New entry in the Digiplay Games Research Bibliography:

El Nasr, Magy; Al-Saati, Maha; Niedenthal, Simon; Milam, David (2008)
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Image of booksVideo game playing is becoming a predominant part of popular culture. Games, like Assassin’s Creed (Ubisoft, released 2007), The Sims (Maxis, released 2000), Guitar Hero (RedOctane, released 2005), and World of War Craft (Bilizzard, released 2004), have attracted many players from different cultures and age groups. In this paper, we propose that the experience of playing a video game, like Assassin’s Creed, is a personal experience shaped through one’s emotional values, expectations, knowledge, and attitudes as influenced by culture. To validate this claim, we provide an analysis of the experience of playing Assassins’ Creed from the perspectives of this paper’s four co-authors, who represent two different cultural viewpoints: Middle-Eastern and Western, as well as different intellectual disciplinary backgrounds, including architecture, theatre, and computer science. To someone from the Middle-East, for example, the game aroused many nostalgic feelings through its simulated Middle-Eastern cities, the use of Arabic words, accents and gestures, and the detailed Middle-Eastern architectural design. While such small details meant much when viewed through a Middle-Eastern eye, their values were different when viewed through a Western eye. From a Western perspective, the game play experience was heightened through the beautiful architectural detail and the use of the environment layout as a function of gameplay, such as the use of rooftops for platforming, fast movement and flying-like actions, and stealth. Thus, apparently the way the game was experienced was very different when viewed through people with different cultural backgrounds. In this paper, we aim to show this claim through thorough analysis of the game as experienced by the co¬authors. Read more...

New entry in the Digiplay Games Research Bibliography:

Schott, Gareth (2008)
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Image of booksYoung peoples’ voices are often considered irrelevant or unreliable when it comes to assessing the influence and impact of their engagement with screen-mediated depictions of violence. Research emanating from the laboratories of Psychology has continued to propagate the ‘effects’ debate by seeking to substantiate the harmful impact of videogames on individuals that are considered to lack the knowledge and strategies to make sense of them. Paradoxically, this stance is presented within a research paradigm that has failed to demonstrate any understanding of the properties of the particular games or the medium it denigrates, broader awareness of the social dimensions of play or the productivity inherent in the practices of its surrounding cultures. The project discussed, draws together what have essentially remained separate lines of inquiry, through applying the critical and analytical scrutiny of Game Studies to achieve a more contextual understanding of young peoples’ experiences with and around games. The primary aim is to assess the nature of violent content within videogames via the experiences and articulations of young people themselves, using a combination of methods to give them a voice that is all too often absent in its one-way debate. Read more...

New entry in the Digiplay Games Research Bibliography:

DiPaola, Steve; Turner, Jeremy (2008)
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Image of booksWe examine Traveler, a social-based 3D online virtual community with over ten years of continuous community use as a case study. Traveler is a client-server application allowing real-time synchronous communication between individuals over the Internet. The Traveler client interface presents the user with a shared user created virtual 3D world, in which participants are represented by avatars. The primary mode of communication is through multi-point, full duplex voice, managed by the server. This paper reports on the initial design goals of the developers in the mid 1990s to emulate natural social paradigms, and then more recently, reports on how the online community uses distance attended multi-point voice and opened end 3D space construction to express themselves both on a personal level and collaborative level to facilitate a tight socially based community. Read more...

New entry in the Digiplay Games Research Bibliography:

Parker, Felan (2008)
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Image of booksBased on research into gamer communities, it is apparently relatively common for players to impose additional or alternative rules on video games, in order to refine or expand gameplay and to create new gaming experiences. This paper considers the implications of this phenomenon, dubbed "expansive gameplay," in context of video game studies. How does the existence of expansive gameplay help us to situate video games in relation to traditional games? To what extent is this phenomenon indicative of the broader ways in which players engage with video games? By theorizing expansive gameplay as demonstrative of the nature of video games and gamer culture, this paper endeavours to open further discussion about the relationship between players and the rule-based systems which constitute video games. Read more...

New entry in the Digiplay Games Research Bibliography:

Shyba, Lori (2008)
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Image of booksThis article introduces the synergy between theatre, games, and social activism that I have coined “Gamaturgy.” Gamaturgy, in both the creative and reflexive realms, as I describe them, is derived from theatrical dramaturgy and provides new ideas for creating and critically analyzing serious videogames, especially social issue games. First, I sketch out the formative dramaturgical influences from Augusto Boal’s Forum Theatre, Paulo Friere's transitive pedagogy, and Victor Turner's concepts of the liminoid and social justice. I then expand this unique way of play-making into the realm of creative gamaturgy as a way of creating experiential interactions and constructing meanings in the design and creation of serious videogames. As for the aim of finding a new form of thematic analysis for videogames, I use my original case study The Pipeline Pinball Energy Thrill Ride Game to demonstrate a method of recovering meanings from games through the implementation of reflexive gamaturgy. Read more...

