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10:30-11:00Coffee Break
11:00-13:00 Session 13A: Panel: A Southern View on Game Studies in the Global South
PANEL: A Southern View on Game Studies in the Global South

ABSTRACT. Much has been said about the need to amplify the voices of the Global South in several disciplines, including Game Studies. However, so far, most initiatives in this direction have either been led by scholars from the Northern Hemisphere, or by those that have chosen to work there. As welcome and beneficial as the resulting discussions, events and publications are, their paradoxical nature must be acknowledged. This panel was organized with the intention of overcoming this deviation by inviting game scholars who are native to the Global South and that have centered their professional careers there to discuss the current scenario of game studies and the game industry. The questions to be addressed include: what specific challenges are faced by Southern game scholars? Are there advantages to researching outside of the traditional Northern centers? What is the current configuration of the Southern game industry and in which direction is it heading? In addition, participants will question - and challenge - post-colonial and decolonial approaches and initiatives.

11:00-13:00 Session 13B: Panel: Regional Histories of the UK and Ireland’s Arcade Coin-Op Industry
Regional Histories of the UK and Ireland's Arcade Coin-Op Industry

ABSTRACT. In its conception, this panel follows the continuing growth in interest local game histories (see e.g. Swalwell, 2021; Wade and Webber, 2016) where hyperlocal, local and regional influences sway the development, distribution and marketing of coin-op games at the national, international and supranational level, Each panel member will discuss the hyperlocal, local and regional aspect of games’ historical formation respectively in the context of the United Kingdom and Ireland. The panel has invited John Richards from Free Enterprise Group and formerly Trolfame, whose July 1982 British court case against SEGA defined the legal precedent for copyright in videogame code (Coin Slot International 1982), and who was instrumental in hyperlocal, local and regional coin-op in the UK to discuss his personal experience of the times and spaces outlined here.

The opening part of the panel will explore game histories from a hyperlocal geographic perspective, considering the impact of the Isle of Thanet, South East England, and the town of Ramsgate in particular upon national and supranational coin-op development and adoption. The speaker will focus on three companies based in the area: Cromptons, Jezzards, and Harry Levy Amusements Ltd. Cromptons are best known as the inventors of the penny pusher machine, where coins or tokens land on moving platforms and eventually are pushed into pay-out slots to the player, with the release of Penny Falls (1966). The penny pusher remains a popular and steady-earning machine, the financial backbone of many British arcades to this day, and has been distributed, localized and adopted throughout the globe. Cromptons’ previous machines Film Stars (1955) and Derby Racer (1962) were key in generating British amusement arcade income from the 1950s onwards creating the economic conditions that sustained arcade expansion in the 1960s, the introduction and decline of videogames through the 1970s to 1990s, and led to the patterns of public play seen in the modern British arcade. Cromptons ceased trading in the early 2000s (after becoming SEGA Europe), however their influence can be seen on the hyperlocal (and national) perspectives. Former Crompton workers, who left the parent company often due to the negative impacts of national tax policies, established several coin-op companies that specialized in similar game types.

Two of the most notable are Jezzards and Harry Levy Amusements Ltd. Jezzards became a well-regarded electro-mechanical coin-op manufacturer in the 1970s, generally focusing on making games for a national market. The company eventually pivoted towards pool-hall and arcade operation and closed in the early 2000s. By contrast, Harry Levy Amusements Ltd., founded by former Cromptons’ factory workers in the early 1980s, is now one of the largest global manufacturers and distributors of penny pusher, redemption, and coin-op machines. Furthermore, the company has invested in the national British arcade infrastructure, owning some of the most desirable arcade sites in Britain (Gambling Commission, 2023).

Through telling the story of Cromptons, Jezzards, and Harry Levy Amusements Ltd. this presentation will articulate another perspective on local games history. It will show the profound impact that regions, companies, and ultimately individuals can have upon the international character of public play.

