Reading Video Games like Literature

Reading Video Games like Literature (the Mario as Hamlet picture was <a href="">created by Benjamin Burger</a>)
Whole books have been written about Hamlet’s famous six words, “To be or not to be,” yet not one page has been published on the implications of Mario’s even more economic proclamation, “It’s-a me, Mario!” That literature is an art form worthy of analysis is a fact we take for granted; we teach novels in school, we memorize poetry, we sit in book clubs and try to figure out what it all means. But what would happen if we turned that lens of “close reading” onto video games?

A different kind of art form, games may not always be as serious as Hamlet’s brooding over life and death — but they have just as much offer the scholar (or even the average player) who takes them seriously. Katamari’s roll becomes a metaphor, a character’s CGI rendering becomes a symbol, and enormous unexplored worlds of interpretation open up to us in games we may have played again and again but we have never really read.

Note: the Mario as Hamlet picture was created by Benjamin Burger.

David vs. GoliathVille: A Call to Arms for Indie Social Game Developers

David vs. GoliathVille: A Call to Arms for Indie Social Game Developers
As the social gaming space is increasingly dominated by major players, we as an industry already run the risk of stagnation in our newest field. Intended as a call to arms for indies, this talk seeks to dispel the myths surrounding what “success” means in social game development. Market share is not the only winning path — no matter what the VC’s tell us — and we’ll break down how indies are in a unique position to innovate, take risks, move fast, and push the medium forward in a way that the lumbering goliaths are unable (or unwilling) to do.

Probable Cause: Using Random Chance in Games (CANCELLED)

Probable Cause: Using Random Chance in Games

Predictability in game AI has often been cited as a drawback to gameplay and especially replayability. In some genres sports games, for example randomness is a necessary component to generate believable results. Often, it simply provides needed variety. Sometimes, however, randomness in game behavior can cause problems if it fails to align with the player’s expectations. This lecture will show examples of the sometimes quirky ways that people perceive randomness, show the pros and cons of using randomness in game systems, and give concrete techniques for mitigating some of the problems that truly random sequences can generate.

It is almost equally a design talk as it is a programming talk.

Brian Schwab (Blizzard Entertainment)

VII Dama Workshop, June 6-15

Gotland University is hosting the seventh DAMA (Dance and Media Art) workshop. Through the DAMA network, this workshop is open to the participating institutions. The workshop takes place in Visby in June 06-15, and students will work together in groups, leading to a final performance/presentation.

Time: 06.6.2011 – 15.6.2011
Place: Visby. Gotland. Sweden. Gotland University. Institution of Game Design, Technology and Learning. GAME Department.
Duration: 10 days
Level: Intermediate/advanced
Working language: English
Recognition: 5 ECTS. Students should confirm that the course can be accepted into their studies at their home university.

Course description

Course goal:
The 10 days intensive Course provides students with knowledge about the common ground between dance, games and media, and encourages to learn more about other students’ disciplines. The students work together in groups, creating an game based performance or interactive experience as the final work.

Content and methods:
The course will focus on the space between dance/theatre and games: where games become art and dance/theatre becomes interactive. Techniques from the dance/theatre will be used to design new games and interactive (game) techniques will be used to make dance/theatre. The student will research and develop a cross-over between games and performance. S/he will learn to deal with different soft- and hardware and theatrical techniques. S/he will learn to work in a team or as a collective on artistic and innovative concepts and how to adjust them to an artistic context. The development of and experimenting with innovative concepts of virtual theatre and games is a central issue here. Dance students will benefit both by using theatre techniques as well as game development theories for choreography exercises. It will extend the issue of connectivity between movement and content in the choreographic dance work.

All information, application procedure and contacts are available in this PDF.
Preliminary course plan for the workshop.