Panel Discussion: Theoretical Approaches to Digital Game Ecologies (October 20th, St. Petersburg)

Digital games present their players with ecologies of objects, properties, processes and events that are defined by their interrelational roles in the game environment. A game ecology is determined by the materiality of the gaming system, its representational functions and gameplay characteristics, and the social and cultural practices that play takes part in.

The notion of an affordance ecology (Gibson 1979) is widely adopted in interface theory and in game studies (Linderoth 2013), but the notion is often expanded with considerations that go beyond visual perception in order to explain the ontological status of the game environment itself. Examples of such approaches can be realists accounts of virtuality (Chalmers 2017; Juul 2019), make-believe psychology for fictionality (Walton 1990), visual ecology (Kolesnikova, Savchuk 2015), the metaphysics of “agential realism” (Barad 2007; Janick 2017) and in externalist theories of embodiment and mind (Clark 2008). 

The aim of this panel is to present a specter of recommendations for theoretical frameworks and to conduct a discussion about the fruitfulness of the presuppositions they rely on. As best possible, the speakers will present a cohesive picture of the current range of theories relating to digital games as ecologies, while outlining the next steps for this emerging subdiscipline of the field.

The panel is a part of the Double Game Philosophy Conference at the St. Petersburg State University. Everybody is welcome to attend.

Program

19.00 Introduction

19.10 Virtual Reality as the Realm of Affordances. Pawel Grabarczyk, ITU Copenhagen

19.40 Stare by Default: Visual Ecology Criteria in Digital Spaces.  Alina Latypova, St. Petersburg State University

20.10  Ludic Similarity Spaces.  John R. Sageng, Game Philosophy Network

20.40  Game Objects in/as ‘Intra-ecologies’.Conor McKeown, Kings College, London

21.10 Common Discussion

The panel will be held in the Experimental Sound Gallery (ESG-21), which is located in the Pushkinskaya 10 Arts Centre. Address: Location: 10, Ulitsa Pushkinskaya (Attention! Entrance from 53, Ligovsky Prospekt). Subway station: Ploshchad Vosstaniya.

About the venue:  Since 1989 Pushkinskaya 10 used to be a core of the underground and non-conformist Russian culture during the perestroyka time, where the most influential avant-garde musicians, artists, intellectuals met and shared their works. Now it is the arts centre gathering under its roof various museums (e.g. Museum of Non-Confor mist Art, John Lennon Temple of Love, Peace and Music, Sound Museum, etc.) and galleries.

Journal Article: Me and My Avatar – Player-Character as Fictional Proxy

A new article is out in the online first section of Journal of the Philosophy of Games. It is written by Matthew Carlson and Logan Taylor. The abstract:

“Players of videogames describe their gameplay in the first person, e.g. “I took cover behind a barricade.” Such descriptions of gameplay experiences are commonplace, but also puzzling because players are actually just pushing buttons, not engaging in the activities described by their first-person reports. According to a view defended by Robson and Meskin (2016), which we call the fictional identity view, this puzzle is solved by claiming that the player is fictionally identical with the player character. Hence, on this view, if the player-character fictionally performs an action then, fictionally, the player performs that action. However, we argue that the fictional identity view does not make sense of players’ gameplay experiences and their descriptions of them. We develop an alternative account of the relationship between the player and player-character on which the player-character serves as the player’s fictional proxy, and argue that this account makes better sense of the nature of videogames as interactive fictions.”

Video Recordings and Manuscripts for PCG2017 and PCG2018

The video recordings and the manuscripts for the PCG2017 conference in Krakow and the PCG2018 conference in Copenhagen can now be found in the archives on the gamephilolosophy site. Most of these have so far only been have been available from  sources elsewhere on the web. Many thanks to Justyna Janik and Michael Debus for having done the laborious job of creating these videos.

Please notify me of any errors. Best of luck with preparing abstracts for the upcoming double conference in St. Petersburg.

