Emerging (game) cultures online

In the spring of 2018 the multidisciplinary Center of Excellence in Game Culture Studies organised a series of public lectures on various aspects of contemporary game studies. Since Jyväskylä is one part of the Centre, and I am affiliated with it, I also got to be a part of this initiative. The aim was to collect viewpoints from a large number of researchers in order to form a kind of introductory course that students could utilise in the coming years.

My topic on this course was Vuorovaikutus pelaajayhteisöissä, or Social Interaction in Online Game Communities. In this 1,5 hour lecture I speak about some basic issues in understanding social interaction in online game communities, such as Internet language, memes, functions of interaction in (voluntary) communities, the principles of communities of practice, and many, many more. Unfortunately our recording technology broke down towards the end, so you will not be able to see the slides anymore at that point).

Screen Shot 2018-06-30 at 11.07.52

All of the public lectures have been collected into the Youtube-channel of the Centre. Our hope is that we can use these videos at least for a year or two. The most important thing is that we did this in the first place, as there was not a similar repository in Finnish before. Our hope is to continue this effort in the form of a book later on, perhaps in 2019 or so.

New blog – a research project on newsgames

I just launched a new blog centering on a research project called The Impact of Gamification on Journalism. The purpose of that blog is to document the proceeding of the research project, as well as to operate as a repository of links, literature, and all good things that a project needs! The blog will be in Finnish only, though, as its main target audience is local. Publications and conference participation will anyway be mostly in English, so I thought that I could serve the journalists and students here in Finland with this choice. I don’t mind using English (it is my primary working language after all), but I have to say that it is really, really important to be able to communicate about research-related issues in Finnish as well. This is a tremendously small language area, and we should make sure we don’t neglect it totally.

There will be at least one, perhaps two, co-hosts working on the blog with me. It will be interesting to see how it shapes up, and how much such a blog can support the sharing of interesting cases, literature, etc.

Here’s to hoping that the blog succeeds in reaching the goals I have set it!

General purpose for changing a game (your life)

I was recently reading through Bernard DeKoven’s seminal book The Well-Played Game: a player’s philosophy, while searching for a clarification on a quote for a book chapter I am writing, when I encountered something worth sharing. First of all, the book is from 1978, and the copy that our university library has is not only dog-eared but actually broken – the cover is loose and the book holds together only with some rubber band (helpfully provided by the said university library). Well, as you can imagine, old books like this often contain notes scribbled throughout their pages, marks of long-gone students who have once tried to make points worth remembering. It was one such a note that I am now talking about. On pages 67-68 of the book there is a section titled “General Purpose for Changing a Game:” Behind this title some industrious student had made a small addition, and it is with this addition that I now present you a quote that can change your life (or at least advice you on how to go about changing your life).

General Purpose for Changing a Game: (Your Life*)

The one you’re playing is no longer giving you enough of a challenge for you to feel you want to play it well. ou can play it well, but you’re losing interest. Your gaming mind is bored. You’re not playing the way you want to be playing. Or, vice versa, you can’t play it well, the challenge is too big, your playing mind is overwhelmed, the game is too hard. The general purpose for changing a game, therefore, is to restore equilibrium.

Specific Recommendation for Technique:

Change one rule at a time. Change the rule and see what happens to the rest of the game. See what other changes you have to make in order to restore the balance. If you try to change too many rules, and the game doesn’t work, you won’t be able to tell why.

(* Student addition)