Theme 6: Cultural and Social Interactions

THEME LEADER
Colin Milburn, UC Davis
ASSOCIATE LEADER
Neil Randall, University of Waterloo

Where do games end and “real life” begin? In a culture undergoing rapid “gamification,” is this distinction even relevant anymore? Here we seek to explore, How do games affect other dimensions of society and culture (and vice versa)?

Projects include, for example:

  • Government/business/labour: What impacts do/can games have on work, business, and politics?
  • Public understanding of science and technology: How can we use games to help the public understand new science and technologies?
  • Games/crowdsourcing for non-game purposes: How can we leverage games to encourage participation in scientific activities?
  • GPS and location-based technologies and gaming: How can we make travel more fun?
  • Gamer culture, social interaction, and virtual communities: How does social interaction influence gameplay experience? Do positive social interactions increase the immersive potential of games?

Publications & Presentations

You can search all of the publications and presentations on ‘Serious Games and Game Based Learning’ in the table below (start typing to get live results).

NameTitleThemeMediumInstitution 
Gallagher, Rob ‘Orphaning the PlayStation: A Call for Queerer Videogame Histories,’ Histoire du Jeu Symposium 2014: Cultural History of Video Games, Bibliotheque et Archives Nationales du Quebec, 27th June 2014. Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperConcordia
Chan, G., A. Whitehead, A. Parush "An Evaluation of Personality Type Pairings To Increase Video Game Enjoyment," In Proceedings of ACM SIGGRAPH-14 , Poster Session, Vancouver, B.C., Canada, August, 2014.Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperMultiple Institutions
Arya, Ali, Peggy Hartwick, Shawn Graham, Nuket Nowlan"Collaborating through Space and Time in Educational Virtual Environments: 3 Case Studies," Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy, October 2012Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperMultiple Institutions
Nguyen, Josef "Crafting Islands and Creativity." The Building Blocks of Life: A Minecraft Colloquium. Montreal, Quebec. February 13, 2015.Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperUC Davis
Nguyen, Josef "Crafting Islands and Innovation in Survival-Sandbox Videogames." Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts 2014 Conference: Fluid. Dallas, Texas: October 9-12, 2014Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperUC Davis
Gallagher, Rob"From Camp to Kitsch? A Queer Eye on Console Fandom." GAME: The Italian Journal of Game Studies vol.3, 2014: 39–50.Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperMultiple Institutions
Voorhees, G., J. Call and K. Whitlock"From Dungeons to Digital Denizens." In Dungeons, Dragons and Digital Denizens: Digital Role-playing Games, edited by G. Voorhees, J. Call and K. Whitlock, 11-24. NYC: Continuum International Publishing. 2012.Cultural and Social Interactions; Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsBook ChapterMultiple Institutions
Nguyen, Josef "Liveness and the Performance of the Videogame Player in We Plays [Let's Plays]." Society for Cinema and Media Studies 2015 Conference. Montreal, Quebec: March 25-29, 2015Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperUC Davis
Voorhees, G. "Monsters, Nazis and Tangos: The Normalization of the First-Person Shooter. "In Guns, Grenades and Grunts: First Person-Shooter Games, edited by G. Voorhees, J. Call and K. Whitlock, 89-111. NYC: Continuum International Publishing. 2012.Cultural and Social Interactions; Multimodality in the GameBook ChapterUWaterloo
Voorhees, G. "Neoliberal Multiculturalism in Mass Effect: The Government of Difference in Digital Role-Playing Games." In Dungeons, Dragons and Digital Denizens: Digital Role-playing Games, edited by Gerald Voorhees, Josh Call and Katie Whitlock, 259-277. NYC: Continuum International Publishing. 2012.Cultural and Social Interactions; Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsBook ChapterMultiple Institutions
Nguyen, Josef "Valuing Work and Play in Steam Trading Cards." Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association 2015 Annual Conference. New Orleans, Louisiana: April 1-4, 2015Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperUC Davis
Milburn, Colin “‘Ain’t No Way Offa This Train’: Final Fantasy VII and the Pwning of Environmental Crisis,” in Sustainable Media , eds. Janet Walker and Nicole Starosielski (London: Routledge, 2016). Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperUC Davis
Walschots, Natalie“#Bloodbornepoems: May The Good Blood Guide Your Way.” Canadian Games Studies Association Conference/the Congress of the Humanities & Social Sciences. University of Ottawa, June 3–5 2015.Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperConcordia
Lauteria, Evan “#homokore, #Miiquality, and the Limits of Queer Fan Practice.” Paper presented at the Queerness and Games Conference, October 25, University of California-Berkeley, Berkeley, CA.Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperMultiple Institutions
Bloom, Gina“Adapting Shakespearean Theater in Analog and Digital Games,” the Shakespeare Association of American conference, Vancouver, Canada (2015).Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperUC Davis
Phillips, Amanda“Bayonetta, Femme Disturbance, and AAA Queer Desires.” In Media Res, November 2014. http://mediacommons.futureofthebook.org/imr/2014/11/13/bayonetta-femme-disturbanceand-aaa-queer-desires.Cultural and Social InteractionsArticleUC Davis
Jong, Carolyn, & Joachim Despland“Beyond Indie: The political economy of an alternative games community.” Canadian Game Studies Association Conference. June 3–5, 2015. Ottawa, ON, Canada.Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperConcordia
Watson, Nic, Wershler, Darren and Simon, Bart “Block by Block: Minecraft and the Manufacture of Expertise." Society for Cinema and Media Studies conference, Montreal. March 29, 2015.Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperConcordia
Jong, Carolyn“Body and Race Mods.” Gender and Media. Concordia University. November 12, 2014. Cultural and Social InteractionsGuest LectureConcordia
