Events – London Game Research Group
The LGRG is an unfunded, informal collective. LGRG’s irregular meetings are publicised on the London Game Research Group’s mailing list, which is managed by Siobhan Thomas – email her at four[at]nucleus.com to join, and through the Games Network list (DiGRA). For more information about the group contact d.carr [at] ioe.ac.uk.
Games, play, embodiment and the Wii
London Knowledge Lab
Institute of Education, University of London
23-29 Emerald St. London WC1N 3QS
Thursday, 20th of May, 4 – 6 pm
Free to attend
Queries and RSVP to d.carr at ioe.ac.uk
Elena Márquez Segura and Carolina Johansson
MobileLife centre at Stockholm University and the Interactive Institute of Stockholm
Gesture, Play and Technology (talking about…)
Elena and Carolina will open the seminar with a brief report on the recent and very relevant event ‘Gesture, Play and Technology’ (17th May, 2010) being convened by the Play Research Group at UWE. See http://www.playfulsubjects.org
Andrew Burn and Jennifer Sheridan
London Knowledge Lab, IOE
Presenting work from the ongoing AHRC Beyond Text funded “Playground Games and Songs in the New Media Age”
First we’ll draw analogies between traditional games and computer games. We will suggest that the formulaic ‘memes’ of the former (in movement, music and language) are developed through processes of collective improvisation and oral transmission. Those of the latter, on the other hand, are authored and programmed in ways which are responsive to the interests of popular cultural tropes and embodied play. The analogies suggest that the two domains of play are not as far apart as is popularly imagined; and that engineering a meeting between them can be productive – both for research, and as a cultural intervention. Jenn will then introduce that element of the project where playground games and gesture meet the Wii interface. One of the project goals is to represent a small selection of clapping games (some found in the Opie Collection of Children’s Games and Songs, and some of which are being collected through our ongoing ethnographic studies of playground games and songs in two schools). Jenn will describe the use of the Nintendo Wii as a “wearable” exertion interface in order to represent clapping games, and refer to her recent experiments with low-fi and open-source vision-based tracking systems. This will involve looking at the physics of clapping and associated technical issues. Jenn and Andrew will conclude with a discussion of how the various elements of the project combine.
Gesture and Digital Play: Contradictions in Design and Performance
This paper explores cultural expectations and contradictions in the design of gestural games using next-gen motion controllers like the Nintendo Wiimote, the Sony Move and Microsoft’s Natal, amongst others. Drawing on microethnographic case studies of gameplay with the Nintendo Wii and a research/creation project in gestural gaming I will explore the tensions in design and experience between expectations of increasing control and interactivity with the socio-material limits of the gestural body as an object of motion capture. Unlike traditional controllers that work through a micro-disciplining of the body and hands, next-gen motion controllers suggest (and even promise) to free the body from this traditional constraint whilst allowing for even greater interactivity and control. The consequence of this has been frustration where expectations for control exceed experience, and new and arguably non-interactive (in the digital sense) forms of play that I wish to refer to as gestural excess or improvisation.
Bart Simon is a specialist in the areas of the sociology of knowledge, technoculture, surveillance, and game studies. He is director of the Montreal GameCODE project, and sits on the editorial boards of Games and Culture and Game Studies. He has been the principle investigator for SSHRC and FQRSC funded projects on “the social worlds of digital games” and has recent articles on case modding and LAN parties, the biographies of players in MMOGs, and interacting with AI in games.
Jennifer G. Sheridan is a Software Developer/Research Officer in the London Knowledge Lab who is developing software and hardware for next generation interactive learning and play. Currently, she is developing applications and devices for the “Children’s Playground Games and Songs in the New Media Age” project (PI Andrew Burn – funded by the AHRC Beyond Text program). Jennifer holds a PhD in Computer Science from Lancaster University (Digital Live Art: Mediating Wittingness in Playful Arenas), and MS in Human-Computer Interaction from the Georgia Institute of Technology where her collaborative research won a Gold Award of Excellence. Jenn’s website: http://www.jennifersheridan.com
Andrew Burn is Professor of Media Education at the Institute of Education. He teaches on the MA in Media, Culture & Communication, supervises research students, and works on funded research projects in the field of media and young people. He is Assistant Director of the Centre for the Study of Children, Youth and Media. He has published work on many aspects of the media, including media literacy in schools, the semiotics of the moving image and computer games, and young people’s production of digital animation, film and computer games.
