CMS News Archives
The rise of e-sports signals a development in computer gaming well worth paying attention to. Not only are we witnessing the emergence and refinement of elite play in formalized competitive environments, but the growth of an industry around it -- complete with team owners, league organizers, broadcasters, and corporate sponsors. Based on extensive qualitative research, this talk will explore the nature of professional computer game play as embodied, technical, and social practice. It will then situate these player performances within a broader context of various institutional actors that are also shaping how high-end competition is developing. In particular, it will look at issues around the ownership of e-sports playing fields, and the status of player action within them.
T.L. Taylor is Associate Professor in the Center for Computer Games Research at the IT University of Copenhagen. She has been working in the field of internet and multi-user studies for over fifteen years and has published on topics such as play and experience in online worlds, values in design, intellectual property, co-creative practices, game software modification, avatars and online embodiment, gender and gaming, pervasive gaming, and e-sports. As a qualitative sociologist, her research looks at the socio-cultural aspects of network life and play. Her book Play Between Worlds: Exploring Online Game Culture (MIT Press, 2006) presented an ethnographic study of a popular massively multiplayer online game and her new book, Raising the Stakes: E-sports and the Professionalization of Computer Gaming (MIT Press, forthcoming March 2012) will be the first published scholarly monograph looking extensively at the rising phenomenon of high-end competitive computer game play. She is also a co-author (along with Tom Boellstorff, Bonnie Nardi, and Celia Pearce) on the soon to be published Ethnography and Virtual Worlds: A Handbook of Method (Princeton University Press, forthcoming summer 2012). Her website (including copies of many of her articles) can be found at tltaylor.com.
Continue reading "Podcast, T.L. Taylor: "Professional Play and the E-sports Industry"" »
Games are increasingly seen as a way to address human needs, from the intimate work of maintaining social relationships to the pragmatic benefits of games for learning, health, and social change. If we hope to design games that address these needs, we must understand how people create meaning with, through, and around games. How do specific game design decisions impact the way players think, feel, and behave? What kinds of imaginative and social affordances can games provide players? And what kinds of problems are most appropriate to solve with games in the first place? This talk explores the complex interaction between game design, user experience, and real-world problems through the lens of game-based research projects on discrimination, smoking, and history.
Jessica Hammer is a Mellon Interdisciplinary Graduate Research Fellow at Columbia University, a founding member of the Teachers College EGGPLANT game research laboratory and a member of the Creativity Research Group. She is the lead designer and researcher for the Advance game project, on which she is writing her dissertation. Her larger research interests include stories, games, communities, gender, creativity and learning. She also developed the game design course sequence for the Communications, Computing and Technology program at Teachers College Columbia University. Before joining the department, Jessica worked as a writer, consultant and game designer with an emphasis on serious games and social software. She has taught at NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program, consulted for both academic and business clients, and worked at noted New York game company Gamelab. She received a masters degree in interactive telecommunications from NYU and her BA in computer science from Harvard University. In her free time, she runs an experimental storytelling group in New York City.
Continue reading "Podcast, Jessica Hammer: "What Games Mean (And How They Mean It)"" »
In the last few years a new trend of designing video games intended to fulfill a serious purpose through impacting the players in real life contexts has emerged. These games claim to raise awareness about social and political issues such as inequity, injustice, poverty, racism, sexism, exploitation, and oppression. Their intent is to reach a specific purpose beyond pure entertainment. But what are the specific attributes of purposeful games and how can they be researched? Which game design challenges arise and how are they addressed? How do players make meaning of their game play experiences in general? And what is the future of purposeful games research?
In this talk three perspectives of Mitgutsch's recent research on purposeful games are outlined: To begin, insights from a recent study on meaningful experiences in players' lives are examined and the research method of playographies is discussed. In the second part, a research-based game design project on subversive game design and recursive learning is presented and the background of the game Afterland is highlighted. Finally, the narrative of serious games and the design of purposeful games are discussed. On this basis, recent research results will be explored and future challenges for game design and purposeful games research will be outlined.
