DiGRA 2018 CFP: The Game is the Message

The Game is the Message
http://digra2018.com

July 25-28, 2018

Campus Luigi Einaudi, Università di Torino, Turin, Italy
Lungo Dora Siena, 100 A, 10153 Turin, Italy

Conference chairs: Riccardo Fassone and Matteo Bittanti

Games have long since moved out of the toy drawer, but our understanding of them can still benefit from seeing them in a wider context of mediated meaning-making. DiGRA 2018 follows Marshall McLuhan, and sees games as extensions of ourselves. They recalibrate our senses and redefine our social relationships. The environments they create are more conspicuous than their content. They are revealing, both of our own desires and of the society within which we live. Their message is their effect. Games change us.

To explore this change, we invite scholars, artists and industry to engage in discussions over the following tracks:

– Platforms
Game platforms invite new textualities, new technologies and new networks of power relations. Game structures, their integration with and use of the technology, as well as the affordances and restrictions offered by the platforms on which they live, influence our experience of them.

– Users
Games invite new relations between their users, and players strive for and achieve new modes of perception. This reconfigures our attention, and establishes new patterns and forms of engagement.

– Meaning-making
The connection between a game and its content is often interchangeable – a game is clearly recognizable even if the surface fiction is changed. But games still produce meanings and convey messages. We ask, what are the modes of signification and the aesthetic devices used in games? In this context we particularly invite authors to look at games that claim to be about serious topics or deal with political and social issues.

– Meta-play
The playing of the game has become content, and we invite authors to explore spectatorship, streaming, allied practices and hybrid media surrounding play and the players. How can we describe and examine the complex interweaving of practices found in these environments?

– Context
Games are subject to material, economic and cultural constraints. This track invites reflection on how these contingencies as well as production tools, industry and business demands and player interventions contribute to the process of signification.

– Poetics
Games are created within constraints, affordances, rules and permissions which give us a frame in which games generate meaning. Games have voice, a language, and they do speak. This is the poetics of games, and we invite our fellows to explore and uncover it.

– General
Games tend to break out of the formats given them, and so for this track we invite the outstanding abstracts, papers and panels on alternative topics to the pre-determined tracks.

We invite full papers, 5000 – 7000 words plus references using the DiGRA 2018 submission template (http://www.digra.org/?attachment_id=148233), extended abstracts (from 500 words, maximum 1000, excluding references), and panel submissions (1000 words excluding references, with a 100 word biography of each participant). Full papers will be subject to a double-blind peer review. Extended abstracts will be blinded and peer reviewed by committees organised by the track chairs. Panels will be reviewed by the track chairs and the program chairs. General inquiries should be addressed to Riccardo Fassone – riccardo.fassone AT unito.it. Artist contributions, industry contributions, performances or non-standard presentations should be addressed to Matteo Bittanti – matteo.bittanti AT iulm.it .

Submission will be opened December 1st, 2017, and the final deadline for submission is January 31st 2018. The URL for submissions is https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=digra2018 .

Program chairs are
Martin Gibbs, martin.gibbs AT unimelb.edu.au, University of Melbourne, Australia
Torill Elvira Mortensen, toel AT itu.dk, IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Important dates:
Submission opens: December 1st, 2017
Final submission deadline: January 31st, 2018
Results from reviews: March 1st, 2018
Early registration deadline: March 15th, 2018
Reviewed and rewritten full papers final deadline: April 15th, 2018

JKL: PLAY ’17 -seminaari 8.9.2017

(Puhumassa ensi viikolla täällä – ilmeisesti muutama paikka on vielä tarjolla, levittäkää sanaa)

KUTSU: PLAY ’17 -seminaari 8.9.2017

Tervetuloa PLAY ’17 -seminaariin perjantaina 8.9.2017! Seminaari, jonka teemana on Pelillisyys ja uudet teknologiat musiikin oppimisessa, päättää Suomalaisella musiikkikampuksella toteutetun PLAY-hankkeen.

Seminaari järjestetään JAMK:in Hannikaissalissa osoitteessa Pitkäkatu 18–22, Jyväskylä. Aloitamme päivän hankkeen tarjoamalla aamupalalla klo 8.30, jonka jälkeen on luvassa varmasti mielenkiintoista seminaariohjelmaa klo 9.00–15.00 (ohjelma viestin liitteenä). Varsinaisen seminaarin jälkeen sinulla on mahdollisuus osallistua musiikkikasvatusteknologian ja oppimispelien työpajaan klo 15.00 alkaen.

