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09:30-10:00Coffee Break
10:00-13:30 Session 1A: PhD Consortium
Video Game Developers and Passion in Japan

ABSTRACT. The purpose of this doctoral research is to expand academic knowledge on video game developer perspectives in Japan, laying particular emphasis on how passion might influence their unfolding relationship with the industry. Two main hypotheses are being tested, the first one being that previous experiences as avid consumers of video games (and even other surrounding popular culture), as well as passion for the medium, heavily influence the decisions and determination of game developers to pursue such professional paths, the second one being that the video game industry capitalizes on such passions, turning the scale further in its favor when it comes to negotiating the material relationships that are established with workers. The main method used to test the hypotheses will be the semi-structured interview. Deep interviews will be conducted on video game developers in order to inquire about their life histories in relation to video games, their identities both in relation to consuming and producing video games, the ways they look at the profession, including expectations and sets of values surrounding it, their working conditions, and the professional choices they took until the moment of the interview. With such data, accompanied by extensive literature review on the situation and characteristics of the studied industry, as well as a number of industrial reports that are being published, I will attempt to shed light on the question at issue and validate the aforementioned hypotheses.

Antiquity for Sale: Game Engines, Asset Stores, and the Platformization of the Classical Imagination in Videogame Development

ABSTRACT. Ancient Greece and Rome offer an influential imaginative frame for the videogame industry, with recent years seeing the continued popularity of videogames that directly adapt the classical world and its mythology. Looking beyond visual and narrative in-game representations, this paper aims to peer behind the curtain: to examine some of the sociotechnical processes through which ancient Greco-Roman discourses are integrated into the commercial realities and creative possibilities of modern videogame development.Accordingly, this paper examines important software tools employed by videogame developers: game engines and, more specifically, their asset stores. Taking the Unity Asset Store and the Unreal Engine Marketplace as case studies, this presentation argues that asset stores do much more than passively and mechanically facilitate the sale of classically-inspired game assets; they actively mediate the flow of historical material, trafficking in cultural signals of demand, availability, and imaginative possibility. I explore how such software platforms ontologically generate a selective vision of ‘the classical’ in contemporary videogame development.

Establishing Interpretation Design as a Game Design Method

ABSTRACT. Enabling distinct player interpretations with design allows for personal and resonating game experiences. However, despite the interest to craft interpretative, thought-provoking, and reflective game experieces both in academia and the game industry, there is little knowledge on how to design for these types of experiences. Through related concepts such as interpretative agency (Cole and Gillies 2021) and interpretative challenge (Arjoranta 2018), my doctoral dissertation aims to establish Interpretation Design as a game design method.

The Mobilization of Play in the Dutch Military-Innovation Complex

ABSTRACT. This research project is about the role of play and games in contemporary military-technological innovation by the Dutch armed forces and their academic and industrial partners. I start from the observation that the use of “ludic media technologies” (Frissen et al. 2015) like drones, serious games and simulations by the Dutch armed forces has recently been increasing—their acquisition in early 2022 of four MQ-9 Reaper drones being the latest example. Moreover, the traditional Dutch military-industrial complex has been expanding to include tech startups and game development studios, thus evolving into what can be called a “military-entertainment complex” (Crogan 2011; Dyer-Witheford and de Peuter 2009) or even a “military-innovation complex” (Ford and Hoskins 2022). I argue that understanding these trends, their impact on civil-military relations, and the shape of modern warfare, requires a combination of Game Studies and Critical Security Studies approaches. Through textual analysis of policy documents and magazine articles published between 2014 and 2022, semi-structured interviews with actors from the Dutch military-innovation complex, and participant observation at key sites, I aim to answer the following research question: How and why has the mobilization of play in the service of the military apparatus escalated and intensified in the Netherlands since 2014?

Esports in Europe: How Is Gender Diversity Experienced in Overwatch Esports Communities in Portugal and the UK?

ABSTRACT. Doctoral Consortium presentation about a PhD project focusing on gender diversity practices in esports communities across the UK and in Portugal, with the aim to uncover how cultural differences impact these spaces, and the goal to develop best practices for grassroots esports communities.

A Diachronic Look at the Swiss Game Developers Community

ABSTRACT. The PhD project 'A Diachronic Look at the Swiss Game Developers Community' is part of the CH-Ludens project (Confederatio Helvetica = Switzerland) which is an interdisciplinary project by multiple Swiss universities (University of Lausanne, Zurich University of the Arts, University of Bern and University of the Arts Bern). It is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation and aims to shed light on the vastly under-researched topic of Swiss game design and development culture from the past until now.