The second part of the panel will explore, through recourse to primary data (Wade and Whittaker 2023), the historical formation of coin-op videogames in the locale of the English Midlands. Of the 2200 games companies listed in the UK, the English Midlands is home to over 250 companies and accounts for 13% of all videogames ever created in the United Kingdom. (DIT 2019).

As Meades (2022) details in Arcade Britannia, the formation of the English Midlands’ relationship with coin-operated machines is based around fraternal legacies, with firms specializing in coin-operated machines stretching over and between generations of families. This is particularly the case of the Thomas family from Leicestershire. The family employed economic structures including development, manufacture, testing, distribution and promotion in the local area. Such vertically integrated approaches were later adopted by game and computer firms around the world (e.g. Sinclair; Namco; Atari).

The early success of the Thomas family in coin-op provided a network from which external firms had a platform to enter the UK market. Atari, following the success of Pong’s release in the US, were based in Castle Donington, Leicestershire from 1972 onwards. Subsequently, the Stamper brothers, founders of Rare, started their commercial interest in videogames with Allied Leisure, before moving onto Zilec in Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire. Zilec was one of only two companies in the UK at that time which manufactured and sold original arcade videogames (Maher, 2014). In forming Rare, which eventually developed and marketed coin-op videogames to the US and Japanese market, the Stampers continued a rich tradition of fraternal involvement in arcade machines whose aesthetic is still keenly felt in current releases. This part of the panel will conclude through indicating the historical and continuing importance of fraternal organisation in the means of production, distribution and marketing of coin op games through vertical integration, ‘chains of approval’ (Wade and Whittaker, 2023) and economies of scope to the local games’ histories of the English Midlands and its wider influences on the national and international games’ industry.

The third segment of the panel presentation is a regional history of the coin-op industry on the island of Ireland from the late 1970s to the present day. It examines both the leisure and gambling targeted sides of coin-op local manufacturing and their reach both nationally and internationally.

Ireland's involvement in coin-op videogaming goes back to 1978 with the opening of Atari's manufacturing and distribution plant in Co. Tipperary, supported by funding from the Irish government. This factory was supplied in part by Murray Kitchens from nearby Ardfinnan who fabricated the arcade cabinets, and by Co. Waterford based Kromberg & Schubert who supplied the necessary wiring to support the game PCBs imported from Atari in California (Temple 2017). Murray Kitchens had a prior history working with the electronics industry, previously building wooden enclosures for Pilot radios (Complete Control Films 2013). Atari’s factory in Ardfinnan was a major contributor to the local economy, employing up to 200 people, and forming a vital supply chain link to Europe (Kerr and Cawley 2012).

The business changed ownership several times over the years, and was bought by Namco in 1984, then bought back by Atari in 1990, and taken over by Midway in 1995 (2017). That year it changed ownership to Namco again, who ran the business until its closure in 1998. The Atari factory also produced arcade games under contract for Sega (Nolan 2019, 196), and so was a European manufacturing and distribution hub for several of the arcade videogame industry's leaders.

Parallel to the local arcade videogame manufacturing market kickstarted by Atari in the late 1970s are the gaming coin-op machine makers and distributors in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, including Noraut from Omagh, Co. Tyrone (Noraut 2023), and Kimble Manufacturing from Dundalk, Co. Louth (Kimble 2008). Noraut also branched into tabletop gaming in 1988 with Deal Me In, a unique combination of board game and card game, designed in 1988 by Bobby Evans from Banbridge, Co. Down (RTÉ Archives 1988). While fixed odds gaming machine technology has evolved over the years, the original 1980s Joker Poker is a survivor of coin-op history, a game design that has survived unaltered for over four decades, and is still in wide use.

The aim of this panel's research is to contribute to building a more detailed picture of local coin-op gaming histories at micro level. Our methodological approach includes significant involvement from industry voices, who provide an essential first-hand reference to the stories of these local scenes as they've evolved over the decades. By focusing on the local, hyperlocal and regional levels in the UK and Ireland we intend to expand and reinforce scholarly understanding of the wider national and global industry dynamics of the arcade coin-op gaming industry.