Neff, Michael“Boundary interactions: resolving interdisciplinary collaboration challenges using digitized embodied performances”. With Flood, V. J., Neff, M., & Abrahamson, D. In T. Koschmann, P. Häkkinen, & P. Tchounikine (Eds.), Exploring the material conditions of learning: opportunities and challenges for CSCL, the Proceedings of the Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) Conference Gothenburg, Sweden: International Society of the Learning Sciences, 2015. Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperUC Davis
Simon, Bart “Close to the Code, Down by the River,” Minecraft Symposium, Concordia University (February 9, 2015)Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperConcordia
Walschots, Natalie“Designing Games in a Time of Hate.” Co-authored with Dr. Sandra Gabriele. Console-ing Passions, International Conference on Television, Video, Audio, New Media and Feminism. Marker Hotel, Dublin, June 18–20 2015.Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperConcordia
Robinson, W., and Bart Simon “Digital Creativity in Little Big Planet”, Tracés: Revue des Sciences Humaines, no. 28 (2015), 99–118. “Digital Creativity in Little Big Planet”, Tracés: Revue des Sciences Humaines, no. 28 (2015), 99–118. Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperMultiple Institutions
Bloom, Gina“Every Body Can Play: Reclaiming Histrionic Gesture in a Digital Theater Game,” American Society for Theatre Research conference, Portland, OR (2015).Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperUC Davis
Phillips, Amanda“Feminism and Procedural Content Generation: Toward a Collaborative Politics of Computational Creativity.” Coauthored with Gillian Smith, Michael Cook, and Tanya Short. Digital Creativity 27.1 (2016) Special issue, “Post-Anthropocentric Creativity,” ed. Stanislav Roudavski and Jon McCormack. 82-97.Cultural and Social Interactions; Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsJournal ArticleUCDavis
Lauteria, Evan “Final Fantasy Doesn’t Smell: Japanese Role-Playing Games, European Medievalism, and ‘Culturally Odorless’ Globalization.” IMMERSe Medievalism and Video Games Symposium, May 3, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA.Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperMultiple Institutions
Walschots, Natalie “Finish him!: The feminist battle for Gamergate victory isn’t done.” This Magazine. http://this.org/magazine/2015/03/10/finish-him/ March 10, 2015.Cultural and Social InteractionsArticleMultiple Institutions
Lauteria, Evan “Game Production as a Cultural Field: Nintendo vs. Sega in the Transnational Market.” Paper presented at the joint annual meeting of the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association, April 3, New Orleans, LA.Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperMultiple Institutions
Whitson J., and Bart Simon“Game Studies meets Surveillance Studies at the Edge of Digital Culture: An Introduction to a special issue on Surveillance, Games and Play." Surveillance & Society, 12:3 (2014), 309–319.Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperMultiple Institutions
Phillips, Amanda“Game Time!” Climate Justice Futures, Crossroads Fellowship Program. Santa Barbara, CA, May 2015.Cultural and Social InteractionsInvited TalkUC Davis
Phillips, Amanda“GameCamp! by ModLab: Open Source Game Design Workshops.” #SyncDH: The 8th Annual Transcriptions Research Slam. Santa Barbara, CA, May 9, 2015.Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperUC Davis
Milburn, Colin“Gaming the Game: Anonymous Ops.” Invited speaker for the conference Pan-Optics: Emerging Perspectives on Visual Privacy and Surveillance . UC Berkeley. 2014.Cultural and Social InteractionsInvited TalkUC Davis
Phillips, Amanda“Girling Avatars and Other Design Tricks: Shortcutting Diversity in Video Games.” Queerness and Games Conference. Berkeley, CA, October 2014.Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperUC Davis
Milburn, Colin “Green Gaming: Video Games and Environmental Risk,” in The Anticipation of Catastrophe: Environmental Risk in North American Literature and Culture , eds. Sylvia Mayer and Alexa Weik von Mossner (Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter, 2014), 201-219 . Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperUC Davis
Walschots, Natalie“I Am Very Tired: Affective Labour and the Politics of Exhaustion in the Context of #Gamergate.” Game History Annual Symposium. Grande Bibliothèque Montréal, June 27–28 2015.Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperConcordia
McEwan, G., Gutwin, C., Mandryk, R. L., & Nacke, L. E.“I’m Just Here to Play Games”: Social Dynamics and Sociality in an Online Game Site. In Proceedings of CSCW 2012 (pp. 549–558). Seattle, WA, United States: ACM. doi:10.1145/2145204.2145289. 2012.Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperMultiple Institutions
Philips, Amanda“Lady Bodies, Lady Brains: Feminine Robots, AIs, and Avatars in Video Games.” Whittier Digital Liberal Arts Center and Department of Mathematics. Whittier, CA, March 2015.Cultural and Social InteractionsInvited TalkUC Davis
Walschots, Natalie“Letting Down Your Garde: Representation of Alternative Sexuality in Indie Gaming.” Avant Canada. Brock University, November 5–7 2014. Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperConcordia
Milburn, Colin “Long Live Play: The PlayStation Network and Technogenic Life,” in Research Objects in Their Technological Setting , eds. Alfred Nordmann, Bernadatte Bensaude-Vincent, Sacha Loeve, and Astrid Schwartz (London: Routledge, 2016).Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperUC Davis
Werschler, Darren “Minecraft and the Management of Light.” The Building Blocks of Life: A Minecraft Colloquium. Concordia University, Montreal. February 13, 2015.Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperConcordia
Simon, Bart “Minecraft as Statecraft,” Festschrift for Chandra Mukerji, UCSD, San Diego, CA (June 6, 2014).Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperConcordia
Phillips, Amanda“Miscegenated Medievalism in Bayonetta.” Medievalism and Video Games Symposium. Davis, CA, May 2015.Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperUC Davis
Milburn, Colin“ModLab: Games of the Future.” Invited Speaker for the workshop Games and Virtual Environments . UC Irvine. 2015.Cultural and Social InteractionsInvited TalkUC Davis
