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A new school year at UCONN is underway, but I will be making a trip up to Bangor in September to give a talk and run a workshop for University of Maine students and faculty. I’m particularly excited to be using the new IMRC Center for my workshop on environmental storytelling through games. For details, see the linked poster: UMaine_EcologyofGamesPoster.

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Earth Days

Thanks to Professor Summer Harrison (English) and the Environmental Studies and Sustainability Program at Drew University for hosting me on Monday for a workshop and lecture on “Greening Games: What Environmental Science Can Teach Us About Playing Video Games” (poster attached). The talk was fortuitously timed, given Earth Day/Week.

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The semester’s coming to a close, but I may be speaking virtually or in-person at UCLA in June. More details to come.

Upcoming talks

I’m happy to share this poster for my upcoming talk at UConn (in English). If you’re in the area, I will also be presenting on April 8th as part of UConn’s Digital Media and Design department’s new Digital Directions speaker series (part of a celebration of this year’s Day of DH).

For those attending next week’s SCMS conference in Seattle, consider becoming part of the new Media and Environment Scholarly Interest Group (SIG). I’ll be on a Saturday morning Media and Sustainability panel, chaired by Nicole Starosielski and Janet Walker.

Last but not least, I’ll also be speaking at Drew University on April 21st (running a workshop for English and environmental studies students, but the lecture is open to the public), and the University of Maine (Bangor) on September 24–more details forthcoming. Please distribute to those who might be interested!

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The Secret Lives of Objects

Time is scarce these days, but I finally finished my first play-through of an indie game called The Novelist, developed by Kent Hudson. The game is essentially an interactive drama that chronicles the lives of one family during a summer on the Oregon coast, revealed from the viewpoint of some kind of spirit (a.k.a. you) that inhabits their vacation rental home. Dan Kaplan, the father, is a writer struggling to complete his latest book. Linda, the mother, is an aspiring painter. And their son, Tommy, is a young boy having a tough time with school, his parents’ evident preoccupations, and the isolation of their temporary summer place. As one learns, Dan has brought the family to this beautiful but secluded location in order to dislodge his writer’s block, so as each chapter of the game unfolds, he must make difficult, often heartbreaking choices between the demands of his career, his marriage, and his child. Each narrative episode permits only one primary desired outcome (Dan’s, Linda’s, or Tommy’s), as well as one subsidiary compromise–in other words, one family member will always be disappointed, and another only partially mollified. Though the exact options shift from segment to segment, Dan always faces the same basic dilemma: work on his book by sacrificing quality time with his wife or his son, or not.

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Dan Kaplan ponders the imponderable as he looks out at the Pacific Ocean. Screenshot from thenovelistgame.com.

First, let me say that this game hits uncomfortably close to home for me, having just moved my own family across the country for my career as an academic. Like Dan, I often feel paralyzed by fears of mediocrity and the inevitability of letting others down. (SPOILER ALERT) Frankly, when the last decision Dan must make was revealed as whether or not to accept an assistant professorship in literature, which would require relocating his family and thereby squelching his wife’s painterly ambition and his son’s tenuous progress in school, I nearly groaned aloud.

I could take issue with the game’s ruleset, or its assumptions, of course–why must life be zero-sum, with someone always gaining via someone else’s losing? Should I experience a certain schadenfreude now that fathers can apparently join mothers in the murky depths of career-family negotiation? But I understand that the game’s constraints are designed to wound. They are inflexible to the extent that deadlines, schedule conflicts, and human potential itself require us to pick and choose. Though we might like to reassure ourselves that, were it us, WE would find the time to tutor Tommy between insanely productive bouts at the typewriter, while also helping Linda with her art show, this game renders its choices starkly. We could even say that The Novelist is foremost a resource-management game, if we consider Dan’s attention the scarce resource in question (something that Kate Hayles has argued is a feature of our contemporary media- and technology-saturated environments).

Perhaps most interesting to me is less the game’s branching textual structure or dramatic content than its use of matter and environment. Ordinary objects take on numinous significance, including a whole host of documents (diary entries, letters, shopping lists, post-it notes, magazines, books, etc.), images, and personal belongings. Some of these are manifestations of the creative process, like Dan’s scrawled ideas for plot points or Linda’s half-finished canvases. Others are prized possessions, like Tommy’s favorite toys. Some are conduits for particular activities, like firewood for a campout on the beach; and still others are almost threats, like the whiskey Dan begins to overindulge in as his deadline draws closer. Many of these are actionable, their glowing or flickering forms indicating to the player that they may be read or otherwise inspected. Often, the window of their narrative efficacy is short–a single chapter–so at all other times they lurk in the background as evidence of decisions already made or still-to-come. The story advances when, in each section, after exploring all the available options and discovering each character’s preferred outcome, you select an object that will set in motion the outcome you deem best (e.g. Dan’s jogging shoes, instead of the whiskey bottle, if you want him to lay off drinking and revert to a healthier lifestyle).

