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July 3, 2013

1 Post-doc, 2 PhD positions in Game Studies

Utrecht University (UU), Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) and Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) are looking for highly motivated Postdoc and PhD candidates who consider it a challenge to conduct their research in the context of a collaborative research project funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) on Persuasive Gaming. From Theory-based Design to Validation and Back. The project is a collaboration between UU, TU/e, EUR and a number of Dutch game developers.

Project description

The research in this collaborative project is concerned with the characteristics, design principles, and effectiveness of persuasive gaming. We study gaming practices that combine the dissemination of information with attempts to engage players in particular behaviors and attitudes. The project has three subprojects: two PhD projects and one Postdoc project. The PhD projects focus on design principles (TU/e) and validation (EUR), the Postdoc project focuses on the persuasive dimensions of serious games (UU).

For more information, click here.

June 30, 2013

Funding for European summer school in game research

Together with our partner universities, we have received funding of 60,000 euro for an ERASMUS Intensive Programme ‘Identity and Interdisciplinarity in Games and Play Research’. Together with four other Dutch en thirteen foreign universities we will organize a short programme of study in the form of a Summer School in games and play research, in 2014 in Utrecht (16-31 August)

The main objective of the Summer School is to strengthen the European excellence in games and play research by providing a two-week intensive course and workshop in this interdisciplinary field. It aims to teach excellent PhD and MA/MSc students the state-of-the art theories and methods of game and play research. The current situation is such that students who are interested in the study of games and play have limited opportunities to broaden their horizon internationally, let alone to study this subject interdisciplinary. The goal is to fill this hiatus by offering an innovative interdisciplinary platform for learning about games and play that doesn’t yet exist anywhere in Europe or beyond.

More information about the Summer School can be found here

About ERASMUS Intensive programmes:

An Intensive Programme (IP) is a short programme of study which brings together students and teaching staff from higher education institutions of at least three participating countries. It can last from 10 continuous full days to 6 weeks of subject related work.

June 26, 2013

PhD Defense Teun Dubbelman: Narratives of Being There: Computer Games, Presence and Fictional Worlds

On July 9 2014, our colleague Teun Dubbelman will defend his PhD dissertation, entitled Narratives of Being There: Computer Games, Presence and Fictional Worlds. Feel free to attend the ceremony!

When: 9/7/2013 10.30
Where: Academiegebouw - Domplein 29, Utrecht

The full dissertation can be found HERE, but here's the abstract:
Narrative game designer, or simply narrative designer, is a role in contemporary computer game development. The narrative designer is responsible for designing the player’s experience of a game’s fictional world. This study delves into the practice of narrative design from the perspective of embodied presence. In comparison with books, movies and other media, the medium of computer games excels in offering the media user the feeling of being a physically present participant in the fictional world. When exploiting the merits of embodied presence, narrative designers are challenged to express fictional worlds without disrupting this feeling of “being-there”. Close-ups, flashbacks, ellipses and other narrative devices–common to other audio-visual media–cannot be employed to the same extent. This study reconceptualises and apposes the notions of presence and narrative by critically expanding on Presence Theory, phenomenological media theory and narratology. Drawing from insights and practices in game, film, performance, architecture and literature studies, the study subsequently proposes alternative narrative devices, more compatible with the interactive and spatial nature of computer games, enabling designers to express fictional worlds while maintaining the player’s feeling of embodied presence.

April 26, 2013

Research grant for project on Persuasive Gaming

We are happy to announce that we received the official notification that our 1 Million € research project entitled Persuasive Gaming. From Theory-based Design to Validation and Back will be supported by NWO Topsector Creative Industries. Jeroen Jansz (Erasmus University), Ben Schouten (Eindhoven University of Technology), Joke Witteveen (xmediaworks) and Joost Raessens (Utrecht University) will start hiring two PhD candidates and one Postdoc soon (click here for further details). The project is a collaboration with game companies IJsfontein, xmediaworks and Submarine.

A full overview of all 21 research projects receiving funding through the Creative Industries program, click here (in dutch). The Creative Industries knowledge and innovation network CLICK/NL GAMES website can be found here

Here's the project summary from the research proposal:
The research in this project is concerned with the characteristics, design principles, and effectiveness of persuasive gaming. We study gaming practices that combine the dissemination of information with attempts to engage players in particular behaviors and attitudes. A unique feature of the project is the collaboration with partners in the Dutch game industry enabling us to immediately relate and apply our knowledge drawn from Game Studies, Media Studies, validation research and research on Game Design to practical demands of the industry. Theoretically, we develop the innovative approach of a constant and intense interaction between what is drawn from theory with the actual design of game experiences. The subsequent merger between design and validation research provides a crucial testing ground to assess and validate the value of the knowledge we aim to produce. The process of persuasion is approached from a humanities perspective focusing on the interplay of different persuasive dimensions, including storytelling and playful interaction. The cases extend beyond traditional videogames incorporating also transmedia storytelling platforms and ambient games creating play experiences closely integrated in the context of e.g. city life, therapy or education. The ultimate goal is the construction of a dynamic model for persuasive game development and implementation that is accessible for the industry as well as the research community. We are confident that this close collaboration between the industry and the academic world will contribute to improving the international competitive position of the Dutch game industry.

January 15, 2013

Battlefields of Negotiation: Control, Agency, and Ownership in World of Warcraft - out now!

From René Glas' blog:

After some delays, I am proud to announce that my book Battlefields of Negotiation: Control, Agency, and Ownership in World of Warcraft is out now.


About the book:

The massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft has become one of the most popular computer games of the past decade, introducing millions around the world to community-based play. Within the boundaries set by its design, the game encourages players to appropriate and shape the game to their own wishes, resulting in highly diverse forms of play and participation. This illuminating study frames World of Warcraft as a complex socio-cultural phenomenon defined by and evolving as a result of the negotiations between groups of players as well as the game’s owners, throwing new light on complex consumer-producer relationships in the increasingly participatory but still tightly controlled media of online games.



The book can be ordered (in some cases pre-ordered) at the following stores:

Amsterdam University Press
Bol.com
Amazon.co.uk
Book Depository
Barnes & Nobles
Waterstones

UPDATE: the book is now also available through open access. Click here to grab a copy!