Petri Jussilan toimittama PLAY-hankkeen loppujulkaisu, Pelillisyys ja uudet teknologiat musiikin oppimisessa, julkistetaan seminaarin yhteydessä. Ilmoittautumalla seminaariin varmistat, että saat omasi seminaaripäivänä.

Ilmoittauduthan seminaariin 1.9.2017 klo 12.00 mennessä osoitteessa http://bit.ly/GOPLAY17

Tilaisuuteen on vapaa pääsy – tervetuloa!

PLAY-projektitiimin puolesta,

Sami Sallinen

P.S. Seminaarin pääpuhujiksi on kutsuttu seuraavat asiantuntijat:

Andrew Bentley, musiikkiteknologian professori, Taideyliopiston Sibelius-Akatemia
https://www.uniarts.fi/uutishuone/andrew-bentleystä-sibelius-akatemian-ensimmäinen-musiikkiteknologian-professori

Frans Mäyrä, professori (informaatiotutkimus ja interaktiivinen media), Tampereen yliopisto
http://www.unet.fi/

Academic Mindtrek 2016 CFP

[Please spread the word, Mindtrek includes also an established game research track]

=============================================
Call for Papers, Posters, Demonstrations and Workshops
17th to 19th October 2016
Tampere, Finland
http://www.mindtrek.org/2016/academic/

Full papers, posters, demonstrations and workshops due on:
—— DEADLINE 27th June, 2016 ——

In cooperation with ACM, ACM SIGMM, and ACM SIGCHI.
Contributions will be published in the ACM digital library.

=============================================

CALL FOR PAPERS, POSTERS, DEMOS & WORKSHOPS
We are pleased to invite you to the Academic Mindtrek conference, 17th to 19th October 2016. Academic Mindtrek is a meeting place where researchers, experts and thinkers present results from their latest work regarding the development of novel technology, media and digital culture for the society of tomorrow.

Academic Mindtrek is part of the renowned Mindtrek business conference. Mindtrek brings together people not only from various fields and domains but also from different sectors such as companies, academia and various other institutions. This is the perfect opportunity for pushing research results in the practice and industry, as well as getting out-the-box research ideas based on the interaction with industry and practitioners. Mindtrek events are accessible for the Academic Mindtrek attendees, and vice versa.

The academic conference features the following major themes:

– Human-Computer Interaction (HCI)
– Interaction design and user experience
– Games and gamification
– Virtual, augmented and mixed reality
– Media education
– Collaboration and multimedia technologies in education
– Crowdsourcing and citizen participation
– Open data and data science
– New forms of journalism and media
– Theatre, performance and media
– Enhancing work in socio-technological environments

We are especially enthusiastic about applied research and papers related to practical work.

CONFERENCE THEMES

HUMAN-COMPUTER INTERACTION (HCI)
Human Computer Interaction (HCI) track addresses the design, development and implementation of user interfaces and the design of human and technology interaction. The track focuses on design of computer systems for human users, human requirements, usability, ergonomics, privacy aspects, trustworthiness, interaction theories, and sociological and psychological factors. The track brings together people from diverse areas that provide a multidisciplinary forum for academics, designers and practitioners to discuss the challenges and processes of contemporary topics in Human-Computer Interaction. The themes include, but are not limited to, the following subject areas:

• Interaction: e.g. interaction theories and models, new interaction techniques, multimodal interaction, multi-device interaction, social interactions mediated by technology.

• Interfaces: e.g. adaptive and personalized interfaces, usability evaluations, autonomous and proactive interfaces and interfaces as artefacts
• Technology: e.g. architectures for HCI, Cloud computing & Mobile HCI, new technology enablers like various sensors and actuators, toolkits and platforms for new interactive systems.
• Evaluation: e.g. evaluation studies of interactive systems, evaluation methods and techniques and user trials and experiments of interactive technology.
• User insight: e.g. methods for user research, ethnography, and understanding the users and contexts of use.