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An epistolary game. Screenshot from thenovelistgame.com.

As the presiding player-spirit-author-voyeur, you may quickly roam the house by “possessing” lights or choose to “emerge” from the nearest incandescent bulb to creep about. The game can even be played in stealth mode, so that the family members can actually spot you during their peregrinations.

While The Novelist isn’t an ecological game, since the player-as-spirit stays resolutely bound to the home, it is arguably an environmental one. Beyond the clear metaphorical importance of the game’s isolated forest setting and spectacular but also eerie coastal bluff views, it is because the game emerges through the hidden lives of objects, rather than explicit conversation, that it seems to celebrate the nonhuman. The characters’ default verbal exchanges verge on the inane, but in their memories and thoughts, and the emotional and historical residues of the property, surprisingly profound situations unfold. In fact, though the story is ultimately a human one, The Novelist might qualify as an example of speculative realism, or object-oriented ontology.

Want to try it yourself? It’s on Steam.

Spring 2014 Courses at UConn

Thanks to the gracious powers that be, I am on leave this semester, but in the spring I’m offering one section of a gateway literary-theory course for English majors (skewing environmental), and one special-topics course on textuality (skewing new media). These will be some of the first courses to explicitly tackle “the digital” in a department better known for its strengths in medieval studies and children’s literature. I’m still dithering over what primary texts I want to use in each, though I’m leaning toward China Mieville’s The City and the City, Richard Powers’s The Echo Maker, or Geoff Ryman’s Air for 2600, and Vernor Vinge’s Rainbows End and Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age for 3623. Suggestions are welcome!

I’m also slated to offer an “Intro to DH” grad seminar in Fall 2014, and as I come more from interdisciplinary new media studies than DH proper, I’m expecting to learn and experiment right alongside my students. I’ll post a tentative syllabus and a compilation of resources sometime in the new year.

Engl 2600  Introduction to Literary Studies

To prepare you for work in more advanced classes, this course will develop your understanding of the discipline of English through a select overview of literary history and the major theoretical schools of twentieth-century literary criticism—among them reader-response, New Criticism and close reading, structuralism and post-structuralism, new historicism, cultural studies, and postcolonial theory. As we will discover, these are not simply theories for theory’s sake, but rather diverse perspectives on what should be included in (or excluded from) the literary canon, the relative importance of genre, author, and audience, and the relationship of literature to broader social and cultural contexts. You should end the semester with a surer sense of the pleasures and pitfalls of different critical approaches to texts, as well as the many subfields and interdisciplinary extensions that “English” encompasses.

In addition to a focus on textual interpretation, this course will also stress research and documentation guidelines and strategies, with special emphasis on changes in the discipline due to digital trends. You will learn, for instance, how to follow Modern Language Association (MLA) citation practice, how to evaluate both print and online sources, and how to make appropriate use of secondary sources while developing an original thesis. Assignments will include several short written responses and a final research paper with annotated bibliography.

Engl 3623  Studies in Literature and Culture

Literature Before and After the Digital

Since the dot-com boom of the late 1990s, a host of areas traditionally grounded in print literary culture—among them storytelling, argumentation, publication, and archiving—have been radically transformed by online and mobile devices and services. In this increasingly digitized postmillennial era, we might therefore wonder how literature and our study of it have been impacted and how to best argue for their continued relevance. Do shifting cultural and technological paradigms demand new texts and critical approaches, or are these seemingly dramatic changes just the latest variations in the ongoing evolution of the literary?

To circle this question, we will consider not only the obvious crossover realms of electronic literature and interactive fiction, but also the application of literary methods and knowledge to non-literary objects. The course will frame the upstart arrivals of blogs, wikis, and e-readers within the centuries-old history of print, while revealing how deeply textual metaphors and practices continue to structure our online interactions. Throughout, we will also ponder whether “virtual reality” transcends any single genre or media category (for instance, video games), and discuss how form and format shape the development and experience of narrative.

