Beyond Good and Evil in Games Education

I embed here my slides of the talk that I gave today in a media education seminar in Tampere. The slideset is in Finnish, but the gist of the argument is that games have been involved in a polarising discussion where they are seem as sources of ‘good’ or ‘evil’ effects, while I would argue for accepting the fundamental ambiguity of games and media, and call for responsible and “playful media educators” or “playful parents”, that would be in genuine interaction with the children and young people, having an eye on the individual differences, uses and contexts — understanding what games stand for in the lives of these real individuals.

Global Listing of Games Research Centers

Another pick from DiGRA’s Gamesnetwork listserv, Michael Liebe from Germany has put forward an initiative to list the key games research centres worldwide. While there must always be some gaps in a listing like this, there is already I think more than one hundred of such centres listed, which is pretty impressive. Take a look at the beta version here:

GameSpace Tool: Game Design and Evaluation Research

(Crossposting from DiGRA’s list) — You can now access the public deliverable pack from the two year research project carried out by Games Research Lab in the University of Tampere from here:

GameSpace looked at the design and evaluation of games that are characterised by three main features: they are casual, multiplayer games in a mobile use context. The published results include information about the new design spaces, results derived from the design and evaluation method innovations, as well as practical knowledge about carrying out academia-industry partnerships in the area of game design and evaluation research.

Best regards, The GameSpace Research Team:

Frans Mäyrä, Scientific Leader
Janne Paavilainen, Project Manager
Annakaisa Kultima, Researcher
Jussi Kuittinen, Researcher
Johannes Niemelä, Researcher
Hannamari Saarenpää, Researcher
Anu Jäppinen, Researcher

Special thanks to Tekes and a consortium of companies (Nokia Research Center, Veikkaus, TeliaSonera Finland, Sulake Corporation and Digital Chocolate) for the funding and collaboration in our research work.

GameSpace Tool
GameSpace Tool

Kirjastoon! Award to Ilkka Mäkinen/INFIM

I am today talking in the Kirjasto ON seminar in Helsinki, and was pleasantly surprised as the seminar was opened by an award ceremony where Ilkka Mäkinen, docent of library history and colleague from our INFIM department was given applause for his long history in the study of libraries and teaching of library professionals. Congrats! Ilkka’s home page:

Olli Sotamaa's PhD Defence

I don’t think this is yet in any official web page, but here is the key information:

MA Olli Sotamaa will publicly defend his PhD thesis titled “The Player’s Game: Towards Understanding Player Production Among Computer Game Cultures” in April 25th 2009 in University of Tampere, hall A1. The opponent will be Professor Aphra Kerr (National University of Ireland) and the custodian is Professor Mikko Lehtonen.

In Finnish:

FM Olli Sotamaan tiedotusopin alaan kuuluva väitöskirja “The Player’s Game: Towards Understanding Player Production Among Computer Game Cultures” tarkastetaan julkisesti lauantaina 25.4.2009 klo 12 yliopiston päärakennuksen A1-salissa (Kalevantie 4). Väitöstilaisuudessa toimii kustoksena professori Mikko Lehtonen. Vastaväittäjänä on professori Aphra Kerr (National University of Ireland).

Installing WordPress on Windows 2008 Server

I am a GUI person by heart, and have had my fair share of frustrations on trying to configure Linux through the various config files. While I am currently pretty satisfied on how reliably Apache and WordPress run on this Ubuntu setup, I’d also see whether I will get over some printer driver and sharing issues by installing a Windows server. To test this, I ordered another HP Proliant ML110 server (this one was running Xeon, a G5 setup). Physically all seems very similar to the system I am currently having the Linux.

I will know from experience this will take its time, and I try not to hurry. I have a functioning production environment in Linux, after all. Quickly thinking it through, it seems I need to set up at least the following:

  • install an IIS web server role
  • configure some additional features, such as rewrite rules
  • make sure I have sendmail or similar mail capabilities running
  • install MySQL and phpMyAdmin or similar tool
  • configure MySQL database for WordPress
  • install WordPress
  • set up the themes, widgets and other plugins
  • import the WordPress database contents from the old Linux installation to the new Windows Server one
  • make sure that all firewall rules, NAT redirections and such are pointing to right internal IPs and ports correctly for the new server to start functioning.

A time estimate for all this? No idea. I guess it might go smoothly, but with the usual hassles etc. I’d guess something around 40-50 hours of installation work and processes. Should perhaps be one or two months, if I use plenty of my free time to implement this. This day’s saldo? I have now the Server 2008 Web edition running (a trial version download, lets see how this works out), and I also managed to input the new MAC address into my router’s fixed address table so that I now have a fixed internal server IP where I can start building upon. I managed to also find a couple of helpful web resources that I should read and apply to my case next:

Any tips and tricks that I should take into consideration are also very welcome!

Microsoft envisions the future

It is always (well, almost always) fun to see how people illustrate the future; and usually we can learn a lot by studying the past future visions. Microsoft has a bit more money than most of us, and can thus create rather fancy futuristic videos:

Some of these things appear rather likely, incremental evolutions from the present paradigms of interactive and augmented computing. Some were a bit unclear to me — what was the point, how that was supposed to work. And in general, the feeling was a bit similar to after watching Minority Report — fascinated, but also a bit put off, in classic dystopian style.

Moblogging with a camera phone

I have been playing with some mobile tools in my kitchen and living room (the mobile weekend of a family man, I know). The camera phone that I am mostly using, Nokia N95 8GB, just got a new firmware, V 31.0.015, which brought along some nice additional or enhanced features. These include better integration to online photo sharing services. I am using Flickr, and now it is just one click away to share a photo through the default Internet service provider. Also, I noticed that the phone screen automatically tilts to vertical/horisontal (this sensor tech might have been in the previous firmware, too, I am not sure). In the background I am running Location Tagger, which captures the GPS coordinates into the photos’ metadata in a format Flickr can also read. You need to be close to a window for this to work indoors, of course. The app can cache the location data, though, which is handy. I have also Fring now running in the background, which is a mobile instant messenger program that is able to tap into Skype, MSN Messenger, Google Talk and Gmail, Twitter, Facebook, and SIP Internet phone services, to start with. The downside now is that there is always something “interesting” going on in the damned device, so I might turn this off at some point. But the always-connected, automatically location tagging camera is something that I’d like to see in my SLR/main system, too, to look into the future.

Tiedon paikat seminar

Today’s seminar is titled “Tiedon paikat” (Places/Sites of Knowledge); it is organised by the Tampere Centre for Cultural Studies. More information here:
and here:

Pictured are the seminar chair, professor Mikko Lehtonen, and the first speaker, Andrew Nestingen from the University of Washington.

Elina Ollila's dissertation

There is some more information available (in Finnish) concerning Elina Ollila’s PhD dissertation that I will be examinging together with Tony Manninen next Monday:

The full English title of the work is: Using Prototyping and Evaluation Methods in Iterative Design of Innovative Mobile Games. I cannot find the online version of dissertation at this time, but hopefully it will be made available later.

Edit: there will be also a streaming video & sound link to the event here:

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