Réseau d’Études Ludologiques Interdisciplinaire du Québec

I thought I had already posted this when it came about last fall – but a quick search of my archives, and it seems I was mistaken. Although the title is in French, the group aims to be an interdisciplinary, bilingual intellectual exchange of ideas surrounding games and play. Here is the blurb:

The RELIQ features a directory of all research and education on games and video games across the province of Québec, a blog aggregator, a discussion forum and files shared by its members. The goal: a shared and open platform for ludological research in Québec.

Le RELIQ contient un répertoire de la recherche et de l’enseignement sur les jeux et jeux vidéo à la grandeur du Québec, un aggrégateur de blogs, un forum de discussion et des fichiers partagés par les membres. L’objectif: une plateforme commune et ouverte pour la recherche ludologique au Québec.

The project is in constant development as new research arises – the goal is to centralize the information and build a broader community.


CFP: The Online Videogame: New Space of Socialization

Version en français au bas



Bilingual colloquium (French/English)
October 28 , 29  and 30, 2010
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

To play is a vital function for the development of individuals. Play
is an activity of socialization which enables learning of the
rudiments of social interaction. Since the middle of the twentieth
century, our societies have placed more value on the playful practice
at all ages. As such, playing is more and more present in numerous
spheres of society. Huizinga (1938) and Caillois (1958) assert
moreover that any playful activity is social, by definition, and gets
its real meaning when it is practised in groups. For Gadamer (1960),
the charm of playing lies primarily in the fact that it exercises a
fascination in the player. Online videogames gather more and more
followers worldwide as this phenomenon becomes more important from day
to day. It is no longer necessary to question play as a way to spend
time. Through the intervention of videogames, play has also become a
way to develop social networks, learn new communication skills and
tools, a way to learn a foreign language, a place to keep or develop
friendships, an opportunity to participate in an online community, or
even a way to be exposed to new cultures. Online videogames have
become a media of socialization, that is to say, devices of mediation
and mediatization which allow people to share large-scale information
thanks to its network of exchanges and meetings. Such spaces of
socialization arouse interactions convenient to the construction of
the “self” and to the renewal of the representations of others and the
world. Online videogames can facilitate socialization and be a carrier
of values which are not necessarily different than those found in
society. Online videogames can also be a place that facilitate values
that are not necessarily present in society in general.

Indeed, the experience as much as the manners and representations in
videogames contribute to the moulding of cognitive modes, to the
development of both technical and social skills and, in a more general
way, to the reconfiguration of one’s relationship to the world. From
this perspective, it is imperative to explore the modes of
socialization shaped by online videogames and to question the various
forms of instrumentalization, of domination, of exclusion, as well as
forms of dependence and addiction which this kind of community can
facilitate. The criteria from which the players give a value and
organize their relations into a hierarchy with other players is
potentially defined by the customs and contexts of online videogames.
The observations, the descriptions, and the analysis of the manners
and representations that are connected to the experience of online
videogames become essential as a generation is subject to building
their social referents partially through playful cyber universes. This
type of study is justified all the more as players become imbedded in
innovative modes of socialization, rehabilitation, social
reintegration, and learning, not only in school and at home, but also
in their workplace. This colloquium aims to make inventory of the
researches within game studies, while online videogames are becoming
more and more popular.

Topics may include (but are not limited to) the following themes:

•       Forms of socialization in online videogames
•       Communicational stakes in online videogames
•       Questions of ethics and aesthetics in online videogames
•       Innovations and types of appropriation in online videogames
•       Questions of law, economy, and politics in online videogames
•       Design of games and the communications tools in online videogames
•       Therapeutic and educational customs in online videogames

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES: The persons interested to participate in this
colloquium have to submit an abstract treating of the higher presented
theme (max. 3000 characters, included spaces), as well as a short
biographic note. Abstracts should be sent to:

Abstract deadline :             April 28, 2010
Notification of Acceptance:     May 17, 2010
Full Paper deadline:            August 27, 2010
Colloquium dates :              October 28, 29 and 30, 2010

INVITED SPEAKERS: Mia Consalvo, PhD; Nicolas Ducheneaut, PhD;
Sébastien Genvo, PhD; Miguel Sicart, PhD; Bart Simon, PhD; T.L.
Taylor, PhD.
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Guns, Video Games and bad reporting

Tragic death caused by parental carelessness connected to video games:

“Mistaking a loaded gun for a video game controller, a 3-year-old in Tennessee accidentally shot and killed herself, officials said. … Cheyenne’s mother told police officers that the child was used to playing a shooting game with the Nintendo Wii video game console and likely confused the real gun with the realistic-looking black toy gun, the sheriff said.  “The unfortunate thing is that thisNintendo game called Wii had what looks like a solid black, basically automatic-looking type mechanism that operates the game,” he said. “Unfortunately, the stepdad also had a .380 caliber black Smith & Wesson. The child was used to playing the video game.”

Meanwhile, when it comes to actual events, the article states that

“We’re not looking at criminal intent,” Ashe said, adding that no criminal charges have been filed. “There was a terrible lapse of judgment here.”

I am sorry, indeed this is a very tragic event, heartbreaking – but to start the article out comparing the Smith & Wesson to a Wii controller – to use that as your introduction to the story is just very shoddy, moral panic-driven journalism.

A Day late and A Dollar Short

Suddenly craving snow cones

Or a real contender? Sony announces Wii competition. I have always been a big supporter of the Eye-Toy, and was sad to see development disappear as quickly as it arrived (ok, maybe not AS quick, but think dramatic effect …). Do you think that Sony has a legitimate shot as challenging the Wii? Is it about the technology or the branding (this was brought up at a round-table discussion in a manner of sorts last fall at MiGS).