Bloom, Gina“Performance-Based Approaches to Drama: Literary Studies in a STEM-to-STEAM Future,” Mellon Symposium on New Approaches to Teaching Literature, University of California, Los Angeles (2014). Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperUC Davis
Bloom, Gina“Performance-Based Approaches to Drama: Literary Studies in a STEM-to-STEAM Future,” Mellon Symposium on New Approaches to Teaching Literature, University of California, Los Angeles (2014). Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperUC Davis
Waldron, Emma“Playing for Intimacy: Love, Lust, and Desire in the Pursuit of Embodied Design.” With Aaron Trammell. In Rated M for Mature: Sex and Sexuality in Video Games, edited by Matthew Wysocki and Evan W. Lauteria, 177-193. New York: Bloomsbury, Cultural and Social InteractionsCultural and Social Interactions; Interactions and Gameplay Mechanics; Narrative and Dialogue in GamesBook ChapterMultiple Institutions
Phillips, Amanda“Playing the Digital Humanities: Game Design and Theory in the Academy.” HASTAC 2015. East Lansing, MI, May 2015.Cultural and Social InteractionsRoundtableUC Davis
Milburn, Colin“PlayStation Hacks and the ApocalyPSN.” Invited speaker for the History of Science colloquium series. Johns Hopkins University. 2014.Cultural and Social InteractionsInvited TalkUC Davis
Milburn, Colin“Portals and Doors: Video Games and the Subversion of Interiority.” The Art of Appropriation II: The Copy symposium. UC Davis. 2014.Cultural and Social InteractionsInvited TalkUC Davis
Milburn, Colin“Protein Games: Life on the Edge of Play.” Invited speaker for the “Cultures of Science” symposium. University of California, Riverside. 2014.Cultural and Social InteractionsInvited TalkUC Davis
Milburn, Colin“Science Fiction to the Core: Mythologies of the Gamer Community.” Invited Speaker for the workshop Science Fiction and Video Games . UC Riverside. 2015. Cultural and Social InteractionsInvited TalkUC Davis
Bloom, Gina“Shakespeare, the Videogame: Game Play as Theatrical Work,” Nevada Early Modern Organization, University of Nevada, Reno (2015).Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperUC Davis
Phillips, Amanda“Shooting to Kill: Headshots, Twitch Reflexes, and the Mechropolitics of Video Games.” Games and Culture, published online before print, October 2015. Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperUC Davis
Simon, Bart “Social Coordination and the Material Scaffolding of Imagination in Play,” Material Play Symposium, IT University, Denmark, Copenhagen (April 24, 2014).Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperConcordia
Phillips, Amanda“Techropolitics: Tropes of Death and Dying in Video Games.” American Studies Association Annual Meeting. Los Angeles, CA, November 2014.Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperUC Davis
Simon, Bart “The Duplication Machine: Theoretical Exploits”, CGSA/ACÉV Meeting, Ottawa (June 3–5, 2015)Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperConcordia
Bloom, Gina“The Historicist as Gamer.” In Shakespeare in our Time: The SAA 2016 Volume , eds. Dympna Callaghan and Suzanne Gossett (in press, Bloomsbury/Arden).Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperUC Davis
Waldron, Emma“The Pleasures of Adaptation in Ryan North’s To Be or Not to Be.” Analog Game Studies, 2.3. March 2015Cultural and Social InteractionsJournal ArticleMultiple Institutions
Jong, Carolyn“The Political Economy of Skyrim Modding Communities.” Media and New Technology. Concordia University. November 17, 2014.Cultural and Social InteractionsGuest LectureConcordia
Sinervo, Kalervo A. “The Unplundered Side of Piracy: on the Work Done by Comics Scanners.” Canadian Society for the Study of Comics 2014 Conference. May 10, 2014. Toronto, Canada. Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperConcordia
Sinervo, Kalervo A“Time is Money: social games and the engagement wheel.” Canadian Game Studies Association 2015 Conference. June 3, 2015. Ottawa, Canada.Cultural and Social Interactions; Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperConcordia
Bloom, Gina“Time to Cheat: Chess and The Tempest’s Performative History of Dynastic Marriage.” In A Handbook of Shakespeare and Embodiment: Gender, Sexuality, Race , ed. Valerie Traub (in press, Oxford University Press).Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperUC Davis
Simon, Bart “Unserious: Game Studies’ Failed Promise and the Rise of the Maker-Critic,” keynote Address, Critical Evaluation of Game Studies Conference, University of Tampere, Finland (April 28-30, 2014)Cultural and Social InteractionsKeynote AddressConcordia
Bloom, Gina“Videogame Shakespeare: Playing with Performance in a STEM-to-STEAM Future,” Symposium on Teaching Shakespeare, Dartmouth College, NH (2014).Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperUC Davis
Bloom, Gina“Videogame Shakespeare: Playing with Performance in a STEM-to-STEAM Future.” Shakespeare Works when Shakespeare Plays conference, Mondavi Center / UC Davis School of Education, Davis, CA (2015). Cultural and Social InteractionsKeynote AddressUC Davis
Phillips, Amanda“Welcome to MY Fantasy Zone: Bayonetta and Queer Femme Disturbance.” Queer Game Studies: Gender, Sexuality, and a Queer Approach to Game Studies, ed. Ben Aslinger, Bonnie Ruberg, Adrienne Shaw, and Staci Tucker. University of Minnesota Press, forthcoming 2016.Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperUC Davis
Weis, Martin“Whatever Happened to Roland? Borderlands and its Fandom.” IMMERSenaries Virtual Conference. December 5, 2014.Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. Paper
Walschots, Natalie“Women in Refrigerators, Hawkeye Initiatives, and the Ass-vengers: a recent history of gender representation in comics.” Co-authored with Kalervo Sinervo. Toronto Comic Arts Festival/The Reference Library, May 7–8 2015.Canadian Society for the Study of Comics. Toronto Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperConcordia
Johnson, D., Nacke, L. E., & Wyeth, P.All about that Base : Differing Player Experiences in Video Game Genres and the Unique Case of MOBA Games. In Proceedings of SIGCHI 2015 (pp. 2265–2274). Seoul, South Korea: ACM. doi:10.1145/2702123.2702447. 2015. Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperMultiple Institutions