The aim of this PhD project is to make a diachronic comparison of Swiss game developers in the 1980s and Swiss game developers today. Research will focus on actual Swiss communities, such as early game development studios, university games, ‘homebrew’ computer games, indie games and Swiss publishers, as well as where these communities emerged and if/how they interacted – with special emphasis on whether we are dealing with different linguistic, regional and transnational game cultures. Another research goal is to compare the Swiss game development processes and their changes through the times.

Long-term Work Experiences of Eastern European Expatriate, Remote and Outsourced Workers in Czech-based Game Companies

ABSTRACT. This PhD consortium submission outlines my ongoing analysis of work experiences of Eastern European expatriate, remote and outsourced workers within Czech-based game companies. I discuss the context of Czech game production, focusing on local ownership of companies, local tools and use of Czech language as potential factors to which my respondents might have to adjust to, with former being relevant to remote and outsourced workers as well. I introduce my research questions, thematising respondents' motivations to work for Czech-based game companies and/or within the Czech locality context, differences or similarities to their previous jobs and main issues that might hinder their adjustment. These questions are also aimed to bring comparisons between national game industries, as they contain similar themes to previous research of international game workers (see Park 2021). By answering those questions via conducting repeated semi-structured interviews with 9 respondents (so far), I can therefore compare my study results with others, as well as capture main differences between Westerners (i.e. Western Europeans, North Americans) working in Czech game production in the upcoming second study of my PhD dissertation.

10:00-13:30 Session 1B: PhD Consortium
Between Girl Power and Platforms' Power: an Analysis of the Brazilian Feminist Streamers' Communication Strategies

ABSTRACT. My doctoral research project analyzes the Brazilian feminist video game streamers’ communication strategies. These women use their channels to talk not only about video games but also for discussing their political views, which is especially challenging considering the Brazilian sociocultural and political context. To face this hostile scenario, some women created feminist groups on social media platforms for sharing strategies and providing mutual support. Here, I present some preliminary results of the analysis of the Instagram and Twitter pages of the feminist group Sakuras Aurora. This exploratory research provided some general categories discussed below that I plan to explore in my thesis.

Gamer Identity and Masculinity: Narrative and Typologies in the Use of the Video Game

ABSTRACT. This document is an extended abstract of my ongoing PhD research about the links between the alt right, the neomasculinist groups and some part of the video game communitiy.

Pink-Collar Playbour: the Digital Housework of Video Game Livestreaming

ABSTRACT. PhD Consortium Submissions:

From bedroom to bathroom, my dissertation explores the domestic experiences of gendered and racialized Twitch streamers in North America. Recombining digital ethnography with methods from platform studies and institutional discourse analysis, this project examines Twitch.tv as a case study in how the platformization of cultural production (Nieborg and Poell 2018) affects systematically marginalized cultural workers through one of the most intimate levels: the home. Drawing upon interviews and observation of 12 streamers, and extending theories of social reproduction and feminist media studies, I ask for whom the cultural, economic, and technological affordances of Twitch proffer safe housekeeping... and how does addressing the shared genus of domestic work and digital play help professional gamers organize for more equitable conditions in real time?

The Impact of Social Digital Games in Online Communities on Older Adults' Digital Competences

