What is Finfar?

Finfar 2014, Finncon’s academic conference, will gather together the foremost experts and students of fantasy and science fiction for two days at the University of Jyväskylä. Students and scholars of all levels are welcome; texts are welcome in English, Finnish, and Swedish.

Due to the participatory nature of the conference and limitations on time and space, the conference is open only for the participants and designated commentators.

Call for Papers [in PDF format here]



Department of Arts and Culture Studies, University of Jyväskylä

Thu & Fri 10–11 July, 2014

The traditional, free annual meeting of science fiction and fantasy scholars is again hosted in conjunction with Finncon, this year in the University of Jyväskylä. The questions about the relations between mind and matter are wide open for discussion, and all areas of speculative fiction as well as the mediums are freely approached.  We invite abstracts from various angles the convergence of mind, matter, time and space, ideas and arts, like “does mind matter”, “is there matter over mind”, or “does matter even care”. The mind/matter dichotomy is in connection to the questions of imagination and fantasy worlds and their materiality – like in dragonlands or steampunk.

Our Honorary member of Finfar, Cheryl Morgan will attend the English parts of the seminar. The commentators this year are Liisa Rantalaiho from the University of Tampere, researcher Markku Soikkeli, from the University of Helsinki Merja Polvinen and Paula Arvas, as well as Sofia Sjö from Åbo Akademi and Irma Hirsjärvi from the University of Jyväskylä.

We welcome all kinds of work focusing on science fiction and fantasy, whether you are working towards a seminar essay, article, MA thesis or a PhD. Papers can be in Finnish, Swedish or English, but if you wish to receive feedback from the international participants in the seminar, we recommend writing in English. The Guests of Honor are writers Elizabeth Bear and Hannu Rajaniemi and the Fan Guest of Honor the true new weird guy of Finland, Jukka Halme. However, even while/if we focus on the nature of reality and fiction through the themes of mind and matter,  all the papers about the works of Bear and Rajaniemi, arts and quantum physics or new weird not to mention fantastic in general are most welcome as well.

The plan is that the first issue of the year 2015 of Fafnir – The Nordic Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy Research will again collect the articles from this seminar.

Please send your 300-word abstract by April 31st to (Word or RTF) with title FINFAR 2014 ABSTRACT [YOUR NAME]. Selection will be made and further instructions sent during May. The final paper should be 10,000–15,000 characters in length. Depending on the amount of abstracts we receive, we will try to accommodate papers not directly related to the seminar’s theme.

Welcome to Jyväskylä!

PhD, researcher Irma Hirsjärvi

Organising committee: Irma Hirsjärvi Paavo Ylämäki, Päivi Väätäinen, Jyrki Korpua


Finfar – Finnish Network of Fantasy Research

Finncon 2014 (
The Research Centre for Contemporary Culture, University of Jyväskylä

Extension: DiGRA 2014 CFP

(Please spread) In an attempt to accommodate requests by DiGRA members, we are extending the Call for Participation. We will be accepting papers, abstracts, panels, and additional submissions, see below, until February 24th.

DiGRA 2014 is being hosted by the University of Utah’s EAE program and will be held in the Wasatch Mountains at Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort from August 3rd-6th. The location is scenic, secluded, economical, and within easy access of Salt Lake City’s International Airport. We believe it offers a unique setting in which to explore games, and the blanks in games research.

To such end the theme of DiGRA 2014 is a phrasal template: <Verb that ends in ‘ing’> the <noun> of Game <plural noun>

For DiGRA’s 2014 Conference we playfully emphasize work that explores non-traditional questions, peers between the cracks of areas that are starting to become well-worn, and revisits old themes from new perspectives. In other words, what has been overlooked or otherwise not given the care and respect it deserves? A Mad Lib is a word game in which one player asks another for nouns, verbs, and other parts of speech with little or no context. They then proceed to fill in the blanks of a phrasal template to often humorous and sometimes profound results. As game scholars we have worked hard to figure out what were the most important blanks. However, at this, the seventh DiGRA conference, we invite you to point out the blanks that have yet to be filled. Your answers to our Mad Lib theme could highlight the profound, sublime, or humorous. We encourage you to trying working the theme into the title of your work.