INTERACTION DESIGN AND USER EXPERIENCE
This track focuses on the practice of designing interactive digital products and services and the user experiences and interactions therein. As people’s quality standards tend to constantly increase, providing a delightful user experience and fluent interaction, the most relevant features have become central goals in the development of digital products and services. The areas of interest include, but are not limited to, the following areas:

• Theories, conceptualizations and reflections on user experience, consumer experience, product experience, interaction design, service design and their relations to other design disciplines.
• Understanding various aspects of user experience: e.g. aesthetics, trust and privacy, product attachment, playfulness, engagement, social elements
• Novel design approaches: e.g. experience-driven design, critical design, design visions
• Techniques, methods, tools and patterns for interaction design and service design
• Measuring and assessing user experience, user studies and user experience evaluations
• Creativity and innovation in design of interactive systems

GAMES AND GAMIFICATION
The culture, development and business of games has become increasingly varied. The current trends range from virtual reality and wearable gaming to freemium business models and serious games. Games research is a multidisciplinary field featuring diverse approaches to understand the phenomenon of games and play.

Academic MindTrek has an inclusive approach in the Games track focusing on novel, innovative and even unorthodox games research from theoretical works, empirical case studies to constructive projects. The Games track themes include, but are not limited to, the following subject areas:

• Design (interaction, mechanics, interfaces…)
• Evaluation (game experience, playability, usability…)
• Development (tools, engines, AI, audiovisual…)
• Business (digital distribution, crowdfunding, revenue models, virtual goods…)
• Platforms (online, social, mobile, desktop…)
• Technology (virtual, augmented and altered reality…)
• Serious games (education, health, persuasive, simulations…)
• Gamification (motivation, effects, case studies…)
• eSports (culture, streaming, fandom…)
• Hybrid games (digital-physical, board games, toys…)
• Online gambling (lottery, casino, betting…)
• Players (demographics, inclusivity, accessibility…)
• Indie (innovation, modding, transgressive…)

VIRTUAL, AUGMENTED AND MIXED REALITY
Mixed reality refers to merging of real and digital realms in order to produce new environments where physical and digital objects co-exist and interact in real time. We consider this broadly, covering both purely virtual realities, as well as augmented reality, where the perception of the real-world is enhanced with digital content. With new technologies for capturing, modelling, simulating and tracking the reality and for producing realistic hybrids of the real and digital, this field provides immense opportunities for novel applications in all areas of life. The main focus on this track is on the interactions between technology and its users rather than the technological enablers. Therefore, we welcome submissions related to, e.g.:

• Prototypes of applications or devices for virtual or augmented reality
• Studies of user perceptions, user experience and acceptance of new mixed reality technology
• Methods and processes for producing mixed reality environments
• Augmenting human perception and activity with mixed reality technology
• User interface solutions for mixed reality interactions

MEDIA EDUCATION
Media and IT play an increasingly central, diverse and complex role in contemporary life from early age to adulthood. The essential focus of media education is on developing media literacy linked to information and communication technology in learning, media production and critical thinking in media saturated societies. This field is of keen relevance for the development of education curricula across all levels, and especially for children and young people today. The track encourages papers on, for example, conceptual developments, practical skills that are necessary for competence in the area, learning environments and, methodological discussions.

COLLABORATION AND MULTIMEDIA TECHNOLOGIES IN EDUCATION
Education is increasingly using tools and solutions to support learning and collaboration on mobile, online and distance platforms and with related applications. Furthermore, various types of multimedia technologies and solutions can be used in educational context.

We welcome submissions on the collaboration and multimedia technologies, platforms, solutions, and trials in mobile, online, and distance learning contexts as well as in developing and rural regions. Theoretical, methodological and empirical submissions are welcome on design, development, evaluation, and actual use of tools, solutions, and multimedia technologies and created data from lab to real-life context. The submissions can address contexts such as daycare, schools and higher education, as well as in professional development in continuing education, MOOCs, or in informal learning contexts. Learners’ or educators’ viewpoint, or the educational aspects and goals can also be covered in the submissions, for example.