Tondello, Gustavo F., Rina R. Wehbe, Samantha N. Stahlke, Amanda Leo, Rylan Koroluk, and Lennart E. NackeCHI PLAYGUE: A Networking Game of Emergent Sociality. In Proceedings of the 2015 Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play (CHI PLAY '15). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 791-794. DOI=http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2793107.2810265. 2015. Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperMultiple Institutions
Voorhees, G. with J. Call and K. Whitlock, Eds. Dungeons, Dragons and Digital Denizens: Digital Role-playing Games. NYC: Continuum International Publishing. 2012.Cultural and Social Interactions; Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsBookMultiple Institutions
Kappen, D. L., Mirza-Babaei, P., Johannsmeier, J., Buckstein, D., Robb, J., & Nacke, L. E.Engaged by Boos and Cheers: The Effect of Co-Located Game Audiences on Social Player Experience. In Proceedings of CHI PLAY 2014 (pp. 151–160). Toronto, ON, Canada: ACM. doi:10.1145/2658537.2658687. 2014.Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperMultiple Institutions
Nogueira, P. A., Aguiar, R., Rodrigues, R. A., Oliveira, E. C., & Nacke, L. E. Fuzzy Affective Player Models: A Physiology-Based Hierarchical Clustering Method. In Proceedings of AIIDE 2014 (pp. 132–138). Raleigh, NC, United States: AAAI. Retrieved fromhttp://www.aaai.org/ocs/index.php/AIIDE/AIIDE14/paper/view/8947/8939. 2014. Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperMultiple Institutions
Nguyen, JosefLiveness and the Performance of the Videogame Player in We Plays [Let's Plays]. Society for Cinema and Media Studies 2015 Conference. Montreal, Quebec: March 25-29, 2015Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperUC Davis
Milburn, Colin Mondo Nano: Fun and Games in the World of Digital Matter (Duke UP, 2015). Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperUC Davis
Simon, BartPlaying Games with Machines, manuscript in preparation (under contract with MIT Press for 2016).Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperMultiple Institutions
Lauteria, Evan Rated M for Mature: Sex and Sexuality in Games . Editor, with Matthew Wysocki, Matthew. New York, NY: Bloomsbury Press, 2015. b. “Introduction.” With Matthew Wysocki. Pg. 1-10.Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperMultiple Institutions
Voorhees, G., J. Call and K. WhitlockSeries Introduction – Genre and Disciplinarity in the Study of Games. In Dungeons, Dragons and Digital Denizens: Digital Role-playing Games, edited by G. Voorhees, J. Call and K. Whitlock, 1-10. NYC: Continuum International Publishing. 2012.Cultural and Social Interactions; Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsBook ChapterMultiple Institutions
Nacke, Lennart E., Matthias Klauser, and Paul Prescod. Social player analytics in a Facebook health game. In Proceedings of HCI Korea (HCIK '15). Hanbit Media, Inc., , South Korea, 180-187. https://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=2729485.2729512. 2014. Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperMultiple Institutions
Hogue, A., B. Kapralos, C. Zerebecki, M. Tawadrous, B. Stanfield, and U. HogueStereoscopic 3D video games and their effects on engagement. In Proceedings of the Stereoscopic Displays and Applications XXIII, Burlingame, CA, USA, January 22-26, 2012, pp. 828816-828816-7.Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperMultiple Institutions
Johnson, D., Watling, C., Gardner, J., & Nacke, L. E. The Edge of Glory: The Relationship Between Metacritic Scores and Player Experience. In Proceedings of CHI PLAY 2014 (pp. 141–150). Toronto, ON, Canada: ACM. doi:10.1145/2658537.2658694. 2014. Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperMultiple Institutions
Nowlan, Nuket, Ali Arya, Eleanor Riesen, Michelle MorleyThe Effect of Perceived Ease of Use on Virtual Team Performance, International Journal of Ubiquitous Learning 4.4, January 2013. 59-72.Cultural and Social Interactions; Serious Games and Game-based LearningJournal ArticleMultiple Institutions
Randall, N. The Lord of the Rings Online: Issues of Adaptation [with K. Murphy], in Voorhees, G., Call, J., & Whitlock, K., (eds) Dungeons, Dragons, and Digital Denizens: The Digital Role-Playing Game. Continuum, 2012. 113-131.Cultural and Social Interactions; Narrative and Dialogue in GamesJournal ArticleUWaterloo
Costa, J. P., Wehbe, R. R., Robb, J., & Nacke, L. E. Time’s Up: Studying Leaderboards for Engaging Punctual Behaviour. In Proceedings of Gamification 2013 (pp. 26–33). Stratford, ON, Canada: ACM. Retrieved from http://www.researchgate.net/publication/257519212_Time’s_Up_Studying_Leaderboards_For_Engaging_Punctual_Behaviour/file/e0b4952558a11dc085.pdf. 2013. Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperMultiple Institutions
Wehbe, Rina R. and Lennart E. Nacke. 2015Towards Understanding the Importance of Co-Located Gameplay. In Proceedings of the 2015 Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play(CHI PLAY '15). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 733-738. DOI=http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2793107.2810312Cultural and Social Interactions; Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperMultiple Institutions
Tondello, Gustavo F., Rina R. Wehbe, Zachary O. Toups, Lennart E.Nacke, and Nicole K. CrenshawUnderstanding Player Attitudes Towards Digital Game Objects. In Proceedings of the 2015 Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play (CHI PLAY '15). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 709-714. DOI=http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2793107.2810292. 2015.Cultural and Social Interactions; Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperMultiple Institutions
Vaddi, D., Rina R. Wehbe, Zachary O. Toups, Samantha N. Stahlke, Rylan Koroluk, and Lennart E. NackeValidating Test Chambers to Study Cooperative Communication Mechanics in Portal 2. In Proceedings of the 2015 Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play (CHI PLAY '15). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 721-726. DOI=http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2793107.2810302. 2015.Cultural and Social Interactions; Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperMultiple Institutions

