Game Studies Vol 17, Issue 1

For your theoretical delight, a new issue of Game Studies.

Game Studies: The International Journal of Computer Game Research has just published its latest issue (Volume 17, Issue 1, July 2017). All articles are available at www.gamestudies.org/1701

  

Articles

Watching People Is Not a Game: Interactive Online Corporeality, Twitch.tv and Videogame Streams

by Sky LaRell Anderson

This article examines Twitch.tv in order to reveal the design strategies it employs to direct awareness to the presence of players and viewers. Specifically, I describe the elements that direct attention toward humans, persons and personalities outside of games.

 

Glory to Arstotzka: Morality, Rationality, and the Iron Cage of Bureaucracy in Papers, Please

by Jason J. Morrissette

This article examines how ludic and thematic elements coalesce in Papers, Please to replicate the monotony of bureaucratic work, trapping players in Weber’s iron cage of bureaucracy. Moreover, by offering opportunities to deviate from administrative protocols, the game highlights the inherent tension between morality and bureaucratic rationality.

 

Abstracting Evidence: Documentary Process in the Service of Fictional Gameworlds

by Aaron Oldenburg

This paper looks at a strategy for creating content and gameplay using documentary processes such as interviews and on-location evidence collection for games that abstract that content with varying levels of fictionalization.

 

An Enactive Account of the Autonomy of Videogame Gameplay

by Jukka Vahlo

In this paper, the phenomenon of videogame gameplay is analyzed from an enactive view of social cognition. It is asserted that videogame gameplay arises as an autonomous organization in the reciprocal dynamics between at least one social agent and a responsive game. This autonomy is argued as both original and irreducible to its constituents.

Game Studies Volume 16, Issue 2

For your theoretical gratification:

New Special Issue of Game Studies Journal 
Game Studies: The International Journal of Computer Game Research has just published its latest issue (Volume 16, Issue 2, December 2016). All articles are available at

 

Editorial
by Holger Pötzsch, Philip Hammond
War and games are intrinsically connected. The present editorial maps the war/game nexus, locates the issue in academic discourse, and briefly introduces each contribution included in this special issue of Game Studies.

 

Articles
by Vít Šisler
This article investigates the possibilities and limitations of videogames in dealing with contentious issues from contemporary history; particularly the civilian perspective of war. It presents a serious game we developed, Czechoslovakia 38-“89: Assassination, and critically discusses the design challenges of adapting real people’s testimonies.

 

by Piotr Sterczewski
The article analyses the representations of civilian experience of war in three Polish games depicting the Warsaw Uprising, focusing on relations between discourses of Polish cultural memory and dominant game medium conventions.

 

by Adam Chapman
This article explores the relation of WWI popular collective memory to videogames and thus their nature as a form for historical representation. Providing an overview of WWI videogames, it suggests that their lack of engagement with WWI popular memory is partly shaped by the pressures that the videogame form and its perceived cultural role entail.

 

by Dom Ford
This article considers Civilization V through a postcolonial lens. It problematizes the homogenous historical narrative the game creates, and analyses the player’s relationship with that history, while questioning the use of the series in education.

 

by Kevin O’Neill, Bill Feenstra
Twelve Canadian university students played Medal of Honor: Frontline and were interviewed about how “realistic” they thought the game was. Our paper details the strategies players used to make this judgment, and attempts to explain why they thought of commercial videogames as less useful sources of knowledge about the past than any other media.

 

by Kristine Jørgensen
The article is a study of how focus-group participants describe their experiences with playing the third- person military shooter Spec Ops: The Line (Yager Entertainment, 2012), and identifies three techniques used by the game to create a positive sense of discomfort.

 

by Gareth Healey
This article focuses on the ways in which adolescent boys use sexualized language and bragging to construct their masculine identities when playing Call of Duty: Black Ops (Treyarch, 2010).

 

by Jaime Banks, John G. Cole
This multi-method study explores military and veteran gamers’ self-directed coping through video games and avatars. Results suggest coping practices are associated with more general motivations for play, avatars support identity-related coping, and fantasy and skill motivations are uniquely tied to coping for those with chronic mental/physical conditions.

 

by Lykke Guanio-Uluru
Drawing on Espen Aarseth’s discussions of cybertext and ludo-narratives, on rhetorical narrative theory and on Miguel Sicart’s conception of the ethics of computer games, this article analyzes the portrayal of war technology, the nature games and ethical responsibility in three popular fictions.