Engl 6500  Seminar in Literary Theory

Intro to Digital Humanities

The term “digital humanities” now has an established foothold in our discipline, having generated lucrative funding opportunities from unexpected quarters and alternative academic (alt-ac) career paths for technically oriented scholars. Yet alongside the general enthusiasm, some have voiced a warning (witness the “Dark Side of DH” panel at last year’s MLA convention). So what exactly are the digital humanities? And why do they have a dark side?

This course will serve as an introduction to this burgeoning subfield and its provocations, by exploring its origins in bibliographic and textual studies and literary archival projects, as well as more current initiatives involving gaming, “big data,” and cross-institutional collaboration. Special attention will be given to the challenges of studying and preserving literature now composed, distributed, and read in digital form. Students will not only have multiple opportunities to interact with active DH archives and platforms (Drupal, TEI, Project Bamboo, etc.), but will also be asked to experiment with their own basic, but hands-on projects, preferably related to their existing areas of interest. No previous technical experience required.

ReMEDIAting Flusser symposium

The first Flusser conference in the U.S. is taking place this weekend (11/1-11/3) here at the University of Connecticut in Storrs (schedule here). I’ll be livetweeting as @gamegrower as much as possible while I’m in attendance.

Hestia2@Stanford: Visualizing Complex Networks

If you’re in the Bay Area, this free event on text and data analysis takes place at Stanford next week: http://hestia.open.ac.uk/hestia2stanford-visualizing-complex-networks/.

From California to Connecticut

Hooray! I’ve moved across the country, from one ocean-hugging state to another, to start my new job as an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Connecticut. In an uncanny fit for my current ecocritical work on video games, I’ve been hired to write and teach about both environmental literature and the digital humanities. Though I don’t consider myself a “digital humanist” in the narrow sense (an alternative academic or professor using digital tools and platforms to create online projects, often grant-funded, often archival in nature), I’m more than happy to carry that flag if it generates support for smart, open-minded, and ambitious collaborations across the usual disciplinary divides. UConn is in the midst of a considerable faculty hiring initiative, largely centered around the STEM-focused Next Generation Connecticut plan put forward by Governor Dannel Malloy and UConn President Susan Herbst. And while most of the hires are taking place in engineering, science, and related fields, a few of us literary folk slipped through under the auspices of terms like “DH” (see the English Department web site for information about the three other new DH hires: Bhakti Shringarpure, Yohei Igarashi, and Gregory Pierrot).

Also up and coming are the new Digital Media and Design department, within the School of Fine Arts, and the Scholars’ Collaborative, named in honor of the Scholars’ Lab at University of Virginia. While things digital are just starting to gain bureaucratic momentum here, UConn just hosted THATCamp New England, this week we have ReMEDIAting Flusser, and I’m already teaming up with Anna Kijas and Tom Scheinfeldt to bring Joanna Swafford here in February to talk about her project, Songs of the Victorians. I also take comfort in UConn’s close proximity to New York City and Boston, both hubs for innovative media research and game design (if you’re in the area, take advantage of the Boston DH Consortium mailing list).

Anything I should add to my new local lists? Let me know!

Proposed Game Studies Panels for SCMS 2014

Thanks to the SCMS Video Game Studies Scholarly Interest Group, here is a list of game-related panels looking for participants for the upcoming 2014 SCMS conference, taking place March 19 through March 23 at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel in Seattle, WA.

Proposed panels:
– Animation and Video Games
– Beyond These Walls: Alternative Preservation and Exhibition Practices in Digital Game Culture
– Debugging Game History: Forgotten Histories
– Gender and Video Games: Beyond the Popular
– Play, Space, and Capital
– Small Games
– The Superhero Beyond the Blockbuster
– Teaching Media Literacy Through a Video Game Context
– Video Games and Comedy

More information about the conference can be found here: http://www.cmstudies.org/?page=call_for_submissions

More information about the VGSSIG can be found here: http://www.cmstudies.org/?page=groups_videogames

PROPOSED GAME STUDIES PANELS FOR SCMS 2014

Animation and Video Games
This panel’s theme, broadly defined as “Animation and Video Games,” aims to encourage and foster greater dialogue between these two areas of scholarship. The goal is to broaden the scope of research and enrich the theoretical vocabulary of both disciplines by examining the ways in which animation and video games inform, shape, and constantly redefine each other’s aesthetic landscapes, production modes, and audience participation practices.

This panel seeks to put together contributions which highlight points of intersection between animation and video game scholarship, such as issues of computer animation aesthetics and visual narrative, spectator theories and interactive viewership, exhibition approaches and practices, franchising and fandoms, trends in software development, etc.

