Educators: don’t forget to register for the Summit

The Higher Education Video Game Alliance is joining us on Gotland at the end of May!

There is still some room in the Game Educators Summit. Are you too pressed for time to attend the full Summit + GGC? We have a suggestion!

Why not attend just the last two days: Tue 30 – Wed 31. That will get you the final day of the GGC show floor, with awards and mingle (= get to know everyone), and the summit working day on 31/5. You can even make the evening flight or ferry back that same day.

So if you are teaching university level game design- och development and haven’t already done so, please:

We – Uppsala University and HEVGA – hope to see you there!

Digitala Gotland 2017

Adam Mayes at Digitala Gotland 2017
Our local computer shop arranges an IT exhibition every year. For 2017 they rechristened it “Digitala Gotland” and moved down to Wisby Strand – literally across the street from campus. So they reached out and invited us to their show floor and scene program, which were happy to avail ourselves off. 🙂

A few of our students put up three new games for the public to try out, while Adam Mayes spoke, twice, about the promising research done on using games as therapy and a tool for social work.

Adam Mayes at Digitala Gotland 2017

A Dangerous Game? Problematic Aspects of Digital Gaming

This is the fifth symposium on digital games hosted by the Swedish Museum of Science and Technology. This time we were discussing game addiction / problematic gaming. Patrick Prax – now officially representing our favorite Department of Game Design – shared his research, taking a holistic approach to treatment.

“Rather than taking games away, we need to add life back.”

Patrick Prax at the symposium "A Dangerous Game? Problematic Aspects of Digital Gaming"
“Focusing only on the screen, the game, or even the gamer in treating (or even diagnosing) problem gaming is paradigmatically wrong.”
– Patrick Prax

From the program

More people than ever before are playing digital games. For many it is just an enjoyable leisure activity but games and gaming are also associated with concerns about gaming addiction, violent content and problematic representation as well as hate speech and harassment among players.

The Swedish Media Council report on youth media use (2012) showed that digital games was the media category young people felt most concerned about and was most favorable about age limits for. It was also the media category they felt adults were least interested in.

Is there such a thing as digital gaming addiction and if so, how common is it? Are the gamers affected by violent content and values expressed in games? What are the judicial aspects of harassment in online games? Is the talk of “problematic gaming” just a part of a moral panic? These are some of the questions that will be discussed by our invited speakers at this symposium.

The schedule (for future reference):
9:30-10:00 Registration and fika (coffee).
10:00-10:10 Introduction and Welcome - Peter Du Rietz, Curator at the National Museum of Science and Technology, Tekniska museet.
10:10-11:00 The multiple dimensions of video game effects: Getting beyond dichotomous thinking - Douglas Gentile. Professor of Psychology, Media Research Lab, Iowa State University
11:00-11:30 Behavioral addictions as a Trojan horse - Karin Helmersson Bergmark, Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology, Stockholm University
11:30-12:30 LUNCH
12:30-13:00 Un-pausing your life: Problem Gaming from the Perspective of Treatment - Patrick Prax, Department of Informatics and Media, Uppsala university.
13:00-13:30 My life as a gaming addict - Fredrik Reis-Nilsson, Gaming addict.
13:30-14:20 Dark game design patterns: Engaging or exploiting the player? - Faltin Karlsen, Professor of Media Studies at Westerdals Oslo School of Arts, Communication and Technology.
14:20-14:50 FIKA (coffee)
14:50-15:20 Cyber hate – Cyber crime? - Amanda Redin, the Swedish Institute of Law and Internet.
15:20-15:50 Gaming culture and the struggle against hate speech - Alexander Hallberg, SVEROK (The Swedish Gaming Federation)
15:50-16:30 Panel discussion

The votes are in, and the fifth talk is…

Bonnie Ruberg at the GGC 2011
Bonnie Ruberg at the GGC 2011

Our fifth speaker presented us with not just one idea, but four(!). We wanted all of them, natch, and the arguing about which one to pick was so fierce we just decided to abdicate our responsibility and let someone else choose. You all voted in our Facebook poll and the result was 40% for a critical examination of so called “empathy games”.

So Bonnie Ruberg – founder of the Queerness and Games Conference, academic overachiever per-excellence and a well known fan-favorite of ours – is coming to GGC to talk about games that allow players to experience the lives of the marginalized. These games, designed to be immersive, impactful, and socially meaningful, run the risk of being appropriative. As Robert Yang recently put it; “If you walk in someone else’s shoes, then you’ve taken their shoes.” So Bonnie will help us look at the problems with game empathy, and methods of solving these problems.

The full abstract has been added to the existing line-up for your perusal.

So let us just gush about Bonnie for a while, because we have been fan-girling over following Bonnie for quite some time! We had her on the island back in 2010 when she ran a full day workshop with our students, about bravely (yet responsibly!) approaching sex and gender representation in their game designs.

From Bonnie Ruberg’s 2010 workshop “Re-Doing Sex/Gender in Games” on campus Gotland

Then we had her back for the keynote at GGC 2011 where she talked about close reading video games – because there is no such as thing as taking your entertainment media too seriously! More recently her work with the Queerness and Games Conference have contributed greatly in helping us make not only our education, but also this conference as inclusive, welcoming and safe as possible!

In short; we like Bonnie quite a lot, and we think you will too. 🙂 We are extremely happy to have her back, and slightly embarrassed it’s been so long!

Thank you Bonnie, and thanks to everyone who participated in the poll! We hope you take the opportunity to see Bonnie deliver the presentation live next month!