Complete Control Films, dir. 2013. An Interview With John Kennedy - Youghal 9th April 2010. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTeQeL80xN8. Coin Slot International. 1982. Copyright exists in games. Coin Slot International, July 10: 1 Department for international Trade (2019), Midlands Engine: Video Games, London: Crown Gambling Commission, The. 2023. “Harry Levy Amusement contractor limited” Available at: https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/public-register/business/detail/premises/5679 retrieved 13th January 2023 Kerr, Aphra, and Anthony Cawley. 2012. “The Spatialisation of the Digital Games Industry: Lessons from Ireland.” International Journal of Cultural Policy 18 (4): 398–418. Kimble. 2008. “Kimble Home - Leading Suppliers Equipment.” 2008. http://www.kimble.ie/. Maher, Jimmy (2014), ‘The Legend of Ultimate: Play the Game’ available at https://www.filfre.net/2014/01/the-legend-of-ultimate-play-the-game/ retrieved 12th January 2023 Meades, Alan, (2022) Arcade Britannia, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press Nolan, Kieran. 2019. “The Art, Aesthetics, and Materiality of the Arcade Videogame Interface: A Practice-Included JAMMA Era Arcade Platform Study.” Trinity College Dublin. http://www.tara.tcd.ie/handle/2262/90862. Noraut. 2023. “Noraut Poker.” 2023. https://noraut.com/. Noraut Ltd. 198AD. “Noraut Joker Poker (Original).” http://archive.org/details/arcade_norautjo. RTÉ Archives. 1988. “Deal Me In Board Game.” Video. RTÉ Archives. December 5, 1988. https://dj.rte.ie/archives/collections/news/21299292-deal-me-in-board-game. Swalwell, M. (2021) ‘Introduction: Game History and the Local’ in Game History and the Local, Edited by Melanie Swalwell, Cham: Palgrave Macmillan Temple, Tony. 2017. “Atari Ireland: Tipperary’s Arcade Connection.” The Arcade Blogger (blog). August 25, 2017. https://arcadeblogger.com/2017/08/25/atari-ireland/. Wade, Alex and Webber, Nick (2016) ‘A Future for Game Histories?’ Cogent Arts and Humanities, 3:1 Wade, Alex and Whitaker, Adam, (2023) ‘Stamp of Approval: A Prosopography of the UK Midlands Videogame Industry’ in Media Materialities, edited by Oliver Carter and Iain Taylor, Bristol: Intellect


Dr Alan Meades is Principal Lecturer at Canterbury Christ Church University. His research focuses upon British amusement arcade history, oral history, play histories, and transgressive play. He is the author of Arcade Britannia (MIT Press 2022) and Understanding Counterplay in Video Games (Routledge 2015). Meades is the director of the Nic Costa Archive of coin-op history, and is a practice-based researcher, producing artwork, films, graphic design, and interactive environments for exhibition. His interactive companion to Arcade Britannia, allowing players to explore amusement arcades and built into a 1980s arcade cabinet, is featured in Eureka! part of London Design Biennale 2023.

Dr Kieran Nolan is an artist and academic from Cavan, Ireland. His multidisciplinary research explores the aesthetic, material, and connective properties of games, interfaces, and networked media, through digital art, design critique, and platform histories. He completed his PhD 'The Art, Aesthetics, and Materiality of the Arcade Videogame Interface' through Trinity College Dublin in 2019. Kieran is a lecturer in Creative Media at Dundalk Institute of Technology, and Co-Director of DkIT’s Creative Arts Research Centre. kierannolan.com

Dr Alex Wade is Senior Research Fellow at Birmingham City University. Trained as a sociologist he has written widely on media histories, mental health, young people and media and French social theory. He was Chair of the Histories of Games Conference Committee (2018-2022) and is Work Group 1 Lead for the Co-operation on Science and Technology project ‘Grassroots of Digital Europe’ (2022-2026). He is the author of two books on games histories, including Playback: A Genealogy of 1980s British Videogames (2016).

