As a journalist covering games since 2001, Chaplin has seen a lot of changes in the industry and among game academics. In this talk she will give an overview of the most important and interesting trends, including emerging thinking on ideas about game literacies and the acceptance of games as facilitators of transformative experiences. This will include ideas about play as a crucial part of human development and a potentially subversive act, and the rise of systems thinking. Chaplin is not a games evangelist, so the talk will cast a skeptical eye on the current trend of games as an answer for all that ails society. She will also talk about my experiences in general as a journalist during the rise of the Internet, and share my thinking on the journalism program she is developing at The New School.
Heather Chaplin is an assistant professor of journalism at The New School and author of the book, Smartbomb: The Quest for Art Entertainment and Big Bucks in the Videogame Revolution. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, GQ, Details, and Salon. She was a regular contributor for All Things Considered, covering videogames. She has been interviewed for and cited in on the topic of games for publications such as The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times Magazine, Businessweek, and The Believer and has appeared on shows such as Talk of the Nation, and CBS Sunday Morning.
Podcast, Konstantin Mitgutsch: "Tracing Playographies: Methods and Approaches to Research Transformative Experiences in Video Games"
"This game meant everything to me" - statements like this emphasize how players encounter deep and meaningful experiences playing video games in their lives. Playful mediated experiences strike players' minds at particular phases of their lives, in relation to the space and time they inhabit, and in the context of specific subjective experiences. However, these transformative experiences cannot be standardized; they do not happen to everyone through the same game or at the same time and place. The question arises, how we can trace these highly subjective experiences. What methods are appropriate for researching, how players put meaning into their games and how their biographies reflect these experiences?
In this talk the methodology of playographies - a visualization of playful experiences as part of qualitative biographic interviews - is introduced. Insights from Mitgutsch's research on transformative playful experiences are provided and the development of this mixed-method research tool will be outlined. Besides demonstrating the methods and presenting recent results, the theoretical framework guiding this study are outlined. It will be reflected why and how games foster transformative experiences of players. On this basis the limits and potentials of this research method will be debated and future research challenges will be discussed. This talk is accompanied with a small self-exploration exercise...
Konstantin Mitgutsch is Postdoctoral Researcher at the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab. His research focuses on learning processes in computer games, empirical research on players' experience, educational game design, and transformative learning in games. He worked in the fields of learning, media studies, computer games and age rating systems at the University of Vienna for several years. In 2010 he was Max Kade Postdoctoral Fellow at the Education Arcade at CMS. In his recent research project he investigates learning patterns in games and different methodologies of game evaluation.
Podcast, Clara Fernández-Vara: "Performing Videogame Narratives in Space: Indexical Storytelling"
Videogames are performance activities, like theatre, sports, rituals or dance. The presentation will draw comparisons and contrasts with theatre to understand how videogames can incorporate narratives as part of the performance: games give cues to the player, who has to figure out the script of the story. How can these cues contribute to the narrative of the game? Focusing on the design of the space, and how it provides opportunities for action, provides some of the answers. The novel concept of indexical storytelling describes a series of strategies that use environmental design to help the player form the narrative script of a game. The game gives indications to the player to interpret, carry out, or even react against. These strategies help understand how videogames tell stories, create narrative opportunities, and open up new avenues for innovation.
Clara Fernández-Vara is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab. She is particularly interested in applying methods from textual analysis and performance studies to the study of video games and cross-media artifacts. Her work concentrates on adventure games, as well as the integration of stories in simulated environments through game play. Her goal as a researcher is to bridge disciplines - humanities and sciences, theory and practice - in order to find ways to innovate and open new ground in video games studies and design.
Clara holds a Ph.D. in Digital Media from the Georgia Institute of Technology. She earned a BA in English Studies by the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, and was awarded a fellowship from La Caixa Foundation to pursue a Masters in Comparative Media Studies at MIT. Clara has presented her work at various international academic conferences, such as DiGRA (Digital Games Research Association), Foundations of Digital Games and Future Play. She has also been a speaker at the Game Developer's Conference, one of the main video game industry gatherings worldwide. She teaches courses on videogame theory and game writing at MIT, and has worked on two experimental adventure games as part of her research, Rosemary (2009), Symon (2010) and Stranded in Singapore (2011).
