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Competitive Gaming and Masculinity

Most of us are now aware, especially after the media coverage of Blizzard's Starcraft II announcement in Korea at their Worldwide Invitational event, that competitive gaming is a big deal in other parts of the world. Watching footage from this event and other similar events definitely proves that competitive gaming could potentially takes its place in the world as a very popular and bankable industry, with its own stars, endorsements, fanbase, and culture.

Of course, efforts have been underway for quite some time to get the U.S. more interested in competitive gaming. There are a variety of leagues, a star (Fatal1ty), and even some sporadic television coverage on cable.

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America's Army Arcade Game

So the US Army is releasing its popular(?) PC game recruitment tool, America's Army in an arcade version. My first thought upon reading about this was, "Does anyone still go to arcades?" My second was, "Isn't this stealing the premise of The Last Starfighter"? The game's idea is apparently to draw more recruits of younger ages by toning down the violence and instead focusing on simulated training missions. It's been interesting reading through the comments on this story at other blog sites (Kotaku, <a href=http://www.joystiq.com/2007/07/25/americas-army-coming-to-arcades/">Joystiq), where many of the commenters make the same observations I initially did. One on Kotaku stuck out to me, though, and makes an interesting point:

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Still Summertime

It's clear it's still summer break for many of us when we miss mentioning the Videogames Themed Week on MediaCommons, or it shows that some of are busy using our time wisely, like Matt Payne, who has a curated entry in it. MediaCommons is a wonderful resource, concept, and argument about scholarship, and the entries on games are definitely worth checking out for those having leisurely or working summers.

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VGVN Releases Combat-themed Anti-Regulation Video

Borrowing the style of a cinematic or video game trailer, the new video released today by the Video Game Voter's Network tries to explain its cause by pitting video games and gamers in an epic battle against the forces of regulation. Using images of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution in the background, the trailer (which I'll embed below) constructs a narrative in which the forces of freedom (i.e., free speech) such as novels, comics, violent movies, heavy metal and, now, video games are each in turn opposed by sinister forces. My problem is that there's no implication of why these things are worth protecting from regulation or what motivates the regulators other than sheer malevolence. Overall, it attempts to compress a complex issue into a violent metaphor, and I don't think that's a good idea.

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Joystick Soldiers: The military/war video game reader

Submission Deadline: 
09/16/2007

The editors seek essays on military/war-themed video games which explore the multifaceted cultural, social, and economic linkages between video games and the military. The collection will feature scholarly work from a diversity of theoretical and methodological perspectives, including: close textual readings of military-themed video games; critical histories of game production processes and marketing practices; and reception studies of video war gamers, fandom, and politically resistant game interventions. As there is no other collection of its kind, Joystick Soldiers will make a significant contribution to the breadth of work shaping the burgeoning field of game studies, complementing analyses concerning the Military-Entertainment Complex, and offering diverse insights on how modern warfare has been represented and remediated in contemporary video games. The editors invite junior as well as established scholars to submit, and welcome cross-disciplinary work from sociology, cultural studies, anthropology, history, military studies, psychology, economics, media studies, visual communication, graphic arts and game design, education, and so forth.

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Rescue the Nuke Scientist

Several news agencies (AP link) are reporting today that the game we heard about a while ago has apparently been released. "Rescue the Nuke Scientist," produced by the Union of Students Islamic Association, is being touted as a response to KumaWar's Assault on Iran. When I first blogged on this, the gist of my comment was that this is an interesting way of using games as dialogue, especially since Kuma had announced creating a further mission in response to the Iranian game.

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Reviewers Wanted

Dr. Rick Ferdig is seeking reviewers for The Handbook of Research on Effective Electronic Gaming in Education. Chapter authors are submitting their final chapters on July 15, 2007. Dr. Ferdig will be contacting reviewers on July 16 or 17 and asking them to read 1-3 chapters, providing feedback to authors by August 15.

It is a short timeline, but it is an excellent opportunity to read innovative work in the field of educational gaming. Reviewers will be officially thanked and acknowledged in the book.

Those interested should send name, email, affiliation, and how many chapters they would be willing to review (chapters are 5000-7500 words in length) to Dr.

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MEDIA STUDIES POSITION

MEDIA STUDIES POSITION: Media and Society
Deadline: October 1, 2007

The Media Studies Department at the University of San Francisco invites applications for a full-time, tenure-track position at the Assistant Professor level, anticipated to begin Fall 2008.

Responsibilities include teaching two undergraduate courses per semester, plus one additional course over two years (2-2-2-3 over two years), and an active program of research and service. The successful candidate will be qualified to teach at least two of our introductory and core courses (Introduction to Media Studies, Media Institutions, Media Audiences, Media Stereotyping and Violence, and Communication Law and Policy) as well as courses related to the candidate's specialty. Expertise and interest in teaching basic digital communication practice will be a plus as will an emphasis on race/ethnicity and international/global issues.

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Interstitial games

Justin Peters at Slate writes on The trouble with serious videogames. The piece argues that games which seek to communicate important or timely subject matter fall into a kind of bland gray zone: not fun enough to entice gamers to learn whatever they have to say, and too ludic for non-gamers not to just turn to more traditional media instead. There is, however, a certain horrific group (including bosses) who may well think that these games are the way to educate in a hip and happening manner, and inflict them on their employees. Such games, Peters says, are "...less informative than a simple article and less fun than doing the Jumble."

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Publishing where it Counts

The Directory of Open Access Journals (doaj.org) has now spawned an even better service for researchers. The service is called < a href="http://jinfo.lub.lu.se/">Journal Info and it gives basic journal information through its website. What's unlike the DOAJ and other journal lists is the information given, which includes:
general, accessibility, cost and quality and each area is supported by a number of relevant points.

This means journals are listed by what databases index the journals, how much it costs for a library to subscribe and which alternative OA journals exists. A total of 18,000 journals are currently supported in the database.

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