New entry in the Digiplay Games Research Bibliography:

Lenhart, A.; Kahne, J.; Middaugh, E; Macgill, A.R.; Evans, C.; Vitak, J. (2008)
PEW INTERNET & AMERICAN LIFE PROJECT

Image of booksThis Pew Internet Project report is based on the findings of a national representative random digit dial telephone survey conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates between November 1, 2007, and February 5, 2008, among a sample of 1102 teens ages 12-17 and a parent or guardian. For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling and other random effects is +/- 3%. For results based teens who game (n=1064), the margin of sampling error is +/- 3%. Video games provide a diverse set of experiences and related activities and are part of the lives of almost all teens in America. To date, most video game research has focused on how games impact academic and social outcomes (particularly aggression). There has also been some exploration of the relationship between games and civic outcomes, but as of yet there has been no large-scale quantitative research. This survey provides the first nationally representative study of teen video game play and of teen video gaming and civic engagement. The survey looks at which teens are playing games, the games and equipment they are using, the social context of their play, and the role of parents and parental monitoring. Though arguments have been made about the civic potential of video gaming, this is the first large-scale study to examine the relationship between specific gaming experiences and teens’ civic activities and commitments. Read more...

Breaking New Ground: Innovation in Games, Play, Practice and Theory

Tuesday 1st September-Friday 4th September 2009
Brunel University, West London, United Kingdom,
 DiGRA logo
The South of Britain Consortium are pleased to announce the first Call for Papers for the Digital Games Research Association 2009. DiGRA is an organisation that embraces all aspects of game studies, and the conference aims to provide a diverse platform for discussion, and a lively forum for debate. We therefore welcome papers from any discipline focused on any aspect of games, play, game culture and the games industry. The conference will be the fourth DiGRA conference, following Utrecht, Vancouver and Tokyo, and welcomes contributions from scholars working in any area of interest to the association. The official business of the Subject Association will also be conducted at the conference.
 
The Conference invites the following proposals for consideration:

  • Individual or Collaborative Papers
  • Panels
  • Workshops
  • Posters
  • Graduate Student Roundtable Papers

New entry in the Digiplay Games Research Bibliography:

Brom, Cyril; Sisler, Vit; Holan, Tomas (2007)
Virtual Storytelling. Using Virtual Reality Technologies for Storytelling

Image of booksEurope 2045 is an on-line multi-player strategy game aimed at education of high-school students in economics, politics, and media studies. The essential feature of the game is that players face various simulated scenarios and crises addressing contemporary key issues of the unified Europe. These scenarios are branching and can evolve in a parallel manner. In this paper, we present a technique for specifying plots of these scenarios, which underpins the story manager of Europe 2045. The technique is based on a modification of Petri Nets. We also detail one particular scenario concerning the current crisis in Darfur. On a general level this paper discusses the strengths and weaknesses of implementation of Petri Nets in virtual storytelling. Read more...

New entry in the Digiplay Games Research Bibliography:

Sisler, Vit; Brom, Cyril (2008)
Transactions on Edutainment I

Image of booksThis paper presents a theoretical framework, which has been adopted in designing an on-line multi-player strategy game Europe 2045. Europe 2045 is an educational tool for high school social science courses, aimed at familiarizing students with political, economic, and social issues in contemporary Europe. Apart from learning facts, players develop a range of key skills: discussion ability, negotiation, teamwork, and group decision-making. The presented theoretical framework is based on a critical analysis of crucial issues, which seem to determine the success or failure of development and implementation of an educational game in the formal school environment. It demonstrates key approaches the authors of Europe 2045 have adopted in order to overcome already known problems related to game-based learning. On a general level this paper discusses issues related to formal fact learning in educational systems and the possible role of educational games in enhancing these systems. Read more...

New entry in the Digiplay Games Research Bibliography:

Miller, Kiri (2008)
Journal of American Folklore

Image of booksThis article investigates the Grand Theft Auto videogame series in order to demonstrate the potential of a folkloristic, ethnographic approach for the analysis of digital games. I discuss Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas as a story collection, a frame for performance, a virtual museum of vernacular culture, and a widely circulated pop culture artifact whose double-voiced aesthetic has given rise to diverse interpretive communities. This case study suggests that digital gameplay should be regarded as a form of performance practice with the capacity to invoke traditional folkloric genres and engender new traditions. Read more...

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