Event: April 2009
Joint event with the London chapter of the IGDA. Post-GDC feedback session, with informal presentations from Rudolf Kremers, co-creator of Dyson (an IGF finalist) and Simon Green of nVidia
6:30 to 8:30 pm
Monday April 6th at the London Knowledge Lab.
Computer Games, Access, Disability
More information about this event, including speaker information, links and abstracts, is here.
Time and place: Monday 27th October at the London Knowledge Lab, from 4 till 6 pm. Questions? email the convener: Diane (d.carr at ioe.ac.uk). Focus: Access and design issues in relation to games, gaming and online cultures. Presentations will be informal, and time allocated for discussion.
Martin Wright (GameLab London at London Metropolitan University)
Nick Weldin (www.rixcentre.org), and Tinker it! (www.tinker.it)
Siobhan Thomas, Inclusive New Media Project at University of East London
David Squire (DESQ Ltd)
Diane Carr, link to project stuff (IOE, University of London)
This event is part of the London Games Fringe, a festival of alternative gaming events at the end of October 2008, organised by artists, academics, gamers, game developers, educators and creative professionals from a wide range of different media.
Summary of activities 2005-2007
The following abstracts were authored by the presenters.
Wednesday December 12th from 4 till 6 pm
at the London Knowledge Lab in the big seminar room.
RSVP to d.carr at ioe.ac.uk
BA Game Studies – without the Design
Vanda Corrigan and Andrew Cutting, London Metropolitan University
This is our story of setting up a new undergraduate programme in Game *Studies* within a Humanities department: trials, tribulations and joys. We will outline issues in validation, curriculum design, and interdisciplinarity. Having completed our first term, we will reflect on and give examples of the course in action, from both the teacher’s and the student’s perspective. We will also discuss recruitment, the legitimacy and profile of Game Studies as a meaningful subject, managing student expectations, and the distinctively critical function of this degree. We suggest that this kind of undergraduate programme is a step towards games being taken more seriously as a new cultural medium. As Matteo Bittanti argues, “if games need to ‘evolve’…so does our criticism.”
Game Studies and ‘sub-Marxist gobbledegook’: Criticism in Higher Education digital games teaching
Daniel Ashton, Lancaster University
‘Sub-Marxist gobbledgook’ is how philosopher Roger Scruton has described Media Studies course content. This presentation will consider the similar esteem with which Game Studies and Media Studies approaches to games are sometimes held by those working in the industry and/or those whose primary concern is on preparing students as an ‘industry ready’ supply of talent. Drawing on research conducted with UK Higher Education games course leaders and students and industry representatives and developers, the presentation will consider the opportunities and challenges of a ‘critical media studies’ approach to teaching games and tensions between different, emerging understandings of criticism.
For more on games degrees in H.E., see information here about the IGDA Education SIG Summit at GDC – February 18 – 19, 2008
We’re still pondering this. Meanwhile, come to the Game Studies/Film Theory event, November 9th at the IoE. details elsewhere on this blog…
The London Knowledge Lab and Andrew Burn in conjunction with the London Games Research Group and the London Game Festival invite you to an evening of presentations by artists, writers and researchers to launch “Videogames and Art” edited by Andy Clarke and Grethe Mitchell, published by Intellect Books, Bristol. Date: 24th October 2007, Time: 6.00pm for 6.30 to 8.30pm at The London Knowledge Lab
Also in October. 11/10/2007, Lunchtime meeting, Small seminar room, Klab.
Tone Vold, visiting from Norway, will be discussing her research at the Knowledge Lab.
Role play for increasing basic skills in organizations is an initiative by Vox, the Institute of Adult Education in Norway. Vox has developed a way of conducting a role play, called InterAct that they want to test out for the purpose of increasing basic skills in organizations. They are interested in user participation and it is of great interest to see how this can be supported and implemented in different organizations. It is also interesting to investigate user participation in the development phase. The InterAct framework does not include all aspects of game design principles regarding creating an engaging and good game play and this will be developed further during the research period, still maintaining the objective; to increase basic skills in organizations. InterAct requires a web based platform for communication. This makes it possible to monitor the interaction between the roles and save as data. I would like to give an introduction of the InterAct framework and the project that has taken place and also introduce some design principles that I would like to bring up for discussion. Amongst these are: use of conflicts, number of roles, synchronous vs asynchronous, etc.
