SciFest, SciEdu

[I will be talking about play, games and new technology in the context of learning in Joensuu] Matkustan tänään Joensuuhun, missä on laaja SciFest 2015-tapahtuma 23.-25.4. Itse puhun tapahtuman yhteydessä toteutettavassa SciEdu-seminaarissa la klo 13 otsikolla “Leikkiä, peliä ja uutta teknologiaa: oppiminen ja kulttuurin muuttuvat puitteet”. Lisätietoja:

Playful Identities: The Ludification of Digital Media Cultures

Playful Identities (cover)
Playful Identities (2015)

Long in the making, this highly interesting book on ludification of culture is finally in print and available; it includes also my chapter on the culture and identity of online casual play:

Frissen, Valerie, Sybille Lammes, Michiel de Lange, Jos de Mul, and Joost Raessens, eds. 2015. Playful Identities: The ludification of digital media cultures. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

Table of Contents

1. Homo ludens 2.0: Play, media, and identity 9
Valerie Frissen, Sybille Lammes, Michiel de Lange, Jos de Mul & Joost Raessens

Part I Play
Introduction to Part I 53
Valerie Frissen, Sybille Lammes, Michiel de Lange, Jos de Mul & Joost Raessens

2. Playland: Technology, self, and cultural transformation 55
Kenneth J. Gergen

3. Spiritual play: Encountering the sacred in World of Warcraft 75
Stef Aupers

4. Playful computer interaction 93
Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath

5. Playful identity in game design and open-ended play 111
Menno Deen, Ben Schouten & Tilde Bekker

6. Breaking reality: Exploring pervasive cheating in Foursquare 131
René Glas

7. Playing with bits and bytes: The savage mind in the digital age 149
Valerie Frissen

Part II Media
Introduction to Part II 167
Valerie Frissen, Sybille Lammes, Michiel de Lange, Jos de Mul & Joost Raessens

8. Location-based mobile games: Interfaces to urban spaces 169
Adriana de Souza e Silva & Jordan Frith

9. The playful use of mobile phones and its link to social cohesion 181
Rich Ling

10. Digital cartographies as playful practices 199
Sybille Lammes

11. Ludic identities and the magic circle 211
Gordon Calleja

12. Play (for) time 225
Patrick Crogan

13. Playful identity politics: How refugee games affect the player’s identity 245
Joost Raessens

Part III Identity
Introduction to Part III 263
Valerie Frissen, Sybille Lammes, Michiel de Lange, Jos de Mul & Joost Raessens

14. Playing out identities and emotions 267
Jeroen Jansz

15. Playing with others: The identity paradoxes of the web as social network 281
Jeroen Timmermans

16. New media, play, and social identities 293
Leopoldina Fortunati

17. Playing life in the metropolis: Mobile media and identity in Jakarta 307
Michiel de Lange

18. The conflicts within the casual: The culture and identity of casual online play 321
Frans Mäyrä

19. Afterplay 337
Jos de Mul

About the authors 347
Index of Names 353
Index of Subjects 359

ToDiGRA special issue: Physical and Digital in Games and Play

Spreading the word: we have now published the special issue of DiGRA “Transactions” journal (ToDiGRA), on Physical and Digital in Games and Play, many thanks to authors, reviewers and specially to my co-editors Anu Seisto and Katriina Heljakka:

Vol 1, No 3 (2014)

Special issue, chief editor Frans Mäyrä

Table of Contents

Special issue: Physical and Digital in Games and Play

Editors’ Introduction to the Special Issue HTML PDF
Frans Mäyrä, Katriina Heljakka, Anu Seisto
Building Material: Exploring Playfulness of 3D Printers HTML PDF
Stephanie de Smale
Game Design in an Internet of Things HTML PDF
Paul Coulton, Dan Burnett, Adrian Gradinar, David Gullick, Emma Murphy
From the board to the streets: a case study of Local Property Trader HTML PDF
Mark Lochrie
SimCity and the Creative Class: Place, Urban Planning and the Pursuit of Happiness HTML PDF
Frederika A Eilers
“That’s not a secure area”– physical-digital sound links in commercial locative games HTML PDF
Inger Ekman
The Case for Computer-Augmented Games HTML PDF
Karl Bergström, Staffan Björk
The Roll of the Dice in Warhammer 40,000 HTML PDF
Marcus Carter

Link to the journal site: http://todigra.org/index.php/todigra/issue/view/3

Oppiminen pelissä

Oppiminen pelissä (Vastapaino, 2014).
Oppiminen pelissä (Vastapaino, 2014).