Potential topics include, but are not limited to:
Cinematics and video game trailers
Video game art/art exhibits/companion art volumes
Machinima/machinimators
Animation software in game development
Art and aesthetics of independent games
Motion capture in video games
Interactive animation viewership in video games
Simulations, visualizations, and training software
Media franchises (such as Final Fantasy) encompassing both games and animated series

Please send abstracts of 250-300 words and a short biography to Mihaela Mihailova at mihaela.mihailova@yale.edu by July 31st. All submissions will receive a response by August 7.

Beyond These Walls: Alternative Preservation and Exhibition Practices in Digital Game Culture
An increasing number of Academic and Museum Institutions have turned their attention towards the challenges of exhibiting and preserving video game culture.  While these practices are certainly commendable, they have largely focused on reinforcing familiar narratives of technological innovation by canonizing particular game properties among the ‘great works’ of the video game industry.  What has largely been omitted from these discussions are the alternative preservation practices that individuals and groups outside of institutional boundaries have long been engaged in.

Typically framed as aberrant behaviour by the video game industry, this panel will offer an examination of archival and exhibition practices that gaming fan cultures participate in. Rather than the exclusive practices of museums and archives, fan cultures engage in inclusive practices which serve to preserve gaming culture writ large. Focusing on these practices, “Beyond these Walls” will engage in a discussion of issues of ownership, collective knowledge, and citizen scholarship, as a means of uncovering alternatives to the dominant narratives of gaming culture.

We are currently seeking the addition of a fourth panellist to this panel to compliment the three papers already confirmed. Paper abstracts should focus on methods of non-institutional preservation and exhibition techniques in gaming culture, with examinations of fan practice, piracy, online knowledge cultures, independent gaming events, venues and exhibitions being considered.

Please forward a 250 word abstract for your paper to skot deeming at mrghosty@gmail.com

Debugging Game History: Forgotten Histories
Each speaker on this panel will present on a key concept, player community, game developer, or topic. As with last year’s “Debugging” panels and the upcoming Debugging Game Historyvolume, we would like each paper to be given a short title that focuses directly on the historical topic covered.  The goal is to underline participation in a coherent project with two aspects: (1) developing critical terminology in game studies; and (2) fostering a greater sense of inclusiveness in game studies by focusing on neglected or forgotten historical actors, designs, developers, companies, scenes, players, forms of documentation, etc.  Some examples: “Arcade Art” “Clan PMS,” “Purple Moon,” “Jerry Lawson,” “Game Fanzines,” “Multiplayer Gaming before DOOM.”  These made-up examples are just intended to give a sense of breadth and the goals of the panel; we hope to get exciting proposals on any related topic.

The panel might work best if the concepts are at least somewhat related; our suggestion to achieve this would be to focus on people (players, developers) or settings, but a more diverse set of contributions is fine, too. Bottom line: The panel’s goal is to open up terminological discussion in critical-historical game studies and to break a path that opens up game studies to previously neglected histories.

Please submit proposals for panel papers to Henry Lowood (lowood@stanford.edu)  and Raiford Guins (rgun81@gmail.com) by 10 August.

Gender and Video Games: Beyond the Popular
Scholarship on gender and video games tends to focus on top-selling mainstream video games (Call of Duty, Tomb Raider, Grand Theft Auto, etc.). As a result, this research fails to consider the constructions of gender in a range of other games, such as casual or educational games. The accessibility of video games on a variety of devices and the integration of games in a range of settings (workplace, education, advocacy) call for an expanded framework for studying gender and videogames. This panel seeks proposals for papers that examine gender in genres such as:

·      Educational games
·      Girl games
·      Indie and art games
·      Online gaming environments
·      Sports games
·      Casual games
·      Games for social change

Please send a 250 word abstract and academic bio by August 1 to Carolyn Cunningham, cunninghamc@gonzaga.edu

Play, Space, and Capital
This panel invites abstracts for papers that investigate the relationship between play (gaming, fan works, performance, ritual, productive play, parody, and other examples), space (physical space, social space, ritual space, boundaries, event or festival space, localities, and other examples), and capital (production, consumption, “conduction” or “pro-sumption,” structures of accumulation, legality and copyright, etc.). We are most interested in critical and/or qualitative approaches to these phenomena, and structural analyses, case studies, theoretical discussions, and ethnographic or autoethnographic work are equally welcome.

