2nd CfP: Values in Games – 2018 Philosophy of Computer Games Conference in Copenhagen

800px-Nyhavn_copenhagencroppedThe 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.

SUBMISSION PROCEDURE

 

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.

 

CONFERENCE COMMITTEE

Program Chair:
C. Thi Nguyen, Utah Valley University
cnguyen@uvu.edu

Conference Chair:
Michael Debus, ITU
msde@itu.dk

Program Committee:

Pawel Grabarczyk, Rune Klevjer, Anita Leirfall, Sebastian Möring, Stephanie Patridge, Jon Robson, John R. Sageng, Mark Silcox, Daniel Vella

 

Journal Article: Beyond Games as Political Education – Neo-Liberalism in the Contemporary Computer Game Form

 Beyond Political Education
Möring, Sebastian, and Olli Leino. 2016. “Beyond Games as Political Education – Neo-Liberalism in the Contemporary Computer Game Form.” Journal of Gaming & Virtual Worlds 8 (2): 145–61. https://doi.org/10.1386/jgvw.8.2.145_1.
Abstract
This article introduces the juxtaposed notions of liberal and neo-liberal gameplay in order to show that, while forms of contemporary game culture are heavily influenced by neo-liberalism, they often appear under a liberal disguise. The argument is grounded in Claus Pias’ idea of games as always a product of their time in terms of economic, political and cultural history. The article shows that romantic play theories (e.g. Schiller, Huizinga and Caillois) are circling around the notion of play as ‘free’, which emerged in parallel with the philosophy of liberalism and respective socio-economic developments such as the industrialization and the rise of the nation state. It shows further that contemporary discourse in computer game studies addresses computer game/play as if it still was the romantic form of play rooted in the paradigm of liberalism. The article holds that an account that acknowledges the neo-liberalist underpinnings of computer games is more suited to addressing contemporary computer games, among which are phenomena such as free to play games, which repeat the structures of a neo-liberal society. In those games the players invest time and effort in developing their skills, although their future value is mainly speculative – just like this is the case for citizens of neo-liberal societies.

Seminar: Existence and Emotion in Play

Skjermbilde-2018-05-03-kl.-17.56.17This 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.

Announce Your Publications on Gamephilosophy.org!

downloadjournalsYou 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

“The Aesthetics of Videogames” is now available

CoverWe are happy to announce that the The Aesthetics of Videogames is now available. The book is a contribution to Routledge’s Research in Aesthetics series and is a collection of essays written by philosophers working in the tradition of analytic aesthetics, where videogames are now frequent topic. Among the issues discussed are transmedial games, the definition of videogames, game ontology, games and performance, videogames and creativity, virtual media and videogames, interactivity and fiction, the representation of women in games, videogames and the genre of romance fiction, and pornographic games.

We hope that our volume will show the potential in analytic aesthetics for the discussion and analysis of videogames, and further establish videogames as a focus for philosophers working in that area.

Ontology and Transmedial Games, Christopher J. Bartel – Videogames as Neither Video nor Games: A Negative Ontology of Videogames, Brock Rough – Videogames, Constitutive Rules, and Algorithms, Shelby Moser – Appreciating Videogames, Zach Jurgensen – The Beautiful Gamer? On the Aesthetics of Videogame Performances, Jon Robson – Creativity and Videogames, Aaron Meskin – Interactivity, Fictionality, and Incompleteness, Nathan Wildman and Richard Woodward – Why Gamers Are Not Narrators, Andrew Kania – Videogames and Virtual Media, Grant Tavinor – On Videogames and Gendered Invisibility, Stephanie Patridge – The Moral Transformation of Videogame Violence, Thi Nguyen – Videogames and the “Theater of Love”, Mark Silcox – Pornographic Videogames: a Feminist Examination, Mari Mikkola

Book Preview: Games: Agency as Art

oxford-university-press-logoMy book, Games: Agency as Art, is now forthcoming from Oxford University Press! Oxford has given me permission to offer the first chapter as a preview.

The book will offer a sustained defense of the value of games and game-playing, from several perspectives. The book says that:

  • Games are the art form of agency. Game designers don’t just create environments and obstacles. They set our goals in the game and our abilities; they create the agency which we will inhabit in the game.
  • Games can work in the medium of agency to create aesthetic experiences of acting and doing. They can offer us crystallized, designed, and refined versions of our everyday experiences of practicality.
  • One way that games are satisfying: they let us inhabit a world that’s easier to make sense of, one in which the values are clearer, simpler, and easier to apply. Such games offer us are rare experience of clarity of purpose. They are an existential balm against the rest of our lives, which are full of a plurality of subtle and competing values.
  • This also leads to a danger: games can seduce us into expecting that simplicity elsewhere. They can serve as a morally problematic fantasy of clarity. 
  • The fact that we can play games teaches us something remarkable about ourselves. We have the capacity submerge ourselves in alternate agencies, to slip in and out of temporary agencies. We can take up ends that we don’t usually care about and dedicate ourselves to them, for a time. We can adopt different modes of thinking, acting, and deciding. And then we can put them all away when then game is over. Games teach us that our agency is notably fluid. 
  • A big bonus: it turns out that stupid drinking games and party games are incredibly important to understanding the nature of our own practical rationality and agency.
  • Just as narratives are a technique for writing down stories, games are a technique for inscribing and preserving modes of agency. With them, we can create an archive of agencies – we can experience different ways of being an agent. Games are a technology for us to cooperative to help develop each others’ autonomy.
  • The book offers a unified account of the art form of striving games. It discusses, under a single conceptual umbrella, computer games, board games, card games, party games tabletop role playing games, live action role playing games, and sports. (There are many other sorts of games besides striving games, however, and the book doesn’t purport to cover them all.)
  • Also: discussions of the aesthetic ontology of games, the nature of interactivity in games, a taxonomy of game types, and a comparison of games to contemporary practices of relational aesthetics and social practice art.