Conference Website:


DiGRA aims at being a venue for game research from all research disciplines. In line with this, it accepts and encourages submissions on a wide range of subjects including but not limited to:

•    Game design: design techniques, practices, methods, post mortems, etc.
•    Game criticism and analysis: close readings, ontologies and frameworks, historical studies, philosophical explorations, and other humanities-informed approaches
•    Play studies: studies of play, observations and interviews of players, and research based on other methods from the social sciences
•    Game technology and production: case studies of experimental game technologies, evaluations of existing systems, and studies of game production processes
•    Applications and uses of games: inquires in serious, documentary games, games for health, gamification, games education, teaching and learning.

Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the DiGRA conference, authors and reviewers alike will be required to describe their research background and field of study. The intention for this is to help reviewers be conscious of when they are reviewing work outside their own field as well as making clear the proportions of contributing fields.

For more information, visit the conference website:


Submit a paper or an abstract?

DiGRA 2014 supports two different categories for submitting research; full papers (no more than 16 pages) and abstracts (up to 1000 words including references). The structure reflects the cross-disciplinary nature and different conference traditions of the conference attendants. A full paper submission is recommended for completed research work, in particular empirical or technical work. The abstract format is suitable for discussion topics and ideas. Both papers and abstracts are subject to a double-blind review process, and get equal time for presentation and discussion during the conference.

Accepted full-length submissions will be uploaded into the DiGRA digital library after the conference. Both papers and abstracts will be available from the conference web site, and authors of abstracts may submit a full-length text. Do however note that abstracts, and full-length texts written post conference will not be uploaded to the DiGRA digital library. Finally, both selected articles and full-length texts may be invited for re-publication in the DiGRA journal ToDiGRA.


Submissions site:

Full papers:
•    No more than 16 pages
•    Will be published on the conference website
•    Will be published in the DiGRA digital library
•    Submission template: here
•    Submission deadline: February 24, 2014
•    Notifications of decisions: March 21, 2014
•    Rebuttal deadline: April 1, 2014
•    Notifications of final decisions: April 15, 2014
•    Revised submission deadline: May 15, 2014 (camera ready)

•    No more than 1000 words, including references
•    Will be published on the conference website
•    Will not be published in the DiGRA digital library
•    Submission deadline: February 24, 2014
•    Notifications of decision: March 21, 2014
•    Full text submission deadline: May 15, 2014

•    Proposal: no more than 1000 words, including references
•    Will not be published in the DiGRA digital library
•    Submission deadline: January 31, 2014
•    Notifications of decision: March 21, 2014
•    Full text submission deadline: May 15, 2014

•    Proposal: no more than 1000 words, including references
•    Indicate full or half day (Workshops will take place August 3, 2014)
•    Contact details of organizing committee
•    Will not be published in the DiGRA digital library
•    Submission deadline: February 24, 2014
•    Notifications of decision: March 21, 2014
•    Full text submission deadline: May 15, 2014

Conference event submissions, filling in the blanks of DiGRA 2014:

DiGRA 2014 understands that no call can accommodate all types of research. We believe that there is excellent research and scholarship happening in the spaces between the formats we traditionally offer. We are happy to consider submissions not listed above, for example tutorials, performances, or an experimental session. Many participants in the past have asked, “why don’t they do a blank” at DiGRA. This is an invitation to fill in the blank.

A conference event proposal can be at most 1000 words long and should provide justification for the event, describe the required time and resources, and provide names and backgrounds of the organisers.

•    Submission deadline: February 24, 2014
•    Notifications of decision: March 1, 2014

Submissions to conference events
For conference events that issue their own calls, deadlines should conform to this schedule.
•    Events Submission deadline: April 15, 2014
•    Events Notification date: May 15, 2014

Program Chairs
•    Staffan Björk, University of Gothenburg, Sweden (
•    Annika Waern, University of Uppsala, Sweden (

Conference Chairs
•    Roger Altizer, University of Utah, USA (
•    Jose Zagal, University of Utah, USA (

Program Committee

Snowbird, Utah –

CFP: Nordic Digra 2014

Petri Lankoski

Games are becoming more and more pervasive in our everyday life. Gamification and game-based learning are research topics that are blooming. Games are also used in electioneering.