September 2007 meeting
Wednesday the 12th
Please RSVP to me, tah. 4 pm at the Knowledge Lab
(contacts and address at http://www.lkl.ac.uk)
Marion Walton will lead a discussion about recent work, based on: The E-Peen: Performing gender in PvP
Marion will present her ethnographic research to explore how an adapted version of hegemonic masculinity plays a crucial motivating role in certain communities of practice that have formed around PvP gaming in World of Warcraft. How do games researchers account for the different motivations provided by players’ performance of gender identity through gaming? How central are such identity projects in different gaming contexts – do they transfer, for example to “educational” or “serious” games? Does this dynamic exclude women from full membership of such communities, no matter how much they wish to participate as “one of the boys”? Does it perhaps explain why some women have little interest in participating in such communities?
Bio notes: Marion Walton co-ordinates a production programme in interactive media in the Centre for Film and Media Studies at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and is completing a PhD in computer science. She has ten years of experience as a web and multimedia developer. Her research focuses on literacy and access to technology in South Africa, and on developing semiotic models that can explain user experiences of computer games and the Web. Recent projects include the design and development of “Handover Street”, a computer game set in Cape Town, and a South African 3D content library.
July/August 2007 – We are taking a bit of a break over the summer. Meetings will start again in September.
Ethics and Internet Research
Time and place: 12.30 pm UK time, Monday June 18th in Second Life
(please note the change in start time)
RSVP to Diane or Siobhan as usual.
Thank you all for your recent suggestions for a June meeting, most of which involved trying to meet in Second Life for some kind of tour. For our June meeting, Aleks Krotoski will lead a discussion on the theme of ‘Ethics in Online/Social World research’. We are meeting at Aleks’ place in Second Life (Social Simulation Research Lab). Please dust off your SL avatar, and put that date in your diary. You can get there directly (if you’ve got an SL account) here: http://tinyurl.com/y3wlat
If you get lost (it happens…) Use the Search box to find Social Simulation Research Lab and hit the teleport button. It’s at Hyperborea 193 107 22. We thought that this paper might be a good place to begin the discussion: http://aoir.org/reports/ethics.pdf, Ethical decision-making and Internet research
Recommendations from the aoir ethics working committee Copyright (c) 2002 by Charles Ess and the Association of Internet Researchers . Our apologies to our colleagues who cannot access Second Life. We plan to arrange some kind of vicarious tour in the seminar room at the Knowledge Lab ASAP for those who are interested.
Gaming and Virtual Worlds Public Policy Workshop, Ren Reynolds
Thursday, 24th of May, 16:30 at the London Knowledge Lab
For the address – follow the blogroll to the k.lab website
Please RSVP to Diane (d.carr[at]ioe.ac.uk) or Siobhan (four[at]nucleus.com)
Ren Reynolds will lead a discussion about the public policy issues bought about by computer games and virtual worlds. The discussion will focus on identifying which policy debates would most benefit from interventions informed by a rigorous, research based approach. Background – As computer games and virtual worlds gain mainstream attention they also attract the attention of policy makers and popular media. While insiders known for many years that computer games have posed serious policy challenges they are often seen as a new and frightening phenomena by media and politicians alike. The danger that faces society is that policies are formed based on a lack of understanding and popularized framing of computer games as simply ‘addictive’, ‘dangerous’ or the one secret to the future of education. Such characterizations do not lead to sound policy formation. To stimulate an informed debate Ren Reynolds is promoting the formation of a think tank that will use the best of academic research to support a balanced public discussion about the uses, dangers and benefits of computer games and virtual worlds. Based in the UK such as organization would think globally but frame issues locally employing European sensibilities. The initial challenge that such an organization faces is where to focus. What issues are key for the UK right now?
April 30th, 3 pm at London Knowledge Lab (see blogroll for address)
Jeremy Hall from http://www.simulations.co.uk
Corporate Cartooning: The Art of Computerized Business Simulation Design
Abstract: Business simulation design is a combination of art and science. And, although the science aspects are arguably domain specific this paper suggests that the art aspects are not. It argues that computerized business simulations are another sequential art form and that a parallel can be drawn between the business simulation and the strip cartoon or comic. Using this parallel, the art of the strip cartoon can be used to explore the art of computerized simulation design. And the tacit and instinctive aspects of simulation design can be made explicit using the sequential art knowledge base.
Monday 26th March from 4pm
At the London Knowledge Lab
Exploring some Psychoanalytic Approaches to Horror Videogames
Ewan Kirkland (from BCUC) will be discussing the pleasures and un-pleasures of horror videogame play in relation to Freudian psychoanalysis, including the construction of gamespace as maternal womb, associations between cut-scenes and primal fantasies, and the relationships between videogame play and the neurotic’s compulsion to repeat.
