Research & Thoughts on Handheld (& Mobile) Gaming

I recently contributed to a journal submission with a few colleagues (now in review) and I was tasked with fleshing out a section on game studies (with a specific goal mind you). Writing a bit on mobile gaming (and more specifically handheld devices such as the Nintendo DS), I was taken aback about how little I could find. Of course, after we submitted the manuscript, Samuel Tobin‘s book Portable Play in the Everyday was available as a free download at Palgrave (Pivot titles). I must say, I am very much enjoying it. It is nice to see research on mobile gaming (and not just ‘apps’ on phones etc) that looks at the who what why how and where people play mobile games. I especially like the idea that mobile gaming is pervasive in our everyday lives, played in the liminal moments of life instead of being the prime activity front and center. An activity that often fills the gaps between happenings. Reading through some of the examples of the book, I find myself nodding in agreement as I think about my partner borrowing my daughter’s DS when he drives me to do groceries. He hates shopping of any sort, so he sits in the car and waits for me while he plods away playing the DS. The game is (often) irrelevant – the goal is not to finish a level or mission, but to fill the gap while waiting for time to pass until it

This is in complete contrast to the ways we normally think about gaming. A console confines the player to a certain time and space. When turning the console on, it is with the goal to log in and play a game (of course this can be argued the more and more our consoles are being redesigned as multi-functional multimedia devices). Of course, it could be argued that playing a console game can also be a means to pass the time between two events – but more often than not, the act of playing a game on a console (or pc ..) is the activity in and of itself.

Another interesting point that Tobin makes is that many DS players don’t consider their DS play as ‘gaming’ in the same sense as one would think of console or pc gaming, making it more of a challenge to research who is playing mobile games, why, when and how much. I am not done the book yet (I have a few books on the go – making my attention span a bit wobbly). But I look forward to reading more about handheld gaming.

Also, if ‘social, casual and mobile’ games is your thing, there is a “Call for Chapters: Social, Casual, Mobile: Changing Games (Edited book collection)” but hurry, deadline for abstracts (500 wrds) is Dec 6th, 2013!


CfP – Vienna Games Conference – FROG13 “Context Matters”; 27-28 September 2013

The Call for Abstracts of the 7th Vienna Games Conference FROG13 (27-28 September, 2013) is out. Vienna’s annual Games Conference offers an open international platform for leading game studies researchers and scholars, game designers, researchers and scholars from various other fields, education professionals, and gamers from around the world. The topic of the FROG13 is “Context Matters” and we are looking for contributions that explore, study and examine the contextual and situated aspects of game, design and play. Be a part when the magnificent Vienna Town hall converts into a vibrant playground for players, fans and games researchers.  


Call 4 Abstracts

7th Vienna Games Conference

Future and Reality of Gaming – FROG13

Submission Deadline: 25 May 2013

CfP in detail:



Exploring and Reframing Games and Play in Context

Vienna City Hall, Austria, Friday 27 to Saturday 28 September 2013;


CFP: Bridging the Real and the Virtual

may seem ‘done’ already – but could be interesting =)


call for papers for the European Group for Organisational Studies Colloqiuim to be held in Montréal next July. Conference link is here:

29th EGOS Colloquium  Montréal, Canada   July 4–6, 2013
Bridging Continents,  Cultures and Worldviews
Sub-theme 55: Bridging the Real and the Virtual in a Digital World

Call for Papers (due: Monday, January 14, 2013)

In recent decades we have seen much ‘cyberbole’ about an emerging ‘virtual society’ in which digital technologies are supposedly transforming our lives. This putative transformation hinges on a polarity between computer-generated ‘virtual’ experiences and mundane everyday ‘realities’ in which we are limited by natural and built environments, geography, linear experiences of time and the confines of our bodies. In the virtual world the tyrannies of space, time, distance, objects and bodies can, to some extent, be overcome.

Our analytical resources are arguably deficient to explain the organisational phenomena rapidly emerging on the back of advances in digital technologies. Where do the virtual, the material and the social fit in with everyday organisational experiences and practice? Is the virtual in the digital world ‘material’ or ‘social’ or both? Post-contingency theory organisation studies rejected ‘technological determinism’ in all its guises. Instead, various forms of constructivism and social shaping were developed, tempered by attempts to bring the material back in (McLoughlin & Dawson, 2003).

