Tuesday, 30 September 2008

What I did today apart from play WipEout HD

First Call for Papers

DiGRA 2009

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

Brunel University, West London, United Kingdom, Tuesday 1st September -- Friday 4th September 2009

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




Graduate Student Roundtable Papers

Initial selection will be through the peer review of abstracts of 500-700 words in all categories. Panel and Workshop proposals should include abstracts for the contributions of all participants.

Individual or collaborative papers – addressing topics relevant to the wide remit of DiGRA (including therefore industry, education, political, social, theoretical concerns appropriate to the association). Presentations should be limited to 15-20 mins.

Panel proposals – 3 – 4 papers which address a common theme, a common research method, a shared conceptual issue etc.

Workshops – proposals are invited for 2 – 3 hour workshops that address a range of themes relevant to the aims of the association. Workshops that are particularly targeted at a wide audience are most welcome.

Poster sessions – presentations of work in progress in the format are most welcome and will be showcased throughout the event.

The conference committee are also interested in including featured symposia/colloquia to address particular ‘late-breaking’ research projects or issue-based topics (an example might be a colloquia based around Wii research or a symposium based around Women in Games). Please contact a member of the conference organising committee with any expressions of interest.

Graduate student participation
In order to support graduate students and early career researchers the conference will focus on graduate student issues on its opening day, 1st September 2009. We therefore ask for volunteers for mentoring sessions from established academics. For those graduate students whose research is at an early stage, and who wish to work with mentors, we invite work in progress proposals for presentations at mentor roundtables. Such roundtable participation, however, should in no way be seen as preventing graduate students putting in abstracts for other forms of participation.


Please also indicate your preference for consideration in one of the following broad strands:

Games Culture

Games and Commerce

Games Aesthetics

Games Technology

Games Education

Games Design

Games and Public Policy

Games and Theory

Key Dates

Deadline for all abstracts and workshop/panel/symposia proposals: Friday 17 April 5pm GMT

Deadline for full papers for inclusion in digital proceedings: Friday 26 June 2009 5pm GMT

Notification of abstract acceptance: June 1 2009

Conference Dates: 1-4th September 2009

Abstracts should be of 500-700 words and include an additional indicative bibliography. Full paper submissions may be of up to 6,000 words. Full details of the submissions procedure, including the method of electronic submission, will be published here and on other forums as soon as possible.

All contributions must be original, unpublished work. The conference language is English, and papers, abstracts and other proposals should be written in English.

Delegates are also advised that individuals will be limited to one paper presentation and one other form of presentation to allow space and time for the largest number of participants.

About the Conference Location

Brunel University is located conveniently near Heathrow Airport and is on the London Tube system. A range of affordable accommodation is available on campus, including 1500 en suite rooms all on one campus, 400 standard bedrooms, 8 holiday flats (5-7 persons per flat), 51 specially adapted rooms for people with disabilities, plus hotel standard rooms in the Lancaster Suite. The Brunel Conference Centre boasts 22 theatres, 29 classrooms and 5 seminar rooms all presented to the highest standard. The following are also available: Free car parking (on application); Full office support for photocopying, faxing, internet and word processing (on application); Comprehensive range of audio visual and media services; Mini market; Pharmacy; Banking facilities; Reference library; Sports Facilities; Fitness Suite; Medical centre; 24 hour security; Self service cafeteria; Licensed bars and cafes. There are also a range of restaurants, cinemas and shopping in Uxbridge town.

Local attractions

Historic Windsor & Eton -Windsor Castle, Legoland and shopping are just 20 minutes drive away London - Central London and West End are easily accessed by bus or Underground. Historic Oxford is a 40 minute bus ride away.

The Conference Organisers

The conference is being hosted by a consortium consisting of Brunel University, University of the West of England, and the University of Wales, Newport.

Tanya Krzywinska, Professor of Screen Media, Brunel University. Tanya.Krzywinska@brunel.ac.uk

Helen Kennedy, Chair of the Play Research Group, University of the West of England. helen.kennedy@uwe.ac.uk

Barry Atkins, University of Wales Reader in Computer Games Design, University of Wales, Newport. barry.atkins@newport.ac.uk

Monday, 8 September 2008

Space, the Final Bit

Sporous thoughts. Rushed too fast at the game and got up into space. I always wondered how a game-that-was-4-games would play, and I guess my initial instinct that it would alienate almost everyone at least somewhere along the line was right, at least in the very limited sample of one that I have to hand. In converstion (ie, I have never checked the reference) I would evoke Stephen Hawking and his publisher's (?)injunction that he remove as many equations as possible from A Brief History of Time because his audience would halve each time one appeared. I kind of thought that the same would be true of a shift in gameplay control or focus, and I do have radically different responses to each of the parts so far. Cell level is pretty and relaxing, but feels fairly pointless to me, although my 7 year old daughter is a fan. Next stage was interesting enough as I boogied and waggled my butt to get through without getting violent once (and it was fun to play through with the junior game critic that is my daughter). The Civilised stage was a pushover as I tankrushed the planet, but with religous texts blaring from loudspeakers on my Converto-Wagon. Somehow I have gone interstellar as an evangelical godsquad herbivore, which is certainly playing against type. I'll see if I can dig up some screenshots and add in a while, but I am aware that I rushed the design side, which is where the real glory of the tools rest. Having helped aformentioned daughter (who, come to think about it is perhaps slightly overexposed to games) in MySims for the Wii it was all very familliar, but slightly more adult. Closer to Duplo than Mechano, and a long way from Maya, Max, or even SketchUp, but interesting enough to twiddle with if I wasn't being such a gamer in a hurry all the time. Hummm. More thought required.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

TR: Underworld

Ah, Lara. I continue to have an emotional attachment to the woman. If it wasn't for her I would still be a lecturer in English Literature...

Anyway, there is intelligent and considered commentary on the next Tomb Raider up on Gamasutra. This kind of developer conversation, that is featured a lot on Gamsutra, makes me think the future is not quite as bleak for games as I am sometimes given to think in the small hours when I look up at the now-no-longer-next gen games I have on the shelf and decide to boot something retro on the Wii or PSN.

Back now to Spore and the nagging feeling that I am kind of missing the point. I seem to have created a race of Jar Jar Binks-alikes, and somehow don't have the energy to do anything more than drive them to extinction. I remember when I got The Movies I sinned by accessing a cheat code so that I could go straight to making films, and feel I might have done something similar (although sans cheats) by rushing my species to the point of the game I am most interested in, rather than giving it the attention it probably deserves.

Not sure I particularly want to go back to the primordial soup, however, but we'll see.