CROWDSOURCING AND CITIZEN PARTICIPATION
Crowdsourcing and citizen participation have become part of everyday activities in media landscape. Crowds or citizens, can solve problems, create, contribute, share, and analyze multimedia content and data, participate and influence decision making. Crowds contributing to open data can enable creating innovative applications, new multimedia forms, novel business models and platforms by utilizing the emerging opportunities. This track welcomes submissions on using crowdsourcing and citizen participation in multimedia and open data landscape. Submissions can include design, development, evaluation and use of solutions and platforms and processes for supporting crowdsourcing and citizen participation. Topics related to the cross-section of multimedia or open data, and crowdsourcing or citizen participation, such as gamification, motivation, incentives, privacy, as well as design and evaluation by using crowdsourcing and citizen participation are welcome to this track.

OPEN DATA AND DATA SCIENCE
Accessing, creating, analysing and utilizing good-quality data plays a central role in the development of the digital economy. The exponential accumulation of data, both sensor-based and user-created, opens new avenues for applications in, for example, various industry sectors, science, management, E-Government and E-Learning, artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, and knowledge work. But what data is interesting and where does it come from? How to access it, analyse it, make sense of it, or to build applications or ecosystems based on it? We are looking for submissions that address the challenges and opportunities related to Open data, Data science and Big Data. The submissions can, e.g., introduce computational methods for analysing, visualizing or acquiring various types of data, envision opportunities for or present developed applications that utilize open data, describe and analyse new (open) data sets, or present procedures for extracting insight from various data. In addition to the usual scientific peer review criteria, the evaluation of submissions about new data sets includes novelty, design and availability. This track is organized in association with the W3C Finnish office.

NEW FORMS OF JOURNALISM AND MEDIA
The hottest topic in journalism and publishing industry in recent years has been the “mobile first” approach. This means that particularly in the news media focus has shift more and more from print or desktop-oriented publishing to mobile-first strategies. Smartphones and tablets enhanced with the publications presence in social media are now at the core as the news media tries to meet its audience and customers at first hand. Engaging the audience with the help of these new tools is increasingly important also for non-news media, such as traditional magazines.

This track focuses on new and emerging forms of creating, distributing and presenting journalism in this new era. We have an emphasis on visual forms of storytelling and engaging audiences. This doesn’t mean other forms or genres of journalism and media are excluded.

We welcome submissions related to, e.g. use of online video, multimedia and data visualization projects in journalism, news mobile services, innovative ways of utilizing time lapse, hyper lapse, web videos, metadata, interactivity and news games. We are particularly interested in papers discussing the use and experiences of augmented, mixed and virtual reality and omni-directional video in journalism and immersive storytelling.

THEATRE, PERFORMANCE AND MEDIA
Discussions on the mediatization of performance and the use of theories and methods of theatre
and performance studies in media research enable new analytic paths to questions of cultural activity and representation. Human actions in the media, and the automated, semi-automated or computer-controlled processes used in creative practices generate unforeseen modes of performativity. Consequently, the fields of art and media now promote a culture of participation that calls for critical notions of transformative identity, new forms of co-creation and open performative environments, as represented by the many platforms of social media and emerging forms of non-linear/non- human game play. As components of user-centered ecologies and economies, these mostly digital phenomena suggest a cultural milieu where communicative processes, environments of operation, and shared or individual experiences are constantly performed and re-performed (created) by their users. The theater, performance and media track welcomes papers that discuss (but are not necessarily limited to) the following topics:

• The use of media in performance
• Digital / non-digital / hybrid performance
• Performances in specific media environments
• The performative aspects of media
• Performances in video games and other virtual environments
• The use of Motion Capture and other real time technologies in performance
• Live streaming of theatre performances
• Non-human performativity

ENHANCING WORK IN SOCIO-TECHNOLOGICAL ENVIRONMENTS
The aim of the track is to present novel approaches on research of socio-digital working environments. The underlying theme is information ergonomics, yet it covers many disciplines and perspectives. The track welcomes methodological, theoretical and empirical papers on contemporary work settings.

CONFERENCE PUBLICATIONS
Academic Mindtrek is organized in cooperation with ACM SIGMM, and ACM SIGCHI. The conference proceedings will be published in the ACM Digital Library, which includes full papers, posters, workshop proposals and demonstration proposals. All papers should follow the style guidelines of the conference. In the Finnish classification of publication forums, Academic Mindtrek proceedings are classified as Jufo 1.