Journal Article: Playing for Social Equality

ppea_17_1.coverI discovered this recently published paper by Lasse Nielsen, which should be of interest to ethics oriented game philosophers.

The abstract:

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.

Journal Articles: Philosophy of Games and The Aesthetics of Rock Climbing

philosophycompass

My article Philosophy of Games is out now in Philosophy Compass. (A pre-print draft is also available for free.) Philosophy Compass is a journal which focuses on producing surveys of particular sub-fields of philosophy, especially new and breaking ones, largely for use by newcomers. It is designed to orient. They are often used by academics to help develop syllabi for undergraduate classes in unfamiliar train.

In this Compass, I quickly cover basic foundational works on games (Huizinga, Caillois, Suits, the ludography vs. narratology debate), and then dive into particular issues on the art status of games, the nature of interactivity, the magic circle, debates about value, and ethical issues in the philosophy of sport (like doping) and video games (like the gamer’s dilemma). This article was intended to cover primarily work on games in analytic philosophy (analytic aesthetics, philosophy of sport, and analytic game ethics) with just the barest smattering of Game Studies material for minimal orientation. The article is not intended to summarize the field of Game Studies, nor does it intend to cover continental approaches to games. In fact, I would strongly urge specialists in those field to write their own equivalent summaries; they are badly needed.

Scholars from Game Studies will likely find the first half familiar. The second half, however, may prove useful, especially the section on philosophy of sports. Consider especially the discussions of internalist accounts of value in sport, the relationship between philosophy of law and the justification of sport, and the discussion of the origins of norms of sportsmanship.

Second, my essay The Aesthetics of Rock Climbing is online in The Philosopher’s Magazine. This is a popular article which adapts ideas from my forthcoming book. I say that rock climbing is a game, and one that many people play for aesthetic reasons. Many climbers climb because responding to the challenges of the rock evokes graceful, delightful movement from them. It is something like problem-solving dance:

“…Dancing, I think, is exactly the right place to start to understand the aesthetic dimension of rock climbing. So let’s start there: climbing is something like dance – not just in skill, but in aesthetic reward. You can hear the similarity when you listen to some climbers talk about their climbs. They talk about climbs with nice movement, with good flow, with interesting moves. They’ll talk about ugly climbs, beautiful climbs, elegant climbs, gross climbs. At first you might think they are just talking about the rock itself and how it looks. And sometimes they are; every climber loves a clean crack up a blank face, or bold jutting fin to climb. But if you interrogate a climber, and watch as they explain where the beauty in the climb is – with arms out, legs in the air, imitating the odd precise movements of the climb – you’ll figure out that what so many of them care most about is the quality of the movement – about how it feels to go through the rock, about the glorious sensations in the body, and the subtle attention of the mind.”

CfP: Values in Games – 2018 Philosophy of Computer Games Conference in Copenhagen

800px-Nyhavn_copenhagencroppedThe Call for Papers for the 2018 Philosophy of Computer Games Conference in Copenhagen is now available.

The conference will be part of a Game Studies Triple Conference, with Games Lit 2018 and History of Games 2018. Please submit, and please circulate the call!

The call is here:  https://gameconference.itu.dk/Philosophy.html

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.

SUBMISSION PROCEDURE
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.

CONFERENCE COMMITTEE

Program Chair:
C. Thi Nguyen, Utah Valley University
cnguyen@uvu.edu

Conference Chair:
Michael Debus, ITU
msde@itu.dk

Program Committee:

Pawel Grabarczyk, Rune Klevjer, Anita Leirfall, Sebastian Möring, Stephanie Patridge, Jon Robson, John R. Sageng, Mark Silcox, Daniel Vella

 

Symposium and Exhibition: Towards the Expanded Field – March 7-9, Graz.

TEF_HDA_Event_fb

Talks, Spatial audio performances & VR Exhibition
7-9 of March
Haus der Architektur, Graz

Virtual reality and spatial audio technologies bring about a new paradigm in the fields of architecture and music. While defying classification, works developed in these media extend our spatial and auditory sensibilities beyond what is perceivable in the physical world. Can we regard them however as architecture and music, or are they foreign to their origins?

Architect Constantinos Miltiadis and composer and sound artist Gerriet K. Sharma will present their investigations and exhibit works on virtual navigable environments and sculptural spatial audio. The event intends to initiate a discussion on the nature of such explorations, in parallel to the nature and future of music and architecture in the expanded field.

The event includes talks by Constantinos Miltiadis (Institute of Architecture and Media, TU Graz) Dr. Gerriet K. Sharma (Institute of Electronic Music, University of Music and Performing Arts, Graz, Edgard Varèse Professor, TU Berlin) and Prof. Stephan Günzel (BTK Berlin).

There will also be a VR exhibition and spatial audio performances for the Sonible IKO, as well as a reading group of Rosalind Krauss’ “Sculpture in the expanded field”.

Event information and program:
Haus der Architektur [x]
Institute of Architecture and Media [x]
Poster [x]

Curated by Constantinos Miltiadis