to yield results, as this visiting Admiral also proves. Other regulars have included peacock butterflies (neitoperhonen) and Camberwell Beauty/the mourning cloak (suruvaippa).

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