May conference and seminar rush in Tampere

Physical & Digital, in improvised lamp lightThe last two weeks have been really busy time in Tampere game studies: first, we co-organised the Narrative Minds and Virtual Worlds conference together with sociology and literature (Mari Hatavara, Matti Hyvärinen and myself were the co-chairs). This conference featured 42 presentations and two keynotes by Marie-Laure Ryan and Jarmila Mildorf.

This week has been busy with the first Pelitutkimuksen päivä (the seminar of Finnish game studies) taking place in Wednesday, Olli Sotamaa as the main organiser on behalf of the Finnish DiGRA Chapter. The first Finnish (masters’) degree price in game studies was also awarded in that event; the winner was Gabriela Rodríguez with her work Learning in Digital Games: A Case Study of a World of Warcraft Guild from the University of Turku. The program also included presentations by Tero Pasanen and Jonne Arjoranta (on the discourses of game violence in Finnish media) and Tero Huttunen (problem gamers as the customers of youth and social work), followed by my comment talk.

Wednesday was also the pre-workshop day of the Physical and Digital in Games and Play seminar — the Hybbi workshop focused on creating concepts for playful hybrid products. Thursday and Friday have been the main seminar days, with 17 presentations. Our invited commentators this year are Annika Waern and Katriina Heljakka.

It will probably take a few days to get my mind to digest all the interesting presentations. There has also been really great discussion going in all of these events, so many thanks again for everyone involved!

New games research projects

UTA Gamelab logo
UTA Gamelab

The UTA Game Research Lab has got grants and started working on several new research projects recently:

  • FUN, the Finnish-US SAVI project got funding from the Tekes in Finland and NSF in the US to catalyse trans-Atlantic collaboration particularly in games and education research; we have been working on gamification and player research survey collaboration on this one;
  • in Services, the Tivit SHOK we are taking part in the Education work package to look into the potentials of game-like learning in mixed reality applications (MixLearn);
  • the Gaming Behaviour literature survey is our new opening, started after winning the open European tender process for a research partnership with Norsk Tipping, the state lottery in Norway;
  • we are now also starting the work on the Pelaajabarometri 2013, the comprehensive national survey on both traditional games and digital games play in Finland, with a grant from Pelitoiminnan tutkimussäätiö (the Finnish Foundation for Gaming Research)
  • last but not least, Free2Play, the new two-year research project studying the multiple aspects related to the freemium model got funding from the Tekes  Skene program, and the consortium of leading Finnish games companies.

All of us – and me personally – we want to thank warmly everyone involved for the continuing support to the games research we are carrying out in the Gamelab! Together, these new initiatives rise the count of externally funded research projects in Gamelab over 40, and with a total grant budget of c. 5,5 million euros. (And I have already long time ago lost count of the publications our talented team of researchers has produced over the years…)

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