There will also be rewards for the best papers from the academic conference.

FULL PAPER PROPOSALS
All submissions will be peer-reviewed double blinded, therefore please remove any information that could give an indication of the authorship. The papers should contain 6-10 pages, including the list of references.

WORKSHOP PROPOSALS
Workshop proposals should be between 2-4 pages long. We welcome you to suggest workshops as part of the Academic Mindtrek. Workshop proposals should include the organizing committee, a description of the theme and goals of the workshop, a short CV of organizers, duration, and the schedule. Workshop organizers can create their own proceedings of the accepted position papers.

Depending on the attracted number of papers for each workshop, we provide space for either half-day or full-day workshops. Previous examples include e.g. a workshop on eLearning.

DEMONSTRATION PROPOSALS
Interactive experience demonstrator proposals should be either short papers (2-4 pages long) or full papers (6-10 pages) and include: a) a description and motivation of the interactive experience demonstrator; b) general architecture of the interactive experience demonstrator; c) description of the main features of the demonstrator; d) a brief comparison with other existing related interactive experience demonstrators; e) audio-visual materials to illustrate the interactive experience demonstrator (a poster or a roll-up and other material on a laptop, for example); f) the type of license (if applicable), g) the Internet address of the interactive experience demonstrator (if applicable), and h) description of the scientific basis behind the interactive experience demonstrator (e.g., a regular paper presentation). It is strongly recommended that the authors make a video of the interactive experience demonstrator available on the Internet to accompany the article submission.

POSTER PRESENTATIONS
Posters proposals should be between 2-4 pages long and a poster should be presented during the conference. Attendees have the possibility to exhibit their posters on a A0 poster wall during the conference.

SUBMISSION DEADLINES

June 27th, 2016: Deadline for full papers, posters, demonstrations and workshops submissions.

August 19th, 2016: Notification of acceptance/rejection.

August 26th, 2016: Conference registration & copyright forms submission.

September 2nd 2016: Camera-ready papers submission.

October 17th to 19th, 2016: Academic Mindtrek Conference 2016

ORGANIZING COMMITTEE

Academic Mindtrek Conference Chair
Markku Turunen, University of Tampere

Program Chair
Janne Paavilainen, University of Tampere

Proceedings
Silvia Rubio Hernandez, University of Tampere

Local Arrangement Chair and Conference Management
Olli Purma, COSS Association

Mindtrek Conference Chair
Timo Väliharju, COSS Association

LOCAL ORGANIZERS
Ossi Nykänen, Tampere University of Technology
Riku Roihankorpi, University of Tampere
Heli Väätäjä, Tampere University of Technology
Pekka Kallioniemi, SIGCHI Finland and University of Tampere
Thomas Olsson, SIGCHI Finland and Tampere University of Technology
Anssi Männistö, University of Tampere
Sirkku Kotilainen, University of Tampere
Mikko Kanninen, University of Tampere
Marleena Huuhka, University of Tampere

For more info, contact academic.info@mindtrek.org

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES
Please use the templates provided on the style guidelines site. A template for .doc can be downloaded from https://www.acm.org/binaries/content/assets/publications/article-templates/pubform.docx and the LaTeX guidelines can be found in http://www.acm.org/sigs/publications/proceedings-templates .

Note that since the papers will be published by the ACM digital library all authors need to sign an ACM copyright form. For further guidelines please go to the ACM copyright form website (http://www.acm.org/publications/copyright_form). The copyright form would be sent through an automated system only for accepted papers.

You can start sending in your papers from April 15th onwards.

STAY INFORMED
Email: academic.info@mindtrek.org
Facebook: www.facebook.com/groups/AcademicMindTrekConference/

SUPPORTED BY
COSS Association, City of Tampere, Tampere University of Technology (TUT), Tampere University (UTA), Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK) and SIGCHI Finland.