Dr. Konstantin Mitgutsch is a post-doctoral researcher at the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab and a Visiting Professor at the University of Vienna. In 2010 he was a Max Kade Fellow at the Education Arcade at the Program of Comparative Media Studies at MIT. He worked at the University of Vienna for several years and published books in the field of game studies and education. Since 2007 he organizes and chairs the annual Vienna Games Conference FROG and is on the expert council of the Pan European Game Information (PEGI).
Continue reading "Podcast, Konstantin Mitgutsch: "Purposeful Games: Research & Design"" »
In her transmedia project, Designing Culture, Anne Balsamo investigates the way in which culture influences the process of technological innovation. Drawing on her experiences working as part of collaborative research-design teams that combine art/science/design/engineering, she will describe her new research on public interactives and the infrastructures of public intimacy.
Anne Balsamo's work focuses on the relationship between the culture and technology. This focus informs her practice as a scholar, researcher, new media designer and entrepreneur. She is currently a Professor of Interactive Media in the School of Cinematic Arts, and of Communication in the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism. From 2004-2007, she served as the Director of the Institute for Multimedia Literacy.
Continue reading "Podcast, Anne Balsamo: "Designing Culture: The Technological Imagination at Work"" »
From The Education Arcade and the MIT News Office...
For Immediate Release: 1/17/12
contact: Eric Klopfer
email: firstname.lastname@example.org phone: 617-253-2025
contact: Caroline McCall, MIT News Office
email: email@example.com phone: 617-253-1682
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - With a new $3 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the MIT Education Arcade is about to design, build, and research a massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) to help high school students learn math and biology.
In contrast to the way that Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) are currently taught in secondary schools - which often results in students becoming disengaged and disinterested in the subjects at an early age - educational games like the one to be developed give students the chance to explore STEM topics in a way that deepens their knowledge while also developing 21st-century skills.
As director of the Education Arcade and the Scheller Teacher Education Program, Professor Eric Klopfer has been conducting research into such educational gaming tools for over ten years. He is the creator of StarLogo TNG, a platform for helping kids create 3D simulations and games using a graphical programming language, as well as several mobile game platforms including location-based Augmented Reality games and ubiquitous casual games.
According to Klopfer, the game to be developed under this grant will be designed as a Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG), a genre of online games in which many players' avatars can interact and cooperate or compete directly in the same virtual world. "This genre of games is uniquely suited to teaching the nature of science inquiry," he says, "because they provide collaborative, self-directed learning situations. Players take on the roles of scientists, engineers and mathematicians to explore and explain a robust virtual world."
The game will be designed to align with the Common Core standards in mathematics and Next Generation Science Standards for high school students and will use innovative task-based assessment strategies embedded into the game, which provide unique opportunities for players to display mastery of the relevant topics and skills. This task-based assessment strategy will also provide teachers with targeted data that allows them to track the students' progress and provide valuable just-in-time feedback.
Klopfer's team will be working closely with Filament Games, a Wisconsin-based games production studio as the project's primary software developers. A small number of Boston-area teachers and students will take part in a pilot phase of the project in the spring of 2012 using a prototype of the game. By the end of the three-year project, the game is expected to have 10,000 users nationwide.
"The Snowfield", a game developed at our Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab last summer to explore making narrative games without complex artificial intelligence, has been announced as one of eight winners of the student showcase at the Independent Games Festival.
In total, this year's Student Competition took in nearly 300 game entries across all platforms -- PC, console and mobile -- from a wide diversity of the world's most prestigious universities and games programs making the Student IGF one of the world's largest showcases of student talent.>
All of the Student Showcase winners announced today will be playable on the Expo show floor at the 26th Game Developers Conference, to be held in San Francisco starting March 5th, 2012. Each team will receive a $500 prize for being selected into the Showcase, and are finalists for an additional $3,000 prize for Best Student Game, to be revealed during the Independent Games Festival Awards on March 7th.