11:00-13:00 Session 13C: Material Games
Would You like Games with That Computer? Revisiting Early Game History & Culture with the Commodore 64

ABSTRACT. In this paper, we first document that most video games of the 1980s were published on home computers, and especially on the Commodore 64 (C64), but that home computers have been curiously sidelined in histories of early video games and game culture.

This raises a question: "What was the relation between home computers and games, or between computer and game culture in the 1980s?" Graeme Kirkpatrick’s study of UK game magazines argued that game culture became increasingly divorced from technical computer culture during the 1980s. But what does that history look like from the other side, through the lens of the C64?

To answer this, we study early advertisements for the C64 and show its promotion as a universal computer – heavily gendered - for the whole family, downplaying video games.

Then, examining early computer and game magazines, we argue that contrary to what previous research has reported, the late C64 period saw a renewed emphasis on programming as commercial software waned and the demoscene became popular.

Thus, the paper argues that the central role of home computers in early video game history and culture has been neglected, and that game and computer culture continually interacted during the history of the Commodore 64.

Toys, Video Games, Platforms, and Mattel Electronics's Intellivision

ABSTRACT. A historical and conceptual investigation of the Intellivision video game system in relation to the history of toy production at Mattel.

11:00-13:00 Session 13D: Live Streaming
Live Streamer Paracommunity on Twitch and Discord

ABSTRACT. Considering the social nature of the platform, multiple studies of Twitch have adopted the concept of ‘parasocial relationships’ (PSRs) to theorize how streamers develop consistent, financially supportive audiences (Sjöblom & Hamari, 2017; Wolff, et. al., 2022; Wulf, et. al., 2020). The current on-going project presents a development in how PSRs have evolved via linked Twitch-Discord networks into paracommunities driven by viewer play-labour, or playbour (Kücklich, 2005) in the service of a central streaming figure.

Playing Video Games for a Living. Coping with Emotional Tensions and Economic Precariousness Surrounding Live Streamers' Careers on Twitch

ABSTRACT. Twitch.tv is a major hub of gaming culture, creating a space where video games and live streaming entertainment are tightly interwoven, as viewers gather to watch streamers play and engage with them and with other viewers in real time through the chat. In the last few years gaming culture has evolved towards the increased centrality of gaming as a spectator activity (Anderson 2017), declined both in the public dimension of game viewership (i.e. major eSports events) and in the more intimate and domestic sharing of the ludic experience of playing video games in live streaming (Johnson and Woodcock 2019).

Live streaming is changing the landscape of gaming culture in different ways: first and foremost, by bringing the player’s corporeality back into gaming, it has shattered the techno-utopistic ethos (Condis 2018) rooted in the origins of the Internet, bringing into light conflicts related to the dimensions of gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation in gaming culture (Cross 2016; Salter and Blodgett 2017). Second, it has created opportunities for turning gaming into a job, both for professional eSports players and for streamers.

Those opportunities are linked with the affordances and regulations (Zolides 2020; Ruberg 2021) of the platforms that make them possible, in our case Twitch, and with the streamers’ ability to maintain a positive relationship with their communities. In other words, the job of the streamer is about transforming their gaming capital (Consalvo 2007) and other forms of capital, including social capital, into economic capital, a possibility enabled and bound by Twitch as a platform. The affordances of the platform (Swords 2020) are centered around the gamification of the relationship between the streamer and their community, through features such as cheers, polls and bets, channel points and hype trains, in order to smooth the conversion process of social capital into economic capital for the streamers.

Our research aims to explore the transformations in gaming culture brought about by these processes of monetization and professionalization by centering the streamers, through qualitative semi-structured interviews with 22 Italian streamers, 9 male and 13 female and at different stages of their careers on Twitch.

Live streaming is particularly interesting because it can be seen as a game in itself, in which the streamer’s goal is to keep their viewers engaged and create excitement using both the game they’re playing and the Twitch platform as tools. However, live streaming is also work, which can create tensions related to the emotional and practical labour required in order to fulfill two needs: that of maintaining the relationship with the viewers and that of normalizing the monetization of the relationship without being seen as inauthentic or greedy.

