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09:00-10:20 Session 14A

Philosophy and critique

Frederic Seraphine (The University of Tokyo, Japan)
Ji Soo Lim (The University of Tokyo, Japan)
Eleonora Imbierowicz (The University of Warclaw, Poland)
Keiko Nishimura (The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, United States)
Is There a Playfulness of Empathy? A Multidisciplinary Perspective

ABSTRACT. This panel session will reunite speakers from Game Design, Cognitive Sciences, Business, Cultural Studies and Philology to discuss of empathy in videogames. Through a three-part structure focusing on player empathy, designer empathy and finally the possibility of artificial empathy, we will attempt to draw a contemporary landscape of empathy in videogames in 2019, may it be as an aesthetic, as a game design asset or as an incentive for real-world behaviors. Furthermore, we will attempt to do some prospective on the future of empathy in game design.

09:00-10:20 Session 14B

Philosophy and critique

Will Partin (The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, United States)
Nyle Sky Kauweloa (University of Hawaii at Manoa, United States)
Kishonna Gray (University of Illinois at Chicago, United States)
Emma Witkowski (RMIT University, Australia)
Woke (Pro)Gaming: Or, Why We Need Critical Esports Studies

ABSTRACT. This self-reflexive panel examines the growing body of literature on esports by critiquing what we perceive as a gradual drift away from critically engaged scholarship in favor of naïve boosterism that makes scholars complicit in the reproduction of social, economic, and political inequalities around the globe. Against this shift in the ways and means of esports scholarship, we (re)assert the necessity of approaches to esports that seek to ameliorate, rather than reinforce, intentionally or no, the precariousness and marginalization of many esports participants. The papers in this panel therefore address; the triadic relationship between esports, professional sports, and the military-industrial complex; the limitations of quantitative work in esports and the necessity of inductive approaches that provide “situated knowledge”; the discursive production of racial identities in professional gaming; and the contradictions embedded in the “Olympic Ideal”.

09:00-10:20 Session 14C

Making sense of play and players

Ahmed Elmezeny (University of Augsburg, Germany)
Hiroshi Yamaguchi (Komazawa University, Japan)
Mark R Johnson (University of Alberta, Canada)
Kati Alha (Tampere University, Finland)
Janne Paavilainen (Tampere University, Finland)
Free-to-Play: Converging or changing games, meaning and ways of play?

ABSTRACT. The freemium business model, which provides a core software for free and paid additional benefits (Pujol, 2010) has become a common sight in the games industry. Free-to-play (F2P) while highly criticized by some (Bogost, 2014; Jordan et al. 2016; Nieborg, 2015) has been seen praised for certain qualities by others for hailing in new genres and offering diversified ways of interaction for players (Paavilainen et al. 2016). This can range from negative manifestations such as pay-to-win (Zagal et al. 2013), to other neutral or arguably positive interactions such as ludic shopping (Lehdonvirta et al. 2009), which ideally replaces unattainable, real-world material purchasing. This panel discusses how free-to-play changes or converges the ways of play and making sense of games.

09:00-10:20 Session 14D

Doing games research

Matthew Payne (University of Notre Dame, United States)
Jennifer Dewinter (Worcester Polytechnic Institute, United States)
Christopher Hanson (Syracuse University, United States)
Carly Kocurek (Illinois Institute of Technology, United States)
Kenneth McAllister (University of Arizona, United States)
Judd Ruggill (University of Arizona, United States)
John Vanderhoef (California State University, Dominguez Hills, United States)
What a mess…: Navigating media mixes in the archive

ABSTRACT. Media mixes are messy things. A sprawling universe may begin modestly enough as a television show or comic book, only to give rise to trading cards, miniatures, board games, etc. The media mix poses research challenges for game historians. Game archives can be valuable research assets; but they too can be unruly and unwieldy. As more virtual and physical game archives come into being, it’s worth asking: how do we best utilize, support, and build archives for ourselves and for future generations of researchers? What are the opportunities and blind spots? And how do media mixes figure into archive-building and archive-based research? This panel features participants who have wrestled with media mixes in historical projects and in archives. The participants will share their experiences of examining and cultivating game archives with media mixes. The panel will limit respondents to 10 minutes to maximize conversation time with attendees.

09:00-10:20 Session 14E

Computer games and artistic expression

Joleen Blom (IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark)
Rob Gallagher (King's College London, UK)
Replaying the Past: Wholesome Nostalgia or Morbid Melancholia?

ABSTRACT. This paper discusses an aesthetic strategy shared by Oikospiel Book 1 (Kanaga 2017) and Sonic Dreams Collection (Arcane Kids 2015), artgames that integrate assets ripped from beloved child-friendly gaming franchises like Sonic the Hedgehog (Sonic Team/various 1991-), The Legend of Zelda (Nintendo/various 1986- ) and Donkey Kong (Nintendo/various 1981-) into profane, politically charged ludic collages. While they deploy this technique to different effects, I propose that in both cases it becomes a means of highlighting how the nostalgia that pervades digital culture in general and gaming culture in particular shades into melancholia.

Timothy Snowdon (RMIT University, Australia)
Dancing with the Hands: Frictions with Videogames, Dance and Gender

ABSTRACT. Dance has a long history within game studies and occupies a very literal niche within game design. When applied to more conventional videogame play, dance has provided a way of re-interpreting player performance, with the feminine cultural coding of dance used to challenge the masculinity of contemporary videogame culture. Exploring conceptions of choreography, dancing, and gender as understood through dance studies, this paper questions the applicability and efficacy of dance as a force of change. By examining alternative ways of running dance studios and making games, we see that it is not dance or play that produces new ways of exploring gender but rather the structures that surround them. In this light, dance emerges as a latent potentiality within game performances, but one that is still subject to pervasive and rigid ideas of gender.

Mikael Jakobsson (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States)
Noah Houghton (Harvard University, United States)
Uche Okwo (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States)
William Wu (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States)
Visualizing Diversity: A Character Design Tool For Creative Reflection

ABSTRACT. The Digital Diversity Space Tool is an attempt at intervening in the creative process of video game character creation in a way that encourages the designer to reflect on aspects of diversity and representation. It is based on a paper tool created by a commercial game developer who approached our research lab to make a more advanced digital version. Our presentation will show how the tool works, and how we approached creating a dynamic visual representation of characteristics that can help a designer to step outside of the norms of a given genre. But the presentation is also about how to approach industry collaborations where research and development is understood differently by different stakeholders and every design choice both affects the artifact and the person making the decision. In this regard, pushing beyond what Soraya Murray calls performative representation can end up harming the very actors we intend to empower.

Carl Therrien (University of Montreal, Canada)
Cindy Poremba (OCAD University, Canada)
Jean-Charles Ray (University of Montreal, France)
Return of the “video” game: Extracting FMV design knowledge for future games

ABSTRACT. In this contribution, we propose an examination of prominent design solutions evident in FMV videogames (based on a formal design pattern analysis) which will act as a framework for better design approaches to videogames incorporating both traditional and emerging forms of captured media. Through a systemic analysis of gameplay patterns integrated in a large corpus of 100 FMV games (primarily released in the 1980s and 1990s, with a second set of samples pulled from the recent second-wave revival), we seek to understand which design possibilities have been explored with captured media and which might offer promising design solutions for captured media integration.

10:40-12:00 Session KEYNOTE: Keynote 4 (with Replaying Japan)

Yosuke Hayashi

Managing Director of KOEI TECMO GAMES