We invite submission for full papers and for workshops. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

– gamification
– games in society
– games and learning
– games as propaganda
– persuasive games
– games in teaching
– critical stances to gamification and game-based learning

– Full paper submission and workshop proposals March 30, 2014
– Notification of acceptance: April 25, 2014
– Camera ready May 18, 2014
– Conference: May 29-30, 2014


Papers submitted are subject to peer review.

Long papers should be 8 to 12 pages in Digra format ( . For detailed information see Submission page. Selected papers will be published in conference site as well as at Digital Library of Digital Game…

View original post 42 more words

Quantified Self & Withings Pulse

Withings Pulse
Withings Pulse

Pictured: Withings Pulse device, smaller than a third of a matchbox. – I have had my doubts about the “Quantified Self” movement (or just a vogue), but there are also some promising aspects in the concept of increasing information and awareness about your health and fitness. The obvious downsides include the potential for increased self-focus, obsession, stress, and data deluge. The (gamification-style) counter-argument is that when you get clear and immediate feedback on the relevant aspects of your life, it becomes more motivational, and it becomes easier to cajole yourself into doing stuff that you’d really want to do, in the first place.

Withings Pulse is the device that I am testing at the moment. Small, 8 gram marvel of miniaturization, it has sensors to measure movement, elevation, acceleration and many similar things — it even has a heart rate monitor that can be used to capture heart beat values every now and then — and connects via bluetooth to the smartphone app few times a day so that you can get nice, illustrative graphs and stats from the free Withings app. Withings is one part of the mushrooming new health data industry, with scales, blood pressure monitors, baby monitors as well as activity trackers in its connected-devices ecosystem. For a user, the crucial question is how well the supposed use style of these smart things actually fits with one’s lifestyle. Simply carrying the passive measuring device in your pocket is not too much a burden, but in order to fully benefit from this technology, one really should regularly start and stop the sleep recorder, step to the smart scale for body monitoring, then remember to set the relevant apps and sensors in the correct configuration, depending on whether one is following a particular training program, or just tries to see how many steps one takes during a regular working day.

It is perhaps too early to say how mainstream these technologies will become, in the end. But I see signs of a science-fictional future emerging: one where we are constantly getting readouts about the (previously pretty opaque) internal doings of our bodies, and personal health assistants alarming us in good time before any life threatening issues have time to develop. It is important also to keep track on how the individual freedom, protection of privacy and the voluntary character of such, highly sensitive data collection will work out in the future “culture of transparency”.

Link, Withings Pulse web page:

Tietojenkäsittelyn päivät 2014

[Please spread the CFP – I will be a keynote here]:

Call for papers: Yhdistetyt tietojenkäsittelyn päivät, 3.-4.6.2014, Lappeenranta

Päivien järjestelytoimikunta kutsuu aihepiirin tutkijoita ja jatko-opiskelijoita pitämään esityksiä tutkimuksestaan. Väitöskirjatyötä ja tutkimusprojekteja tiivistävät artikkelit ovat tervetulleita. Esityksiin liittyvät artikkelit julkaistaan erillisessä painetussa julkaisussa ja ne vertaisarvioidaan.

Tänä vuonna esityksiä ja artikkeleita haetaan seuraavilla kategorioilla:

Pidempi tutkimusartikkeli (max 8 sivua, LP). Esimerkiksi ryhmän tai tutkijan tutkimustuloksia tiivistävä artikkeli tai päivien teemaan (pelit ja pelillistäminen) liittyvä artikkeli. Hyväksytyistä artikkeleistä pidetään esitys (20 min) päivien aikana. Keskipitkä tutkimusartikkeli (max 4 sivua, SP). Esimerkiksi ryhmän tai tutkijan alustavia tutkimustuloksia esittävä artikkeli tai päivien teemaan liittyvä artikkeli, ts. work-in-progress artikkeli. Hyväksytyistä artikkeleista pidetään esitys (10 min) päivien aikana. Lyhyt poster/demo artikkeli (2 sivua), joka tiivistää projektin/tutkimustuloksen keskeiset asiat. Poster esitykset pidetään erillisessä sessiossa jälkimmäisenä päivänä.

Tämän vuoden teemana on pelit ja pelillistäminen.