Abstracts

Collaborating through Space and Time in Educational Virtual Environments: 3 Case Studies

In this paper, we address the use of “virtual space” as a learning environment. With the advances in e-learning systems, the education community shows a growing interest in using online tools for educational purposes. The case studies presented in this paper demonstrate how a 3D virtual environment can be used as a learning tool by providing a virtual space that allows people in different locations to interact and gives users access to facilities, settings, and even people not available physically. These case studies are related to presentation of native dance styles, learning language for English as a Second Language students and simulation of archaeological excavation site for History students, all done through Carleton Virtual, a 3D virtual environment for Carleton University. Based on the results that show the advantages of using the virtual space as a learning environment, we argue that virtual space can introduce a new educational paradigm.

Read it in full here.

From camp to kitsch: A queer eye on console fandom

Offering a queer perspective on video game fandom, this article considers the factors that fostered a subculture of Western devotees of Japanese video games in the 1990s. Focused on readers of the English publication Sega Saturn Magazine, it shows how, for these players, Japanese games became the basis of a collective identity founded on precisely the kinds of perverse
over-attachment, projective identification and hermeneutic ingenuity that Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick identifies with camp. Citing this subculture as an example of how fans transform the texts they put to use, the article also addresses its implications for our understanding of fandom today, at a time when the proliferation of quantitative analysis techniques is transforming the production and consumption of games. Such techniques, I argue, threaten to compromise the contingency and ambiguity on which camp thrives, instead fostering the kinds of cynical calculation Sedgwick associates with kitsch.