In previous research, we highlighted how streamers need to maintain a kind of implicit pact with their community, in which the monetary flow that takes place is framed as a way to support the streamer and help them provide better content and a better experience to the viewers (Carradore and Carrera 2019) so that viewers don’t feel exploited but feel that they’re providing meaningful help to the streamer. On Twitch, in fact, there’s a perceived “economy of authenticity” (Ruberg et al. 2019) connected to both gaming capital (i.e., being accepted as a real gamer, a legitimate participant in gaming culture) and social capital (i.e., having a genuine relationship with one’s community and not just exploiting it for the money).

Therefore, streamers sit at the intersection between work and play and must mediate the tensions that come with it, all within the precarious position of working on a platform they have no control over. Our interviewees, in discussing their relationship with Twitch as a platform and as a company, pointed to Twitch’s lack of interest in supporting creators and improving the infrastructure in response to their needs, as was also evidenced by the strikes that took place in 2021 both in the US (#ADayOffTwitch) and in Italy (#NoStreamDay).

In previous research we focused on the gendered dimension of female streamers’ negotiations with the platform and with their viewers, in which we highlighted their balancing acts with respect to the dimensions of dealing with sexist toxicity and managing their presentation of femininity and erotic capital (Hakim 2010) in order to be recognized as legitimate participants in gaming culture and not as posers exploiting their attractiveness to monetize male viewers’ attention (Carradore and Pirola 2022). Our presentation aims to describe the ways “playing video games for a living” and monetizing the social dimension of gaming communities are experienced by the streamers, focusing on the emotional labour they perform for their communities, the need and difficulty in maintaining boundaries between their public front and their private self while remaining “authentic” and the uncertainties surrounding their careers on Twitch. Therefore, we look from a sociological perspective at professional game streamers on Twitch and problematize their role in the evolution of gaming culture.

Coming out While Going Fast: Queer Conviviality in Speedrunning Live Streams

ABSTRACT. Drawing on ethnographic research of LGBTQIA+ live streaming speedrunners, this article demonstrates how by centering queer perspectives, we can catalyze meaningful social changes for all. Though for most people, beating the original Super Mario Bros. in under five minutes would seem unfathomably difficult, LGBTQIA+ speedrunning live streamers regularly accomplish this superhuman feat, while coming out to an audience of thousands at the same time. For queer and trans folks, broadcasting such a transgressive, transformational form of play is defiant demonstration of vulnerability; one that creates a comfortable space for a community to thrive, by cultivating a culture of queer conviviality. Following in their fleet-footed steps, this article explicates how, as game studies and human-computer interaction researchers, we might center those on the margins in order achieve truly communal goals.

Latina Sex Workers on Twitch: Between Pleasure, Work, Vulnerability and Marginalization

ABSTRACT. This paper examines how the gendered and racialized bodies of Latina sex workers disrupt the predominantly masculine and white spaces of the live-streaming platform Twitch. These streamers are marginalized on the platform in multiple ways, including as women, people of color, Spanish speakers, and sex workers. The goal of the chapter is to build on existing work that explores marginalization and exclusion on Twitch and in streaming cultures.

11:00-13:00 Session 13E: Epistemologies
Knowledge Representation Schema of the Gameplay

ABSTRACT. Gameplay is the term used to define the way the players interact with the game. This paper is to present a schema for gameplay to understand the interactivity and inherent states that exist in the playing of a game. The knowledge representation schema of the gameplay is proposed based on the Function Behaviour Structure (FBS) ontology. This schema shows the significant difference between the gameplays based on conflict and competition type of interactions. The proposed schema focuses on the states involved in the gameplay and the transitions between the states. Some games allow the players to play in the same game world and some in the separate game world. So, the schema is applied under various scenarios, simultaneous/sequence gameplay, and the game world to understand the interaction among the players and the game.

