Conference sessions so far

Audience at GGC 2016 sessions
So far, we have a one-two punch of Chris Franklin and Doris Rusch: Chris will lay the foundation of a platform study, arguing that computational devices funnels us towards spatial simulation and conflict – partially explaining the early decades of simplistic violence in our video games.

Then Doris will follow up and show how we might resist this technological determinism, bringing metaphor and nuance into our digital systems.

There have a big-picture talk from the father of MMO’s – Richard Bartle – about the surprising interweaving of human rights and the virtual worlds we create.

We contrast Bartle’s massive scope with a deeply personal and intimate design lecture by Sabine Harrer – using lessons learned from developing Jocoi, a game about pregnancy loss, to teach us about the power of grief in games.

So that’s the first four in place! There’s four more slots to fill in the coming weeks – stay tuned. 🙂

UPDATE 2017-04-12: slot 5 is in place!

The theme is up!

The theme of the conference has been set – we call it M for Mature for short. Let me share a piece by Doris C. Rusch that helped inspire this choice;

“It wasn’t too long ago that a US court ruled that games were not worthy of first amendment protection. They were not understood as adequately expressive or communicative to justify it. Now, games are seen and studied as vehicles for meaning generation. They are a corner stone of our social practices and play a large role in our identity formation. Tell me what you play, and I tell you who you are. They make us think about life in ways that are just as profound as reading poetry or philosophical source texts. Games are truly coming of age […]”

“But it is not just the games themselves that are ‘growing up’ – it’s the players, too. It takes a generation for every new medium to be taken seriously. We trust games to be deep and meaningful, to have the potential of moving us profoundly, of making us think about life, the universe and everything. Attitude has a lot to do with it. It’s easy to be cynical, to claim games are just for kids. Or to be fearful and object to the medium because some of its messages and representations might be concerning.”

But like the special issue journal Rusch is writing about here, we too can have a grown up discourse about a grown up medium! The GGC 2017 will see conversations ranging from human rights and virtual worlds, to how we can broach the topics of sexuality, intimacy and, indeed, sex in video games. We want to try and problematize our reliance on “gaming literacy”, and look at designing for “non-gaming” (or “normal”) people. And, always, with an eye towards social issues, power and equality.

Thus; M for Mature.

And there will be juicy bits. 🙂

Student projects selected for alt.ctrl.GDC

Every year, the best and brightest of the game industry gather in San Francisco for the Game Developers Conference (GDC). As part of the 5 day event the organizers also host alt.ctrl.GDC – an on-site showcase of unique games built around alternative control schemes and interactions. Or in their own words: “a chance to play some of the most inventive and innovative games around using unique, one-of-a-kind controllers.”

This year, two of our student teams will be present! Among the only 20 finalists chosen, our first-year teams Cryptogram and Zombie Crawler both made the cut and thus will be travelling to the US this spring and exhibit their games alongside a long time friend of the department; developer, all round creative, and now teacher – Jerry Belich.

This is a fantastic opportunity for our students to present their games on an international stage, and we’re incredibly proud and happy that they can represent the education in San Francisco.

You might have played these games at the Gotland Game Conference 2016 (What? You weren’t there? Why not? You should be here for 2017.), or at Comicon in Stockholm, earlier this autumn.

If you missed those events, you can look at the gallery here and see what you missed out on. 🙂