December 5 2006
Alter Ego: Computer Reflections of Human Emotions
Alexa Wright (digital artist), Alf Linney (medical physicist, UCL), Eugenie Shinkle (Senior Lecturer, university of Westminster)
ABSTRACT In this paper we briefly review and discuss the ideas of self, emotion, and facial expression, and describe how Wright and Linney’s interactive digital art work ‘Alter Ego’ was created to publicly explore these concepts. This work makes use of a variety of strands of modern technology: facial feature tracking, automatic facial measurements from live video, facial expression detection, and realistic avatar and expression modeling in 3D. In essence, the image of an autonomous alter ego of the user is created as a mirror reflection in real time. We further consider the place of Alter Ego in relation to contemporary human subjectivity, digital game theory, and its possible applications in research into the human psyche.
November 22 2006
London South Bank University
We’re going to a seminar rather than having a meeting this month.
War, Memory and Video Games
Esther MacCallum-Stewart (University of Sussex) and Justin Parsler (Brunel University)
Convened and chaired by Colin Harvey, London South Bank University
September 26, 2006
Kevin Russell at the Chelsea and Westminster NHS Trust Simulation Centre. Chelsea and Westminter NHS Hoptial Trust,
ABSTRACT The Chelsea & Westminster NHS Trust Simulation Centre is one of the World’s pioneering high fidelity medical simulation and training centres supplying state-of-the-art education and training simulation to future health professionals. It has developed and delivered courses for over 6000 Doctors, Nurses, Operating Department Practitioners (ODP), Medical students, General Practioners, Anaesthetists, A&E specialist since 1999.
As part of the Multidisciplinary Good Clinical Practice Centre (MPGCPC), the courses primarily focus on Medical Crisis Management, as well as Acute Medical Emergencies, and safe Sedation techniques. Beside Adult patient courses, the Paediatric Emergency courses, developed in partnership through our collaboration with the Great Ormond Street Hospital cover a wide range of Emergency situations, Acute Management, stabilisation of critically ill children and safe transfer to Paediatric Intensive Care Units.
June 6 2006
Julie Tolmie is speaking about ‘Mapping Gameplay Patterns’
ABSTRACT: Gameplay patterns such as Freedom of Choice, Strategic Locations, Smooth Learning Curves, Resource Management, Attention Swapping, Gain Ownership, First Person Views, and Varied Gameplay are generic abstractions of actual instances of gameplay and game design. More than 300 patterns have been authored as semi-formal hierarchies having an intentional or an emergent presence. The system as a whole is non-trivial to visualise and navigate; the individual pattern definitions and dependency are time-consuming to learn as a language. The patterns do however provide an extensive conceptual framework within which research questions in Game Studies can be posed. The extended notion of location in computer games is one such question. As background to this wider research, Julie Tolmie undertook a systematic visualisation of selected collections of gameplay patterns. For this talk, she has chosen a sequence of 10 composite maps which traverse the system of patterns from the most concrete to the most abstract. The maps will be shown in miniature as animation, as scrolling images and in large scale printed form, giving participants the opportunity to view a wide spectrum of the links and to debate the mapping of the maps themselves onto familiar concepts or viewpoints in Game Studies. Julie will also discuss the creation of game pattern maps as a puzzle-solving (learning) process, and the visual methodology employed.
May 10 2006
Jeremy Hall (www.simulations.co.uk) is leading a discussion and demonstration on the topic of
Games and training for business.
“Computer Games – but not as you know them: The Management Game“.
ABSTRACT The computer Management Game is about fifty years old and, over that period, Management Games, have been used extensively in both business education and training.
Led by Jeremy Hall, the meeting will experience a Management Game and explore
– What Management Games are
– How and why they are used in business training
Jeremy developed over sixty Management Games plus he has run these hundreds of times with literally thousands of business people around the world. This probably makes him the world¹s most prolific and experienced Management Game (Business Simulation) designer and user. People attending the meeting will be able to share in and challenge Jeremy¹s experience and knowledge of Management Games. And, perhaps, see how they map to other forms of computer games ¬ both serious and frivolous!
March 8 2006
London Knowledge Lab
Natasha Whiteman (IOE) will be speaking about her research in online communities and fan cultures.
