Школа дизайна НИУ ВШЭ объявляет о начале регулярного исследовательского онлайн-семинара «Game/Play: Studies, Criticism, Design». Семинар будет проходить раз в две недели по понедельникам, в 18:00 по московскому времени, с 8 ноября 2021 года по 16 мая 2022 года на платформе ZOOM.
В этом «пилотном» для семинара году мы решили выбрать как можно более обширную тематику, чтобы поддержать разнообразие участников и сделать первый шаг к появлению устойчивого сообщества вокруг нашей инициативы. Поэтому мы и остановились на теме «Соединения». К тому же, данная тематика была предложена участниками конференции «Забота и видеоигры», прошедшей на базе Школы дизайна НИУ ВШЭ 26-28 мая 2021 года, а мы видим в нашем семинаре, прежде всего, способ продолжить сотрудничество, начатое в рамках той конференции.
Наша цель — построение мостов между российскими и международными исследованиями видеоигр, вовлечение начинающих исследователей (прежде всего, студентов и аспирантов) в мировой контекст, установление крепких связей между гейм-дизайнерами и исследователями.
В мае 2022 года мы также планируем провести конференцию по тематике, созвучной теме семинара. Таким образом, мы рассчитываем, что семинар станет первым шагом на пути к развитию и апробации участниками своих идей в академическом контексте.
Семинар будет проходить раз в две недели по понедельникам, в 18:00 по московскому времени. Пожалуйста, обратите внимание, что рабочим языком будет являться английский!
Для каждой встречи организаторы семинара заранее выбирают тему и ключевого докладчика. Участники семинара подают заявки на краткое представление своих идей (10-15 минут) после ключевых докладчиков по тем же темам. Первая встреча в рамках семинара будет проведена 8 ноября, и она будет посвящена знакомству участников друг с другом, а также составлению списка спикеров на каждой из мини-конференций в рамках семинара.
During the first seminar meeting, its main organizers will talk about the seminar’s ideas and its main organizational aspects. Also, the seminar’s participants are kindly welcomed to introduce themselves to each other.
Keynote Speakers: Alexey Salin, Alexander Vetushinskiy, Leonid Moyzhes, Maksim Podvalnyi
In this presentation, I examine love as experience and representation in digital games. The premise of my research starts with the question whether human players can fall in love with computer-generated characters. My hypothesis based on player experience is that they do. The subsequent queries addressed are the particular mechanics of such a possibility and whether this experience is actually love or something players have come to associate with love. If is it the former, then games should bring about a relexicalisation of the term that encompasses experiences not conceived and plausible before digital games. If instead the latter is true, then digital games help showcase the problem of love as experience in general. I argue that human players most definitely do not fall in love with computer-generated characters. Yet the fact that they recognise the experience as if they do shows how problematic the experience of love is within the human condition — and its representations. Digital games exemplify this problematisation. I argue that they constitute the appropriate critical texts to theorise the experience of love as no other medium before them because they constitute lived experiences of its representation. I also argue that games possess the potential to afford the experience of love if certain technological limitations are overcome. I position the primary reason for this within the games singularity to allow human players to interact and coexist with virtual characters that despite being artificial are real. In this, digital games may revolutionise the way we represent and experience love.
Speakers: Renata Ntelia, University of Malta
I will conclude that videogames (and popular culture more broadly) allows a postsecular audience to connect to a religious past that is lost, by offering religion for consumption as more than just a life-long source of ultimate meaning. Instead, videogames commodify and mediatize religion inside a ‘ludic epistemology.’ In doing so, games inspire us to play at religion like children play soldier or house: a rethinking of religious worldviews as no longer a question of belief or disbelief in ultimate truths; but as something to be tried on, compared and discarded. Thus mediatized, millions of players globally have all the possible beliefs in the world available to them, playing at religion with the push of a button. I will conclude that videogames (and popular culture more broadly) allows a postsecular audience to connect to a religious past that is lost, by offering religion for consumption as more than just a life-long source of ultimate meaning. Instead, videogames commodify and mediatize religion inside a ‘ludic epistemology.’ In doing so, games inspire us to play at religion like children play soldier or house: a rethinking of religious worldviews as no longer a question of belief or disbelief in ultimate truths; but as something to be tried on, compared and discarded. Thus mediatized, millions of players globally have all the possible beliefs in the world available to them, playing at religion with the push of a button.
