The Digarec program at Potsdam University is organizing a very interesting workshop on “Ludic Boredom”. The program and more information is found here. It contains contributions from several members of the network. Note that there is limited participation. From the description:
“The workshop will explore the social, cultural, and philosophical implications of boredom in relation to play and work, technology, media, and computer games with the goal of developing an international collaboration that establishes an innovative interdisciplinary research program to examine the undertheorized phenomenon of ludic boredom in depth.
Paradoxically, boredom seems to lie at the heart of the current culture of constant connectivity and productivity enhanced by digital media. Each potential moment of boredom is at the same time a possibility for monetization – advertisements, casual games, social media,and other pushed notifications, all seem to be competing for our attention, which could otherwise be suspended in blissfully prolonged recreational “Langeweile”. Boredom becomes particularly interesting in relation to play and digital games, which are supposed to serve as an antidote.”
The deadline for the next PCG-conference is fast approaching. Please submit your abstract!
Call for Papers: Values in Games
We hereby invite submissions to the 12th International Conference on the Philosophy of Computer Games, to be held in Copenhagen on August 13-14.
The theme of this year’s conference is “value in games”. The topic will connect central themes in the study of games, including questions about the importance of games in a human life, the ethical value of games, and the values communicated through games. For this conference, we invite papers that explore these and other aspects of value in games.
We welcome submissions on (but not limited to) the following questions:
- Can games contribute to a meaningful life?
- Is there a special value to games, distinct from other social practices?
- What is the value of difficulty, achievement, excellence, and skill in games
- What is the relationship of the artistic value of games to their other values?
- How do games transform the values that normally attach to activities outside the gaming context?
- Are games an integral part of ideal society?
- Can games contribute to an ethical life, and in what ways?
- How do games encode systems of values, especially in their mechanics and game-play? In particular, how might they encode biases and other problematic attitudes?
- How can the values in games be studied?
- What value might games have for thinking about issues of race, gender, and sexual and romantic orientation?
- How might we justify the inclusion or exclusion of transgressive content in games (violence, pornography, racism)?
- How do players relate to, resist, shape, or appropriate a game’s values?
In addition to papers that are directed at the main theme we invite a smaller number of papers in an “open” category.
Accepted papers will have a clear focus on philosophy and philosophical issues in relation to computer games. We strongly encourage references to specific examples from computer games, as well as reference to diversity of games and game types. We are especially interested in papers that aim to continue discussions from earlier conferences in this series.
The abstracts should have a maximum 1000 words (maximum 700 words for the main text and 300 for the bibliography).The deadline for submissions is May 21st. Please submit your abstract through review.gamephilosophy.org
. All submitted abstracts will be subject to double blind peer review. Notification of accepted submissions will be sent out by June 1st. Participation requires that a paper draft is submitted by August 1st and will be made available on the conference website.
We also issue a call for workshops or panels to be held on August 15th. Please submit a short proposal to the program committee chair
by May 21st if you are interested in organizing an event.
Pawel Grabarczyk, Rune Klevjer, Anita Leirfall, Sebastian Möring, Stephanie Patridge, Jon Robson, John R. Sageng, Mark Silcox, Daniel Vella
This game studies oriented seminar from the Games and Transgressive Aesthetics project should surely be of interest to many game philosophers as well. Full program is available on their website. The seminar is held on May 25. From the description of the seminar:
“Games have a long tradition of dealing with myths and monsters, thereby tapping into topics that are associated with how we as humans understand ourselves and our role in the world. At the same time, as games are maturing as medium, there are still challenges relating to how existential and profound topics can be implemented into games in an experientially interesting way.
This seminar concerns games and play that tap into such issues, covering the design of games that tap into the mythical and the existential. Further, the seminar will look at the emotional impact that games can have upon us, from the awe and terror brought forward by monster play, to the emotional response that players have when encountering uncomfortable and provocative game content. The seminar also asks what we can learn from live-action role-playing games concerning how to create emotional impact and immersion in games.
Redirecting attention from how games move us emotionally to how they move the boundaries between play and gambling, the seminar will end with a presentation on loot boxes as a form of transgressive game design.“
You may have noticed that we have semi-regular announcement of new publications on gamephilosophy.org. I would like to encourage all members to submit posts about those of their publications that are of relevance to other game philosophers.
Such posts mean that others see what is going on in the field of game philosophy. It is also very useful to the author. These posts get quite a lot of hits, and are an easy way to make people aware of your work. The posts are automatically posted to the Facebook page for the initiative, to a Twitter feed, and also sent out the subscribers on an email list.
We normally aim to announce recent papers, but many members haven’t announced any of their papers yet. So please make a post, even if the paper was published some while ago.
This is how you do it: When you log in to the system, you simply click on the +sign in the top bar, which under “post” gives you a form where you can enter text for the post. Describe the content of the article and add a picture, for example of the cover of the journal in question. Google also has a search option for images with open licences. The title should with a description of the document type, like “Journal Paper: “ or “Book: “. Make one post for each publication. The post will be sent to me for moderation.
Note that you can also post about events and other relevant news in the same fashion.
If you are working with issues related to the philosophy of games, you are very welcome to have a member profile. Just send me an email at j dot r dot sageng * gamephilosophy dot org. with a few words about your background. I may make a new post about this later on. I don’t really have much time to work on these sorts of things, but I do what I can.
John R. Sageng
I discovered this recently published paper by Lasse Nielsen, which should be of interest to ethics oriented game philosophers.