Video Recordings for PCG2017

Video Recordings for PCG2018

Conference Manuscripts for PCG2017 and PCG2018.

 

 

 

Conference: Pretend Play and E-Cognition, 19-20 September 2019

The Centre for Philosophical Psychology at the University of Antwerp is organizing this interesting conference on pretend play on 19-20 September this year.  From their descriptions of the conference:

“E-Cognition refers to a young field of interdisciplinary research on embodied, embedded, enactive, extensive and ecological cognition. It includes philosophies of enactivism and embodiment, ecological psychology, sensorimotor theory and dynamical systems theory. It assumes that cognition is shaped and structured by dynamic interactions between the brain, body, and both the physical and social environments.”

“The conference addresses the ongoing debate between cognitivist and non-cognitivist approaches to cognition. Recently, E-Cognition has been gaining popularity, and frameworks such as enactivism have been increasingly used to understand cognitive acts as imagination or remembering (Hutto & Myin, 2014, 2017) and basic forms of pretending (Rucińska, 2016, 2017). Yet, the existing challenge to E-cognition is that it is still difficult to operationalize, as its “emphasis on holism presents problems for empirical investigations” (Gallagher, 2017, p. 21). This conference adds insight into this debate, as it seeks to explore ways of designing an empirical experiment that would include the hypotheses of E-Cognition theories.”

Journal Article: Interactive Works and Gameplay Emotions

IssuesJonathan Frome, a frequent contributor to the PCG-conference series, has a paper out on Games and Culture.

The article abstract:

Video games differ from films, books, and other mainstream media both in their interactive capabilities and in their affordances for gameplay. Interactivity and gameplay are closely related, as interactivity is necessary for gameplay. Unfortunately, this close relationship has led many video game scholars to conflate these two concepts when discussing player experience. In this article, I argue that, when discussing emotional responses to video games, gameplay and interactivity should be understood as distinct concepts: Gameplay involves both interactive and noninteractive elements, and interactive works do not always involve gameplay. I propose that there are significant drawbacks to overlooking this distinction and that highlighting it is important for understanding player experience, player emotion, and the ways video games differ from other entertainment media.

https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1555412019847907

CfP: The Aesthetics of Computer Games – 2019 Philosophy of Computer Games Conference in St. Petersburg

 

Call for papers

The 13th International Conference on the Philosophy of Computer Game, organised by the Game Philosophy Network, together with the Centre for Media Philosophy and Laboratory for Computer Games Research, will be held in St Petersburg, Russia, on October 21–24, 2019 as a part of a double game philosophy conference. 

The theme of this year’s conference is ‘The Aesthetics of Computer Games’. Playing games yields particular kinds of playful experiences or perceptions through the senses, which can be studied with an aesthetic focus, emphasising aísthēsis over noêsis. Computer games can be regarded as playful media that organise our perceptions and modify our sensibilities. For this conference, we welcome submissions on (but not limited to) the following themes and questions:

1. Aesthetics as aesthesis (aísthēsis). Is there an aesthetics or mode of experience that is specific to computer games? How do their visual, audio, and haptic aspects come together to produce distinctive experiences? How are ‘experience’ and ‘perception’ explored in computer games and shaped by them? Can concepts such as ‘affect’, ‘atmosphere’, and ‘rhythm’ be productively applied to computer games? What is the role of game interfaces on player experience?

2. Games as art? What are the conditions of possibility of games being art? How do computer games fit into established categories or conventions of aesthetics, and how do they contribute to new ones? Do games recognised as having a claim to artistic status differ from mainstream games? How do accounts of art based on necessary and sufficient conditions match up against anti-essentialist accounts in terms of gauging the status of computer games?

3. The aesthetics of gaming practices. Are games collaboratively authored? How do different kinds of play, or player-game conjunctions, bring about different kinds of gaming pleasures or aesthetic experiences? How do different bodies encounter computer games and what can be said about the way in which gameplay experience is mediated by our bodies?

