Monthly Archives: October 2008
Thinking after Dark: International Conference on Horror Video Games
Montreal, April 23-25, 2009
The research group Ludiciné from the
collaboration with the Research Group on the Creation and Formation of
Cinematographic and Theatrical Institutions (GRAFICS) from the
University of Montreal and the NT2 Laboratory on Hypermedia Art and
Literature from the University of Quebec in Montreal, solicits your
proposals for the bilingual (French/English) international conference
titled «Thinking after Dark: Welcome to the World of Horror Video
Games». This conference will be held in Montreal from April 23 to 25, 2009.
Call for papers
As fear is the oldest and strongest emotion of mankind (Lovecraft),
human beings have always taken a malicious pleasure in frightening
themselves. If literature and cinema were and still represent good means
for the expression of horror, nowadays, the experience of fear is as
intense in video games.
While academia has been studying horrific literature and films for a few
decades, such an interest for the videoludic side of horror has not,
until now, showed up. Yet, since the cinematic staging of fear in in 1992, the has become a prolific genre
offering a wide selection of significant games such as the Resident
Evil, and Fatal Frame series. Because it is at the
crossroads of diverse cultural heritages and the latest technological
developments, and because it exhibits the ins and outs of the matrix
that governs all but a few games (spatial navigation and survival),
horror video games require a deeper study.
This international conference wishes to study horror video games (not
necessarily labeled survival horror) from an eclectic range of critical
and theoretical perspectives. It aims to fill a gap in game studies
between general theory and analysis of particular genres and games.
Here are some examples of relevant themes we wish to explore in this
- Origins and history of horror video games
- Impact of the technological evolution on horror video games
- Simulation of horror, fear, terror
- Narratives and themes of horror video games
- Transmedial study of horror video games (Games/Films/Literature)
- Remediation in films, literature and video games
- Transnational analysis of horror video games (United States/Japan)
- Social and cultural meanings of horror video games
- Horror video games and censorship
- Aesthetics of horror video games (lighting, sound, editing, 1st/3rd
- Study of specific games or series (Alone in the Dark, ,
The organizing committee remains open to proposals that respect the
general spirit of this call for papers.
Please submit your proposals no later than January 15, 2009 at the
following e-mail address: <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Acceptance
and rejection notifications will be sent by the beginning of February.
Your proposal must include:
1. The title of your paper and an abstract (no more that 500 words).
2. Your academic status, your institutional affiliation, your department
and your contact information (mailing address, telephone number, fax
number and e-mail address)
3. A short biography underlining your work related to the themes of the
conference (no more than 250 words).
A selection of papers will be published in a special issue of Loading…,
the journal of the Canadian Game Study Association.
For further information, please visit our website:
Bernard Perron, Conference Head, Associate Professor, Department of Art
History and Film Studies, University of Montreal
Martin Picard, coordinator, research group Ludicine, University of Montreal
Richard Bégin, Invited Professor in Film Studies, Literatures
Departement, Laval University.
Carl Therrien, research group Ludicine, University of Montreal
Dominic Arsenault, research group Ludicine, University of Montreal
Guillaume Roux-Girard, research group Ludicine, University of Montreal
A quick update to say that the book launch on Oct 7th for Growing Up Online: Young People and Digital Technologies went really well. Set up as a workshop/presentation of the contents of the book (then wine and cheese afterwards), there was a good showing of interested people. The Concordia Journal also did an interview with Shanly Dixon and a write up of the event/book.
I am rather excited for Hallowe’en this year. For the first year in a long time, I am not taking anyone trick or treating (the girls are too old for that) and my bf and I are going to our first Hallowe’en party in as many years, where there will be no children. After many hours (or even days) scouring the internet for ideas, I ordered this costume and these shoes. I got the wig too, but after talking to a friend, realized I have an even better wig to go with the outfit. I was incredibly impressed with the delivery time, and the costume actually fits quite well, and the fabric is decent. All in all, looks like it will be a great Hallowe’en – I can’t wait!
When: Wednesday, November 5th @ 7:00pm
Where: The SAT, 1195 St.Laurent
“Design Postmortem: Social Mechanics of Spore”
by – Creative Director, EA
Complete event information and description available online:
Print out our snazzy promo poster and pin it up
at work to help promote the event:
The next gamecode meeting will be this Friday Oct 24th from 11-1 pm.
A/V room next to H-1120 in the Hall Building.
From 11-12 or thereabouts we will have a special brainstorming session
on games studies and the .
Following this free-for-all brainstorming session will be a short
In the spirit of procrastination, I hit the “random” button on the top right hand corner of my blog (you have to be ‘logged in’ to a wordpress account to see the arrow). All I have to say is, there is alot of very random (and weird) stuff out there! If you have an afternoon to waste and perhaps a bottle of wine to drink, try it, its quite entertaining!