This article claims that the protection of children’s capability for play is a central social-political goal. It provides the following three-premise argument in defense of this claim: (i) we have strong and wide-ranging normative reasons to be concerned with clusters of social deficiency; (ii) particular fertile functionings play a key role for tackling clusters of social deficiency; and finally (iii) the capability for childhood play is a crucial, ontogenetic prerequisite for the development of those particular fertile functionings. Thus, in so far as we consider it a central political goal to tackle social deficiency, we should be concerned with protection of childhood play capability. This conclusion raises new insights on the importance – for global development policy as well as for welfare states’ aim to secure social justice – of protecting children’s capability to engage in playful activities.
We are very happy to announce that Thi Nguyen from Utah Valley University has accepted the the role of program committee leader for the next PCG conference. He will be the first US program committee leader for the PCG conference series. Thi is already a member of the steering group for the game philosophy network.
The next conference is due to be held in Copenhagen at ITU in August. It is planned to be a part of a unique collaboration scheme which involves participants in other areas in the study of games.
The program committee will be constituted shortly and it will start to work on the next call for papers. More info about the conference and the larger collaboration scheme will soon follow.
An important book on the aesthetics of computer games will soon be out, edited by Jon Robson and Grant Tavinor. From the description:
“This collection of essays is devoted to the philosophical examination of the aesthetics of videogames. Videogames represent one of the most significant developments in the modern popular arts, and it is a topic that is attracting much attention among philosophers of art and aestheticians. As a burgeoning medium of artistic expression, videogames raise entirely new aesthetic concerns, particularly concerning their ontology, interactivity, and aesthetic value. The essays in this volume address a number of pressing theoretical issues related to these areas, including but not limited to: the nature of performance and identity in videogames; their status as an interactive form of art; the ethical problems raised by violence in videogames; and the representation of women in videogames and the gaming community. The Aesthetics of Videogames is an important contribution to analytic aesthetics that deals with an important and growing art form.”
28. November 2017
Krakow, Gołębia 16 street, room 42
The aim of the workshop is to survey different options for answering the questions “What is a game?” and “What is a computer game?” and to get a feel for future directions that reflections on these questions may take. While keeping an eye on conventional notions such as voluntary goals, play and make-believe, the workshop will explore unconventional notions like artifact roles, status functions and new roles for play. The workshop will also discuss foundational issues for the project of defining games, such as definition types, essences, family resemblances or nominalism. The workshop is intended as a preparatory meeting, so please contact the organizers if you would like to participate in future events.
Sebastian Möring and John R. Sageng
11.00 On Defining
11.30 The Wittgensteinian Thesis on Defining and Game Definitions
12.00 The Game as the Partner in Play: A Posthuman Approach to the Definition of the Video Game Object
12.30 Games as Status Functions
John R. Sageng
14.00 How to Compare Game Definitions
14.30 Self-playing games: Rethinking the State of Digital Play
15.00 On the Technological Specificity of Playable Artifacts
15.30 Common discussion
Discussion forum: https://www.reddit.com/r/PhilosophyofGames/
Organizers: Sebastian Möring and John R. Sageng
Stefano Gualeni has made a philosophical game that has received a great deal of interest. There is a recent article about it at Kotaku.
Stefano writes “Something Something Soup Something is my latest attempt at ‘playable philosophy’. The game, if we agree to call it such, can be freely played on (or downloaded from) the official website: soup.gua-le-ni.com
It was developed at the Institute of Digital Games (University of Malta) with the support of Maltco Lotteries.
I and the rest of the developers prefer to think of it as an interactive thought experiment: a piece of technology that discloses situations and presents notions in ways that are interactive and negotiable (and maybe even playful).
Something Something Soup Something it is designed to reveal, through its gameplay, that even a familiar, ordinary concept like ‘soup’ is vague, shifting, and impossible to define exhaustively. It is also designed to stimulate reflection on the possibility to analytically define what a game is: does the presence of several ‘ludological ingredients’ warrant its definition as a video game? What if only a part of it could be formally recognized as a video game? Is it even wise or productive to strive for a complete theoretical understanding of concepts like ‘soup’ or ‘game’?”
Game duration: about 6 minutes.
Something Something Soup Something was developed in collaboration with:
Isabelle Kniestedt – Art, programming
Johnathan Harrington – Field research and additional design
Marcello Gomez Maureira – Web-design and additional programming
Riccardo Fassone – Music and sound effects
Jasper Schellekens – Narrator, research support
Mark Silcox is publishing an edited book with contributions that relate to Nozick’s experience machine argument as applied to virtual worlds. The book is highly relevant to the philosophy of computer games, and it has contributions from several members of the Game Philosophy Network. The ToC is available in the preview on the publishers site. From the description:
“In his classic work Anarchy, State and Utopia, Robert Nozick asked his readers to imagine being permanently plugged into a ‘machine that would give you any experience you desired’. He speculated that, in spite of the many obvious attractions of such a prospect, most people would choose against passing the rest of their lives under the influence of this type of invention. Nozick thought (and many have since agreed) that this simple thought experiment had profound implications for how we think about ethics, political justice, and the significance of technology in our everyday lives.
Nozick’s argument was made in 1974, about a decade before the personal computer revolution in Europe and North America. Since then, opportunities for the citizens of industrialized societies to experience virtual worlds and simulated environments have multiplied to an extent that no philosopher could have predicted. The authors in this volume re-evaluate the merits of Nozick’s argument, and use it as a jumping–off point for the philosophical examination of subsequent developments in culture and technology, including a variety of experience-altering cybernetic technologies such as computer games, social media networks, HCI devices, and neuro-prostheses.”