In a radically new approach Barad (2007) suggests we need to rethink the bridge between the material and the social. This idea has been taken up enthusiastically in recent practice-based and sociomaterial approaches (e.g. Orlikowsk, 2010) which seek to avoid ‘throwing the technology baby out with the determinist bathwater’ (Clark et al., 1988). Bridging work, it seems, remains at the core of making, and making sense of social and organisational experiences in the digital world. The notion of bridging provides the basis for this sub-theme as a forum to reflect on and investigate relationships between virtual technologies and the real world organisations and settings in which they are developed, taken up and used (or not).

In particular, we welcome papers on the following:
•       Bridging Distance (physical, social, cultural, geographical): Beyond the hype, how are technologies such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, ambient intelligence and immersive technology being used in organisations, and with what effects, to overcome the tyranny of distance?
•       Bridging Time: In the virtual world everything is speeded up. Virtual realities bridge time or even suspend notions of time in a conventional sense (e.g. gaming and simulation environments) through 24-hour global production or the creation of immersive virtual collaborative environments.
•       Bridging Space (home, work and third places): The cybercafé has emerged as the archetypal ‘third place’ in which innovation can occur in ways that are not so readily achieved elsewhere. Does virtual technology now allow a bridging between these spatial settings in ways hitherto unimagined (e.g. bridging video games with other activities, such as learning and work tasks)?
•       Bridging Projects: In the past decade we have seen some large and expensive IT projects fail spectacularly. What do they tell us about the ways we understand and manage (or fail to manage) bridges between the virtual and the real?
•       Bridging Citizen and State by making public services virtual. For example, government sponsored websites with advice about health, social security, immigration, law and so on are changing the way services are delivered.
•       Bridging Discourse and Cultural Practice: Efforts to improve technology design by involving potential users have been plagued by the inability of users and designers to commmunicate in a common language. Is a new and different discourse or cultural practice required to capture sociomaterial performativity? How can diverse worldviews be managed and harnessed to produce knowledge that is relevant and meaningful to practitioners from different disciplines?

Barad, Karen (2007): Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Clark, Jon, Ian McLoughlin, Howard Rose & Robin King (1988): The Process of Technological Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Mcloughlin, Ian & Patrick Dawson (2003): ‘The mutual shaping of technology and organisation.’ In: D. Preece & J. Laurila (eds.): Technological Change and Organizational Action. London: Routledge.
Orlikowski, Wanda J. (2010): ‘The sociomateriality of organisational life: considering technology in management research.’ Cambridge Journal of Economics, 34, 125–141.

Karin Garrety is Senior Lecturer in the School of Management at the University of Wollongong in Australia. She is currently co-ordinating a retrospective, comparative analysis (with Ian McLoughlin and Rob Wilson) of attempts to establish large-scale electronic health record systems in Australia and England, funded by the Australian Research Council.

Ian McLoughlin is Professor of Management and Head of the Department of Management at Monash University. His current research focuses on e-health care delivery and related innovations. A new book – “Digital Government@Work: Technological and organisational change in public services” (with Rob Wilson) – is due to be published by Oxford University Press in 2012.

Rob Wilson is Senior Lecturer at the University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, UK. His research interests are in public service innovation and socio-technical systems, and in the role of information and information systems in education, particularly higher education.

CFP: The History of Games International Conference

The History of Games International Conference
1st edition: Working With, Building, and Telling History
Montreal, Canada. June 21st – 23rd 2013
Deadline for proposals: December 15th 2012.

In spite of the strong wake of game studies in the last decade, the history of video and computer games is still in its infancy in the academic world. Some significant contributions have been made and continue to emerge. In order to make the most out of these contributions and to reflect on the methodological issues they raise, we have decided to create the first international conference on the history of games. This will be the occasion to bring together academics, curators and museum exhibitors, introduce the general public and students to the history of the medium, and sensitize partners from the game industry to their role in terms of cultural heritage and preservation.