[In Finnish, new book on games, playfulness and learning] Vastapaino on julkaissut mielenkiintoisen teoksen Oppiminen pelissä: pelit, pelillisyys ja leikillisyys opetuksessa (toim. Leena Krokfors, Marjaana Kangas & Kaisa Kopisto). Kirjoitin kirjaan seuraavat alkusanat:

Oppimisen ja pelaamisen yhteys on toisaalta ikivanha ja perustava arkielämän ilmiö, toisaalta pelioppiminen on uusi ja nouseva tutkimuksen ja tuotekehityksen aihealue. Jokainen meistä aloittaa elämänsä oppimalla leikkien ja pelien avulla, ja kaikkeen uusien taitojen oppimiseen luultavasti sisältyy luovan kokeilun, leikittelyn sekä aihepiiriin liittyvien toimintasääntöjen omaksumisen ulottuvuus. Toisaalta esimerkiksi formaalisessa kouluopetuksessa pelien käyttö on edelleen kokeiluasteella.

Oppimispelien sekä pelaamalla oppimisen tutkimus on noussut vuosikymmenien kuluessa yhä näkyvämpään rooliin, osana ympäröivän yhteiskunnan ja kulttuurin laajempaa muutosprosessia. Digitaalinen tieto- ja viestintäteknologia on hiljalleen ujuttautunut myöhäismodernin yhteiskunnan ja elämän eri osa-alueille, joten teknologiaa on tarjolla arkikäytössä niin työelämässä kuin vapaa-ajalla. Digitaaliset pelit hyödyntävät tietokoneiden ja tietoverkkojen uusia ominaisuuksia elämyksellisillä ja mukaansatempaavilla tavoilla, jotka ovat usein vuosien varrella toimineet innovatiivisina esimerkkeinä tietotekniikan soveltamisen parhaista ratkaisuista. Pelaaminen on muuttanut muotoaan, ja perinteisten ulkoleikkien, urheilupelien sekä lauta- ja korttipelien rinnalle ovat nousseet video- ja tietokonepelit laajoine virtuaalimaailmoineen. Tampereen yliopiston toteuttaman Pelaajabarometri-tutkimuksen mukaan enemmistö suomalaisista pelaa säännöllisesti jotain digitaalista peliä.

Pelit ja oppiminen nähdään kuitenkin toisinaan myös toisilleen vastakkaisina ilmiöinä. Protestanttiseen kulttuuriin on syvään juurtunut käsityksiä siitä että työ, tai opiskelu hyötyrationaalisena toimintana ei saa olla ”liian” hauskaa. Otsasi hiessä on sinun leipäsi syömän. Kepeämpi, leikittelevä tai pelejä hyödyntävä lähestymistapa oppimiseen voi näyttäytyä uhkaavana esimerkiksi perinteisten, oppilaiden passiivista vastaanottajaroolia painottavien näkemysten kannalta.

Pelaamisen hyödyt voivat myös herättää kysymyksiä: kuinka tehokasta oppimista pelaaminen oikeasti voi tarjota? Myös kaupallisista lähtökohdista kehitettyjen ja markkinoitujen, yleensä vahvasti viihteellisten pelien kyseenalainen arvomaailma tai väkivaltaisuus voivat leimata peleihin liittyviä mielikuvia.

Oppiminen pelissä on tärkeä puheenvuoro, koska tämä kirja tarjoaa vastauksia ylläoleviin kysymyksiin – sekä moniin muihin. Kirjan artikkeleissa monipuolinen asiantuntijajoukko tarjoaa sekä tutkimustietoa siitä, miten oppimispelejä on järkevää suunnitella, sekä soveltaa osana laajempaa luovien oppimisympäristöjen kenttää. Pelkän yksittäisen pelin sijaan huomio suunnataan aktivointiin, osallistamiseen ja pelillisyyteen, jotka laajentavat perinteisiä opetustilanteita. Pelisukupolvien myötä niin työelämässä kuin oppimisen maailmassa keskiöön on astumassa aktiivinen toimija, joka kokeilemisen ja ongelmanratkaisun keinoin itsenäisesti ja ryhmissä rakentaa uusia taitoja ja tietämystä. Erillisten oppimispelien rinnalla ja sijaan kirjoittajat ovatkin kannustamassa soveltamaan pelillisyyden oppeja koulun ja oppimisympäristöjen uudistamiseen: jos koulu olisi peli, mikä on sen tavoite – ja onko tuo peli suunniteltu niin että juuri nämä tärkeimmät tavoitteet ovat kirkkaasti ja rohkaisevasti kaikkien toimintaa ohjaamassa?

Kirjasta löytyy sisällysluettelo ja lisätietoja täältä.

New research into ludification and gamification

[Reposted research news from the University of Tampere:]

“Pervasive ludification and gamification, as well as the spreading of interactive media and online services are changing social interaction and the practices of work, learning and leisure as we speak,” says Professor Frans Mäyrä from the University of Tampere.

“That is why we need wide-ranging interdisciplinary studies in this area.”

The research into ludification in the society includes research into playfulness as an attitude that is also possible for adults, as well as into the different applications of gamification meaning the application of game elements in non-entertainment contexts. These, and several other themes are investigated in a new research project that is carried out in collaboration between three Finnish universities. The four-year research project Ludification and the emergence of playful culture is a joint effort of researchers of the digital culture at the universities of Tampere, Jyväskylä and Turku. Professor Frans Mäyrä is heading the research that is funded by the Academy of Finland.