Please e-mail a 250-350-word abstract, along with a five-source bibliography and brief biographical statement, by August 1, 2013 to:  Robin Haislett (robin.haislett@ttu.edu).

Small Games
Casual games, indie games, art games, downloadable games, and mobile gaming platforms have transformed the global video game industry and the media landscape. These types of games often have limited controls, simpler graphics, and smaller worlds, screens, and budgets than prestige console-based games and massive multi-player online games. From Angry Birdsto Phone Story and Dys4ia, small games have expanded both the player and developer communities and altered notions of what video games do and how. This panel seeks papers that reflect on the world of small games and what the study of them lends to the growing field of game studies. I am interested in papers that address how small games are different from “big” games. Topics might include: indie game aesthetics, new modes of distribution, games in galleries, small games and difference (race, gender, sexuality, class, etc.), game-making software, interventionist games, small platforms, etc. Send 500-word abstracts, sample bibliography, and short biographical statements to Aubrey Anable at aubrey.anable@utoronto.ca

The Superhero Beyond the Blockbuster
Over the past decade in particular, the superhero film has become one of the cornerstones of Hollywood’s blockbuster-dependent business model. Its roots in other media ensure a built-in audience and deep cultural awareness, while also enabling spreadability across multiple delivery channels and revenue streams. At the same time that the dominant superhero franchises have extended themselves across every conceivable media platform from cinema screens to Slurpee cups, texts without any ties to big-budget productions have also proliferated and have become a site of genre renewal and critique. This panel seeks to interrogate some of the consequences of the superhero’s ubiquity by tracing the “ripple effect” of the superhero’s blockbuster status.

Possible paper topics may include, but are not limited to:
The transformation of genre markers into gameplay mechanics (e.g. in board or video games)
The politics of the children’s superhero (e.g. in animated television programming)
Balancing comic book mythology with blockbuster-esque aesthetics in television (e.g. Smallville, Arrow)
Parodies of the superhero film (e.g. Mad magazine, porn, CollegeHumor, etc.)
Low-budget (incl. fan films) and/or foreign (e.g. Bollywood, Russian) appropriations of the Hollywood superhero
Transmedia extensions of blockbuster franchises (e.g. Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye comics, viral marketing, etc.)
Superhero toys and LEGO

Please submit abstracts of 250-300 words and a concise bio to Dru Jeffries (dru.jeffries@gmail.com) by August 9. All applications will receive a response by August 16.

Teaching Media Literacy Through a Video Game Context
Although the 2011 Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association/Entertainment Software Association ruled against a proposed California law that would regulate the sale of violent video games, the debate over this topic continues.  In fact, the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT has renewed the argument over video game violence, its potential effects on aggression and the question of regulation.  Some lawmakers have called for increased oversight of games, proposed measures such as a “sin tax” on their sale, or even pushed for laws banning the sale of games to minors, the exact type of bill that the Supreme Court previously struck down.

As with many media issues, navigating the various perspectives in this debate can be difficult for students, particularly given the emotionally charged nature of much media coverage.  It may be confusing how, when so many of these laws have been struck down, lawmakers keep attempting to impose new ones.  Students may also find it difficult to understand why, when many researchers do show concern about the impact of video games, these laws are still unconstitutional.

The purpose of this workshop, therefore, is to use this issue, and similar video game controversies, as a launching off point for a discussion about the challenges and benefits of teaching media literacy using video games.  We will explore to key arguments in the field and develop strategies for teaching them to late high school and early college students as a way to increase their understanding of video games while expanding their general media literacy and ability to think critically.

Because this workshop aims to develop collective strategies for video game pedagogy, the traditional panel format would be less effective, given its stronger focus on individual perspectives rather than collaborative discussion.  Audience members will be invited to contribute strategies they have found to be successful, provide feedback on the panel member’s ideas for teaching video game topics and suggest discourses they feel students should explore to gain a full understanding of critical issues in this area.