Read it in full here.

Boundary interactions: Resolving interdisciplinary collaboration challenges using digitized embodied performances.

Little is known about the collaborative learning processes of interdisciplinary teams designing technology enabled immersive learning systems. In this conceptual paper, we reflect on the role of digitally captured embodied performances as boundary objects within our heterogeneous two-team collective of learning scientists and computer scientists as we design an embodied, animated virtual tutor embedded in a physically immersive mathematics learning system. Beyond just a communicative resource, we demonstrate how these digitized, embodied performances constitute a powerful mode for both inter- and intra-team learning and innovation.

Read it in full here.

“Digital Creativity in Little Big Planet”

On the occasion of the issue of Traces No. 28, “Playing Matters”, we publish the original English version of the article by William Robinson and Bart Simon, “Digital Creativity in Little Big Planet”. This original text is published in the French issue under the title “Little Big Planet: digital creativity at work”. The French version is accessible on CAIRN.

For the critical theories of Marxist-inspired media, video game culture is fertile ground. Companies in this sector have been successful in mobilizing an army of players-workers and players-workers who work voluntarily without pay, and to market and control their activity. We want to challenge this perspective, considering the Little Big Planet video game players, and its Little Big Planet 2 and Little Big Planet 3 extensions, as producers of intrinsic value. Offering over four million game levels created by players and players, Little Big Planet leverages the tactical insight that players have into their physical devices, replacing the level design with a virtual hardware DIY. Despite the financial gains made by Media Molecule, these players become independent producers. The materialistic practice of artisanal level design in Little Big Planet offers alternative values ​​and opens up creative possibilities that are the antithesis of the dominant production systems in the video game industry.

Read it in full here.

Feminism and procedural content generation: toward a collaborative politics of computational creativity

Games now inhabit a space where creativity is no longer centered around human authorship. The use of procedural content generation has been embraced by industry, academics and fans as a means for reducing labor cost, providing additional replayable content for players, investigating computational creativity in a complex and multifaceted domain and enabling new kinds of playable experiences. This incorporation of computational creative labor confuses authorship, labor politics and responsibility for rhetoric embedded in the procedures by complicating the way in which the computer is portrayed to users, researchers and other developers. We can apply feminist methodologies attentive to questions of difference and power in systemic structures in order to better understand each of these questions in turn. This article presents an analysis of the post-anthropocentric phenomenon of computer creativity within games, via a feminist analysis of procedural content generating algorithms, its role in game design and its public portrayal.

Read it in full here.

“I’m just here to play games”: social dynamics and sociality in an online game site

There are many web sites that allow people to play board or card games against other human players. These sites offer tools and opportunities for social interaction, but little is known about how people really interact on these sites. To learn more about social dynamics on game sites, we analysed three months of log files from a large site to explore three themes: permanence (whether people formed a long-term association with the site); social interaction (in terms of shared activity and verbal communication); and formation of ties (whether people made contacts with others). Our analyses showed that while the site seems very social when we consider gameplay, the population was highly transient, and people talked very little. To explain these behaviours, we suggest that games and game-based activity should be considered as a legitimate form of human interaction. Our analysis provides new information and new ways of thinking about how game environments can be designed to support many kinds of sociability.

Read it in full here.

Shooting to Kill: Headshots, Twitch Reflexes, and the Mechropolitics of Video Games

The headshot burst into the cultural imaginary with the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963, and it has been remediated from historical anxieties about execution and brain death to the eye-popping spectacle of the exploding head to video games, where it has entered a regime that holds virtuosic reflexes as the highest form of capital. By examining the textual and technological history of the headshot, this article develops a theory of mechropolitics: a way of thinking about political death worlds as they operate in the mechanics of video games and digital simulations. Moving beyond questions of whether violence in video games has a direct effect on aggression, mechropolitics mobilizes aesthetic and social justice critique to unmask the affective structures operating within digital death worlds. These prioritize twitch reflexes and offer few consequences—precisely the scenarios that render events like police shootings both legible and likely.

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“The Pleasures of Adaptation in Ryan North’s To Be or Not to Be.”

“Games don’t matter,” declares Miguel Sicart provocatively in his newest book, Play Matters.1 What is more important, he claims, is play. Games are merely one of many forms of play, but play itself is not tied to any one object or activity. It is something much bigger; it is a way of being in the world. Of the several attributes of play that Sicart details in the introductory chapter of his book, the most salient for me is the fundamental connection between play and pleasure. Connecting play with pleasure allows analysis to shift from the cerebral, structural, and technical content of games to the heart of why we play games to begin with. To pursue pleasure is to loosen the knots of hegemonic discourse. In order to more deeply explore the relationship between play and pleasure, I will theorize adaptation as a mode of play. In order to do this, I use Ryan North’s To Be or Not To Be: A Chooseable-Path Adventure as a case study.