Ludification at a more general level, and gamification in its more specific applications is a direction of development that is renewing the culture, society and businesses and it is also the common theme in three other research projects, which Professor Mäyrä and his research team have started.

Gamification is analysed in more detail in the research projects called the Neuroeconomics of Gaming and Koukku, which are collaborative efforts with the researchers at the Aalto University. In these projects, the focus is on the psychological aspects of buying and selling games and of the ethical issues involved. These projects are a part of the Skene Research Programme funded by Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation.

OASIS is a project that applies games as an integral part of university research and instruction and develops and studies a novel, playful and creative learning environment that supports a culture of informal information sharing and sense of community. This project is funded by the Finnish Work Environment Fund.

For more information, please contact:
Professor Frans Mäyrä,
frans.mayra@uta.fi, tel. +358 50 336 7650
School of Information Sciences, TRIM / Game Research Lab

Source: http://blogs.uta.fi/news/2014/10/08/ludification-renews-the-culture-society-and-businesses-a-wide-ranging-new-research-project-starts/

OASIS: Season Two

There are no rules (Kati Heljakka)
There are no rules (Kati Heljakka)

Today is the opening of Second Season in OASIS, our experimental play/library/living-room space in School of Information Sciences. There will be bubbly wine and heady ideas available in OASIS today, starting 2 pm – welcome! The invitation is here: http://oasis.uta.fi/season-2-opening-oasis/ Pictured: “There are no rules”, playful work of art by Katariina Heljakka.

Game Studies: a polyphonic discipline?

Critical Evaluation of Game Studies: Bart Simon
Critical Evaluation of Game Studies: Bart Simon

The Critical Evaluation of Game Studies seminar closed today, leaving a full house of tired but intellectually stimulated games scholars to debate and reflect on the outcomes and overall synthesis of the varied papers and discussions. One of the threads of the discussion concerned the identity and character of Game Studies (or “game studies”, or: games research? Or: ludology, even?) In his keynote, Espen Aarseth talked about Game Studies as a field, and argued (with explicit comment against my earlier published views) that a “discipline” is something that he particularly does not want to see Game Studies developing into.

This particular, anti-disciplinary view can in a way be grounded on the existing polyphony in this field: there has not emerged any single, unified school of thought that would encompass everything that is going around games and play in academia. On the other hand, one could also – again following Espen – argue that a discipline that produces its own undergraduates as well as postgraduates would need a more solid methodological basis, and also more established work market to guarantee the employment of such “native graduates”. (Sebastian Deterding had an interesting analysis and proposal in his paper, suggesting that since there are not much guarantees of employment, or not so many well-established publication venues in the “core” areas of Game Studies, people are escaping back to more established academic fields, such as HCI or Communication Studies, which have already opened up for games related research, and provide more institutional work opportunities – and that Game Studies should merge with Design Research so that it would have better opportunities for survival.) Or, one could follow Bart Simon who in his speech talked about the “unseriousness” inherent in games and play as an object of study, and go against the instrumentalization and reification of disciplinary knowledge by principle.

While I see the point of all these, well-grounded arguments, I just want to emphasize again that Game Studies needs both dimensions and movements: both the elements that pull people towards each other and focus at organizing the knowledge production and educational activities in Game Studies into some, hopefully rather unified wholes, as well as more interdisciplinary elements that fertilize and stimulate the growth of new approaches and innovations – both within Game Studies, as well as in other fields of learning. While there is enough anarchist in most game scholars today to make us stand up and go against any attempt at governance or “central control” in this daring, iconoclastic intellectual project that has been set into motion, it is also important, I think, to carry enough responsibility to aim at positive conditions for such project, and sometimes this will also require setting up “disciplinary versions” of the fast-moving research field, so that it can engage with various academic institutions and neighbouring disciplines at even terms. While such “freeze frame” simplifications of the field probably always do some violence to the plurality, coverage and dynamism of Game Studies, they are probably necessary illusions that we also need. Textbooks, lectures and articles are all good places to construct such, identity creating moments of Game Studies, as well as for deconstructing and questioning them. After the seminar, I think that the deconstructionist momentum is currently stronger than the constructivist one, but it just may be my impression.

In any case, I came out of the seminar invigorated and energized, believing even more that before to the need and enormous potential Game Studies has to offer, not only to academia, but also to the surrounding society. If we do not try to fit together and negotiate the multiple aspects that complicate the superficial, commonplace perceptions of what games are, or what game playing means, who is going to do that? Also, I do not think that the other academic disciplines that I know about are that much more unified, or less polyphonic than Game Studies is, actually. As years and decades go past, academics tend to question the truths of their fields from multiple angles, and come up with dozens of different, mutually competing and incompatible theories and approaches into their fields of inquiry. And that is a very good thing. Long live Game Studies, one and many!