ABSTRACT. As the World faces unprecedented demographic changes – due to ageing population (WHO 2021), it is needed to rethink policies and practices for Active and Healthy Ageing [AHA] (Bousquet et al. 2015). Moreover, Eurostat (2023) reports a significant increase in popularity of digital technologies by older adults – e.g., social media (Auxier and Anderson 2021) and digital games (ESA 2021). Therefore, new challenges arise in developing digital platforms to allow access to a neglected audience (Nedeljko, Bogataj, and Kaučič 2021) that faces a huge barrier when entering the digital world – i.e., older adults. Nonetheless, both social media – in particular online communities – and digital games present a vast array of benefits for AHA (Sauvé and Kaufman 2019; Nimrod 2014; Wollersheim et al. 2016). When converging these two media, a symbiotic cooperation is developed (Jenkins 2006), emerging a new medium – social digital games. Juul (2010) defines it as a game where intentionality and goals are shared while being socially meaningful. Despite digital games integrated with online communities have already been explored (e.g., Catalá, Julián, and Gil-Gómez 2014; Dhillon, Wünsche, and Lutteroth 2013; Moffatt et al. 2016), the synergy between the two, while targeting older adults’ digital competences has not yet been explored to the best of our knowledge. Therefore, and aiming to answer the research question “How can social digital games in online communities impact older adults' digital competences?”, an exploratory, mixed-method, and quasi-experimental study design is required, following a Development Research framework (Maren 2004) divided into three phases. Aligned with three sustainable development goals (SDG#3–Good health and well-being; SDG#4–Quality education; and SDG#10–Reduce Inequalities), the main goals of this research are: (i) co-design and develop a social digital game prototype in miOne senior online community; (ii) evaluate the impact of the implemented prototype on older adults’ digital competences resorting to DigComp 2.2 Framework (Vuorikari, Kluzer, and Punie 2022); and (iii) produce a model with recommendations for social digital games development to promote acquiring digital competences in online communities. In phase-1, devoted to analysis and assessment of the context, a systematic literature review on the key topics that ground this research was conducted. Therefore, (i) (social) digital games-related topics were explored, to understand their theoretical constructs and how they can impact older adults’ competences; (ii) the ageing context was revisited to characterize worldwide demographic changes, and age-related impairments that can hinder acquiring competences; and (iii) the info-communicating and networking ageing society contexts were also explored, aiming at understanding digital platforms’ role in acquiring competences. It was concluded that these three areas are not yet tightly integrated, much less with a focus on stimulating digital competences. Simultaneously, the Data Protection Officer and the Ethics and Deontology Committee of the University of Aveiro were contacted to approve data collection. Moreover, an (inter)national questionnaire was designed to update the characterization of older adults’ relationship, habits, and preferences with (social) digital games. Concurrently, a partnership was established with the Senior Institution Laboratório do Envelhecimento . Phase-2 focuses on participatory conception and co-design of a social digital game. After collecting, analyzing, and triangulating data from Phase-1, game-based activities were designed and started at Laboratório do Envelhecimento, which enabled multiple research developments, including (i) implementation of a questionnaire’s first version based on DigComp 2.2 (Lucas et al. 2022), allowing adjustment to older adults' understanding and obtaining a first result before interaction with the to-be-developed prototype; and (ii) understand gaming habits, preferences, and familiarize participants with digital technology, and miOne community, using data collection tools such as interviews, focus groups, creative techniques, and field notes. Additionally, a workshop was conducted with experts and professionals in the ageing field, during which, through creating personas with IBM’s Empathic Map (2018) and forced connections creative technique (Oslapas 1993), game-ideation results were collected to later inform prototype design. Currently, with lessons learned and data collected, a prototype is being conceived and designed, focusing on impacting older adults’ digital competences. Later, specialists in digital games field will be contacted to validate the prototype and inform on new perspectives. Phase-3 will focus on implementing the functional version of the prototype in miOne. Subsequently, the prototype will be tested and evaluated by the participants recruited in Phase-1, and a new assessment of the scale defined will be performed – i.e., DigComp 2.2. Moreover, fieldnotes will be registered, and individual or collective interviews will be carried out to complement the data collected. After triangulating the information collected, and comparing the impact through variables of Phases-1 and 3, the research question will be answered and a model with a set of recommendations for developing social digital games in online communities to impact older adults’ digital competences will be produced. Based on all collected data, and expecting to assess the impact of social digital games in online communities on older adults’ digital competences, the following results are foreseen: (i) successfully recruit and engage older adults with social digital games and online communities; (ii) have an implemented and functional version of the prototype; and (iii) outline a model of recommendations for developing social digital games in online communities to impact older adults’ digital competences. It is also expected to give an international magnitude to this study since the researcher intends to do a European Ph.D., which will allow developing a product capable of responding to wider audiences’ needs. Lastly, it is believed that this research will bring valuable contributions to Social Sciences and Information and Communication Technologies, giving inputs in four distinct areas: (i) ageing studies; (ii) digital games; (iii) digital platforms – including online communities; and (iv) digital competences acquisition – by reducing some resistance and barriers of use, and associated preconceived ideas.

What Works for Me: A Content Analysis of a Problem Gamer Community on Reddit

ABSTRACT. See PDF for extended abstract

Evaluation of Gamification Strategies' Impact in the Information and Communication Services of Cyclotourism for Senior Citizens