We invite proposals on the history of games at large, as long as it is tied with the electromechanical / digital development of the phenomenon. Special attention should be given to the methodological issues raised by your historical research. The conference seeks original submissions from researchers interested in diverse areas of historical study including, but not limited to: social history, military history, cultural history, memory studies, sensory history, history of technology, history of play and games, history of computing, art history, material culture, historical archaeology, as well as historical preservation, library and information
science, and museum studies.

The conference will explore three main areas of historical research. We encourage
contributors to work within one of the proposed tracks. Each track will be led by a keynote
speaker to kick-off the discussions and debates:

  • Building history: historiography, methods, issues, and frameworks at play in building the history of games.
    Keynote speaker: Henry Lowood
  • Working with history: the connections among museum and library studies, curation, preservation, and the development of historical research on games.
    Keynote speaker: Erkki Huhtamo
  • Telling Histories: the possibilities for historical narratives about games, whether expressed in scholarly writing, exhibitions, journalism, public projects, historical games or other means.
    Keynote speaker: Stephen Kline

Conference highlights

  • ▫ Pioneer keynote speakers
  • ▫ Roundtables with selected journalists, museum curators and exhibitors, and scholars
  • working on history
  • ▫ Selected papers will be published in special issues of Game Studies and Kinephanos, two
  • peer-reviewed web journals
  • ▫ Location : downtown Montreal, close to the central bus and subway stations
  • ▫ Closing event: Symphonic video game music concert at the new Maison Symphonique
  • de Montréal
  • ▫ Festival season: the conference is held between two of the most popular international
  • festivals in Montreal: Francofolies, and the International Jazz Festival
  • ▫ Special rates on select hotels for participants

Proposals should be at least 1000 words in length (plus references) and include a title, author’s
name, affiliation and short C.V., and provide a clear synopsis for a 20-minute conference
length paper.

Deadline for proposals: December 15th 2012.

Please send proposals to Laine Nooney (

Maison Symphonique de Montréal
Grande bibliothèque (photo : Bernard Fougères)

Organizers: Espen Aarseth (IT University of Copenhagen), Raiford Guins (Stony Brook University), Henry Lowood (Stanford University), Carl Therrien (Université de Montréal).

Call for Papers: Meaningful Play 2012

A bit short notice on my part – but the deadline has been extended to July 28th. Full site here.

Whether designed to entertain or to achieve more “serious” purposes, games have the potential to impact players’ beliefs, knowledge, attitudes, emotions, cognitive abilities, physical and mental health, and behavior.

Meaningful Play 2012 is a conference about theory, research, and game design innovations, principles and practices. Meaningful Play brings scholars and industry professionals together to understand and improve upon games to entertain, inform, educate, and persuade in meaningful ways.

The conference will include thought-provoking keynotes from leaders in academia and industry, peer-reviewed paper presentations, panel sessions (including academic and industry discussions), innovative workshops, roundtable discussions, and exhibitions of games and prototypes.

Conference News

July 14, 2012 – Special Events Announced, including pre-conference talk with Constance Steinkuehler, Opening Reception, Poster Session, and Game Exhibition, Indie Game: the Movie screening and director panel, and Conference Wrap Up, Closing Keynote, and Lunch, and the Meaningful Play Game Room!

July 9, 2012 – Call for submissions deadline extended to July 28. Submit Paper, Panel, Poster, Roundtable, Workshop, and Game submissions now!

June 25, 2012 – Michael John, Ann DeMarle, and John Ferrara announced as remaining three confirmed keynote speakers. See program for details.

June 1, 2012 – Phaedra Boinodiris, Donald Brinkman, and Kurt Squire announced as first three confirmed keynote speakers. See program for details.

April 17, 2012 – The conference hotels are now available for booking.

January 20, 2012 – Registration is open for Meaningful Play 2012.

September 12, 2011 – We are excited to announce the upcoming Meaningful Play 2012 conference to take place October 18-20, 2012 on the campus of Michigan State University.

Conference Audience and Themes

The conference is primarily for:

  • industry and academic game researchers
  • industry and academic game designers and developers
  • game educators
  • students
  • government and NGOs interested in games

The two primary themes of the conference are:

  • exploring meaningful applications of games
  • issues in designing meaningful play

The first theme includes an examination of games (of all types) from primarily an academic research perspective.

The second theme focuses on much more practical knowledge from the front-line of actual design, development, and use of games for meaningful purposes.

Call for Papers: Collage Animation, Found Materials, and Experiential Effects

This might be of interest to some:

Since the early days of cinema, collage or cut-out animation has been an integral and continuous strand of media history. Hand-produced collage animation survives today – primarily among experimental filmmakers – despite the availability of digital animation technologies; at the same time, digital software allows for both the simulation of collage animation and the integration of collage and digital techniques. A number of scholars have examined the works of individual collage animators such as Harry Smith, Stan VanDerBeek, and Lewis Klahr, among others. This panel, however, seeks to address the broader question of the particular experiential effects generated by collage animation. In addition, it seeks to explore the intersection between collage animation and found footage filmmaking – both of which often involve the appropriation of preexisting audio and/or visual materials – as well as the persistence of collage animation and/or its aesthetics within digital contexts. Papers on, but not limited to, one of the following topics would be of particular interest:

· Collage animation and the production of affect

· The experience and appeal of “flatness,” particularly in light of the opposite tendency in other forms to attempt a 3-dimensional image experience.

· Recognizability and unrecognizability, i.e. the tension between recognizably appropriated images (and sounds) and their transformation as they are incorporated into a new text

· Collage animation and narrative (or non-narrative)

· The intersection between collage animation and found footage filmmaking

· The source materials of particular collage animators and animations and their transformation through their appropriation

· The use of digital technologies in the creation of collage animation or in approximating its aesthetics

· The works of individual filmmakers working in collage animation including but not limited to Harry Smith, Stan VanDerBeek, Hans Richter, Man Ray, Terry Gilliam, Larry Jordan, Lewis Klahr, Eric Patrick, Janie Geiser, Jodie Mack, Stacey Steers, Leslie Supnet, Robert Breer, Jeff Scher, Kelly Lynn Sears, Mary Ellen Bute, Frank Mouris, Jonesy, Martha Colburn, Kate Raney, and Michel Ocelot.

· South Park, Blue’s Clues, and other mainstream media texts that incorporate or approximate the aesthetics of collage animation.

Please send a title, a summary no longer than 2500 characters, 3-5 bibliographic sources, and a bio no longer than 500 characters to Jaimie Baron at by August 1.

CFP: AoIR 12 – Performance & Participation

The 12th Annual International and Interdisciplinary Conference of the Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR)

October 10-13, 2011

Renaissance Hotel, Seattle

Seattle, Washington, USA

People perform identities, worry about economic performance, expect better performance from technologies, and feel pressure to perform as employees or in other roles in life. We observe or participate in artistic performances, ritual performances, and the performance of experiments. Join us in considerations, analyses, and celebrations of the many types of performance and participation online and in blended online/offline contexts. We look forward to creative articulations of the many meanings of the term performance and to the many ways of considering types of participation.

To this end, we call for papers, panel and pre-conference workshop proposals from any discipline, methodology, community or a combination of them that address the conference themes, including, but not limited to, papers that intersect and/or interconnect with the following:

  • Creative performances and digital arts
  • Participatory culture and participatory design
  • Critical performance and political participation
  • Identity performance
  • Exclusion from participation
  • Economic performance of Internet-related industries
  • Game performance
  • Performance expectations (as workers, citizens, etc.)
  • Ritual performances and communal participation

Sessions at the conference will be established that specifically address the conference themes, and we welcome innovative, exciting, and unexpected takes on those themes. We also welcome submissions on topics that address social, cultural, political, legal, aesthetic, economic, and/or philosophical aspects of the Internet beyond the conference themes. In all cases, we welcome disciplinary and interdisciplinary submissions as well as international collaborations from both AoIR and non-AoIR members. We particularly invite proposals from scholars in the areas of digital arts and digital humanities.

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