 

New issue of the G|A|M|E Journal, 5/2016

For your theoretical perusal.

G|A|M|E – n. 5/2016

vol. 1, 2016 – Journal (peer-reviewed): Games on Games. Game design as critical reflexive practice (edited by Giovanni Caruso, Riccardo Fassone, Gabriele Ferri, Stefano Gualeni, Mauro Salvador)

vol. 2, 2016 – Critical Notes (non peer-reviewed)

Game Studies vol 16, issue 1

New Issue of Game Studies Journal
Game Studies: The International Journal of Computer Game Research has just published its latest issue (Volume 16, Issue 1, October 2016). All articles are available at www.gamestudies.org/1601.

 

Editorial
by Espen Aarseth
There is an ongoing battle for the heart and soul of open-access publishing. And it is not going well.

 

Articles
by Karen Collins
This paper provides an “audio archaeology” of the penny arcades, exploring the uses of sound in the electro-mechanical era of games.
by Maria B. Garda, Paweł Grabarczyk
We argue that “indie game” is a distinct narrow notion within a wider concept of “independent game”. The latter can be explained as a disjunction of three types of independence (financial, creative and publishing) and it is associated, in a given historical period, with different contingent properties determined by the game culture of the era.
by Bjarke Liboriussen, Paul Martin
Game studies is undergoing a regional turn marked by an increase in research conducted in and focussed on areas outside of Western Europe and North America. The development of “regional game studies” will extend the field’s ability to engage with important global issues and enrich game studies with new perspectives and concepts.
by Daniel Reynolds
Describes a confluence of forces that shaped the development of the Nintendo Game Boy. Argues that the Game Boy exemplifies a relationship between technologists, media technology, and users. Encourages theorists to consider the bodily and other material constraints that inform the development of media platforms.
Book Reviews
by Veli-Matti Karhulahti
Works of Game: On the Aesthetics of Game and Art (2015) by John Sharp. Cambridge: MIT Press. ISBN: 9780262029070. 146 pp.

Wide Screen Journal on Videogame Adaptation

The Wide Screen Journal has a special issue on Videogame Adaptation.

Table of Contents

Essays

“Introduction – Videogame Adaptation: Some Experiments in Method” – Kevin M. Flanagan
“Metaproceduralism: The Stanley Parable and the Legacies of Postmodern Metafiction” – Bradley J. Fest
“8-Bit Goes to the Movies” – Kyle Meikle
“Subjective and Affective Adaptations: Remediation and the Playstation 2 Videogame” – Cameron Kunzelman
“Visiting the Videogame Theme Park”- Bobby Schweizer
“Playing Los Angeles Itself: Versions of and from the Historical City in LA Noire and the ‘Semi-Documentary’ Noir” – Jedd Hakimi
“Gotham on the Ground: Transmedia Meets Topography in Environments of the Arkham Videogame Series” – Kalervo A. Sinervo
*
PS. As much as I support Open Journal Systems, there must be a way to cut down the number of clicks I need to make to get to the PDF. At least just take me directly to the PDF when I click PDF, rather than putting the PDF in a tiny frame?

New Paper on the Pay Once & Play Problem of Video Game History

Bacpayonceandplayk from the 2016 DiGRA/FDG conference in Dundee, here is the paper I gave on using design patterns to understand video game history: Sailing the Endless River of Games: The case for Historical Design Patterns.

 
The Pay Once & Play category was introduced in the Apple App Store in early 2015. Though video games were for a long time, at least from 1985 to 2015, mostly sold in boxes for upfront payment, this business model was not actually named as “Pay once & Play” until after the emergence of the free-to-play or freemium business model. Why not? Because it was obvious that all video games were sold in boxes, so why would you mention it when talking about video games, or video game history?

This is the topic of the paper: The problem isn’t just that games change, but that games change in ways we haven’t predicted. The major events in video game history concern things that had previously been taken for granted: MMOs like World of Warcraft moved the role of the player community to the forefront; casual games reconfigured the audience; mobile games reconfigured distribution and business models; independent games set up a new relation between developer and audience. Video game history continually forces us to reconsider what it is we are studying, when we study video games.

In the paper I then propose that we can redefine game design patterns to help us to talk about video game change. I return to matching tile games as an example of how to write history using design patterns.

http://www.jesperjuul.net/text/endlessriverofgames/

 

Journal of Games Criticism Extending Play

For theory!