ABSTRACT. Senior citizens are becoming better consumers of digitally mediated products (Zheng et al., 2013), thus, there has been a rising concern in the use and adaptation of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to meet their needs and preferences, while fostering active and healthy ageing (Woolrych, 2016). However, even if a boom is observed in this field (e.g., Costa et al., 2018; Kostopoulos et al., 2018), there is still a lack of studies and products that address predominant activities, such as cycling and tourism and the impact on senior citizens’ wellbeing. That culminates into challenges and opportunities for creating engaging tools, using gerontechnology and gamification, to promote senior citizens’ interest, motivation, and changes in behavior in cyclotourism. On the one hand, gamification is considered a persuasive strategy that can influence changes in user behavior through motivation with elements and techniques of game design (Werbach & Hunter, 2012); and, on the other hand, active and healthy ageing is the process of optimizing health, participation in society and behavior changes, in order to improve the quality of life and the functional capability as people age (Bousquet et al., 2015). Regarding cyclotourism, it impacts physical and mental health, also being an economical and environmentally friendly means of transport (Pucher & Buehler, 2021). It arises as a green solution that not only foster behaviors within the environmental awareness spectrum, but it is also a wheel that moves the economy and, consequently, society and culture (Simonsen & Jørgensen, 1998; Weston & Davies, 2012). Thus, as people age, such benefits should be extended and maintained accessible within different profiles of senior citizens (e.g., people with physical limitations and healthy individuals) and even different scenarios (e.g., indoor and outdoor cyclotourism) to corresponds to the user’s needs. The purpose of this study is to answer the research question: “How can gamification strategies impact cyclotourism for active and healthy ageing?”, by assessing the influence of gamification strategies on senior cyclotourism, while identifying, conceptualizing, implementing and testing a set of cyclotourism scenarios to promote a sustainable active and healthy ageing. It is intended to encourage the creation and dissemination of physical and virtual environments for cyclotourism that enhance sociability, participation and integration of senior citizens in communities; increase functional capacity and autonomy through physical activity; maintain and improve a social environment through digital platforms; and inform and change behavior regarding sustainability. This exploratory mixed-method research that includes a quasi-experimental study has its scientific contribution aligned with the goals of (i) Sustainable Development Agenda of the United Nations for 2030 (SDG 3 – good health and wellbeing; SDG 10 – reduce inequalities; SDG 11 – sustainable cities and communities); (ii) Portuguese National Strategy for Active and Healthy Ageing (ENEAS); by raising awareness and solidarity between generations and promotion of changes in attitudes towards ageing; promoting cooperation and intersectoriality; and contributing to the development of policies that improve the quality of life of senior citizens; (iii) Portuguese National Strategy for Active and Cycling Mobility (ENMAC), by contributing to the decarbonization of mobility; and maximizing the health benefits of citizens; (iv) European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing, with tourist environments that are age-friendly in the digital world, with the objective of developing, establishing and co-creating environments; and (v) Portuguese Centre's Smart Specialization Regional Strategy (RIS3 Centro) by contributing to: (a) social transition, through the inclusion and enhancement of senior citizens in activities and knowledge sharing; (b) digital transition resorting to the use and dissemination of digital platforms, as well as game-based strategies that encourage adherence and continuation of use; and (c) green transition by becoming part of a sustainable practice at an environmental, economic and social level. Participants aged 50 or older are being recruited, following a non-randomized process, and divided into an experimental group (G1) and a comparison group (G2) to assess the impact of gamification strategies of indoor (i.e., laboratory) and outdoor (i.e., in loco) cyclotourism. In the laboratory context, simulations using virtual reality (VR) are being applied to test indoor gamified strategies for cyclotourism. In detail, participants have an indoor cyclotouristic experience (Figure 1) with Oculus Quest and a static bicycle or pedal exerciser or joysticks to simulate movement while they visit a country with a non-gamified 360º VR video, and then the same place gamified using Holofit (e.g., avatars interacting with the user, ranking, performance monitoring). Regarding the outdoor experience, rides in Portuguese sustainable cyclotourism routes are being conducted where participants only rely on their bicycle without any device for the non-gamified part, and use Strava or similar apps to test the gamification impact. It is intended to acknowledge if there are differences between groups in sociability and health related changes towards active and healthy ageing, and more sustainable behaviors. Thus, G1 encompasses participants in the cyclotourism activities that have access to a non-gamified experience first, and then a gamified experience; G2 participate in the cyclotourism activities with gamification first and then without gamification. This focus on “cause and effect” and on measuring to what range the results can be attributed to the intervention, enabling to acknowledge if there are significant differences between groups in the use of gamification strategies to change behaviors. Data is collected through focus groups, scales, interviews, questionnaires, participant observation and field notes, being cross-referenced with results from the literature. In detail, before and after each indoor and outdoor experiment, the perception of positive and negative affect, as well as health-related wellbeing and quality of life, are assessed using PANAS and EQ-5D-5L scales, followed by a Gamified Technology Acceptance questionnaire (i.e., xTAM - Extended Technology Acceptance Model). It is expected that this thesis makes an important contribution to the field of information and communication within the scope of Social Sciences, through the creation of requirements and guidelines for gamified strategies in senior cyclotourism, promoting a healthy and active lifestyle, as well as sociability integration. It can also lead to a deeper study, encouragement and improvement of countries’ infrastructure and funding, promoting and increasing sustainable tourism in different contexts.

A Digital Game-Based Model Proposal for Mental Health Promotion

ABSTRACT. PhD Consortium Submission.

