ICA pre-games event

I’ve had an abstract accepted for…

The Power of Play: Motivational Uses and Applications of Digital Games. Pre-Conference to the 63rd International Communication Association (ICA) Annual Conference, London, UK. 17 June 2013, Hilton London Metropole Hotel, London, UK, Jointly organized by: ICA Game Studies Special Interest Group and the ECREA Digital Games Research Temporary Working Group

See the comments section of this post to view the abstract.


2 Responses to “ICA pre-games event”

  1. playhouse Says:



    The Power of Play: Motivational Uses and Applications of Digital Games

    Pre-Conference to the 63rd International Communication Association (ICA) Annual Conference, London, UK

    17 June 2013

    Venue: Hilton London Metropole Hotel, London, UK

    Jointly organized by:

    ICA Game Studies Special Interest Group
    ECREA Digital Games Research Temporary Working Group
    Ever since their public appearance some four decades ago, digital games have been considered to be a unique medium that provides a specific type of experience which evokes high levels of motivation: Motivation to play repeatedly to gratify a need, and motivation to change attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. On the one side, this motivational aspect of digital games has led to claims of them being addictive, and evoking anti-social tendencies due to their contents. On the other side, digital games are seen as tools that could radically improve learning and training outcomes, modify perceptions and behaviors, and consequently could be used in various types of interventions. For the player, the motivation to play a digital game, and the motivation to let its contents and features change their real life beliefs, perceptions, and even behavior do not have to be mutually exclusive. Hence, the ways in which digital gaming experience could be shaped to evoke motivation to play, and their various applications for entertainment and other purposes need to be better understood.

    The goal of the pre-conference, “The Power of Play,” is to shed light on the motivational aspects of digital games and gameplay, how they relate to the ways in which games are used for entertainment and other purposes, the domains in which they are applied, the challenges in their design and application, and the ways in which they are studied. In order to tackle these questions, the pre-conference welcomes extended abstracts and/or workshop submissions with different theoretical backgrounds, methods and perspectives. Possible pre-conference topics include but are not restricted to:

    Digital games as a motivational medium
    Digital game theories to explain motivation
    Game content and design considerations to evoke motivation
    Gaming experience, solo and social play for motivation
    Motivation to play vs. motivation to change beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors
    Innovative methods for studying motivational uses and applications of games
    Effects of motivational uses of digital games
    The mechanism of digital game motivation
    The process and challenges of
    Using digital games for commercial profit
    Using digital games to facilitate learning, to raise awareness, or to change behavior
    Further information on the pre-conference can be found at: http://icagames.org, and on the ICA main conference at http://www.icahdq.org.

  2. playhouse Says:

    Here is a copy of the abstract

    Representations of Ability and Disability in Dead Space and Deus Ex: Human Revolutions

    Horror and science fiction have long explored issues of difference, identity and technology. Many digital games incorporate these themes, alongside depictions of physical damage, bodily alteration and augmentation (technological, viral, medical or magical). At the same time, such games frequently require that players invest in the acquisition, performance and measurement of ability. Games make these preoccupations visible, while the bodies represented within games raise questions about the conceptual relationships between ability and disability.

    These issues will be explored through the textual analysis (see Carr, 2009) of two games: Dead Space, in which engineer Isaac Clarke battles monstrously mutated undead, and Deus Ex: Human Revolutions, which includes an extensively augmented protagonist and themes of consent, corporate corruption and transhumanism. Both games feature representations of able and disabled bodies. Within gaming culture in general, status is frequently associated with perceived ability, while gaming hardware assumes particular kinds of bodies and capacities – as does much of the game studies research into topics such as immersion, interfaces and embodiment. The existing literature on disability and digital games is of limited relevance to this presentation, because it has generally involved the production of therapeutic games, or the creation of tools to facilitate access, while the focus of this study is the cultural politics of the bodies on screen (e.g. Dyer, 1993). This research does not rely on medical or educational models of disability. Disability theorists view the medical model of disability ‘as a major stumbling block to the reinterpretation of disability as a political category and to the social changes that could follow such a shift’ (Linton 1998, p 11). Cultural theories of disability make it possible to engage critically with the discourses and social practices that construct some bodies as able or ‘normal’ while excluding and penalizing bodies that deviate from this standard (Davis, 2006). While it is informed by disability theory, this research is based within the field of game studies. Game studies literature on genre, narrative and methodology has shaped the analysis (e.g. Carr, Buckingham, Burn and Schott, 2006; Dovey and Kennedy, 2006; Krzywinska, 2002; Perron, 2009;).