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Time to Cheat: chess and ’s performative history of dynastic marriage

The Tempest’s chess game has often been interpreted as a symbol for Prospero’s successful governance, underscoring his likeness to King James I, who similarly relied on dynastic marriage to solve political conflicts. Approaching the chess game not as an abstract symbol but as an embodied practice complicates such conclusions, however. Chess calls upon players and spectators to hold in tension and inhabit simultaneously different temporal moments, producing a recursive experience of time that conflicts with the linear, teleological narratives articulated by Prospero and much conventional historicist criticism. This essay draws on descriptions of chess’s polytemporality—from game studies, cognitive science, and the political philosophies of Walter Benjamin and Bertolt Brecht—to explore how the phenomenology of chess-play mobilizes The Tempest’s spectators to critique the discourse of progress that subtends state rhetoric about dynastic marriage. Ultimately, this analysis also challenges commonplace critical assumptions about history as ‘context’ for dramatic performance.

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All about that Base : Differing Player Experiences in Video Game Genres and the Unique Case of MOBA Games.

Video games provide unique interactive player experiences (PX) often categorised into different genres. Prior research has looked at different game genres, but rarely through a PX lens. Especially, PX in the emerging area of massive online battle arena (MOBA) games is not well understood by researchers in the field. We address this knowledge gap by presenting a PX study of different game genres, which we followed up with a second semi-structured interview study about PX in MOBA games. Among the results of our analyses are that games that are likely played with other players, such as MOBA games, stimulate less immersion and presence for players. Additionally, while challenge and frustration are significantly higher in this genre, players get a sense of satisfaction from teamwork, competition and mastery of complex gameplay interactions. Our study is the first to contribute a comprehensive insight into key motivators of MOBA players and how PX in this genre is different from other genres.

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Engaged by Boos and Cheers: The Effect of Co-Located Game Audiences on Social Player Experience.

Little is currently known about the influence of co-located player audiences on gameplay experience. Social player experiences are important to understand in co-located gaming scenarios, because these experiences relate to player performance. Player-audience relationships have been studied before, but prior research focused on player attributes and typology. In our study, we investigated the effect of different co-located audience types (silent, positive, negative) and no audience on player experience. For the study, we contribute a video game specifically developed for two-player, co-located gameplay and findings from questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. Our findings show that both-negative and positive audience activity-drove players to become more engaged in the video game. In contrast, silent audiences made players feel unnerved and less engaged in gameplay. Our paper is the first to study of the relevance of co-located audience influence on player experience, which is important for understanding the design of co-located games.

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Fuzzy Affective Player Models: A Physiology-Based Hierarchical Clustering Method.

Current approaches to game design improvements rely on time-consuming gameplay testing processes, which rely on highly subjective feedback from a target audience. In this paper, we propose a generalizable approach for building predictive models of players’ emotional reactions across different games and game genres, as well as other forms of digital stimuli. Our input agnostic approach relies on the following steps: (a) collecting players’ physiologically-inferred emotional states during actual gameplay sessions, (b) extrapolating the causal relations between changes in players’
emotional states and recorded game events, and (c) building hierarchical cluster models of players’ emotional reactions that can later be used to infer individual player models via fuzzy cluster membership vectors. We expect this work to benefit game designers by accelerating the affective playtesting process through the offline simulation of players’ reactions to game design adaptations, as well as to contribute towards individually-tailored affective gaming.

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Performing as video game players in Let’s Plays

This article examines the fan practice of Let’s Plays—video recordings that video game players create of themselves playing that include live commentary or riffing. I argue that the riffing accompanying game play footage in Let’s Plays highlights how players play idiosyncratically by constructing and performing game-playing personalities. These videos emphasize the performative nature of video game players as fans who actively negotiate with the video games that they play through presentations of individual playing styles and experiences. I show that in accounting for how and why they play the way that they do, Let’s Players demonstrate what I suggest are various modes of playing in which players can engage with video games generally. Consequently, creating, sharing, and discussing Let’s Plays can render visible a wider diversity of game-playing identities, experiences, and styles.

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Social player analytics in a Facebook health game

Social health games can drive healthy behaviour. To track social behaviour change in social network games (SNGs), gameplay metrics should quantify socially-engaging gameplay behaviour based on player interactions. We developed social player metrics in a quantitative study of player behaviour in a social health game called Healthseeker (developed by Ayogo Health Inc.). This Facebook game targets people with diabetes to help them manage health goals in real life. Our metrics identify which game mechanics led to more gameplay success, connectedness and virality. We also identified how the behaviour of successful players differs from unsuccessful players in the game. Our results support that game mechanics aiming at social interactions can motivate players to solve more missions, to fulfill more healthy goals and to play the game longer. We conclude that having a well-connected social network can improve player success in solving game missions.