The full list of Student Showcase winners for the 2012 Independent Games Festival, along with 'honorable mentions' to those top-quality games that didn't quite make it to finalist status, are as follows:
- The Bridge (Case Western Reserve University)
- Dust (Art Institute of Phoenix)
- The Floor Is Jelly (Kansas City Art Institute)
- Nous (DigiPen Institute of Technology)
- One and One Story (Liceo Scientifico G.B. Morgagni)
- Pixi (DigiPen Institute of Technology - Singapore)
- The Snowfield (Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab)
- Way (Carnegie Mellon University, Entertainment Technology Center)
"2012 Independent Games Festival Announces Student Showcase Winners"
Back in November, Associate Professor of Civic Media Sasha Costanza-Chock spoke with NPR's Brook Gladstone about what comes next for the Occupy movement (image and link courtesy of shass.mit.edu and NPR's On the Media):
Continue reading "Audio: "Occupy Wall Street after Zuccotti Park," an Interview with Sasha Costanza-Chock" »
In the Cold War years, there was a tremendous surge in right-wing broadcasting in America. Hendershot explains how radio and TV extremists feigned a "balanced" presentation of their ideas in the 1950s; in the 60s, those same broadcasters switched to an overtly right-wing line. Ultraconservative broadcasting was eventually shut down by the IRS, citizen activists, and the FCC. The Fairness Doctrine was the most powerful tool used against the extremists, and, thus, right-wing broadcasting was reborn when Reagan suspended the doctrine in 1987, enabling the rise of Rush Limbaugh, and Fox News shortly thereafter. Hendershot's work thus provides useful context for understanding not only the history of the conservative movement but also the contemporary landscape.
Heather Hendershot's research centers on regulation, censorship, FCC policy, and conservative media and political movements. She is the editor of Nickelodeon Nation: The History, Politics and Economics of America's Only TV Channel for Kids and the author of Saturday Morning Censors: Television Regulation before the V-Chip, Shaking the World for Jesus: Media and Conservative Evangelical Culture, and What's Fair on the Air? Cold War Right-Wing Broadcasting and the Public Interest. She is also editor of Cinema Journal, the official publication of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies.
Continue reading "Podcast, Heather Hendershot: "Before Fox News: Right-Wing Broadcasting, Cold War America, and the Conservative Movement"" »
"To have great poets, there must be great audiences too." (Walt Whitman)
This paper outlines recent developments in the field of cultural and media studies, including an account of changes in the economy, culture and technology, and consequent initiatives in educational provision for the creative industries. It goes on to outline the case for a new approach to the media and culture, based on evolutionary and complexity studies, in which the comparative media environment is recast in terms of 'micro-productivity' (user-created content) and 'social learning' (networked knowledge).
John Hartley is an educator, author, researcher and commentator on the history and cultural impact of television, journalism, popular media and creative industries.
Continue reading "Podcast, John Hartley: "Creative Industries, Micro-productivity and Social Learning: A Cultural Science Approach to Cultural and Media Studies"" »
The relationship between the media industries and their audiences is in the midst of a period of profound change. A key aspect of this transition is that traditional exposure-based conceptualizations of the audience are being challenged by conceptualizations that rely primarily on social media data and that are oriented around constructs such as appreciation, engagement, and emotional involvement. This presentation presents ongoing research that examines the institutional factors that are enabling and inhibiting this transition in the television industry, as well as the implications of this transition for audience representation and cultural production.
Philip Napoli is Professor and the Area Chair in the Communication and Media Management area of Fordham University's Schools of Business. His research focuses on media institutions and media policy.
Continue reading "Podcast, Philip Napoli: "Social Media, Television, and the Evolution of the 'Institutionally Effective' Audience"" »