The Journal of Games Criticism is proud to announce the publication of its first special issue, edited by Aaron Trammell and Zack Lischer-Katz. Adapted from the Extending Play: The Sequel conference held at Rutgers University in 2015, this issue’s articles and interviews consider matters surrounding sequels and repetition in the world of video games and their study. The issue is available at http://gamescriticism.org/issue-3-a and the full list of articles is listed below.

Considering the Sequel to Game Studies… by A. Trammell & Z. Lischer-Katz

The Extending Play conference at Rutgers University in 2015 underlined the importance of sequels and repetition to games and their study. Here the editors discuss these themes and introduce the interviews and articles that were adapted from the conference for this bonus issue.

The Replication of Ideology: An Interview with Adrienne Shaw and Marcus Boon by Melissa Aronczyk

Shaw and Boon examine the iterative and repeating forces of ideology that work within games as a culture industry and play as a cultural practice. They discuss the importance for scholars to take these visible and invisible forces of power into account within the study of games.

Liberating Play: An Interview with Anna Anthropy and Miguel Sicart by A. Gilbert

Anthropy and Sicart discuss the centrality of games within the discipline of game studies and consider how lessons learned from play studies might curb stagnation in the field.

Hanging in the Video Arcade by S. Tobin

This paper decenters play and the player in the arcade by exploring another subject I call hangers. It explores the genealogies of player control, engagement and the policing of play practices in the American video arcade in the 1980s.

Assessing Mass Effect 2 and Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Using Collaborative Criteria for Player Agency in Interactive Narratives by L. Joyce

This paper first establishes the criteria necessary to construct a digital interactive narrative game that contains both narrative agency and ludic agency before considering those criteria against two interactive narrative games: Mass Effect 2 and Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

Imperialism in the Worlds and Mechanics of First-Person Shooters by A. Patel

This paper focuses on two highly popular first-person shooter games, Far Cry 2 and Far Cry 3, and examines how elements of their game worlds and mechanics reinforce (and disrupt) imperialist narratives.

Ludic Spolia in Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth by E. McNeil

Using the art historical term spolia as a launching point, McNeil explores the reuse of gaming mechanics and visuals from Sid Meier’s Civilization V in Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth. She argues that this reuse was both practical and perhaps unintentionally subversive.

A Proceduralist View on Diversity in Games by G. Smith

Looking at diversity and inclusion through a proceduralist lens allows us to more deeply analyze current games, as well as prompt new questions and avenues for technical and design research.

JGC (ISSN: 2374-202X) is currently seeking submissions from game developers, designers, bloggers, journalists, and scholars for its Summer/Fall 2016 issue. This issue’s submission deadline is August 1, 2016 and will be published on October 8, 2016. We accept articles, book reviews, experimental game reviews, and letters to the editor for review. Our submission guidelines are available at http://gamescriticism.org/submissions/.

Analog Game Studies, volume 1

Analog game studies vol 1Your theoretical injection of the day: ETC Press has announced the first collected volume of Analog Game Studies, edited by Aaron Trammell, Evan Torner and Emma Leigh Waldron.

Contents:

Foreword
Reinventing Analog Game Studies: Introductory Manifesto

ANALYSIS
“Fun in a Different Way”: Rhythms of Engagement and Non-Immersive Play Agendas – Nick Mizer

Strategies for Publishing Transformative Board Games – Will Emigh

Misogyny and the Female Body in Dungeons & Dragons – Aaron Trammell

The Playing Card Platform – Nathan Altice

Orientalism and Abstraction in Eurogames – Will Robinson

DOCUMENTATION
From Where Do Dungeons Come? – Aaron Trammell

Larp-as-Performance-as-Research – Emma Leigh Waldron

Sex and Play-Doh: Exploring Women’s Sexuality Through Larp – Katherine Castiello Jones

O Jogo do Bicho: Pushing the Boundaries of Larp in Brazil – Luiz Falcão

A Nighttime Tale of Xiros – Adam Lazaroff

Visual Design as Metaphor: The Evolution of a Character Sheet – Jason Morningstar

EXPERIMENTATION AND DESIGN
Uncertainty in Analog Role-Playing Games – Evan Torner

Post-Larp Depression – Sarah Lynne Bowman and Evan Torner

Rules for Writing Rules: How Instructional Design Impacts Good Game Design – Ibrahim Yucel

Storium’s Analog Heritage – Lillian Cohen-Moore

Regarding Board Game Errata – Jan Švelch

The Curse of Writing Autobiographical Games – Lizzie Stark