To my previous post, I brought up the challenges I was facing with a colleague, and then, in class, with my professor – it reminded me why I should always speak up in times of confusion. In the end, she explained that she has been trying to work her way away from (strict) filmic analysis – the films she has been showing were never intended to follow the “look, see” formula that I have ruthlessly attached to a particular method of film studies. Essentially, the films are shown to give us an idea of how the figural is represented in film. There is no hard and fast analysis, no direct link between A and B. And much to my happiness, she explained that the readings were there not to force me (or the other students) into a box, but rather, to take out of it what we can and address our own work. For this I am grateful, and it definitly lifts off a bit of weight heading into my turn to present the reading discussion next week.
I have been in ‘Film Studies’ now for a year and a half. I have taken three Phd classes and two undergraduate classes (a condition of heading into a Film Studies Phd with a Sociology background), one Phd and one Ugrad in progress this semester). Yet I stll struggle with translating theory into applied filmmaking. I am currently reading Deleuze’s Time-Image (among many other articles and excerpts surrounding the idea of the figure in film), and on a theoretical level, I completely understand what he is talking about. On an abstract level I can imagine my own examples when I have been discussing his work in recent conversations. When he gives examples – written examples about a film – I get it. However, I have a really hard time watching a movie and going – oh – this is an example of what Deleuze meant.
When I was in my first year of my Sociology MA, we had a few exercises where we had to read random articles and then determine which theoretical area they fell under – was it a Marxist article, was it rooted in Weberian tradition, was it post-modern, symbolic interactionism, etc etc. Then we had to iterate why we chose our particular answer. This process was started in my bachelor’s degree, since we had to do similar exercises in our upper level honour’s classes (but the professor guided us through the readings so that we could see why an article was from a particular perspective). In the end, I have been trained to be able to extrapolate from examples. As a sociologist who has done mostly ethnographic work, I have also been trained to take theory and apply it to social situations as they occured.
So why can I not grasp the filmic example? I really want to see it – I really try to see it -but more often then not, I just go back to the text and then think again about the film and THEN I can see what he was talking about – but I can’t just watch and see it unfold.
Perhaps, as my good friend pointed out to me this weekend, that it is that I have been trained … conditioned.. to think sociologically and not cinematically (is that the film studies equivalent?). I really enjoy film studies with my sociological lens, and I can even step out of the whole ‘film as social construction’ much more now – a year and a half later – than I could when I started. But how long until I can adequately use a film clip to demonstrate a theory instead of writing out four extra papers or talking for 10 extra minutes contextualizing what I am trying to say. Of course, one would tell me – but Kelly – you use games as examples all the time – shouldn’t it as least be related? And I would answer that I tend to use screen shots (the ”still” being the filmic equivalent). Working theoretically from a still – in my opinion (or at least experience) is much easier, and what I think of as a visual “quote”. It is not a moving image, a fluid sequence that gives a different ‘feeling’ (for the lack of a better word at the moment) than what a ‘still’ conveys. When working with a still, I can stick to discussing what is in that particular frame without having to worry much about temporality. I have read Laurent Jullier’s text on Filmic Analysis, as well as Le Texte Introuvable (Bellour) and I am faced with the same struggle – when I read their words, I get it – when I go to put in action, I struggle with connecting the nodes between theory and applied practice.
I guess it all comes down to intellectual conditioning. During one of these conversations this weekend, my friend, who is ta’ing and leading discussion groups for an intro to Sociology course was telling me how some of the students could not grasp the concept of functional structuralism (a theory that I recoil in admitting is close to my heard). As she was telling me this, I kept saying “I don’t get it – how could they NOT get structural functionalism!!” I guess this is how my film studies colleagues see me sometimes heh. In the end, I have to remember that I have been ‘conditioned’, ‘schooled’, in a particular discipline – it does not make you master of all disciplines, and with a lot of reading, some good discussions and a bit of luck, I will ‘get it’.
‘Tis the season for the CFP’s! Get out your calendar and check out what 2009 has on board for Game Studies and other related areas. Check out the right side bar.
As I have mentioned here before, I am taking my last PhD class (/cheer) entitled “The Figure in Film”. So far, it has been an interesting excursion into some very classic works from the ’20′s on – spanning avant-garde, experimental and Russian film (so far..). We have been looking at the role of metaphor, metonomy the figurative as visual representation (carrying over, appropriating and recontextualizing literary definitions). As a final project (and in class presentation) I have to ” develop a discussion of the figure in relation to a film, a filmic corpus, audio-visual form or style or a theoretical approach to films, using the readings and discussions considered during the seminar”. While this is a pretty standard ‘demonstrate what you’ve learned in class’ paper, I am tempted to take it in the direction of my work – mainly video games.
The project I have outlined would essentially be a comparative study – much like the beginning of the course in that it started out with understanding the figurative from a historical perspective and how it has been appropriated – theoretically – into film studies (and production). My question would be to ask what cinematic elements of figuration are carried over into v. games? What (if any) elements are purely ‘gamic’? And perhaps – does the figurative serve the same purpose in games as it does in film? I know these are pretty vague questions – but they are simply a point of departure so that I can start amassing some literature on anything related. And so – as always – if anyone has any literature to point me towards or suggestions / directions, it is always more than welcome.