Speakers: Lars de Wildt, KU Leuven
Machines that do not work (not because of breakdowns, but in principle — like a perpetual motion machine) are an ancient interest of magicians, alchemists and ... philosophers. Magicians oppose the forces of nature, alchemists claim the impossible, for philosophers — imaginary machines, even if in reality they do not work — they are also machines of the imagination: historical, economic, political, social, cultural. Computer games made «non-working» machines work, because they gave us an abundance of such philosophical, imaginary machines that not so much reflect intentions and actions, but rather express possible fears and hopes, violence and care, create monsters and cause catastrophes, or become the condition of new forms communications and psychophysiological prosthetics. And sometimes all the established meanings are suspended. My talk is about what and how technologies are represented in computer games — what ideas, states, experiences? And how gamer, interacting with imaginary technologies, determines the meanings of possible worlds and constructs new types of interactions.
Speakers: Konstantin Ocheretyany, St Petersburg University
In this talk I address the following questions: How do computer games offer themselves to be interpreted and experienced as meaningful? How do these ways differ from those in other media, e.g. literature, film, and interactive art? Building on computer game studies, phenomenology, existentialism, and art history, I address the technological specificity of computer games as an expressive medium. Based on on Gadamer's notion of risk in gameplay, and, Sartre's duality of freedom and responsibility, I identify the 'gameplay condition', the player's responsibility for their freedom in the computer game. I argue that this can function as a baseline for an existential hermeneutics for computer games, rendering the possibility of failure, rather than for example fiction, gameness, or rules, as the origin of intersubjective significance in computer game play. I will situate computer games on the art-historical trajectory of interactive art, and note how computer games, as manifesting a gameplay condition, differ from interactive art in terms of the roles of the artist and the audience, and the artworks' ways of offering themselves for being performed upon and interpreted. This allows the expressive form of computer games to be described as distinct from that of interactive art. However, looking at contemporary 'art games', I observe how they fall back on interactive art by relying on conventions such as 'navigation' and 'exploration'. While this undoubtedly revivalist style is celebrated by some as 'poetic' and 'artistic', if not even 'innovative', it is nevertheless symptomatic of an unresolvable tension between between satisfying the player and satisfying the artist, a tension due to which 'art games' can always only address meaninglessness and futility as their themes. This enables me to conclude that 'art games' are tragic.
Speakers: Olli Tapio Leino, City University of Hong Kong
It can be argued that the subject of money and the experience of enjoying games should be separated as much as possible. Financial transactions disrupt the 'magic circle' and bring real-world inequalities into virtual worlds: in particular, 'buying progress' has always been considered cheating in video games. However, turning play into work and then buying the fruits of 'play labour' has always been present in games in many forms, such as «gold farming» or speed-ups in free-to-play games. Informal game economies have emerged and expanded into new territories, from game modders trading their original creative works to skin gambling on blockchain. Critical analysis of these practices suggests that they reflect major changes in the modes of global production and consumption far beyond the gaming industry. For this reason, I propose to treat virtual economies as very particular, but also, very informative models of the various economic relations that emerge in the real world.
Speakers: Alesha Serada, The University of Vaasa
Regarding connections and connectivity, a question arises what happens when connections do not work or are missing. The poetics of computer games is based on interactivity — a technique connecting the user’s actions with the images on the screen. If the game is a set of interactions, what becomes of it when this mechanism falters? How glitches, clumsy interfaces, anamorphic illusions that never make sense, and rhizomatic spaces affect the game? Should they be avoided? And is it ever possible to create a game without inconsistencies? Disconnectivity in games may be a result of accident or negligence as well as a consciously used artistic technique or, sometimes, a postmedia gesture going beyond this opposition. Moreover, in some cases, incoherence constitutes the core game mechanics producing a certain user experience (or anti-experience?). From this perspective, a «broken» interface is rather the beginning of the game than the game over.
Speakers: Alina Latypova (St Petersburg University, Centre for Media Philosophy and the Laboratory for Computer Games Research, ITMO University), Margarita Skomorokh (St Petersburg University, Centre for Media Philosophy and the Laboratory for Computer Games Research, I.B.O.R.G. artist collective)