CFP: CHI PLAY 2016

CHI PLAY 2016

The 3rd ACM SIGCHI Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play
http://chiplay.acm.org
Twitter: #chiplay
Austin, Texas
October 16 – 19, 2016

CHI PLAY is an international and interdisciplinary conference (by ACM SIGCHI) for researchers and professionals across all areas of play, games and human-computer interaction (HCI). We call this area “player-computer interaction.” The goal of the conference is to highlight and foster discussion of current high quality research in games and HCI as foundations for the future of digital play. To this end, the conference will feature streams that blend academic research and games with research papers, interactive demos, and industry case studies. CHI PLAY grew out of the increasing work around games and play emerging from the ACM annual conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI) as well as smaller conferences such as Fun and Games and Gamification. CHI PLAY is sponsored by the ACM Special Interest Group for Computer-Human Interaction (SIGCHI).

Submission Deadlines:

– April 18, 2016: Full papers
– May 27, 2016: Workshop and course proposals, Student game competition
– July 15, 2016: Doctoral consortium, industry case studies, and works-in-progress

As a SIGCHI-sponsored conference, CHI PLAY will consider submissions related to games and play. We encourage submissions on novel and innovative game interactions and mechanics and acknowledge that contributions on systems research may involve less extensive evaluation than more traditional research papers. We welcome submissions from all topics in interactive game research that are relevant to player-computer interaction, including but not limited to the following:

  • Game Interaction
  • Novel Game Control Novel Implementation Techniques that Affect Player Experience
  • Evaluation of Feedback and Display Technologies for Games
  • Gamification
  • Neurogaming
  • Persuasive Games
  • Games for Health, Learning and Change
  • Exertion Games
  • Player Experience
  • Virtual and Augmented Reality Games
  • Games User Research
  • Game Evaluation Methods
  • Psychology of Players and Games
  • Player Typologies
  • Accessible and Inclusive Game Design
  • Novel Game Mechanics Impacting Player Experience
  • Casual Game Design Studies
  • Social Game Experiences
  • Serious Games
  • Alternate Reality Games
  • Tools for Game Creation
  • Developer Experiences and Studies of Developers
  • Industry Case Studies

Although we are interested in papers on the effects of various technologies, software, or algorithms on player or developer experience, technical contributions without clear indications of the impact on players or developers are not within the scope of CHI PLAY. – See more at: http://chiplay.acm.org/submissions/#sthash.5WF9f5fG.dpuf

Skene: loppuseminaari

[I will be speaking in the final seminar of Skene r&d-program about the basic research and innovations in games tomorrow in Helsinki] Huomenna on Helsingissä Tekesin pelialan Skene-ohjelman päätösseminaari. Oma alustukseni on otsikoltaan “Pelitutkimus: yhteistyöllä innovaatioita ja tieteen huippuja”. Tapahtumassa on mukana vahva kattaus pelialan osaamista ja toimijoita – tapahtuman ohjelma löytyy täältä: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/tekes-skene-ohjelman-loppuseminaari-registration-18162678059.

Aloite: Suomen pelitutkimuksen seuran perustaminen

[Postitin tämän aiemmin tänään pelitutkimuksen finland[at]digra.org -postilistalle; tervetuloa mukaan sinne ja keskustelemaan aloitteesta; ohjeet liittymiseen löytyvät alta.]

Tänään Pelitutkimuksen päivän yhteydessä käytiin keskustelua, kannattaisiko perustaa Suomen pelitutkimuksen seura (ry.) edistämään pelitutkimuksen asemaa maassamme. Koska kaikki kiinnostuneet eivät varmaankaan olleet paikalla Turussa (kiitos järjestäjille ja puhujille!) niin avataan keskustelu myös täällä DiGRA Finland-sähköpostilistan puolella. Muutamia pointteja keskustelun herätteeksi:

– “Meillä on jo DiGRA Finland, kansainvälisen pelitutkimusyhdistyksen paikallisosasto, miksi uusi ry, eikö vanhan byrokratiassa ole jo tarpeeksi?” – Tähän voisi kommentoida että väljä toimijaverkosto (jollaista tämä chapter-toiminta lähinnä kai on) on ilman muuta mukava tapa välittää tietoa ja järjestää kevyellä kaavalla aktiviteetteja. Yhdistys kuitenkin tarjoaisi muutamia etuja.

– Pelitutkimuksen tieteellinen seura voi hakea Tieteellisten seurain valtuuskunnan (TSV) jäsenyyttä ja tätä kautta myös tieteellisten seurojen julkaisutoimintaan, ja esimerkiksi konferenssien järjestämiseen tarkoitettuja valtionavustuksia. Myös jäsenmaksutulot tukisivat tapahtumia, tiedottamista ja muuta toimintaa.

