CfP: Computer Games – Interfaces of Media Reality

The Centre for Media Philosophy and the Laboratory for Computer Games Research invite you to take part into the conference Computer Games: Interfaces of Media Reality. The conference is a part of the Double Games Philosophy Conference, organized together with the Game Philosophy Network, on the 21-25th October 2019 in Saint Petersburg.

Call for papers

We invite participation from scholars of different backgrounds who are interested in researching computer games through the lenses of philosophy and media philosophy, which regards them as media that organize perception in a new fashion, distinct from both traditional media and non-digital games.

We propose that the interfaces of computer games represent “experience machines” for the modification of sensibility, thought, and imagination. Questions for the discussion include:

  • How is the gaming experience constructed?
  • Which interfaces are involved in this process and how do they influence our sensibilities?
  • How can we distinguish between the mediated, immediated, and hypermediated elements of the game?
  • Can we trace the connection between the mediators that produce the gaming experience, and the contemporary episteme?
  • Is it possible through the archaeology of vision, body, and the technical elements of computer games as desiring-machines, to find out the fundamentals that underlie the current configuration of media reality?
  • How are game elements transferred to non-game contexts or other media forms (cinema, literature, professional practices, etc.)?
  • What are the boundaries of game practices?
  • How do rules, narratives, and gameplay establish a balance between freedom and necessity, between mechanisms of emancipation and those of enforcement?
  • What are player strategies of interacting with the game: from conventional and habitual practices to counterplay (masocore, speedrunning, glitchware, etc.)?

Working languages of the conference: English and Russian.

Please submit your papers (4000-6000 words) or extended abstracts (700–1000 words) before the 15st August 2019 through games.interfaces@gmail.com.
All submitted abstracts will be subject to a double-blind peer review process.

The best papers and abstracts will be recommended for the publishing in the edition based on the conference and indexed in the Russian Science Citation Index.

All questions concerning the conference please send here: games.interfaces@gmail.com. We will try to reply as soon as possible.

Important dates

  • Submission deadline: 15st August.
  • Announce acceptance/rejection: 15th September.
  • Conference: 21-25th October.

Committee

Conference Chairs: Konstantin Ocheretyany (PhD, St. Petersburg State University), Alexander Lenkevich (Laboratory for Computer Games Research).

Organizing committee: Prof. Valery Savchuk, Prof. Konstantin Shevtsov, Alina Latypova, Margarita Skomorokh, Sergei Bugluck, Andrei Muzhdaba.

Contacts

For all questions, do not hesitate to contact us: games.interfaces@gmail.com

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

Journal Article: Virtual Subjectivity – Existence and Projectuality in Virtual Worlds

The forthcoming issue of Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology features a paper by Daniel Vella and Stefano Gualeni titled “Virtual Subjectivity: Existence and Projectuality in Virtual Worlds.”

Their paper draws on the notion of the ‘project,’ as developed in the existential philosophy of Heidegger and Sartre, to articulate an understanding of the existential structure of engagement with virtual worlds. By this philosophical understanding, the individual’s orientation towards a project structures a mechanism of self-determination, meaning that the project is understood essentially as the project to make oneself into a certain kind of being. Drawing on existing research from an existential-philosophical perspective on subjectivity in digital game environments, the notion of a ‘virtual subjectivity’ is proposed to refer to the subjective sense of being-in-the-virtual-world. The paper proposes an understanding of virtual subjectivity as standing in a nested relation to the individual’s subjectivity in the actual world, and argues that it is this relation that allows virtual world experience to gain significance in the light of the individual’s projectual existence. The arguments advanced in this paper pave the way for a comprehensive understanding of the transformative, self-transformative, and therapeutic possibilities and advantages afforded by virtual worlds.

A pre-print draft can be accessed here.

 

Three New Papers on Gaming Published in The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism

The latest two issues of The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism include three new publications on the aesthetic philosophy of video games.

Marissa D. Willis’s paper, Choose Your Own Adventure: Examining the Fictional Content of Video Games as Interactive Fictions, which appears in the Winter 2019 issue, “explores the unique philosophical challenges that video games pose as forms of interactive fiction and examines the different types of fictional truth which they present.” She argues that video games are an important development in the narrative arts that should be of natural interest to philosophers.

Appearing in the Spring 2019 issue are Players, Characters, and the Gamer’s Dilemma by Craig Bourne and Emily Caddick Bourne and On Virtual Transparency by Grant Tavinor. The former addresses the apparent moral “difference between playing video games in which the player’s character commits murder and video games in which the player’s character commits pedophilic acts” and seeks to provide a new means of approaching this question through an account of the differing fiction-making resources available to players in the different cases.

Tavinor questions whether virtual media, including those in recent video games, allow users to literally see the world and objects presented by virtual media, and “whether the concept of “photographic transparency,” introduced by Kendall Walton to account for the inherent realism of photography, can be extended to account for the realism of virtual media.” The paper considers the differing uses of VR and concludes that there may be token uses where VR counts as a “virtual prosthesis.”

Volume 77, Issue 1, Winter 2019

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/toc/15406245/2019/77/1

 

Volume 77, Issue 2, Spring 2019

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/toc/15406245/2019/77/2

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.

First Issue of Journal of the Philosophy of Games

The first issue of the Journal of the Philosophy of Games is now available online.

JPG is the first journal dedicated to philosophical issues that pertain to the general phenomenon of gaming. Our aim is to investigate questions about the nature of games and how they intersect with art, communication, technology and social interaction.

Games offer unexplored philosophical territories and new theoretical frontiers. They are prominent cultural forms that occupy a manifold of existing and emerging roles in culture and society. Many forms of interaction exhibit structures similar to those found in games. We can expect that a philosophy of games will contribute to many areas in theoretical and practical philosophy as well as to foundational discussions in the field of game studies.

The articles in the first issue discuss a wide range of themes. Can games become art? How should we understand the contradictions between game mechanic and fiction in computer games? Can theories of justice be applied to account for playability in role-playing games? What are fictional actions?

JPG welcomes submissions from any discipline that deals with philosophical issues raised by games, such as theoretical game studies, analytic approaches, critical theory, phenomenology, structuralism and post humanism. We also publish discussion notes and book reviews.

Journal Article: “How Can We Be Moved to Shoot Zombies?”

My article, “How Can We Be Moved to Shoot Zombies? A Paradox of Fictional Emotions and Actions in Interactive Fiction” is out in the Journal of Literary Theory. A post-print is also available here.

In this paper, I apply the paradox of fiction, or the problem that we are often emotionally moved by characters and events which we know don’t really exist, to interactive fictions such as videogames. I argue that videogames show that we can not only be made to feel paradoxical emotions towards fictitious characters or events, but that we can also be motivated to undertake actions towards them. As such, videogames introduce a paradox of interactive fiction, consisting of three premises that cannot be true at the same time:

  1. Players act on videogame objects.
  2. Videogame objects are fictional.
  3. It is impossible to act on fictional objects.

I discuss two possible strategies to solve this paradox of interactive fiction. The first one, based on work by Espen Aarseth, is to deny that the game objects we can act on are fictional at all. The second one, based on Kendall Walton’s make-believe theory, is to claim that the actions we perform towards fictional game objects are not real actions, but fictional actions.