Podcast, Otto Santa Anna: "Contemporary Network Television News Reporting About Latinos: Successes, Failures, and a Range of Proposals to Correct Its Limitations"
Otto Santa Anna presents findings from his forthcoming book, Juan in a Hundred: Faces and Stories of Latinos on the Network News (Texas). In it he elaborates standard cognitive metaphor analysis (as is used for printed texts), blending cognitive science with humanist scholarship, to attempt to capture the full semiotic range of televised reporting. His review of a full year of contemporary network news stories about Latinos reveals both the high production values and journalistic limitations of network reporting. This critical semiotic analysis offers an explanation about how news viewers construct partial understandings about Latinos from the news stories they watch. At the end of this talk he offers a range of recommendations, from modest to radical, to address these limitations.
Otto Santa Ana, UCLA Associate Professor, received his Ph.D. in Linguistics from University of Pennsylvania. Santa Ana's scholarship has focused on language that constructs social hierarchies, particularly how the mass media reinforce unjust inequity in their representations of Latinos. His first book, Brown Tide Rising (2002) offered a close study of newspapers. The American Political Science Association named it Book of the Year on Ethnic and Racial Political Ideology. Santa Ana has now extended his research to multi-modal mass media. His forthcoming book, Juan in a Hundred: The Faces and Stories of Latinos on the Evening News, (University of Texas Press) analyzes a year of network news imaging of Latinos. He maps out an explicit procedure by which news consumers build their understandings out of the multimodal stimuli of television news stories using recent cognitive science scholarship (Lakoff, Fauconnier) as well as humanist theories (Foucault, Calvin McGee, Barthes, Hadyen White) to explain how news viewers construct their skewed understandings about Latinos from the news stories they watch. Throughout the book, Santa Ana offers explicit suggestions to television news professionals.
Mashable asks if our postdoc's augmented reality book could be, well, the future of books
Thanks to Mashable to be the latest to report on CMS/WHS postdoc fellow Amaranth Borsuk's project "Between Page and Screen", an augmented reality display of poetry floating above folio:
The future of books may be here. Augmented reality book Between Page and Screen is an innovative art project that seeks to renew the reading experience by combining the physicality of a printed book with the technology of Adobe Flash to create a virtual love story.
To see the technology in action, you simply lay the 44-page hardcover across a laptop with a webcam and words will suddenly appear, spin and rattle. Turn the page to experience the wordless book of poems and see the future of interactive reading.
Poet Amaranth Borsuk and developer Brad Bouse, creators of Between Page and Screen, started exploring augmented reality after seeing a business card developed with similar technology. A simple geometric pattern on the card once held up to a camera would turn up the card owner’s face.
Borsuk, whose background is in book art and writing, and Bouse, developing his own startup, were mesmerized by the technology. The married duo combined their separate love of writing and technology to create this augmented reality art project that would explore the relationship between handmade books and digital spaces.
Podcast, Jeremy Douglass: "Visualizing Play: Graphic Approaches to Game Analysis and Innovation"
Visualizing games and gameplay reveals both startling complexity...and stunning simplicity. This talk discusses many applications of information visualization to games: for theory, historical research, design, development, and creative art practice. Considering examples from across decades of video games (from blockbusters to art house experiments) reveals that most games are already information visualizations of a few particular kinds, and can be further transformed in ways that reveal the original through new eyes, suggesting new forms of play.
Jeremy Douglass is a researcher in games and playable media, electronic literature, and the art and science of data mining and information visualization. He is active in the Software Studies and Critical Code Studies research communities, which study software society and the cultural meaning of computer source code. Douglass is a founding member of Playpower, a MacArthur/HASTAC funded digital media and learning initiative to use ultra-affordable 8-bit game systems as a global education platform, and a participant in an NSF grant exploring creative user behavior in virtual worlds. His recording room for gameplay research includes systems spanning over three decades. The Atari 2600 has wood veneer; the PS3 does not.