Archive for January, 2014

DiGRA 2014

January 30, 2014

From the CFP : DiGRA 2014 is being hosted by the University of Utah’s EAE program, August 3rd-6th 2014 in Salt Lake City. Conference Website:
Full papers: Submission deadline: February 24, 2014
Abstracts: No more than 1000 words, including references, submission deadline: February 24, 2014. Full text submission deadline: May 15, 2014

I am not submitting a paper or abstract, this time around.


Event 27th February 2014

January 22, 2014

Bodies, Methods, Fields and Networks
Digital Games Research Event
Convened by Diane Car, IOE, University of London

Supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, UK.

27th February
London Knowledge Lab, 23-29 Emerald St. London WC1N 3QS
10:00 – 3:30
The event is free to attend but places are limited. RSVP to

Session 1
10:00 – 11:00
Presentation, project discussion: Ability as representation in digital games
Diane Carr, IOE, University of London

Session 2
11:00 – 12:30
Space, Method, Text and Practice
Invited speakers
Alison Gazzard, IOE, University of London
Ewan Kirkland, University of Brighton
Sybille Lammes, University of Warwick

12:30 – 1:15

Session 3
1:15 – 2:15
Fields and Networks, part 1
Reflections on disciplinary perspective and research networks in game studies
Invited speakers
Stephan Günzel, University of Applied Sciences, Berlin
Gordon Calleja, University of Malta

Session 4
2:30 – 3:30
Fields and Networks, part 2
Discussion: Is it time for a UK chapter of DiGRA?
Chaired by Ashley Brown (University of Manchester) and Esther MacCallum-Stewart (UWE and University of Surrey).

Details (titles, abstracts, etc) are being updated, see Comments

Keywords: Representation, bodies, augmentation, damage, affect, interdisciplinarity, empirical research, game philosophy, maze, path, game design, analysis, videogame space, ludic interfaces, immutable mobiles (Latour), deep play, open play, layering, inscription

Loncon 3, diversity, speculative fiction

January 10, 2014

Diversity in Speculative FictionLoncon 3, 72nd World Science Fiction Convention. Thursday 14 to Monday 18 August 2014. London, UK.

Weird Spheres, Bursting Bodies and Peculiar Tools: Disability, Masculinity and the Monstrous in the Dead Space Series.
Diane Carr, IOE, University of London

The focus of this talk is the representation of disability in Dead Space, a survival horror game. The analysis draws on disability studies literature, film theory and digital games research in order to analyze the endangered, gendered body of the protagonist Isaac Clarke. Williams’ 1991 essay on gender and ‘body genres’ is used in combination with an essay by Snyder and Mitchell (2010), in which the authors insert disability into Williams’ schema. If the fantasies at the heart of horror texts involve a form of cultural problem solving (Williams, 1991) then one of the problems being worried about and worked over in DS is that of an able yet unstable masculinity. Despite his prosthetic skin, Isaac frequently bursts, leaks, gushes, splits and goes to pieces. Meanwhile, a sinister invitation to “Make us whole” runs through the DS series. The DS games combine references to rebirth and ‘convergence events’ with images of monstrosity. The fantasy structures within DS suggest the presence of two temporal templates – that of ‘too soon’ (associated by Williams with generic horror and sexual difference) and ‘too late’ – linked by Williams with melodrama, loss and the primal scene. Bringing together the theoretical tools used by Williams, Snyder and Mitchell makes it possible to argue that DS combines various strategies in its efforts to generate unease and anxiety in the player. Psychoanalytic concerns of sexual difference and questions of origin are mixed with culturally prevalent discourses of disability, to create a frightening game-world where bodily control is under threat, and male agency is at stake.

Dead Space (2008) EA Redwood Shores, Electronic Arts.
Snyder, S. L. and Mitchell, D. T. (2010). Body Genres: An Anatomy of Disability in Film. The Problem Body: Projecting Disability on Film, 179-204.
Williams, L. (1991). Film bodies: Gender, genre, and excess. Film quarterly, 44(4), 2-13.

Acknowledgements: This research is undertaken with the support of the AHRC.

Conference websites

Games and embodiment workshop

January 8, 2014

9th July (date t.b.c) London Knowledge Lab, Institute of Education

This workshop will apply selected theories of space, time, corporeality and multimodal design to explore digital games, embodiment and environments. Speakers on the day include Andrew Burn, Diane Carr and Alison Gazzard.

Link to the workshop blog and more information

Fantasy, salience, assessment…and school?

January 7, 2014

The analysis of Dead Space and Deus Ex: Human Revolutions (DE: HR) presented at the FROG conference in September (now being published in the proceedings) is being written up as two separate full papers. The Dead Space paper discussion section turns back to the Williams’ article on body genres. The DE:HR analysis looked at the various perspectives on augmentation that Adam Jensen encounters in the game-world. One option is that the representation of professional identity will be explored as something that is volatile and unstable, that must be continually re-enacted. Adam Jensen is at work. He combats other employees. He must be protected, augmented and over-powered to get ahead, to the extent that he can punch through walls and lift photocopiers.  He constantly participates in testing and assessment. Certain conditions make a particular fantasy salient, attractive or pertinent at particular historical moments. Which begs the question: what might be fuelling the fantasies on offer in DE:HR?

Could it be about school?

This post is quite long and it moves from Deus Ex: HR and school – to comments about The Last of Us, zombies, modernism and leprosy.

Post continued under Comments.