Artikkelit jätetään EasyChair -konferenssijärjestelmään alla olevan aikataulun mukaisesti. Kunkin artikkelin kohdalla pyydämme tarkentamaan aihepiiriä lähinnä olevan seuran. Artikkelien tulee olla julkaisemattomia. Valinnan tekee tieteellinen arviointitoimikunta ennakkoon lähetettyjen artikkelien perusteella. Tieteelliseen arviointikuntaan kuuluvat seurojen hallitusten jäsenet ja paikallisen järjestelytoimikunnan tohtorit.


Artikkelien tulee olla suomen- tai englanninkielisiä. Artikkelin ja siihen liittyvän esityksen pitää olla siinä määrin yleistajuisia, että tietojenkäsittelytieteiden eri alojen edustajat voivat seurata niitä. Suosittelemme, että artikkeli laaditaan valmista ACM SIGGRAPH mallipohjaa käyttäen, paperin koko A4.

Päivien sivusto:

EasyChair-linkki: aukeaa Helmikuussa


28.3. Artikkeli jätetty arviointia varten.
21.4. Hyväksymiskirjeet valituille
2.5. Lopullinen korjattu artikkeli


Päivien aikana pidetään posterisessio. Posterin koko rajoitetaan A0.
Järjestelytoimikunnan puheenjohtaja, Kari Heikkinen {}


English Summary

This year we are soliciting unpublished articles pertaining to the themes of the societies. The articles can present original new research results as well as summarize PhD work and research projects. Research summary articles should present the recent advances in their context, and also consider future directions of the topic. All articles will be peer-reviewed and the accepted articles and posters will be published in the conference proceedings with an ISSN number.

Articles can be either longer research articles (maximum of 8 pages) that present and summarize research results, short research articles (maximum of 4 pages) that present the work-in-progress or posters (2 pages) that summarize the key points of the research. Longer and shorter articles will be presented during the conference, and posters (size A0) will be presented in the poster session. We recommend using ACM SIGGRAPH A4-template format for submission. Each year the event has a theme; this year the theme is games and gamification.
Articles are submitted with the Easychair system. The deadlines are the following:

28.3. Submission deadline to EasyChair
21.4. Notifications of review results
2.5. Final camera ready article

EasyChair-link: opens at February

On the behalf of the organizing committee,
Chair: Kari Heikkinen {}

DiGRA 2013 Proceedings

The proceedings of last year’s “world DiGRA” conference are now online. There are e.g. some work I have collaborated and contributed to:

Mäyrä et al., Disciplinary Identity of Game
Scholars: An Outline:

Schott et al., DeFragging Regulation: From putative effects
to ‘researched’ accounts of player experience:

Game Research Panel

There will be the panel discussion on the relation between research and game development in the Games Now series next Monday in the Aalto university. Speakers will be Aki Järvinen, Markus Montola and myself, so Tampere Game Research Lab is strongly present in the discussions. More:

CFP: Fafnir – Nordic Journal for Science Fiction and Fantasy Research

Please circulate this CFP (I am at the journal advisory board representing game studies related themes):


Fafnir – Nordic Journal for Science Fiction and Fantasy Research invites authors to submit papers for the upcoming edition 2/2014.

Fafnir – Nordic Journal for Science Fiction and Fantasy Research is a new, peer-reviewed academic journal which is published in electronic format four times a year. The purpose of Fafnir is to join up the Nordic field of science fiction and fantasy research and to provide a forum for discussion on current issues on the field. Fafnir is published by FINFAR Society (Suomen science fiction- ja fantasiatutkimuksen seura ry).

Now Fafnir invites authors to submit papers for its next edition, 2/2014. Fafnir publishes various texts ranging from peer-reviewed research articles to short overviews and book reviews in the field of science fiction and fantasy research.

The submissions must be original work, and written in English (or in Finnish or in Scandinavian languages). Manuscripts of research articles should be between 20,000 and 40,000 characters in length. The journal uses the most recent edition of the MLA Style Manual. The manuscripts of research articles will be peer-reviewed. Please note that as Fafnir is designed to be of interest to readers with varying backgrounds, essays and other texts should be as accessibly written as possible.

The deadline for submissions is 28 February 2014.

In addition to research articles, Fafnir constantly welcomes text proposals such as essays, interviews, overviews and book reviews on any subject suited to the paper.