Skillful Play Is Dependent on Rules. Notes on a Phenomenology of Skills in Games and Digital Games

ABSTRACT. Since its inception, it has been one of the focal points of game studies to understand games through rules. Caillois’s (2001) definition is often cited when it comes to categorizing games between ludus and paidia with rules being constitutive of the first category. Rules as constitutional entities for videogames have furthermore been explored by a wide range of scholars. (e.g., Bogost, 2007; Juul, 2005; Salen & Zimmerman, 2003; Sicart, 2023) In my project, I want to shed light on a topic that has much less grasped attention of game scholarship: the interdependence between rules and skillful play. It is my hypothesis that skills provide the necessary epistemic access to a game and its playthings for aesthetic and phenomenological research to happen. The ongoing research project brings together positions of the Merleau-Pontian phenomenology with the more recent analytical philosophy of mind to investigate how rules shape the experience and the form-making of games. Still at its beginnings, the project first studies classical chess but will in the future include sensori-motor skillbased games like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (2018).

Criticizing Caillois: Examining How Players Perceive Rules in Play and Games

ABSTRACT. Roger Caillois famously argued that games should be analyzed based upon how limited they are by rules on a continuum from Paidia to Ludus. Several other scholars have since viewed rules and rule-boundedness as key to understanding both games and play. No previous work has sufficiently addressed whether this continuum is representative of how player's experience rules in games and play. By examining 429 academic works that address playfulness, and an interview data set of 125 playful experiences for how rules, limitations, and boundaries are discussed, this work expands upon the framework of Caillois and adds two new categories that typify player-rule interactions. Līlā is a player creating and changing rules as an act of play, and Muhō is a player violating rules as an act of play. Introducing these new categories adds critical nuance for future discussions on the relationship of rules, games, and play.

Flow, Boredom, Idleness. The Relation Between the Subjective Passage of Time and the Experience of Video Games

ABSTRACT. This presentation will explore the relation between the subjective passage of time and our experience of video games. Time does not pass at a constant speed in our experience. Depending on different factors, time can seem pass faster or more slowly, as described by the attentional-gate model (Zakay & Block 1996). Several studies have shown that playing video games typically leads to an acceleration of the passage of time (Wood et al. 2007, Rau et al. 2006, Luthman et al. 2009,Tobin & Grondin 2009, Tobin et al. 2010, Bisson et al. 2012, Bisson & Grondin 2013). This is often associated with the state of flow, which is characterized, among other things, by deep concentration, a sense of control, and the loss of the senses of self and time (Csikszentmihalyi 2009). Both game designers and game scholars have pointed out on several occasions that video games are effective at inducing flow (Voiskounsky et al. 2004, Salen & Zimmerman 2003, Juul 2005, Schell 2008, Alvarez Igarzábal 2019). Recent studies found quantitative evidence that an accelerated passage of time correlates positively with higher states of flow while playing the video game Thumper (Drool 2016) (Rutrecht et al. 2021, Khoshnoud et al. 2022). The opposite, the slowing down of the subjective passage of time in video games, has not been explored as much in the literature. One study showed that boredom induced in a virtual reality waiting room can lead to a deceleration of the subjective passage of time (Alvarez Igarzábal et al. 2021). This effect can be even stronger than the effect observed in an equivalent real-life waiting room. The common understanding is thus that the acceleration of the passage of time is associated with positive valence (fun, enjoyment), whereas the slowing down of the passage of time is associated with negative valence (boredom, impatience). Some scholars, like Leino (2018) and Möring (2014), have written in defense of boredom, using examples of games like Euro Truck Simulator 2 (SCS Software 2012) and Proteus (Curve Games 2013). These games and others like Red Dead Redemption 2 (Rockstar Studios 2018) (see Vanderhoef & Payne 2022) or Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Nintendo EPD 2020) are part of a somewhat recent movement that has been called “slow games” (Ganszyniec 2019) or “slow play” (Fizek 2022). This presentation aims to contribute to this discourse from the point of view of time perception. On the basis of research conducted by Ehret and colleagues (2020), it will argue that it is not boredom, but a third possibility that characterizes the aesthetics of slow play that Ehret and coworkers have called idleness. This state of idleness is characterized by a deceleration of the passage of time in experience that, instead of producing impatience or boredom, is accompanied by a sense of enjoyment—that is, positive valence. Following the recent discourse on slow play, this presentation will argue that idleness is a significant mental state within this mode of play.