    Technology changes the ways in which disability is experienced and, at the same time, technology impacts on popular understandings of what constitutes disability. As Verlager (2006) has pointed out, generic science fiction has explored relations between identity, bodies and technology without necessarily positioning the augmented subject as deficit relative to a desirable norm. This is relevant, because bodily alteration is often accorded positive status in games: character development through augmentation is a core mechanic in many games, and augmented bodies are unlikely to be contrasted against ‘normal’ bodies in a predictable fashion. Similar ambiguities can be identified in Dead Space, and Deus Ex: Human Revolutions. An analysis of each game will be presented, and the issues and implications raised in each instance will be discussed.

    This research is undertaken with the support of the AHRC. The project is titled Digital Games: Representations of Disability (project dates, March 2013 – February 2014). More information is online at https://playhouse.wordpress.com/category/project-digital-games-representations-of-ability-and-disability/

    Bierre, K., Chetwynd, J., Ellis, B., Hinn, M., Ludi., S. and T. Westin (2005) ‘Game not over: Accessibility issues in video games’ in Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Universal Access in Human Computer Interaction July 2005 Las Vegas, USA

    Carr, D., Buckingham, D., Burn, A., Schott G. (2006) Computer Games: Text, Narrative and Play, Cambridge: Polity Press

    Carr, D (2009) ‘Textual Analysis, Digital Games, Zombies’. Presented at DiGRA International Conference, London, September 2009. Online at http://www.digra.org/dl/db/09287.24171.pdf

    Carr, D (2010) ‘Constructing Disability in Online Worlds; Conceptualising Disability in Online Research’. London Review of Education March 2010

    Davis, L. J. (1995) Enforcing Normalcy: Disability, Deafness and the Body. London: Verso

    Davis, L.J (2006) ‘Constructing Normalcy: The Bell Curve, the Novel, and the Invention of the Disabled Body in the Nineteenth Century’, in The Disability Studies Reader. L.J.Davis (ed). New York. Routledge pp 3-16

    Dovey, J. and Kennedy, H.W. (2006) Game Cultures: Computer Games as New Media. Maidenhead: Open University Press

    Dyer, R. (1993) The Matter of Images; Essays on representations. London. Routledge

    Goggin, G and Newell, C. (2006) ‘Editorial Comment: Disability, identity and interdependence: ICTs and new social forms’. Information, Communication and Society Vol 9 No 3 June 2006 pp 309-311

    Krzywinska, T. (2002). ‘Hands-On Horror’. In T. Krzywinska & G. King (Eds.), ScreenPlay: Cinema/Videogame Interfaces. London: Wallflower

    Linton, S. (1998) Claiming Disability. New York. New York University Press

    Perron, B (2009) ‘The Survival Horror: The Extended Body Genre’ in Horror Video Games, B.Perron (ed.) Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland and Company, Inc. pp 121-143

    Siebers, T. (2009) Disability Theory. Ann Arbor. The University of Michigan Press

    Verlager, A.(2006) Decloaking Disability: Images of Disability and Technology in Science Fiction Media. MA Thesis, MIT. Boston: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2006

    Yuan, B., Folmer, E., and Harris, F.C. (2011) ‘Game Accessibility: a Survey’ Universal Access in the Information Society, Volume 10, Number 1, pages 81-100, March 2011

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