– Pelitutkimuksen vuosikirjan kehittäminen ja toiminnan rahoittaminen hyötyisi em. avustuksista.

– Seura voisi olla tärkeä kansallinen yhteistyöfoorumi ja tuoda aiempaa tehokkaammin yhteen eri tieteenalojen, hankkeiden, alueellisten keskusten ja monitieteisten verkostojen piirissä virinnyttä peli- ja pelillistämistutkimuksen aktiviteetteja.

– Seura ja sen verkkosivut voisivat kehittyä tärkeäksi kansalliseksi tietoportaaliksi: keneltä löytyy asiantuntemusta ja mistä aihepiiristä.

– Tieteellinen seura voi toimia myös edunvalvojana ja seuran toimielimet ottaa virallisemmassa roolissa kantaa esimerkiksi pelitutkimuksen asemaan yliopistokentässä, pelitutkimuksen laadun arviointia tai aihealueen kehittämistä koskevissa asioissa. Tämän voi ennakoida nousevan entistä tärkeämpään rooliin jatkossa kun kotimaisen korkeakoulukentän rakenteellinen kehittäminen etenee.

Mitä ajatuksia tämä aloite teissä, suomalaisissa pelitutkijoissa herättää? Puolesta – tai vastaan – puheenvuoroja? Ideoita siitä miten yhdistyksen toiminnan painopisteitä pitäisi priorisoida, tai millaisia aktiviteetteja olisi pyrkiä luomaan tai kehittämään? Ja ennen kaikkea: löytyykö meiltä riittävästi innokkaita vapaaehtoisia että näille erilaisille ideoille löytyisi myös toteuttajia?

Tätä viestiä saa ilman muuta levittää tahoille joiden uskoisitte olevan asiasta kiinnostuneita (ohjeet listalle liittymiseen siis löytyvät täältä: https://digrafinland.wordpress.com/contact/). Turussa hahmottelimme etenemismallia, missä aluksi käydään tällaista yleisempää ja kiinnostusta kartoittavaa keskustelua, ja jos järkevältä näyttää, ryhdyttäisiin esimerkiksi yhdistyksen sääntöjä hahmottelemaan verkossa, ja mahdollinen perustamiskokous kutsuttaisiin koolle esimerkiksi ensi vuoden Pelitutkimuksen päivän yhteyteen.

Itse ajattelen että Suomessa on erinomaiset mahdollisuudet luoda vahva ja näkyvä tieteellinen yhdistys alueelle, ja että pelitutkimuksen mittava monitieteisyys huomioiden tällaisesta, eri aloilla toimivia ihmisiä yhteen tuovasta liittoumasta olisi mahdollisesti paljonkin konkreettista hyötyä. Kulttuurinen, tekninen, taiteellinen, taloudellinen, sosiaalitieteinen, psykologinen pelitutkimus – kaikkia näitä löytyy nykyään Suomesta ja uusia toimijoita tulee alueelle koko ajan. Olisi siis ehkä hyvä idea nostaa lippua korkeammalle ja pyrkiä tekemään näkyvämmäksi tätä monisäikeistä, nyt aika hajallaan olevaa toimintaa?

– tv. Frans Mäyrä @ Tampereen yliopisto, Game Research Lab

Working with the Disciplinarity in Game Studies

 

Summer School, Utrecht

The Summer School of Games and Play Research kicked off in Monday in Utrecht, where a large number of games scholars and students had gathered for two weeks of intensive discussions and presentations. One of the key challenges for setting up this kind of event for this field is related to its aims, and how the Summer School will address the wide reach of different branches of science and scholarship that is somehow related to games and play — should there be, e.g. a course on mathematical Game Theory, or something about current trends in programming in Game Development?

The planning group of the Summer School did its own decisions on how to profile the School, aiming to include those dimensions that relate to humanities, human sciences and design research in particular. Thus, there were sessions for example on the Psychology in Game and Play Research, as well as humanities and design oriented sessions, but Computer Science as well as the Economics, Law, and many other interesting disciplines where games and play are today researched were left off-focus at this time.

