DiGRA 2013 Call for Papers

This was recently posted to DiGRA’s Gamesnetwork mailing list, please circulate:

The Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA) announces the Call for Participation for DiGRA 2013, to be hosted by Georgia Institute of Technology at the Georgian Terrace Hotel in Atlanta Georgia. DiGRA 2013 will bring together a diverse international community of interdisciplinary researchers engaged in cutting edge research in the field of game studies.

Theme: DeFragging Game Studies

This year’s proposed theme is a playful linguistic remix of the terms “frag” and “defrag.” Defragging is the computer term for reducing file fragmentation. Fragging, derived from the military term for killing a superior officer of one’s own unit, has become video game parlance for the temporary killing of another player.

In the early game studies community, a good deal of fragging (in all three senses) took place between various camps, schools of thought and disciplines. This included discussions as to whether or not game studies should split into more discipline-centered communities; however, the overall trend has been to continue to grow our field as an “interdiscipline” that includes humanities, social sciences and psychology, computer science, design studies, and fine arts. Borrowing from the computer engineering term, the theme for DiGRA 2013 highlights this process of defragmenting, which both embraces and better articulates our diverse methods and perspectives while allowing the game studies research community to remain a coherent and unified whole.

DiGRA 2012 will take place immediately proceeding Dragon*Con, America’s largest multigenre fan convention. For more information, visit: http://www.dragoncon.org/

For more information, visit: http://dm.lmc.gatech.edu/digra2013/ or email digra2013@digra.org

Culture: Losing the Sense of Wonder?

I have finally found a physical copy of The Hydrogen Sonata, the new Culture novel by Iain M. Banks (since I am a fan, I collect the paperbacks, rather than get Kindle/e-book licences). After reading a while, it became clear that this is book about Sublimation (“Heaven”), while The Surface Detail, the previous one was about Hell, and – this is pretty obvious – the one before that was about Matter.

I think I do not like these bulky, bit over-ambitious novels as much as the earlier, often quirky and surprising Science Fiction works with unabashed satirical and political undertones. The real reason might be that I have enjoyed the sense of wonder that has saturated the Culture narratives, the super-human scale and feeling that we are seeing only glimpses of mysteries that remain there at the background, unexplained. Now Banks has started to explain things – Big Things – and that is not good. Sense of wonder is gradually diminishing, even while it is still there. Is this trilogy the start of goodbyes for this particular vision of science-fictional future?

In my Demonic Texts, Textual Demons book (my PhD thesis) I touched upon this theme in the Vampire Chronicles series by Anne Rice: as the older and more powerful vampires took us towards the origin of them all, there was finally no stone turned, no sense of mystery left. You can download the relevant chapter from here: http://www.uta.fi/~frans.mayra/Demon_2005/Chapter_07.pdf.


University of Tampere, Master’s Degree Programme in Internet and Game Studies

Please notice the application period for our new Master’s Degree Programme starting in 2013 will open at 3rd December 2012 and end at 31 January 2013.

Short Summary:

Master’s Degree Programme in Internet and Game Studies aims to provide an in-depth view to the fundamental character and development of games and Internet. Games have grown into an important form of culture and human interaction, expanding from entertainment to other areas of life. Internet and social media form an increasingly vital part of communication, social life and distribution of media and services. Degree Programme in Internet and Game Studies is particularly targeted at the questions of analysis, design and application of online services and digital games from user- and culturally focused perspectives. The programme directs students to develop academic skills like critical thinking, scientific writing and carrying out research projects while encouraging active and comprehensive involvement with the practical processes and phenomena related to games and Internet.

More information:


Instruction for applicants:


Detailed instruction – How to apply:


“Playful mobile communication” published

My communication+game studies article “Playful mobile communication: Services supporting the culture of play” is now out in the special issue of Interactions: Studies in Communication & Culture (Volume 3, Number 1, 30 October 2012 , pp. 55-70), edited by professor Maarit Valo. It is behind paywall (that for some reason even I cannot cross with my university account), I’ll try and put an author’s version online soon. Meanwhile, here is the abstract:

Communication has many functions; from linguistics to social psychology, there is ample evidence that communication fundamentally defines our ways of being, which is the reason changes in communicational practices and technologies are particularly interesting. This article focuses on the recent developments in playful mobile communication, firstly discussing play and playful practices in general, then moving on to contextualize the discussion in terms of contemporary mobile technology. Not just restricted to formal game play (ludus) but also including more improvisational forms of being playful (paidia), mobile play allows us some creative distance from the routine ways of communicating and is consequently more free-form than the more immediately utilitarian communicative acts. Playfulness also has certain distinctive features and it is possible to identify and discuss playfulness as it is expressed in the design of new tools for communication, as well as in the communicative practices and attitudes dopted by the participants. This article provides an introduction to the study of playful communication, and proposes three key evaluation criteria for playfulness. It then proceeds to test these criteria in contemporary playful mobile communication services.

You can access the published version from this link: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/intellect/iscc/2012/00000003/00000001/art00005

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