Do some kinds of gameplay or extra-gamic player practices have an aesthetic orientation? Are computer games performances?

4. The ethical, political, and social dimensions of game aesthetics.
What is the transformative potential of computer games and how does this compare to the transformative capabilities ascribed to artworks? How do aesthetic issues interconnect with ethical, social, and political ones – what is the autonomy or heteronomy of the aesthetic domain? How are taste, sensibility, and habit acquired with respect to gameplay and what are the social implications of this?

In addition to this central theme, the conference also features an open category, for which we invite welcome contributions that do not fit this year’s theme, but that nonetheless offer a valuable contribution to the philosophy of computer games.

Submitted proposals should have a clear focus on philosophy and philosophical (including media philosophical) issues in relation to computer games. They should also refer to specific games rather than invoke them in more general terms. Submissions should be made in the form of extended abstracts of up to 1000 words (excluding bibliography). Please indicate if you intend your paper to fit in the open category. The deadline for submissions is 23:59 GMT, Sunday, 11th August, 2019. Please submit your abstract through review.gamephilosophy.org. All submitted abstracts will be subject to a double-blind peer review process.

Notification of accepted submissions will be sent out in late August 2019. A full paper draft must then be submitted by Monday, 14th October 2019 and will be made available on the conference website.

We also invite proposals for themed panels and workshops that will take place on the 20th and 24th October, 2019. Please contact the program committee chair if you are interested in organising one.

We cannot provide grants or subsidies for participants. There will, however, be no conference fee.

For more information about the conference please visit http://gameconference.mediaphilosophy.ru/pcg2019.html and gamephilosophy.org.

Program chair: Feng Zhu (King’s College).

Organizing chairs: Alina Latypova (St Petersburg State University) and Konstantin Ocheretyany (St Petersburg State University).

 

About

The Centre for Media Philosophy at the Institute of Philosophy, St. Petersburg State University, in collaboration with the Game Philosophy Network, have come together to organize a double conference on philosophical issues raised by computer games.

The 13th International Philosophy of Computer Games Conference, “The Aesthetics of Computer Games” (Oct 21-24), will explore various philosophical issues in thinking about the aesthetics of games and gameplay, whilst “Computer Games as Interfaces to Media Reality” (Oct 21-25) will address issues that spring from considering computer games to be “experience machines” for the modification of sensibility, thought, and imagination. Our aim is to provide a meeting place for scholars of media philosophy and game philosophy in order to inspire future investigations into the commonalities and differences between these approaches.

 

Program Committee:

Alina Latypova (St Petersburg State University)

Anita Leirfall (University of Bergen)

Darshana Jayemanne (Abertay University)

Feng Zhu (King’s College London) (chair)

Grant Tavinor (Lincoln University)

Hans-Joachim Backe (IT University of Copenhagen)

John R. Sageng (Game Philosophy Network)

Konstantin Ocheretyany (St Petersburg State University)

Marc Bonner (University of Cologne)

Margarita Skomorokh (St Petersburg State University)

Mathias Fuchs (Leuphana University of Lüneburg)

Olli Leino (City University of Hong Kong)

Pawel Grabarczyk (IT University of Copenhagen)

Sebastian Möring (University of Potsdam)

Sonia Fizek (Media Academy Stuttgart)

Veli-Matti Karhulahti (University of Jyväskylä/University of Turku)

William Huber (Abertay University)

 

Organizing Committee

Alexander Lenkevich (St Petersburg State University)

Alina Latypova (St Petersburg State University)(chair)

Konstantin Ocheretyany (St Petersburg State University)(chair)

Margarita Skomorokh (St Petersburg State University)

 

 

 

Organizing Committee and Host for PCG2019

It is our pleasure to announce that the next Philosophy of Computer Games Conference will be hosted by the Center for Media Philosophy and the Laboratory for Computer Games Research at the Saint Petersburg State University. It will be a part of a double conference that will serve to explore commonalities and differences between media philosophy and game philosophy.