Please send your electronic submission (saved as RTF-file) to all three editors at the following addresses:, and For further information, please contact the editors.

This edition is scheduled for June 2014. The deadlines for the submissions for the next two editions are scheduled at 31 May (3/2014) and 31 August (4/2014).

Best regards,

Jyrki Korpua, Hanna-Riikka Roine and Päivi Väätänen
Editors, Fafnir – Nordic Journal for Science Fiction and Fantasy Research

Contextual apps

S4 with the Cover app lock screen
S4 with the Cover app lock screen

There are digirati who claim that the era of contextual apps and services is here and that it will transform our daily lives (the recent, app-cataloguing book Age of Context by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel is one example). Since the mobile media experimentation and development really took off in the late nineties, there has been much talk and few real breakthroughs in this area. However, some recent developments have brought the “contextual revolution” a bit closer to reality. Particularly all the information industry giants like Google and Apple are collecting is making it easier to use algorithms and sensor data to identify various locations and provide estimates on what the user would be interested in doing in that particular spot. I have been test driving e.g. Cover, the contextual lock screen app, and Aviate, the contextual home screen app (currently in beta) in my Android device (Samsung Galaxy S4). While there is obvious promise in making the mobile operating system and user experience more adaptive, providing the most used applications in my particular locations seems still a bit hit-and-miss affair for these apps, at least. I suppose they will get better by learning from what I am actually doing, but currently I end up manually configuring the app shortcuts in the various “Spaces” that Aviate serves me, for example. And that is not exactly making the life easier than having a static home screen where I can immediately find my most used apps, always reliably in the same place. Having this “lively interface” where things are dynamically moving around can be also confusing, so my mind is stil divided about the actual usefulness of this, first generation. But I can definitely see that this kind of functionalities could come built-in some of the next versions of Android, for example. When these services start to know you better than yourself, the holding power of such apps can obviously grow to remarkable (or frightening, depending on the perspective) degrees. A really insightful recommendation system can really affect your behaviour (think about all those recommendations, for example), and when something similar is always making suggestions to you while you are going around and deciding upon the directions and activities in your daily life, the effect is potentially vastly greater.


Simulation & Gaming, Finnish Special Issue

Simulation & GamingThere is an interesting bunch of articles now available in the “Online First” area of Simulation & Gaming journal, featuring the work carried out in Finnish simulation, gaming & game studies field (some of it by researchers affiliated with our UTA Game Research Lab), highly worth checking out:

Development of a Finnish Community of Game Scholars
J. Tuomas Harviainen, Timo Lainema, Jaakko Suominen, and Erno Soinila
Simulation & Gaming 1046878113513533, first published on December 3, 2013 as doi:10.1177/1046878113513533

Hypercontextualized Learning Games: Fantasy, Motivation, and Engagement in Reality
Carolina Islas Sedano, Verona Leendertz, Mikko Vinni, Erkki Sutinen, and Suria Ellis
Simulation Gaming published 30 December 2013, 10.1177/1046878113514807

Subjective Experience and Sociability in a Collaborative Serious Game
Kimmo Oksanen
Simulation Gaming published 25 December 2013, 10.1177/1046878113513079

Social Network Games: Players’ Perspectives
Janne Paavilainen, Juho Hamari, Jaakko Stenros, and Jani Kinnunen
Simulation Gaming published 25 December 2013, 10.1177/1046878113514808

Experience Assessment and Design in the Analysis of Gameplay
Benjamin Cowley, Ilkka Kosunen, Petri Lankoski, J. Matias Kivikangas, Simo Järvelä, Inger Ekman, Jaakko Kemppainen, and Niklas Ravaja
Simulation Gaming published 23 December 2013, 10.1177/1046878113513936

Formation of Novice Business Students’ Mental Models Through Simulation Gaming
Lauri-Matti Palmunen, Elina Pelto, Anni Paalumäki, and Timo Lainema
Simulation Gaming published 23 December 2013, 10.1177/1046878113513532

Physiological Linkage of Dyadic Gaming Experience
Simo Järvelä, J. Matias Kivikangas, Jari Kätsyri, and Niklas Ravaja
Simulation & Gaming 1046878113513080, first published on December 23, 2013 as doi:10.1177/1046878113513080

Table of contents online:

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