Frans Mäyrä, presenting the Utrecht keynote
Frans Mäyrä, presenting the Utrecht keynote

In my opening keynote I tried to address the multiplicity of origins, the evolution, and search for identity in Game Studies from multiple angles. As also the data from the games researcher survey I presented proves, this field is highly multi- and interdisciplinary: there are scholars coming from great many different degree programs and disciplinary backgrounds, they collaborate often closely with scholars coming from other fields, and it is also very common to change from one discipline to another. As a field, Game Studies is highly dynamic, and attracts people from all sides of academia. Yet, these people also rather strongly self-identify as a somewhat coherent group: they feel that they are indeed “(digital) games researchers”, and overwhelming majority of respondents of that survey also reported of being “gamers” themselves. (For full details, see: Mäyrä, Frans, Jan Van Looy & Thorsten Quandt (2013) “Disciplinary Identity of Game Scholars: An Outline”. Proceedings of DiGRA 2013. Atlanta: Georgia Tech & DiGRA. [http://www.digra.org/wp-content/uploads/digital-library/paper_146.pdf])

However, to counterbalance the polyphony of different voices and discourses addressing games and play today, also certain disciplinary elements are needed. The academic evaluation, both at the level of individual publications, as well as when job positions are being filled, requires that there are ways to recognise those who are best qualified to comment on the quality of research as Game Studies, and not judge it according to criteria of some other field. This is somewhat tricky thing, of course, and subject of negotiation every time such evaluation work is carried out. Is this something that should be evaluated as humanities oriented Game Studies — or as something with more Social Sciences focus? Is the position filled mainly so that there will be solid conceptual analyst or theorist in the faculty, or for finding someone who can act as a bridge builder between academia and games industry, for example?

I would say that today, like more than a decade ago when the question of disciplinarity of Game Studies was emphatically taken up, there is as much need for “disciplinary work” in the field as ever: there is need for conceptual clarity, continuity and cumulative understanding of key dimensions of games and play research, and also need for standards and reference texts that are necessary milestones in degree programs. However, I would not want to see Game Studies to calcify according any single “dogma” or “right way” of carrying out academic work. And it need not — any disciplinary field with an identity and a living community of scholars is based on constant renegotiation of what “we are”, what this discipline actually is, and what are its key focus areas. It might help to think about organism like amoeba: it has boundaries, it has “inside” and “outside”, but those boundaries are constantly in the move, and adapt to the chancing environment, sometimes engulfin some new element within itself, sometimes possibly even dividing into several new organisms (or: maybe amoeba do not do that? I am more likely thinking of bacteria here…)

There are practical concerns in Game Studies like in any other field in contemporary academia, as the university system is undergoing restructuring and many fields of learning need to provide good reasons for its existence and functions in a society. Game Studies certainly serves important scholarly functions, by addressing phenomena of major significance in the “Ludic Society” of today and tomorrow. The understanding of games, their history, genres, ways of how such dynamic systems operate, their design principles and how they are experienced by different kinds of people — all such things are needed, not only by academic researchers in this field, but also increasingly by experts who want to understand the changes in society, culture, learning, commerce, social interaction, etc. Thus, my claim: “in the future, every discipline needs to be a Game Studies discipline”. On the other hand, it is not enough to have some minor elements related to digital media, online communication and games scattered in several, disconnected degree programs in various parts of academia. There is also need for a “core discipline”, and an increasing (even if still rather modest) need for graduates that can be the experts who provide the reference work and theoretical and practical foundation of games and play research, so that it can then be applied in many other fields as well.

The program of Summer School was built to reflect this kind of principles of multiplicity and unity: the morning keynotes provided coherent arguments and perspectives into what games and play research is, or should be. The afternoons start with disciplinary seminars, where people coming and working within somewhat shared academic frameworks can develop their joint responses and interpretations of those same themes, and to develop their distinctive own agendas. The final element in the program are the more experimental, interdisciplinary workshops and the game jam, designed to bring together people from multiple sides of the research field, and to catalyse new ideas, creative concepts, and processes.

Unfortunately my busy schedules forced me to leave the Summer School early, but I wish everyone very fruitful and stimulating days in Utrecht, and look forward to the results, conclusions and any feedback that will be coming from it. Long live Game Studies – One, and Many!

You can find my keynote slides embedded below: