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Oxford Game Culture Conference 2011

Submission Deadline: 
02/15/2011

This inter- and multi-disciplinary conference aims to examine, explore and critically engage with the issues and implications created by the mass use of computers and videogames for entertainment and focus on the impact of innovative videogame titles and interfaces for human communication and ludic culture. In particular the conference will encourage equally theoretical and practical debates which surround the cultural contexts within which videogames flourish.

Papers, presentations, workshops and reports are invited on any of the following themes:

1. Videogames and Gaming

  • Theories and Concepts of Gaming.
  • Identifying Key Features and Issues.
  • Videogames as Text.
  • Videogames as Interactive Image.
  • Multidisciplinary Approaches to Videogame Analysis.
  • Film, Literary, Art Studies and Cultural Studies Approaches to the
    Analysis of Videogames.
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Videogames and Digital Media at SCMS 2011

Are you going to the 2011 Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference? If you are, you'll be glad to know there's a good representation of videogames and related topics on the schedule. This is thanks, mainly, to the nascent Video Game Studies Interest Group, which has sponsored several of these sessions. When I planned my travel to the recent MLA conference, I benefited from Mark Sample's list of digital humanities sessions. Therefore, I thought a similar list of SCMS sessions would be helpful, so I've included one below. I've listed sessions that explicitly mention videogames or something digital, but if I missed one or you know of one that should be added, please let me know!

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Video Games as Films/ TV and Vice Versa

Submission Deadline: 
01/31/2011

"Video Games as Films and TV and Vice Versa: Media Translation, Narrative Adaptation, and Multiple Instantiations"

Call for submissions to an edited collection requested by publisher:

With Disney recently releasing their heavily-anticipated feature film, TRON: Legacy, nearly thirty years after the original, and with film critics like Roger Ebert recently going on record to indicate that video games are "inherently inferior to film and literature" and that "video games by their nature require player choices, which is the opposite of the strategy of serious film and literature, which requires authorial control," it seems the time is right for a collection that investigates the relationship between video games and other forms of media be they television, film, print etc. While many think about video games such as Pong, Pac-Man and Super Mario Bros. as the genesis point of cross-platform/ cross-media video game technology, video games have a rich history going as far back as the 1950s with Tic-Tac-Toe and Spacewar! It isn't a far stretch of the imagination to see how early games such as those influenced movies like War Games (1983) and Star Wars (1977).

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Indie games and "that solitude whose final form is one's confrontation with one's own mortality"

One Chance: One Chance, by AwkwardSilenceGamesOne Chance: Opening screen

"One Chance" by AwkwardSilenceGames is the latest short, clever, experimental, depressing gamelike experience (SCEDGE) to make rounds as Something Interesting to Look At. That this game will someday soon be part of someone's conversation about whether games are art seems inevitable, if not for the painterly textures of its abstract, pixelated imagery, then more so because of the validation implied by diverse channels through which this game has appeared on my radar. These channels include reddit, where the comment threads pick apart the moral implications of various choices, and my twitter network, where the game is compared (favorably, it seems) with William Gibson's self-destructing, poetic experiment in digital and literary obsolescence:

The Agrippa of games! RT @marcruppel: One Chance: a game that allows the player just that: one chance at a playthrough. http://bit.ly/epeIasless than a minute ago via Echofon

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A Letter from the Digital Front

I have a couple of ideas I've been chewing on for gameology, but all I've completed recently is a couple more reviews for Play This Thing! The first one is on Brendon Chung's "real-time turn-based" space strategy game Flotilla. You may remember Chung's freeware title, "Gravity Bone" - this game shows his quirky sense of humor as well. The other review is my take on the history of a genre as much as it is about the recent"Space Hulk" port Alien Assault. Let me know what you think.

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Art Appreciation & Gaming?

I have a new review up at Play this Thing, of Cryptic Comet's new PBEM TBS Solium Infernum.

In working on this, I became wrapped up in just how contemplative the game is. No animations, no time pressure, just interesting art, design, and flavor text (but almost no plot). I'm working on a paper on the deliberate incorporation of board game elements into original video games, but some of what I came up with isn't what I'd expected to find.

Thoughts?

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A Videogame Canon

What are the greatest or most important videogames of all time? Which games are most deserving of archival priority, and which should we recognize as part of cultural or institutional knowledge?

These are the questions asked in 2007 by a committee of game scholars, developers and journalists (Henry Lowood,Warren Spector, Steve Meretzky, Matteo Bittanti, and Christopher Grant). The result, in no particular order:

Spacewar!, Zork, Sensible Soccer, Civilization, Warcraft, SimCity, Doom, Tetris, Super Mario Bros. 3, and Star Raiders.

Certainly, any top ten list will generate some controversy. Some of those games listed above are no-brainers, other's less so. Still others are real head scratchers.

Anyone familiar with the discourse of literary studies over the past few decades will be well aware of the intellectual and political stakes in canon-formation, but a simple look through Digg or Cracked.com reveals how much appeal a top-ten list can have.

More importantly, the kinds of questions a game canon raises are useful pedagogical ones, and so this past semester I led a seminar with our mission to investigate them further. In what follows, I want to reflect on the seminar -- which I think was moderately successful -- and reveal our findings: a new list of games to add to the original ten.

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Strategy Game Reviews

It's been too long since I posted anything to gameology. Most of my work online in the last year has been for Play This Thing! and I'm looking into becoming a regular blogger for Alltern8. My hope is that doing a daily blog will help keep the juices flowing, allowing me to post more often here as well.

In case you're curious, here are links to my reviews for Play This Thing!
(newest to oldest)

Gratuitous Space Battles

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Call for Papers and Artworks: University of Florida's "Futures of Digital Studies" Conference

Submission Deadline: 
12/20/2009

As a disciplinary field still in search of its own institutional role and its specific methodologies, new media studies cannot but proceed by means of constantly updating its scholarly agenda. Rather than being concerned with issues of reconnection, however, this process seems to be characterized by a tendency to (re)articulate the field in a series of "refreshes" of its cultural page.

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A Zombie Anthology

Submission Deadline: 
10/15/2009

Textual examples of the zombie genre have increased exponentially during the last four decades.We now see the zombie not only in film, but video games, books, television shows, music, playing cards, comics, and various forms of new media. Noting the polysemic nature of the figure of the zombie, filmmaker Joe Dante has remarked, "The zombie genre has been politicized ever since George Romero made Night of the Living Dead. The whole idea of zombie as metaphors became very powerful." Indeed, we deploy the metaphor in a staggering variety of contexts and to (seemingly) unrelated concepts.

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