13:00-14:30Lunch Break
14:30-16:00 Session 2A: PhD Consortium
Virtual Income and How to Tax It

ABSTRACT. Worldwide, people spend time in different virtual environments, from simple mobile games to metaverses, in which they can earn virtual currency. These earnings are spent in virtual environments and often have real-world value. It is not clear if these earnings should be taxed and, if so, how. At first sight, these earnings seem non-taxable, as they have a virtual essence, and are being earned and spent in virtual worlds. A closer look at these earnings shows, however, that users gain benefits or the ability to pay in virtual and real worlds. Most of these virtual earnings do not seem to be taxable unless they are cashed out, while real-world earnings and assets are taxable. This breaches neutrality between these two types of earnings and leads to unequal treatment. The present proposed research analyzes, from a tax perspective, virtual environments and user experiences and compares them with real-world’s experiences, earnings, and assets. A conceptual taxation framework will be created in line with generally accepted tax principles. This framework defines virtual earnings that should be considered taxable income. Also, it specifies how these earnings may be taxed, what should be the guiding principles for this taxation, and how it should be effectuated in practice. Virtual worlds develop rapidly. New types of virtual environments and currencies are sprouting. The sooner we come to an understanding of virtual activities in the existing taxation framework, and how the existing situation may be improved or supplemented, the better for both taxpayers and governments.

Procedural and Emergent Narrative: from Analog RPG to Digital RPG

ABSTRACT. Analog role-playing games (hereinafter, ARPGs) are known as a good example of generating emergent narratives, carried out in collaboration between the players around a table and the secretive figure of the gamemaster. RPGs are a genre of video games that since its inception, have tried to emulate these narrative proposals, facing the problem of trying to digitize imagination, creativity and human behavior to the digital context. We call them digital role-playing games (DRPGs).

In this work we try to identify systems, mechanics and dynamics of the procedural narrative of the ARPGs that serve as tools for the generation of emergent narratives by the players. Once identified, we want to confront them with the procedural narrative systems, mechanics, and dynamics typical of the DRPGs, which also facilitate the generation of emergent narratives by the players. Once the elements of both systems, analog and digital, have been identified and described, they have been collated with the memorable experiences originated through emergent and collaborative narratives of analog and digital role players, for whom we use the Retellings theory. The data we have obtained has allowed us to develop a common model that will help incorporate ARPG dynamics into the DRPG design and ontology.

Smaky Story: a Comprehensive Approach of the Practical, Technical, and Social Dimensions of Computing in French-Speaking Switzerland

ABSTRACT. My PHD thesis studies the history of Smaky microcomputers in French-speaking Switzerland between 1960s and 1990s. It aims to understand the evolution of computing practice and actors' retrospective experience. This paper reflects on my methodology, inspired by media archaeology, platform studies, oral history and local history. I explain how I will apply the grounded theory method from B. Glaser and A. Strauss on an historical object.

14:30-16:00 Session 2B: PhD Consortium
"Dear Diary...": An Analysis of Recordings in Video Games

ABSTRACT. (extended abstract- Phd Consortium)

This dissertation aims to fill a gap at the intersection of literary and game studies by examining objects of in-game documentation, such as journals, books, and computer/audio logs. The analysis of these devices allows for a discussion of the fluidity of borders between video games and other media, margins of fiction and metafiction, and the acts of reading and recording as/in play.

Exploring Transformative Aesthetic Experiences in Videogames

ABSTRACT. This paper describes an ongoing PhD research project on transformative aesthetic experiences in videogames, investigating how such individualistic and personally meaningful videogame experiences are perceived by players and how they evolve throughout and beyond gameplay. The project is situated at the intersection of player experience (PX) research, games studies, and empirical aesthetics, and it aims to develop empirical and conceptual tools through which videogames could be understood more comprehensively as emotionally complex and diverse aesthetic experiences. The PhD project follows an approach that incorporates elements of ethnographic, phenomenological, and grounded theory research, employing qualitative research methods such as autoethnography and interview. The author is presently working on getting their first study published, and they briefly describe some of the findings of this study and outline several topics for subsequent studies surrounding transformation player experiences.

Remediation and Refunctionalization of Natural Spaces in Videogames: Perspectives, Patterns, and Impact on Society

ABSTRACT. The research project aims to study the representation of natural spaces in the modern videogame industry. It is of particular interest to see how the user/player can relate with the digital natural space, the procedural rhetoric activated in this process, and how all such interaction can impact on society. The project also aims to define a potential game design framework that could help to communicate through videogames a more sustainable interactive rhetoric between users and natural environment.