11:00-13:00 Session 13F: Unruly Communities
Bodies in Play

ABSTRACT. As ongoing research, Bodies in Play (BiP) uses games and play in a range of ways as a methodological scaffold to generate new approaches to the wicked problem of equity in the technological imaginary. From ideation games that prioritize bodies (played together on Discord using live illustration as a way to explore relevant themes) to skills workshops that allow persistent and responsive online learning resources for future jammers, our research methods continue to evolve to serve the multiple audiences we are invested in reaching and supporting. By reporting our progress to date to a game studies audience, we hope to contribute to new conversations that bring the periphery of embodied expressive interfaces into full sight in service of a more equitable future for all.

Horny for Ghost: The Sexualized Remediation of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II on TikTok

ABSTRACT. The paper studies the sexual nature of the remediation, reappropriation, and remixing of the character Simon “Ghost” Riley from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II on TikTok.

The Narrativization of Quantified Play in Videogame Fanfiction

ABSTRACT. When fanfics translate the game systems or mechanics of their source game into a narrative form, they establish an intermedial relationship, where the story ‘thematizes, evokes or imitates elements or structures of another, conventionally distinct medium [videogames here] through the use of its own media-specific means” (Rajewsky, 2005, p. 53). This research extends game studies’ understanding of the limits of games by examining how the fanfiction (fanfic) of a Chinese MMO evokes elements and structures of the game, and how, in doing so, it surfaces aspects of hegemonic masculinity latent in the game’s systems and mechanics.

Charting the Forgotten Realms of Digital Vernacularity: 25 Years of D&D Infinity Engine Games Modifications

ABSTRACT. A structured overview of fan-made modifications of Infinity Engine games based on the Dungeons&Dragons license and utilizing its proprietary Forgotten Realms setting. [Extended Abstract]

11:00-13:00 Session 13G: New Aesthetics of Horror
What Lurks in the Margins: the Ill-Known Short Horror Video Games

ABSTRACT. In the 1990’s, survival horror appeared in video games genre margins, breaking the constraint of action-adventure conventions by urging the player to flee rather than fight (Taylor, 2009, 46). During the 2000’s, studios steered the sclerotizing genre toward Triple-A action-oriented games, thus somehow killing survival horror. It took successful independent productions such as Amnesia: The Dark Descent (Frictional Games, 2010) or Outlast (Red Barrels, 2013) for the mainstream industry to consider horror anew. Currently, with the revival of well-known series such as Resident Evil (Capcom, 1996-), Silent Hill (Konami, 1999-) and Alone in the Dark (Infogrames, 1992-) through remakes or new installments, and the sustained releases of scary video games, commentators are announcing “a new golden age of survival horror” (Arroyo, 2022). Although the videoludic horror genre has been defined by Triple-A games and that their importance is undeniable, there exists an ongoing production of indie and homebrew video games in the margins of the dominant industry, and one might argue that it is in these fringes it is renewed. As we want to study these works, our talk will describe the bases of a research program on short horror video games that is underway.

Breaking the Mold: Mother/Daughter Representations in Resident Evil

ABSTRACT. This paper presents a work in progress that delves into the monstrous representations of mothers and daughters in Resident Evil VII: Biohazard (Capcom 2017), Resident Evil Village (Capcom 2021) and the DLC of the latter, Shadows of Rose (Capcom 2022). Its aim is to explore how these games construct both positive and negative models of motherhood and daughters. The focus will be mainly in the characters of Mia and Rose and their monstrous counterparts, Mother Miranda and Eveline, respectively. To carry out said research, the characters will be analyzed through Jessica Benjamin’s ideas of intersubjectivity and recognition.