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Stereoscopic 3D Video Games and their Effects on Engagement

With television manufacturers developing low-cost stereoscopic 3D displays, a large number of consumers will undoubtedly have access to 3D-capable televisions at home. The availability of 3D technology places the onus on content creators to develop interesting and engaging content. While the technology of stereoscopic displays and content generation are well understood, there are many questions yet to be answered surrounding its effects on the viewer.
Effects of stereoscopic display on passive viewers for film are known, however video games are fundamentally different since the viewer/player is actively (rather than passively) engaged in the content. Questions of how stereoscopic viewing affects interaction mechanics have previously been studied in the context of player performance but very few have attempted to quantify the player experience to determine whether stereoscopic 3D has a positive or negative influence on their overall engagement. In this paper we present a preliminary study of the effects stereoscopic 3D have on player engagement in video games. Participants played a video game in two conditions, traditional 2D and stereoscopic 3D and their engagement was quantified using a previously validated self-reporting tool. The results suggest that S3D has a positive effect on immersion, presence, flow, and absorption.

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The Edge of Glory: The Relationship Between Metacritic Scores and Player Experience

This study sought to examine how measures of player experience used in videogame research relate to Metacritic Professional and User scores. In total, 573 participants completed an online survey, where they responded the Player Experience of Need Satisfaction (PENS) and the Game Experience Questionnaire (GEQ) in relation to their current favourite videogame. Correlations among the data indicate an overlap between the player experience constructs and the factors informing Metacritic scores. Additionally, differences emerged in the ways professionals and users appear to allocate game ratings. However, the data also provide clear evidence that Metacritic scores do not reflect the full complexity of player experience and may be misleading in some cases.

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The Effect of Perceived Ease of Use on Virtual Team Performance

In this study, an immersive virtual environment was designed for students from different disciplines to practice their teamwork skills. In the case of a domestic violence 911 call, an emergency team is formed with police officers, nurses, child care workers and paramedics. The newly formed team needs to collaborate and communicate effectively to handle the situation. An avatar based virtual environment was designed to provide a simulation opportunity to team members. Visually, the virtual environment appears to the user as a campus with a series of buildings that avatars can enter and performs related simulations. A police office, fire hall, five houses and two government building were created for that purpose as well as collaboration spaces and lecture hall. An auditorium is designed as well for group briefing and lecturing. Sixty recent graduate participants simulate their teamwork both in person and in an immersive virtual environment, collectively, in real time. These simulations were recorded and evaluated by a group of experts. Participants’ performance were evaluated both individually and as a team. Research team surveyed learners to understand perceived ease of use of the technology as well. Collected data analyzed to identify relationships between perceived ease of use and individuals/team performance over teamwork skill dimensions such as; collaboration, communication, role and responsibilities, conflict management, team functioning. We have identified a strong relationship between perceived ease of use and conflict management skill and overall performance.

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Time’s Up: Studying Leaderboards for Engaging Punctual Behaviour.

In the workplace, an individual’s punctuality will not only affect how a person is viewed by colleagues, but will also reverberate on their productivity. Being late for a meeting can be disruptive to the working team, costing everyone time and causing the individual to miss valuable information. Little has been done to improve the punctuality of working teams; therefore, we were interested in studying the effectiveness of leaderboards, a common gamification technique, for improving punctuality of participants to regular work meetings. Leaderboards were comprised of data collected by monitoring the arrival times of the participants, which influenced their scores in the leaderboards. We found that leaderboards themselves did not promote punctuality in every participant, but gave rise to various gameful social comparisons, which were reported to be the cause of their punctuality improvements.

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Towards Understanding the Importance of Co-Located Gameplay

Analyzing the social con¬text present in a gameplay environment and its effect on player experience can provide insights informing the design and social value of games. We investigate the influence of social condition (cooperative or competitive play with a human player versus computer-controlled character) on player experience. The study controlled for co-presence by ensuring that another individual attending to the same stimulus was present in all conditions. Although physiological measures were not significant, subjective measures of arousal and pleasure were significantly different under varying conditions.

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Understanding Player Attitudes Towards Digital Game Objects

Humans collect; we examine this behavior in digital game contexts to understand how players’ penchant for collecting items can inform game design. As part of an ongoing research agenda to understand player attitudes towards digital game objects, we conducted an online survey about player habits with interviews as future work. We present an initial analysis of our data. Our findings suggest that players value game objects most in Role-Playing Games (RPGs). Utility and Enjoyment were cited as the main reasons for a digital game objects’ value, followed by Investment, Self-Expression and Memory. Dyes or color-changing features; physical placement adjustments; and naming or name-changing features were the most frequent personalization features desired for game object customization. We aim to improve game design through a deep understanding of player motivations regarding their game objects.

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Validating Test Chambers to Study Cooperative Communication Mechanics in Portal 2

Cooperative communication mechanics, such as avatar gestures or in-game visual pointers, enable player collaboration directly through gameplay. There remain open questions about how players use cooperative communication mechanics, and whether they can effectively supplement or even supplant traditional voice and chat communication. This paper describes a future study to investigate player communication in Portal 2, and chronicles the design and validation of test chambers for the study.

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