16:30-18:00 Session 3A: PhD Consortium
Value Extraction of Digital Gameplay: Audience and Producer Struggles

ABSTRACT. INTRODUCTION Since the emergence of the digital game industry, the field of game studies has problematized the politics and aesthetics of interactivity limiting player agency. These discussions around distribution of power among the user and producer and the issues of participation echo the dichotomization of an active and passive audience within media studies. Some examples could be participation and co-creation (Banks, 2013; Joseph, 2018; Potts et al., 2008), inclusion or exclusion in play through cyberbullying, misogyny, racism (Cote, 2020; Gray & Sarkeesian, 2020; Steinkuehler, 2006), and platforms affordances for cultural production (Nieborg & Poell, 2018; van Dijck, 2009). Evidently, the media industries are still struggling with coming to terms with media participation demanding ownership or at least some kind of provision economy of sharing things. Meanwhile, corporations continue to innovate on new ways to allow and encourage specific types of participation that benefits their economic goals, while controlling and limiting unwanted types of participation. In my PhD project, I will conduct four studies using semi-structured in-depth interviews applied to the following empirical cases of participatory practices in video games: I. Participatory Culture of Digital Games: The Double-Edged Sword of Being a Reddit Moderator II. Player Boosting in Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games: Player-to-Player Economies in World of Warcraft III. Non-Fungible Tokens and Cryptocurrencies in Digital Games: No Man’s Sky’s Media Affordances and Cross-Media Marketplaces of Commodification IV. TBD The study merges two distinct concepts: Participation (Carpentier, 2011) and Carl Menger’s theory of the origins of money (Menger & French, 2016) applying them as a theoretical framework for understanding the relationship between the economy of the market and the economy of commons, which is what the British critical political economist Graham Murdock (2011) calls distinct economies. By exploring fandom practices, the study positions itself between production and reception when investigating players creative and/or productive response to emerging distinct economies within their everyday media use of digital games. The aim is twofold: (1) develop a new theoretical approach to play as an activity that is not confined to the game, but instead reaches across a widespread media assemblage and manifests itself through media participation. (2) Guided by the premise of media participation as playful acts; explore audiences appropriation or subversion of texts and how this audience engagement is being (re)negotiated by economic pressures and social media’s platform logics. This study seeks to contribute to the debate on producer and audience relationships (Hill, 2016; Mayer, 2016; Simons, 2014), by addressing the relationship(s) between audience and producers taking place in the subsystem of the cultural artifact commonly understood as platforms (Boudreau & Hagiu, 2008; Duffy et al., 2019; Gawer, 2011; Helmond, 2015; McIntyre & Srinivasan, 2017; Nieborg & Poell, 2018). Additionally, this research embraces Keogh’s call for “methods of critical analysis that can locate specific, embodied phenomena of videogame play and understand them as gestalts of cultural meaning” (2014, p. 3). Participation in the digital game culture is encouraged and discouraged through a number of means. Encouragement is often seen in endorsement of platform affordances. For example, Reddit volunteer community moderators enjoy a closer relationship with industry agents as they are direct assets and contributors to the franchise or game culture, where they are the first to know about upcoming events or even collaborators in driving and promoting new releases or content updates. But the underlining platform logic of Reddit is also build to ‘promote’ users depending on their level of engagement creating vernacular affordances (McVeigh-Schultz & Baym, 2015) that creates social hierarchies that have not been socially negotiated resulting in discord between community members (Squirrell, 2019). Continuing on the note of the socially negotiated, discouraged participation is frequently motivated by being not socially acceptable. The more evident forms of discouraged participation are cyberbullying, misogyny and racism (Cote, 2020; Gray & Sarkeesian, 2020; Steinkuehler, 2006), which are heavily regulated and controlled using assistive programs for prevention and detection (Calvo-Morata et al., 2020) or crowd-sourced solutions such as League of Legends tribunal system (Busch et al., 2015). Compared to other types of social media culture, digital game culture often struggle with cheating as it resides within a gray area where perceived meritocratic norms are rarely clearly defined risking it spill over into cheating behaviors such as toxicity and the identification of “serious” gamers (Paul, 2018). For this reason, it also leaves it up to continuous renegotiation whether something is cheating or harmful for the wellbeing of the game community at large. Industrial agents can use these blurred boundaries and conveniently employ the cheating label as an ally for centralized power relations, which Carpentier et al. warns in the context of social media participation (2019). My interest in this approach to participation in the context of digital games lies in my conviction that play is at risk of being reduced to interaction as media platforms increasingly empower players to circumvent the otherwise controlled environment of the digital game world. This has led to a underbelly of geek masculinity culture emerging (Massanari, 2017, 2018), which leads to increasing control and regulation which can be seen as causing collateral damage to the creative and productive culture.   BIBLIOGRAPHY Carpentier, N. (2011). Media and participation: A site of ideological-democratic struggle (1. publ). Intellect. Carpentier, N., Melo, A. D., & Ribeiro, F. (2019). Rescuing participation: A critique on the dark participation concept. Comunicação e Sociedade, 36, Article 36. Consalvo, M. (2007). Cheating: Gaining Advantage in Videogames. MIT Press. Jenkins, H. (2008). Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide (Revised edition). NYU Press. Juul, J. (2010). A casual revolution: Reinventing video games and their players. The MIT Press, 47(12), 47-6689-47–6689. https://doi.org/10.5860/CHOICE.47-6689 McCaffrey, M. (2022). The Invisible Hand in Virtual Worlds: The Economic Order of Video Games. Cambridge University Press. Meades, A. F. (2015). Understanding Counterplay in Video Games (1st edition). Routledge. Menger, C., & French, D. E. (2016). The Origins of Money. Ludwig von Mises Institute. Morris, S. (2003). WADs, Bots and Mods: Multiplayer FPS Games as Co-creative Media. International Conference: Level Up, 2, 10. http://www.digra.org/digital-library/publications/wads-bots-and-mods-multiplayer-fps-games-as-co-creative-media/ Mortensen, T. E., Linderoth, J., & Brown, A. M. (Eds.). (2015). The Dark Side of Game Play: Controversial Issues in Playful Environments (1st edition). Routledge. Paoli, S., & Kerr, A. (2010). The Assemblage of Cheating: How to Study Cheating as Imbroglio in MMORPGs. Undefined. https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/The-Assemblage-of-Cheating%3A-How-to-Study-Cheating-Paoli-Kerr/fcb2c3f7e331f407c7d89651920e4f17cc01ab7f Paul, C. (2018). The Toxic Meritocracy of Video Games: Why Gaming Culture Is the Worst. In The Toxic Meritocracy of Video Games: Why Gaming Culture Is the Worst. https://doi.org/10.5749/j.ctt2204rbz Taylor, T. L. (2006). Play Between Worlds: Exploring Online Game Culture. MIT Press. Taylor, T. L. (2009). The Assemblage of Play. https://doi.org/10.1177/1555412009343576