Alina Latypova and Konstantin Ocheretyany will give an introduction to the Center for Media Philosophy and the Laboratory in a separate post.

The calls for both of the conferences will follow shortly.  

The organizing committee for PCG2019 has the following members:

Profile picture of Alexander Lenkevich

Alexander Lenkevich

Profile picture of Alina Latypova

Alina Latypova (chair)

Profile picture of Konstantin Ocheretyany

Konstantin Ocheretyany (chair)

Profile picture of Margarita Skomorokh

Margarita Skomorokh

Book: A Defense of Simulated Experience – New Noble Lies

Mark Silcox has a new book out on Routledge about the value of simulated experience. While the topic is broader than experience in computer games, it is clear that the topic is of great interest to many game philosophers and game theorists.

Abstract:

“This book defends an account of the positive psychological, ethical, and political value of simulated human experience. Philosophers from Plato and Augustine to Heidegger, Nozick, and Baudrillard have warned us of the dangers of living on too heavy a diet of illusion and make-believe. But contemporary cultural life provides broader, more attractive opportunities to do so than have existed at any other point in history. The gentle forms of self-deceit that such experiences require of us, and that so many have regarded as ethically unwholesome or psychologically self-destructive, can in fact serve as vital means to political reconciliation, cultural enrichment, and even (a kind of) utopia.

The first half of the book provides a highly schematic definition of simulated experience and compares it with some claims about the nature of simulation made by other philosophers about what it is for one thing to be a simulation of another. The author then provides a critical survey of the views of some major authors about the value of certain specific types of simulated experience, mainly in order to point out the many puzzling inconsistencies and ambiguities that their thoughts upon the topic often exhibit. In the second half of the book, the author defends an account of the positive social value of simulated experience and compares his own position to the ideas of a number of utopian political thinkers, as well as to Plato’s famous doctrine of the “noble lie.” He then makes some tentative practical suggestions about how a proper appreciation of the value of simulated experience might influence public policy decisions about such matters as the justification of taxation, paternalistic “choice management,” and governmental transparency.

A Defense of Simulated Experience will appeal to a broad range of  philosophers working in normative ethics, aesthetics, the philosophy of technology, political philosophy, and the philosophy of culture who are interested in questions about simulated experience. The book also makes a contribution to the emerging field of Game Studies.”

Journal Article: Carnal Hermeneutics and the Digital Game

The first article for the second issue of Journal of the Philosophy of Games is available in the online first issue. It is written by Paul Martin and introduces the fascinating topic of carnal hermeneutics, or how the body makes non-predicative distinctions during play. The article has actually been online for a while, but it has been postponed for publication to this year, since we want a section on meaning in computer games for this issue.

From the paper abstract:

Carnal hermeneutics claims that the body makes sense of the world by making distinctions and evaluating those distinctions in a non-predicative mode. This article makes the case that ludohermeneutics can be enriched by attending to the way in which the body makes sense of digital games and advances carnal hermeneutics as a way of theorising this process. The article introduces carnal hermeneutics, argues for its relevance to ludo-hermeneutics, and outlines three examples of how carnal hermeneutics can be used to theorise sense-making in digital games. The first example demonstrates the capacity for touch-screen games to put us in a new relationship with the image. The second example shows how generic control schemas can take on new meanings in different games. The third example shows how marketing of game controllers draws on conventional attitudes to touch to make digital game touch meaningful.

Feng Zhu is Program Committee Leader for PCG2019

It is our pleasure to announce that Feng Zhu has accepted the invitation to chair the next conference in the Philosophy of Computer Games Conference series.

Feng is a teaching fellow at King’s College in London and has contributed extensively to the programs at earlier conferences in the series.

The new program committee is presently being constituted and a call for papers will follow within a few weeks. More information about the program work and the new conference host will also follow shortly.