ABSTRACT This talk will examine reactions to the forthcoming Silent Hill film on the forums of the videogame fan site Silent Hill Heaven. The anxieties, controversies, and excitement generated by this move from game to film, and the evaluation of the correspondence between the videogame canon and the film version, will be discussed in relation to the negotiation of legitimacy and authority within the site. Reflecting the comparative nature of my PhD research, discussion of the Silent Hill film will be contrasted with fans’ responses to similar textual shifts on the forums of City of Angel, a fan site devoted to the now cancelled television series Angel.
February 15 2006
At the London Knowledge Lab
Colin Harvey, author of the book Grand Theft Auto: Motion-Emotion, will be discussing his research in “memory and affect”, arguing that all games are, in fact, memory games.
ABSTRACT Memory plays a crucial role in enabling the communication of meanings within video games. Textual analysis alone cannot hope to tell us all we need to know about the operation of memory in relation to video games. Instead we need to explore the body of relations, of which the physical body is a crucial aspect, and we need to begin understanding the role of affect in terms of memory and meanings. In this month’s London Game Researchers meeting Colin Harvey explores these themes by reflecting on his practical experience designing the storyline and dialogue for interactive characters for a forthcoming commercially available video game.
December 2 2005
London Knowledge Lab
‘Pervasive game device’ and
“Who wants to play Killer?”
John Salisbury (Middlesex University) will introduce the live action assassination game, Killer. There will be an opportunity to discuss the design of the rules (should players shoot each other using bananas, or mobile phone cameras – or ‘get them’ by giving them flowers?). Expect to face questions about ethics, personal space, safety, projectiles, public spaces, cheating, team-play and conspiracy.
Niall Winters (London Knowledge Lab) will be showing us the iband (a wearable device for information exchange). We will have an opportunity to discuss what such devices might (or might not) contribute to pervasive gaming.
PS – we had an interesting discussion about running the game but we never got around to playing Killer…
November 10 2005
London Knowledge Lab
Ren Reynolds will be leading an informal discussion on the topic of Games, Cheating and the ‘Magic Circle’
ABSTRACT: A topic that is coming under more scrutiny from scholars is that of cheating in games. Current work includes players’ ideas of cheating, theoretical analysis of cheating and my own work on the possible ethics of cheating. In this discussion we will look at some theoretical models of what cheating is particularly in reference to the magic circle, the group will then reflect on personal experience and social practice, particularly in multi-player spaces, to examine whether cheating can be sensible defined and whether this serves to further construct or de-construct theories of play.
October 11 2005
London Knowledge Lab
Siobhan Thomas will be leading an informal discussion on the topic of games, pervasive learning models and ‘the living, breathing gamescape’
ABSTRACT: A key way that pervasive learning games differ from traditional video games is that learning is embedded in real world situations, in locations the learner chooses. Video game designers construct digital microworlds for players to explore. They build rooms in castles and terrors in dungeons. Players explore ready-made spaces. Even simulation type games like Civilization involve the manipulation of set variables within the game environment. If videogame designers create microworlds, pervasive learning designers are required to construct macroworlds. Macrodesign involves working with monolithic, living and breathing gamescapes.
September 2 2005
London Knowledge Lab
ABSTRACT: Martin Oliver will be discussing the thinking behind, and the possible applications of ‘The things we learned on Liberty Island: designing games to help people become competent game players’ – a paper that he co-wrote with Caroline Pelletier. Deus Ex, the game featured in the paper, will be playable on the big screen*. Martin and Caroline’s paper (which was nominated as ‘best paper’ at the recent DiGRA 2005 conference!)
July 1 2005
Institute Of Education.
Researching and understanding gameplay experiences
ABSTRACT: What does it mean to say that you understand ‘a game’? Do you have to ‘be there’ to understand a game-play experience? How can we understand someone else’s experience of a game? Can you suggest (or have you already tried) creative methods to learn what gamers value about their gaming experiences? What vocabularies could we be using to describe game-play? What are the various methods of recording game-play, and what can they tell us? If you’re not intrigued by the academic research aspect, and have done some development, perhaps think about methods of play-testing and what you look for when play-testing, and how you act on what you find. Alternatively, talk about your own gaming experiences and whether that suggests possible ways to approach the problem. I will talk a bit about the challenges of ethnographic research in World of Warcraft.
June 10th 2005
London Knowledge Lab
The group agreed to keep meetings informal. It is agreed that each month a volunteer will present a ‘game research dilemma’ or a work-in-progress to the participants.