Player Effort and Experiences: Perspectives on Game Dynamics

ABSTRACT. Game dynamics refers to the emergent behavior of a game system that arises from the interactions between players, rules, and game objects during gameplay. Game designers create the game's rules, but players play a crucial role in shaping the dynamics of the game through the effort they invest in the game. This active effort plays an important role in generating unforeseeable game states. Research in this area has largely focused on mathematical and physiological analyses of effort, while little attention has been given to understanding the subjective experiences of effort in players. Our research proposes a set of interpretive, empirical studies to understand the perceptions of subjective effort in games. In these studies, the rules of a number of tabletop games will be altered to generate diverse emergent play experiences. Data on the perception of effort will be collected through methods such as experience sampling, post-gameplay interviews, and retrospective think-aloud protocols. The goal is to contribute to the development of a theory of subjective effort and a method for evaluating effort, which would enable a more comprehensive analysis of game dynamics and the experiences that they engender in players. Furthermore, knowledge about perceptions of effort can further help the designing of games and other systems in which interaction and experiences that they elicit play a significant role.

An Advanced Design Perspective in Game Studies

ABSTRACT. This contribution aims at investigating the material dimension of the videogame-system by developing a future-oriented methodology built from an Advanced Design perspective. The reason for the development of such approach lies in the observation of three main phenomena: the convergence within the videogame-system of new definitions of value requiring designers to develop a new approach to solve the commodity-form problem; the possibility of using the videogame medium as a tool of critical design and design fiction; the innovation opportunities fostered by technology transfer between the videogame industry and other productive sectors. The goal is to contribute to the development of transdisciplinary connections between game and design studies necessary to address future complex innovation challenges.

16:30-18:00 Session 3B: PhD Consortium
Practical Skill and Reasoning in Broken Games Played Swiftly: A Case Study of How Glitches Are Used to Speedrun the Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

ABSTRACT. This extended abstract outlines my ongoing PhD dissertation, which aims to investigate the domain-specific skill and reasoning that players engage in while using glitches to speedrun The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past using an ethnomethodological approach.

Tourism in Video Games: Experiences in Digital Worlds

ABSTRACT. This on-going research project explores tourist experiences in video games, in other words, it contextualises play as travel. It builds on travel literature, tourism studies and bridges these theories with game studies, viewing video games as part of an experience economy of mass media consumer culture. It is particularly interested in representations of Japan or the use of Japanese aesthetics in globally-distributed video games.

Temporalities of Open World Work Ideology: the Case of Elden Ring and Genshin Impact

ABSTRACT. DiGRA 2023 Sevilla PhD Consortium Submission. In this presentation, we examine the ideologies of work in the cases of Elden Ring and Genshin Impact. We analyse their different temporalities, economies, and affective politics. We are Ph.D. candidates at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague.

