Visiting lecture: Jaroslav Švelch

Jaroslav Švelch (picture)

Jaroslav Švelch, pictured in OASIS

A visiting CoE-GameCult scholar lecture took place in 14th November in OASIS at the University of Tampere. The talk was by Jaroslav Švelch, titled “Amateur adaptations of ‘professional’ games: Manic Miner and Flappy in 1980s Czechoslovakia”. Dr Švelch currently works in the University of Bergen, and he has a book coming our in The MIT Press: Gaming the Iron Curtain (see more here: https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/gaming-iron-curtain).

Call for Papers: Urban Play

The 15th annual University of Tampere Game Research Lab Spring Seminar focuses on Urban Play.

Urban spaces offer a rich environment for a diversity of play practices, from location-based games to parkour and from hopscotch to chess in parks. Historically, cities have offered rich affordances for games and play, but in recent years the spread of ubiquitous and pervasive technology has transformed and diversified public play. The extension of ‘smart’ devices and technologies into the urban environment – smartphones, sensors, and automated systems – open up new possibilities for networked play. At the same time, these platforms also control and constrain human movement and behaviour, sometimes unconsciously through opaque algorithms imposed by city authorities or technology vendors.

Play in public spaces became especially visible after Pokémon Go was launched, after which location-based games arose from margin to mainstream. Public play has also become something municipalities encourage, through games festivals and city-funded game projects. But there are also less visible, secret and norm-defying, forms of play constantly taking place. Spontaneous street activities, urban sports, and small-scale games produce micro-level but nonetheless important impacts on the everyday urban environment.

We are seeking submissions from scholars studying different aspects of urban play. In addition to game studies-oriented research, we particularly invite papers that focus on less visible groups and activities which challenge the way we think about public/urban play and which are not necessarily game-related. Prominent work is done in many fields ranging from player studies to design research and from digital humanities to architecture, urbanism, social sciences and beyond. The seminar encourages contributions relating to all types of urban games and play, be they digital, non-digital, or hybrid.

The possible list of topics includes but is not limited to:

  • Playful architecture and urban design
  • Smart city, ludic city
  • Location-based and augmented reality games
  • Histories of play in cities
  • Street sports
  • Playgrounds, amusement parks, stadiums, and other playful spaces
  • Locative educational, tourism, and heritage applications
  • Pervasive larp
  • Representation and discourses around urban play
  • Norm-defying urban play
  • Peri-urban and rural play
  • Representations of the urban in games
  • Playful algorithms of power in cities
  • Digital, hybrid, and non-digital urban games

Urban Play is the 15th annual spring seminar organized by Tampere University Game Research Lab. The seminar emphasises work-in-progress submissions, and we strongly encourage submitting late breaking results, working papers, as well as submissions from graduate and PhD students. The purpose of the seminar is to have peer-to-peer discussions and thereby provide support in refining and improving research work in this area. The seminar is organized in collaboration with the Center of Excellence in Game Culture Studies.

The papers to be presented will be chosen based on extended abstract review. Full papers are distributed prior the event to all participants, in order to facilitate discussion. The seminar will be chaired by Professor Frans Mäyrä, and there will be two invited expert commentators, Dr Dale Leorke (University of Tampere) and another commentator to be announced later. The seminar will be held in Vapriikki, the museum center that hosts The Finnish Museum of Games.

The seminar is looking into partnering with a journal so that the best papers would be invited to be further developed for publication in a special journal issue. In the past we have collaborated with Games and CultureSimulation & GamingInternational Journal of Role-Playing and ToDiGRA journals.

Submission guidelines

The papers will be selected for presentation based on extended abstracts of 500-1000 words (plus references). Abstracts should be delivered in PDF format. Please use 12 pt Times New Roman, double-spaced, for your text. Full paper guidelines will be provided with the notification of acceptance.

Our aim is that all participants can familiarise themselves with the papers in advance. Therefore, the maximum length for a full paper is 5000 words (plus references). The seminar presentations should encourage discussion, instead of repeating the information presented in the papers. Every paper will be presented for 10 minutes and discussed for 20 minutes.

Submissions should be sent to: gamestudiesseminar@gmail.com.

Important dates:

  • Abstract deadline: January 18, 2019
  • Notification of acceptance: February 4, 2019
  • Full Paper deadline: March 25, 2019
  • Seminar dates: April 15-16, 2019

See more on https://urbanplayseminar.wordpress.com/.

Group photo from the get-together 20.8.2018

Centre of Excellence starts the fall with a get-together in Tampere

The Centre of Excellence in Game Culture Studies has started its operation in the beginning of the year, and after hiring several new researchers, the big consortium is now up to full speed.

In 20th August an important event took place, when almost 40 games researchers gathered at Tampere to discuss the goals of the Centre of Excellence and the plans for reaching those goals.

A few more researchers will still join us during the coming months, but its not a common sight to see tens of games researchers, all either employed or affiliated with one research initiative. International reinforcements have been hired to Jyväskylä, Tampere and Turku to strengthen their already strong focus on games research.

There are already plans going ahead, focusing on several specific topics within the CoE GameCult research temes, like studying Overwatch, eSports, live-action role-playing games, and fandoms around games, to name just a few examples of the research underway in the Centre of Excellence.

If you’re interested in what the Centre of Excellence is up to, you can follow us on Twitter, subscribe to this blog’s feed or come see us e.g. in Jyväskylä, in the Seminar on eSports, Exergaming, and Fantasy Leagues (in November 22nd–23rd, 2018).

DiGRA 2018

photo of DiGRA 2018 venue: Campus Luigi Einaudi – CLE; Università di Torino, Turin, Italy

DiGRA 2018 venue: Campus Luigi Einaudi – CLE; Università di Torino, Turin, Italy

The CoE-GameCult was strongly present in the Digital Games Research Association’s (DiGRA) 2018 conference, which took place in Turin, Italy, in 25-28 August, 2018.

There were over ten CoE-GameCult researchers talking and presenting their work in the conference, including Frans Mäyrä, Olli Sotamaa, Jaakko Suominen, Aleena Chia, Jan Svelch, Katriina Heljakka, Heikki Tyni, Niklas Nylund, Maria Ruotsalainen, Maria B. Garda, Jonne Arjoranta, and Jaakko Stenros.

Here is link to the conference program: https://easychair.org/smart-program/DIGRA2018/.

ICory Project Kick-Off at the New Children’s Hospital

The new ICory (Intelligent Customer-driven Solution for Orthopedic and Pediatric Surgery Care) research project’s kick-off meeting was held on 28th May in Helsinki. As a new, CoE-GameCult affiliated project, ICory is about digitization and gamification of patient journey for orthopedic and pediatric surgery. The Game Research Lab of University of Tampere is part of the research consortium and will focus on the gamification aspect.

During the kick-off meeting we had the opportunity to visit the New Children’s Hospital in Helsinki. Here is a picture from the main entrance lobby.

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Annual conference: Pelitutkimuksen päivä 2018

The CoE GameCult researchers were active in organising the Pelitutkimuksen päivä 2018 – the annual conference of games research in Finland. Professor Raine Koskimaa chaired the event in University of Jyväskylä in 4th May 2018, and the special theme of the event was focused on eSports. The annual thesis awards were delivered there, and the day started with the Spring meeting of the Finnish Society for Game Research (Suomen pelitutkimuksen seura).

The full program is here (in Finnish): https://www.jyu.fi/hytk/fi/laitokset/mutku/tutkimus/konferenssit-seminaarit/pelitutkimuksen-paiva-2018.
Below are some photos from the event: