Quick Notes from Miguel Sicart’s Presentation

My favorite talk of the conference had to be Miguel Sicart’s talk “Against Proceedurality” – I am posting my disjointed notes below, but what I liked the most about the talk was the idea that we need to look past the game structure and mechanics (rules, design, etc) and look towards the role of the player in the process of meaning making. While my work does not focus on ethics and meaning in gameplay per se, I believe that a large part of my argument about “hybrid identity” (existing neither within the player, nor the avatar [or player-character]) is about this very relationship between player and technology – concentrating not only on the game play elements and technology, but also on what the player brings to these in order to truly understand what hybrid identity is, when it occurs, and how it is constructed.


Notes: Against proceedurality.

Movie – play time .. About spaces and architecture.

Curve reasserts itself over the straight line – this makes me think about de certeau and paths versus sidewalks in the city – where people ‘really’ go as opposed to where they are told to go.

Discussion on ethical games, serious games…

The meaning of games resides in their rules – sicart says we need to move past this.

challenges bogost re: unit operations ..and challenges player-centric design (m. Flanagan, 2009)

Proceeduralism infers that all player experience is ultimately designed… Sicart is against this idea. Gives examples about meaning that exists outside of the rules… Therefore proving that we need to go against proceedurality…. Asking – where are the players – it is the players that make meaning ….

To think about proceedurality, creates instrumental play

Against instrumental play: thesis 1 play transitions between myth and reason
2. Play is the appropriation of a systms
3 play create meaning coupled with context

Meaningful failures (could use this idea in my game play analysis…)


The Online Videogame: New space of socialization (day1)

A day late, but thought I would write up a brief summary of yesterday’s conference – talks and social bits of course.

As a bilingual (English / French) conference, attendees are offered headsets so they can hear all the presentations in their mother tongue – allowing for an exchange between groups that may not otherwise have the chance to share their research. One of the things that I noticed after the first day, is how the French community seem to use games as their example within larger research questions (on sociality, digital identity as something that is related to Lancanian / Freudian theories of lack, unattainable desire for the ‘other’, etc) whereas, the English presentations were more focused on the game as object – talking about the elements within (insert game title / genre here) game that make it ‘social’ or defining what games are through casual and social games. Whichever perspective, the presentations were interesting, and I was able to take a nugget or two from most of the presentations (will blog about the individual presentations at the end of the conference). As a single track conference, all the attendees get to hear the same thing, making coffee breaks and drinks feel more connected. I always prefer small conferences where you get to talk to most everyone, there is little hierarchy, and even less ‘groups’ to break into.

Socially, I couldn’t be happier with the first day. Lunch was provided at Benelux (will insert link later), with a free drink to boot (they brew their own beers on site – well worth popping in whenever you are in Montreal). What was nice was the fact that we had the whole place to ourselves – our lunches were placed on the tables prior to arrival (a nice light lunch of tuna tortilla wraps, couscous, bean & feta salad, a few crudites, and some really yummy dessert bread). It was nice to keep the group together for lunch. After a full day of presentations, there was a welcoming cocktail in the library of UQAM. Always wanted to drink in a library! Was a nice ice breaker, the space was open and luminous, with beautiful floor to ceiling windows on three sides. The food was filling, and the server was amazingly quick to keep our wine glasses full.

Afterwards, as most people headed back to their hotels and homes (there is quite a large amount of local attendees), a small group of us headed east, to L’Amere a Boire. We were a bit too big of a group to get a table inside, but thanks to the warm temperatures, they opened the back terrace for us. It is a nice, enclosed, intimate space. Got to talk to several people about their research, crazy pub crawl experiences, and other such ramblings that make conferences so memorable (aside from the presentations of course).

It is on to day two. Looking forward to a full day of presentations, but sadly, a little less social time (one of the cons of attending a conference in your home town).

Relying on Technology

I know there are hundreds of these stories out there, but every time I read one, I am absolutely appalled at people’s absolute stupidity…. The dangers of relying on technology blindly – I think Darwin is trying really, really hard….but when your GPS tells you to drive into a freakin’ marsh,      maybe….. just maybe… you should take three freaking minutes and use your brain and NOT DRIVE INTO THE MARSH!

Perhaps we are relying on technology just a little too much?