Bibliographic Sources:
After Newtown, Congress calls for violent video game regulation. (2013). CBSNews.com. Retrieved July 9, 2013, from http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50138860n&tag=api
Anderson, C. A., & Bushman, B. J. (2001). Effects of violent video games on aggressive behavior, aggressive cognition, aggressive affect, physiological arousal, and prosocial behavior: a meta-analytic review of the scientific literature. Psychological science, 12(5), 353–359.
Brown vs. Entertainment Merchant’s Association/Entertainment Software Association. 564 U.S. 08-1448 (2011)
Hovey, D. An Act Establishing A Sales Tax on Certain Video Games. , Pub. L. No. HB-5735 (2013). Retrieved from http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/CGABillStatus/CGAbillstatus.asp?selBillType=Bill&bill_num=HB5735
Phillips Erb, K. (2013, February 17). Newtown Lawmaker Proposes “Sin Tax” On Violent Video Games.Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/kellyphillipserb/2013/02/17/newtown-lawmaker-proposes-sin-tax-on-violent-video-games/
Sherry, J. L. (2001). The Effects of Violent Video Games on Aggression: A Meta-Analysis. Human Communication Research, 27(3), 409–31.
Squire, K. (2005). Toward a Media Literacy For Games. Telemedium, 52(1 & 2), 9–15.

Current Workshop Members:
Amanda Cote (accote@umich.edu)- University of Michigan Dept. of Communication Studies
Julia Lange (jglange@umich.edu)- University of Michigan Dept. of Communication Studies
Dimitrios Pavlounis (dpavloun@umich.edu)- University of Michigan Dept. of Screen Arts and Cultures

Call for Participants:
We are looking for two additional participants interested in discussing the key points in this debate (ex. violence and aggression, media self-regulation, the First Amendment) and other significant game-related topics, to explore various industry and gamer responses students should know.  Participants should be prepared to propose strategies and assignments for the pedagogy of video games and media literacy, and to explore perspectives related to teaching game studies in different disciplines and at different levels of education.

If interested, please email Amanda (accote@umich.edu) with your bio and a brief description of what you would like to discuss/contribute to this workshop (approx.. 500 words).  The submission deadline for this workshop is Friday, August 16th.  Thanks for your interest!

Video Games and Comedy
Description: This panel asks for original research on how the forms and effects of comedy are shaped in video games, from sight gags to comedic performance and humorous interactions. How does laughter arise in specific gaming contexts? Do designers conceive certain ways to foster comical situations through the gameplay? How do players adapt their gaming style when they want to make other players laugh, acting as ‘comedians’, instead of winning the game? Are satire, irony or parody suitable terms to relate to gaming culture? Both canonical comedy theories (Bakhtin, Bergson, Freud or Pirandello) and film studies research (Carroll, Gunning, Crafton or Horton) offer interesting tools in order to explore such questions, but do these tools match the specific logics of video games? Contributions reflecting on these -and similar- topics will be welcomed.

Deadline for submissions: August 12th
Contact info: Send a title, a summary no longer than 2500 characters, 3-5 bibliographic sources and an author bio no longer than 500 characters to manuelgarin@gmail.com

For game scholars in the Bay Area or Twitter users, UC Santa Cruz’s Center for Games and Playable Media is hosting another IFOG event, this time at the new Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley:

On May 10th, at the Computer History Museum, UC Santa Cruz will host some of the world’s most exciting thinkers on interactive storytelling for “Inventing the Future of Games 2013″ (http://ifogevents.com). Rather than focus on yesterday’s tips and tricks, our focus is on how the future of interactive storytelling is being invented now. There will be talks, panels, discussion, and live demonstrations — including the first-ever public demonstration of a major, not-yet-announced interactive storytelling technology being developed by UC Santa Cruz and multiple partner organizations.

The day will include a keynote from Warren Spector (Deus Ex, Epic Mickey) and closing remarks from Brenda Romero (Wizardry, Train). The first panel will discuss where current practice is going, featuring Clint Hocking (Valve), Kevin Bruner (Telltale), and Richard Rouse (Microsoft). The second panel engages next-generation tools and authorship, featuring Emily Short (Linden Lab), Asa Kalama (Disney), and Stéphane Bura (Storybricks). The last panel dives into immersive and transmedia storytelling, featuring Matt MacLaurin (eBay), Susan Bonds (42 Entertainment), and Tawny Schlieski (Intel) — with interactive storytelling field founder Brenda Laurel as moderator/interlocutor.

Finally, as with the last IFOG symposium, the audience will contain a greater number of exciting thinkers and creators than the speakers list. For that reason the schedule includes lots of time for eating, drinking, and talking — including a long lunch and a closing cocktail party.

Event Link (including registration): http://ifogevents.com

Twitter Info: If you can’t join us, please follow along on Twitter. Event-related announcements will come via @playableUCSC and the event’s hashtag is #IFOG2013

Past IFOG: Videos from the prior IFOG symposium (featuring Will Wright, Rod Humble, Robin Hunicke, and more) are here:
http://games.soe.ucsc.edu/videos-ifog-2011

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