11:00-13:00 Session 13H: Game Worlds
A Classification of Video Game Cartographic Maps

ABSTRACT. Maps play discerning roles in video games and have multiple functions supporting gameplay from communication information to navigational tools. However, our body of knowledge regarding game maps, while growing, is still limited – especially from a cartographic perspective. In this paper, we contribute a classification of game maps developed from a sample of online articles and posts dedicated to video game maps. We discuss the developed categories and present examples to illustrate the varied manifestations of maps in games. Based on our review we further discuss how they can be designed and function to stimulate playfulness and present avenues for future research.

Travel and Exploration in Elden Ring and Genshin Impact as an Essential Game Experience

ABSTRACT. This case study explores the shared open-world strategies in Elden Ring and Genshin Impact. Although both games are successful, they entertain drasically different reputations due to their approach in monetization or artistic endeavour in the open-world. This case study then emphasises the similar strategies that allow for seamless exploration and then investigates how similar or different the reward strategies for each game are. The most crucial difference, as this case study portrays, is another currency that Genshin Impact makes use of the most, which is the player's time.

The Innate Multiplicity of Game Worlds: Emersive Effects in Dark Souls 2 and Nier: Automata

ABSTRACT. Designing for immersion has been one of the main goals of the game industry in recent years; the concept being utilized in marketing as much as in discourse revolving around digital games, as can be shown by the extensive research of authors such as Calleja or Douglas and Hargadon. Not as frequent is the decision of purposefully designing games with the aim of distancing the player from digital worlds. Emersive design techniques serve the role of shifting player focus from the game being played to other aspects of that same experience, often nuanced and focused on the liminal space between players and games. To put it in different terms, the aim of creating a sort of distancing effect is that of letting the audience contemplate the artifact more so than the content of it and ponder on their relationship with it, therefore granting the insight for a more critical look at the artifact itself. This theory originated with Russian formalist Viktor Shklovsky, who wrote about these concepts in “Art as technique”. Shklovsky’s ideas have already been used in game studies to gain insight in the purview of emersion, for example, by Alex Mitchell to develop the concept of poetic gameplay. One of the formal aspects of digital games that can be brought to the forefront through the use of emersive mechanics is the innate multiplicity of game worlds. Digital games, as a media, are subjected to a potentially illimited reproduction of the artifact, especially since digital copies of games have become the industry standard. Curiously enough, such copies of games (both digital and physical versions) are not considered as such, not to the same extent, at least, as a print of a painting would be considered as far removed from the original. In the same way the original manuscript of a novel would not be considered the one and only real version of that book, the gold master of a certain game would not be regarded as the real iteration of that digital game. The innate tendency towards being reproduced of digital games, is a trait shared with other forms of media, such as cinema, or as previously stated, print media. The unique capacity that digital games hold in this regard, however, is to comment dynamically and directly on the topic of the reproducibility of art. The way I have seen this done in digital games has been through the application of emersive mechanics, particularly in two titles that, I posit, showcase a similar occurrence, the first as an emergent emersive mechanic and the second one as a purposefully designed one. The two games I will be talking about are Dark Souls 2, with a specific focus on the boss battle against the Looking Glass Knight; and Nier: Automata, particularly the shoot-em-up credit section of the game.

Human-Environment Relationships in Alba: a Typological Analysis of Player Engagement in Steam Reviews

ABSTRACT. This paper focuses on the player experiences of the game Alba: A Wild Life Adventure. We analyze players’ reviews of the game and their profiles in an integrated way to investigate opportunities of using digital games to engage players in the issue of human-environment relationship. The analytical results indicates the players reflect on environmental issues in their reviews. Our findings yield implications on several issues including 1) the importance of immersive design and narrative in terms of engaging players; 2) instead of classifying a game as “serious” or “entertainment” based on the intentions behind the game development, more emphasis should be put direct on player’s experiences; and 3) the role of parenting of video games.

13:00-14:30Lunch Break