The department of Game Design at Uppsala University, campus Gotland
This is the highly informal blog of the GAME-department. We use it mostly to document the things we do outside of running one of the worlds strongest game educations. For information about our education, programs and courses, check the official site at Uppsala University.
Join us in the water (you will be soon anyway…)! The world is burning, and Gotland being swallowed by the sea. As Campus Gotland will be under water soon we might as well get used to lectures in the water right now!
Put on your swimming gear, bring a towel, and join us for a climate protest and a swimming lecture on digital games and (un-)sustainability.
Wednesday 11th of September at 11:00 at Kallbadhuset Visby
Despite how often game developers talk about games for sustainability and social change, we tend to close our eyes tightly to the ways in which games are contributing, materially and culturally, to this catastrophe. Patrick Prax, at the Department of Game Design, will explain why this is and what we can do.
This lecture is open to the general public but will be particularly relevant to students at Campus Gotland who are interested in questions of sustainable development and/or game design.
No previous knowledge is required.
The lecture will be in English and is expected to take 30-45 minutes.
The semester starts on Monday the 2nd of September, so we thought it’d be nice to put together a collection of resources that will make your time studying here way, way easier.
Free WiFi all over the world:
eduroam (education roaming) is the secure, world-wide roaming access service developed for the international research and education community. After setting it up on your devices, it’ll provide free WiFi at airports, schools, university campuses, libraries and thousands of other Wi-Fi hotspots around the world!
Uppsala University uses OnTheHub to deliver software from many different publishers, with substantial rebates and sometimes entirely for free. Adobe Creative Cloud, GitLab, JetBrains, Microsoft Office etc. might be particularly useful to you.
CampusGotlandGAME on Facebook – more than 700 alumni, students and faculty socialize in this group. It is great for job opportunities, events, networking and the occasional announcements about guest lectures and such. It is NOT an official university group and you should not expect teachers to reply to any of your questions on facebook (use the faculty email or slack).
The group is run by former students and filled with industry professionals, so do not spam the group with course-related questions. Current students are encouraged to set up groups for their own year separately – like GAME 2014, GAME 2016, etc. Before applying to the group: please update your Facebook profile to mention that you’re studying at Uppsala University, at the Department of Game Design (otherwise the admin might not let you in).
gotlandgame.slack.com – many teachers use Slack in their courses, and to quickly reach students or organize group discussions. Join the campus-wide channels like #general, #speldesign, #programming and whatever else you find interesting, too. 🙂
We use TimeEdit to schedule our regular course lectures. That’s the best place for you to check when and where you are supposed to be! You can log on to TimeEdit to create your own custom views, but here are a couple of useful ones ready-made for you:
The Christmas hiatus is between December 20th (last day of teaching) and January 7th (first day of teaching). You are likely to have assignments that can be done without physical presence between these two dates.
University is hard enough at the best of time – do not struggle alone through illness, depression, anxiety or any other crisis!
The Student Health Service is the students’ own health care. Uppsala University has psychologists, counsellors and a doctor, all specialized in mental health. If you need support or counselling, they are there for you – use them!
Diagnosis like aspergers, autism, ADHD, dyslexia etc. might make you eligible for extra support in your classes. Such support can take the form of more time on tests or deadlines, more accessible literature, lecture slide handouts, special equipment, study assistance, etc. etc.
The first step for getting all the support we can offer (and that is your right!), is to visit the Student Health Service.
Curious about what else GAME students have won? Check out the award database! It lists all awards won by students from the Department of Game Design – international, national and regional. Alumni of the Year is listed separately (as is the alumni statistics – if you want to check out what type of jobs our students end up in).
The lectures are open to the public and all GAME-students are strongly recommended to attend.
Where: B51, Campus Gotland When: Wed 22nd of May, 13:00 – 15:00
Storytelling, game design and history
In my introductory talk, I am taking the opportunity to compare two of my favorite projects: I will discuss “Something Wicked” – a game project that serves as an example for how my passions for storytelling, game design and history can productively coalesce and inform each other. Something Wicked was a collaboration with Elizabeth Hunter, at the time a theater PhD student at Northwestern University in Chicago. It is a video game adaptation of the Norwegian invasion from William Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
The other project is “Cure Runners”, a collaboration with Three Coins and Ovos Media, that teaches financial literacy. The game is set in a not-so-alternate timeline in which a forgotten island in the Pacific Ocean emerges from cold-war-era oblivion.
I am looking forward to illustrating my approach to narrative and game design exemplifying these very different cases.
Deep Game Design & The Alchemy of Play
I think of games as interactive Pensieves. Pensieves are an invention by J.K. Rowling. They are magical basins into which you can put excess thoughts from your mind to see them more clearly, understand new connections. That’s what games are to me. What I look for, when I choose a game to play. What I strive for, when I design one: projective possibility spaces to better understand our Inner World, allowing an investigation of the Human Condition by making salient aspects of it manifest through rules, mechanics, art, and sound.
But games are not just passive receptacles you dump ideas into. They afford active engagement of these ideas in an embodied, enacted, experiential way. And as such, they are far less obedient and arguably much more magical than the humble Pensive! You don’t just look at a game and watch its ideas and themes unfold. You step into the current and are transformed – as player and designer – through the alchemy of play.
As designer and research, I want to unlock the secrets of this play alchemy. I do so by exploring how games can leverage the mind-body connection; how they can speak to our unconscious through mythical themes and ritualistic game mechanics; how they can raise questions rather than give answers by way of letting us act upon evocative possibility spaces; how they can touch us emotionally, disturb and confront us, so we see life with fresh eyes, we wake up to our own existence, and become more aware of the lived experiences of others.
There is much to do still, in regards to articulating design approaches that harness this alchemy of play. This intro talk is meant to provide a glimpse into how I think about games, why I believe they are the coolest medium on this planet and what I hope to explore further with students and colleagues at the UU games department on beautiful, magical Gotland.
Where: B51, Campus Gotland When: Wed 22nd of May, 13:00 – 15:00