Archive for November, 2013

FROG paper

November 5, 2013

Here is a copy of the FROG paper (Future Reality of Gaming Conference, Vienna September 27-28th). The abstract (see earlier posts) was just on Deus Ex HR, but the presentation ended up being on DE:HR and Dead Space. It is still a draft, needs to be finished for the printed proceedings.

Bodies, Augmentation and Disability in Dead Space and Deus Ex: Human Revolution

FROG 2013 final paper

Some stuff left out of the paper:

Dead Space. Richard Dyer, bell hooks and others have written about the use of marginalized, othered bodies to centre and render neutral a centre body (norm). Isaac Clarke has a white male body. The other human characters in Dead Space (non-white and/or non-male) are enigmatic (they are ambiguous in various ways – dead/alive/undead, ally/enemy) so a stable orbit that confirms Isaac as centralized norm is not established and that this might be one of the reasons that Isaac keeps flying to bits. Not sure if this fits in the paper, especially not with this many parenthesis.

Deus Ex: HR – I can pull a disability narrative out (or ‘claim it’, as per Linton) but have to admit that means stepping over, ignoring or dodging the ablist stereotypes that multiply as you get further into the game till finally Jensen faces an arch villain with a crutch and a facility full of damaged, dangerous folk running amok. By the ending even the game does not know what to do. I got a trophy for playing all of the 4 possible endings. Jenson delivers a monologue about trying to do the right thing and limit damage even though he’d spent most of the game mowing down the opposition and pretending he was Isaac Clarke (he tries to be stealthy, but he has problems with patience and timing it seems). It might have made more sense if the game determined which ending my version of Jenson deserved based on body count.

Perhaps he’d yell ‘I quit’ then pull off his augmentations one by one, throw them at his former boss and then blow everything up. Yet miraculously survive.

(note – much later – now folks tell there that there are 12 possible endings. Eventually I noticed that it is just one ‘Revolution’ – evidently in my head, ‘revolutions’ made more sense).

Notes on DS3

November 5, 2013

NOTES on Dead Space 3. October 2013

I am about 65 percent through Dead Space 3. That’s taken 30 hours. I hated the new auto-save feature for the first 6 hours. Some of the checkpoints are also a bit mean. An example is the shuttle refueling sequence. The engines start up and Isaac has to escape from the launch area. There are fires, a ladder, 3 lifts and a herd of necromorphs – including two of those ones that regenerate. If killed at any stage of this sequence, Isaac is sent back to the beginning. Once he clears the launch area he rides a lift up to a different room. Now he has to blow some explosive barrels out of the blast doors using a laser canon while necromorphs drop from the ceiling. I tried this a few times, Isaac died, but it is fun blowing things up with a laser cannon so I didn’t mind (much better than the asteroid game in the earlier DS). Then it was time to quit out of the game. So I did. When I reloaded it later, the game took me right back to the start of the rocket refueling/escape the launch sequence. That’s just cruel. This was not the first time that the auto-save had caused problems.  Dead Space 3 and I nearly parted company at this point.

Continued under the COMMENTS section of this post.

Digital Games Research Seminar

November 4, 2013

Digital Games Research Seminar 
Monday 2nd December 10 am – 2 pm

London Knowledge Lab, Institute of Education, University of London
Address: 23-29 Emerald St.WC1N 3QS,  London

Convened by Diane Carr, IOE, University of London.

Contributors include Alison Gazzard, Helen Kennedy, Tanya Krzywinska, Diane Carr, Caroline Pelletier.

The seminar is free but places are limited.
If you want to attend email Diane  (  by the 9th of November.

Session 1 Researching games and gender 
Invited speaker Helen Kennedy (Brighton). Chair Caroline Pelletier (IOE).  Session 1 features a presentation from Helen Kennedy followed by a longer group discussion.   Recent initiatives will be introduced, and debates and developments from the past decade will be reviewed. Current issues (including those covered by the mainstream media – see links) will be considered, and next steps and ways forward will be pondered. The background reading is Jenson and de Castell’s 2008 paper on gender and games research (references and links are provided in the comments section of this post).


Session 2. Digital games: representations of ability and disability. AHRC funded project update and advisory session. Diane Carr (IOE) will speak about her current research on ability and disability in digital games, with a particular focus on augmentation and monstrosity. Issues under discussion include aspects of method and research practice, the cultural politics of bodies in games, and theorising ideology in games. The background reading is Carr’s paper for the Future Reality of Games Conference from September, 2013, Vienna (see the comment section of this post for a link).

Session 3. Digital games, humanities perspectives and research practice in UK HE.  Invited speaker Tanya Krzywinska (Falmouth) Chair Alison Gazzard (IOE). This session opens with a short talk from Tanya Krzywinska on games research and the humanities. The background reading is Krzywinska’s article from Games and Gaming on disciplinarity and methodology (see the comments section of this post for a reference and link). In addition to addressing issues of methodology, this will be an opportunity to discuss issues that impact on work in game studies in Higher Education in the UK at this time, including notions of impact, relationships with industry and cultural institutions, aspects of academic practice (from teaching to research assessment), funding, policy, and colleagiality.

Background reading: See the comments section of this post for references and links.

Accessibility:  email Diane if you have access issues you want to discuss.

After 2 pm, round the corner to The Rugby  

Press stories

November 4, 2013

Educational robots, intelligent implants, brain chips: scientists and legal experts will meet this week to debate how to deal with the rapid march of artificial intelligence

N. Davis, Saturday 19 October 2013, The Observer

Commercial interests cannot be trusted to steer humanity, insists key speaker at inaugural FutureFest

V. Thorpe, Saturday 28 September 2013, The Observer

Cochlear implants work for many deaf people, but the surgery involves big changes – those who reject it should not be judged

C. Swinbourne, Friday 5 August 2011,