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Co-editors sought for journal 'Electronic Games and Virtual Environments'

Submission Deadline: 
02/29/2008

Co-editors are sought for a new journal to be published by Intellect from 2009, titled 'Electronic Games and Virtual Environment'. The journal will integrate theoretical and critical approaches to computer game studies, studies on virtual environments and online communities as well as commercial, industrial, design and marketing aspects of the entertainment software industry.

Associate Editors: Dr Astrid Ensslin and Dr Eben Muse Research Centre for Video Games and Virtual Environments, National Institute for Excellence in the Creative Industries, Bangor University, UK

Please send your expression of interest including a CV outlining your bio, research interests, publications and prior editorial experience to a.ensslin@bangor.ac.uk by 1st March 2008.

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Quests: Design, Theory, and History in Games and Narratives

The other day a student asked me to explain what World of Warcraft was. We were talking about how universities are using Second Life for an article the student was writing and I referenced WoW as an easier, more familiar game. This is a minor anecdote like so many others that show that students don't always know as much as we think they know, but it points to a larger issues of a critical gaming literacy.

While "language arts" or "English" is taught in middle and high schools and includes literature, film, plays, and basic rhetoric (normally argument and debate in some form or another), gaming hasn't yet hit the mainstream curriculum, leaving more possibilities for literacy gaps. Given that students are interested in games--or even if they aren't, games are part of the transmedia world around them--and many don’t have core gaming knowledge, we need a gaming and game studies primer. The primer needs to connect what they do know to what they don't because many students do have parts of a the core gaming knowledge from other areas or from games, but simply of the games they have played and enjoy and not a critical understanding of the games or gaming elements and how those operate. Jeff Howard's Quests fills that need for a primer as an interdisciplinary text grounded in theory while focused on practice. Quests is an excellent tool for teachers who are new to games and want to use games in their classrooms, for teaching games, media, writing, or other areas that include theory and application. Many other books exist that are excellent for game studies classes and for game creation classes (Fullerton, Swain, and Hoffman's Game Design Workshop is in its second edition and it's excellent), but Quests fills the particular niche of classes that often have titles like "introduction to media studies," "writing for new media," "first (or second, or later) semester writing across the curriculum." Quests would also be an excellent choice as a supplemental text for more advanced classes, helping graduate students or faculty connect their research areas to new ways to represent, research, and teach using games.

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Special Interest Group at CCCC in New Orleans on "Serious Games"

Cynthia Haynes and Jan Holmevik are hosting a Special Interest Group at CCCC in New Orleans on "Serious Games,"
Session: FSIG.22 on Apr 4, 2008 from 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM. Details on the session are:

This special interest group will focus on the study and application of serious games relative to communication, rhetoric, and creative expression. 'Serious games' is defined by a variety of game platforms, designs, and purposes. While the obvious 'serious' application of games is for education (and training), many games are studied rhetorically as a means of critiquing broader cultural phenomena. Thus, this SIG is designed to concern both theoretical and practical aspects of 'serious games,' and build a community of rhetoric and composition game studies scholars, designers, and users. As a new SIG, we aim to build this community through collaborative and open source social technologies that support both game play and enable teaching and communication practices. Our combined experience with such systems over the past 13 years, and our connections with both U.S. and international game studies scholars and journals gives us an important basis for forming this group. We developed Lingua MOO in 1995 and the enCore system on which many MOOs are still based. Most recently, we have organized the Serious Games Colloquium of the new Rhetoric, Communication, and Information Design PhD program at Clemson University (Directed by Victor Vitanza). And we recently spent a year teaching in the Computer Game studies research center at IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark. We are also on the editorial board of both Game Studies e-journal and the Sage Publication journal, Games and Culture. We plan to form this SIG as a research collective studying various serious games such as America's Army, Second Life, World of Warcraft, and other massively multi-player games.

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Brains and method

Medical researchers at Stanford have shown that the areas of the brain associated with 'reward and addiction' are more highly activated in males than females when playing videogames. The researchers suggest that this is due to a more pronounced instinct for 'territoriality' in men.

The researchers designed a game involving a vertical line (the "wall") in the middle of a computer screen. When the game begins, 10 balls appear to the right of the wall and travel left toward the wall. Each time a ball is clicked, it disappears from the screen. If the balls are kept a certain distance from the wall, the wall moves to the right and the player gains territory, or space, on the screen. If a ball hits the wall before it's clicked, the line moves to the left and the player loses territory on the screen.

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Fatworld

Fatworld has been released! I've been waiting for this and then I missed the release date. In case anyone else missed it as well, check it out. The "weighty topics" page on the Fatworld website even lists one of my favorite publications, the Nutrition Action Healthletter from the Center for Science in the Public Interest (which has great information and a "food porn" item in each issue). Read through the Fatworld site, check out the game, or see Watercoolergames for more on the release.

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When is emulation enough?

In working with digital library concerns, one of the biggest current issues is digital preservation. The strategies for digital preservation tend to be standardization and validation for the initial form and then either migration or emulation to keep that initial work usable. I'm not sure how the Library of Congress' digital game preservation is designed, but does anyone know if it's designed the same way with a focus on migration or emulation? If so, are the game systems themselves also being saved for researchers? If only some are or simply accepting that current preservation isn't comprehensive, when is emulation enough for most game studies researchers?

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cfp

Special Issue of the Journal of Digital Information: Digital Libraries and User-Generated Content

Submission Deadline: 
Ongoing

Special Issue of the Journal of Digital Information: Digital Libraries and User-Generated Content

The Web has evolved from a unidirectional information repository where access to information by user is the main focus, to a platform for collaboration in which content is generated and shared among users. Also popularly known as Web 2.0, examples of such applications include blogs, wikis, social networking, media sharing and social tagging, among many others. As this new avenue for content-generation becomes increasingly popular, the resulting information explosion requires new techniques and applications to manage, search and access such content.

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cfp

Computer games between text and practice

Submission Deadline: 
02/28/2008

E|C, the e-journal of the Italian Association for Semiotic Studies (http://www.ec-aiss.it/), is dedicating a special issue in 2008 to the semiotics of computer games. It will be edited by Dario Compagno (PhD Researcher in Semiotics at the University of Siena, Italy) and Patrick J. Coppock (Tenured Researcher in Philosophy and theory of languages at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy).

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blog

Better Pain Management Through Gaming

A recent news story reports on research by Simon Fraser's Diane Gromala exmaining the potential of gaming systems for therapeutical management of pain.

'Traditionally, patients suffering from chronic pain have been treated with a mixture of physical therapy, counselling and potentially addictive anti-pain medications.

Professor Gromala believes immersive environments such as virtual reality games could allow patients to improve their health and reduce their pain, especially while waiting for other forms of treatment.

"There is a real demand for this kind of therapy. As Canada's baby-boomers enter old age, pain management looms as a huge public-health issue," she said.'

Chalk another one up to the potentially beneficial aspects of gaming that nobody will notice? A happy new year to all Gameologists! Perhaps what the Wii really needs is an interactive champagne-glass clinking game. Imagine the increased degree of difficulty across timezones! Chin-chin!

blog

Game Competitions

The Independent Game Festival has announced their finalists and the Game Career Guide has a list of the top indie and student game design competitions. As gaming has grown into a mainstream media form and become recognized as such, games have a wider market. It seems as though this has led to certain types of innovation being pushed to the margins, but it may be that longer game development cycles have simply resulted in longer intervals between releases and thus in innovative releases.

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