After a hectic morning of family stuff, I managed to make my way to one of the sessions today – one a bit closer to my own research – on the “Corporeal Foundations of Horror” – my re-titling would be “Avatar, Bodies and Gameplay”. Both presentations in this session were very interesting. The first one, by Brendan Main (The Imperfect Avatar: Experiences of immersion in horror video games) got pretty theoretical while talking about the differences between traditional perspectives on avatars in videogames, and avatars in horror games. Using theories of synchronization, concepts of the virtual and the actual; he focused on the different ways immersion occurs in horror games, his talk contrasted the ‘perfect avatar’ which “provides a continguous experience through familiarity, synchronicity, and responsivity” with his notion of the ‘imperfect avatar’, which in certain horror games rejects those elements “in favor of alienation, asynchronicity and irresponsive control”. While I usually try to give a run down of panel talks from my own point of view, I had to quote the abstract in the program to make sure I got it straight. I will be very interested in reading the full article when it comes out in a special issue of Loading… Journal of Canadian Game Studies.
Finally, Bernard Perron (Le Survival Horror: Prolongement du genre corporeal) spoke of his work on the relationship between the actions on the screen and the body’s (re)actions, reuniting the ‘head to the body’ – something that cinema – to some extent – failed to do. This talk was in french – but was quite interesting. Bernard always has great game clips, which always brings full animation to his talks.
At this point we had to break for lunch – for some, that meant leaving the conference venue (always a dangerous thing – spreading out the attendees!) and of course, while I was out – everyday life crashed in, and I had to go home to get ready for an evening of moderating at EA (my part time job outside of my PhD).
Hopefully, I will be able to wake up and get myself together in time to make it to the final day of the conference – I really want to see the keynote speaker – Simon Niedenthal (at 9:30am) – afterwards, I have to empty my office and get a coat of paint or two on the walls before dragging the mounds of books, files and games back in so that I can be back to work by Monday.
To anyone in town for the conference – enjoy the great spring weather we are having and hope you get to take advantage of the great terraces Montreal is known for.