For an Understanding of Video Games Genres Through the Discourse of Players

ABSTRACT. Since the popularisation of game and play studies in academic circles, the question of the generic categories of video games (FPS, TPS, survival horror, puzzle, action, etc.) has attracted the attention of many researchers and has gone through several paradigms. At first, many studies followed the path opened by literary and cinematographic studies, trying to formulate a set of criteria, notably formal, that would allow the determination of a game’s genre outside of any historical consideration. Later, researchers postulated that a development studio has the power to determine the genre of its video game, in the same way that an author, a publisher or a filmmaker defines a generic label for his or her work (a label which is relayed by the press, a sort of intermediary pole). However, more recent research has shown that the generic classification of video games is a more complex social phenomenon, in which both the production pole (the development studios) and the reception pole (the players) intervene (Letourneux, 2005; Arsenault, 2011). Indeed, it appears that the producers’ discourse is no longer sufficient to legitimise a generic label today. So our doctoral thesis will focus on how players manage to create, propagate and legitimise generic labels. Several elements lead us to carry out this research. Firstly, unlike literary and cinematic genres, which are relatively fixed, video game genres are still being negotiated now, which allows us to have a direct view on the way they are stated. Furthermore, the generic hybridity of many video games tends to complicate debates within gaming communities (for example, there is a tendency to define a genre in relation to a game’s themes, but also in relation to its gameplay; Burn and Carr, 2006; Arsenault, 2011). Moreover, video games today reach a vast public and have encountered numerous community phenomena, such as participatory culture (Jenkins, 1992; Raessens, 2005), fan cultures (Jenkins, 2006; Le Guern, 2002) and folksonomy (Petrucco, 2006): in other words, gamers establish by themselves the analysis of their practice and manage to collectively confer legitimacy to their discourse, notably through the use of social networks. In contrast, the video game’s auctorial authority appears abstract, as a video game is the result of the work of a group of individuals hidden behind an impersonal enunciation (Metz, 1991; Badir and Provenzano, 2017). It is therefore complex to identify an enunciator of the discourse and, of course, of generic categories. Finally, our study will have as corpus five formats specific to the internet environment: wikis, posts, forums, evaluations and tags. These five formats have never been linked before, although they all represent a form of knowledge production industry (Sköld, 2017). Furthermore, it will be interesting to examine the influence of the discussion format on generic categorisation. The reasons that led to the selection of these five formats are multiple: they are the formats most used by players to communicate in writing today, their online accessibility, their originally non-scholarly and non-journalistic nature, and the complementary views they offer on our problematic in terms of constitution and legitimisation of generic labels. Three games will serve as transversal discursive targets for the study of these formats: Resident Evil 4 (Capcom 2005), Portal (Valve 2007) and Wolfenstein 3D (id Software 1992). The first two games were selected because their generic categorisation is very complex and, even today, gamers continue to argue about which generic label suits them best. In contrast, Wolfenstein 3D is a precursor and archetypal FPS. This choice will allow us to compare the number of labels that exist for a type of game and to observe if differences appear in the argumentation. In order to carry out this project, we have chosen to take a semio-rhetorical perspective which allows us to analyse the discourses from both an argumentative (how the players interact and debate with each other) and a narrative (how this debate is structured in time and space) angle. Moreover, such a method allows us to take into account the particular semiotic framework of the discourses studied (profile picture, waiting time between contributions, etc.). The constitution of our corpus will be carried out in two successive steps. Firstly, we will list the generic labels of each target game using their main wikis and Steam Tags. Indeed, these two formats have a categorical indicator that facilitates the identification of genres. Secondly, the generic labels previously identified will be used as keywords in order to orientate searches in the other formats. Once the review has been carried out, our analyses of the corpus will be divided into three interdependent parts, which will be integrated into an Excel table (see appendix). (1) We will describe the discursive practices of generic categorisation in use within each format, in particular the macro-categorical criteria used by the players (thematic, aesthetic, narrative, gameplay-related, etc.). (2) The in-depth semio-rhetorical analysis of the corpus will reveal the co-construction of points of view (Rabatel, 2005; 2012) taking place between the various players. Indeed, a hierarchy regulates the interactions and plays a fundamental role in the argumentation around the generic categories. (3) Linked to the previous point, we will analyse how the ethos of players can influence their authority (Amossy, 2010; Peyron, 2012; Maingueneau, 2014; 2015). Indeed, we must consider that the perceived image of a player can play a major role in the configuration of discourses, depending on whether the player is more or less reputable within his community. The analysis of the cross-tabulations in our Excel table will enable us to obtain, for each format and for the whole, several statistics relating to the frequency of appearance of certain argumentative patterns. Having established a partnership with the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF), the aim of our thesis will be to help this organisation in the management of its database (comprising more than 20,000 video games). Indeed, the generic criterion is nowadays preponderant in the research of average gamers, but also in the work of many researchers. Therefore, understanding the mechanisms behind the legitimisation of video game genres will help a wide range of socio-cultural actors in their task of preserving the medium.

18:00-19:00Coffee Break