Game History Annual Symposium – Montreal, June 27-28, 2014

Pleased to announce the upcoming Game History Annual Symposium to be held June 27 & 28, 2014 at Grande Bibliothèque, Montréal, 475, boulevard De Maisonneuve Est, Montréal, QC.

The 2014 edition of the symposium features panels on the many communities and social practices that define the history of video games: the role of engineers, game designers and store owners, the retro gaming phenomenon, user generated content, marginal themes and the place of minorities, etc. It is our pleasure to welcome four distinguished keynote speakers at the symposium: Tristan Donovan (journalist, author of Replay), Mia Consalvo (Canada research chair in game studies, author of Cheating), Philippe Ulrich (founder of Cryo) et John Szczepaniak (journalist, hardcoregaming101).

Includes the exhibit ‘Micromakers. Early ZX Spectrum Homebrew Development’: In 1982 the introduction of the ZX Spectrum color microcomputer created an affordable platform which catalyzed hobby programming cultures in the United Kingdom. This exhibition will chart notable contributions by hobbyist Spectrum game makers, commenting on the larger microcomputer development scene, and exploring possible connections to contemporary independent game production. (Curator: Skot Deeming; Consultant: Alisson Gazzard).

The Game History annual symposium is a platform to connect media historians, sociologists, museum curators and any other researcher interested in the cultural history of games. The event is presented in partnership with Université de MontréalLUDOV (Lab @UdeM for the Documentation and Observation of Video games)Homo Ludens (UQAM), TAG (Technoculture, Arts and Games research center) (Concordia University) and Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec.

 Access is free!
 For information about the program and registration, please visit our website or our Facebook page


Nous sommes heureux d’annoncer l’édition 2014 du Symposium Annuel Histoire du Jeu, qui aura lieu les 27 et 28 juin 2014 à la Grande Bibliothèque, Montréal, 475, boulevard De Maisonneuve Est, Montréal, QC.

Le symposium propose des panels sur diverses communautés et pratiques qui ont forgé l’histoire du jeu vidéo : le rôle des ingénieurs, des créateurs de jeu et des marchands, le phénomène du jeu rétro, la création de niveaux par les joueurs, la place des minorités et des thématiques marginales, etc. Nous accueillerons également quatre conférenciers invités : Tristan Donovan (journaliste, auteur de Replay), Mia Consalvo (Chaire de recherche du Canada en jeu vidéo, auteure deCheating), Philippe Ulrich (fondateur de Cryo) et John Szczepaniak (journaliste, hardcoregaming101).

Inclut l’exposition ‘Microfabricants. Les débuts du développement ‘fait maison’ sur la ZX Spectrum’: En 1982, l’arrivée du micro-ordinateur couleur ZX Spectrum a engendré une plateforme de création abordable, qui a agi en tant que catalyseur pour la culture des programmeurs au Royaume-Uni. Cette exposition s’attachera à retracer les contributions importantes des créateurs de jeux amateurs sur Spectrum, proposant un commentaire sur le milieu du développement sur micro-ordinateur, et explorant les connections éventuelles avec la culture actuelle de création indépendante. (Commissaire: Skot Deeming; Consultante: Alisson Gazzard).

Le symposium annuel Histoire du jeu est un lieu d’échange pour les historiens des médias, les sociologues, les journalistes, les conservateurs et tout autre chercheur qui s’intéresse à l’histoire culturelle du jeu. L’évènement est présenté en partenariat avec l’Université de MontréalLUDOV (Laboratoire Universitaire de Documentation et d’Observation Vidéoludique, le groupe de recherche Homo Ludens(UQAM), le groupe de recherche TAG (Technoculture, Arts and Games) (Université Concordia) et Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec.

 L’accès est gratuit!
Pour plus d’informations sur le programme et l’inscription, veuillez visiter notre site web ounotre page Facebook


A few Good Conferences …

Tis the season … for call for papers! If you are studying, researching or simply interested in Game Studies, check out the cfp for DiGRA 2014 Filling in the Blanks of Game Research to be held at the Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort in Snowbird, Utah, August 3-6, 2014 and the local Game History Annual Symposium: Cultural history of video games being held at the beautiful Grande Bibliotheque in downtown Montreal – both fantastic conferences in great locations.

Speaking of great locations, if you are interested in Internet Research, check out call for papers for the Association of Internet Researcher’s annual conference IR15: Boundaries and Intersections to be held in Bangkok in October 2013.

History of Games International Conference: working with, building, and telling history

Program is up and it looks greatJune 21-23, 2013. Montreal, QC. Bad timing for me personally (daughter’s high school graduation and kazillion affiliated events start the 21st) but will do my best to get to as many panels as possible – at least it’s local!! 

The International Conference on the History of Game is the first event dedicated in its entirety to the ongoing research on the history of games in all its shapes. It brings together many researchers working in such disciplines as media archeology, preservation, museology and the formatting of history, as well as industry professionals. The development of games in the digital era represents the main object of inquiry, but historical research on all ludic manifestations will also be presented.

Canadian Game Studies Association @ Congress 2011

After a grueling 11 hour bus ride (apologies to my Facebook / Twitter friends for my off the rail rants!), I arrived in Fredericton, my old undergraduate stomping grounds. Was stunned to realize that it has been 17 years since I lived here, yet, little has changed besides the location of the bus station (which, btw is interestingly no longer in the downtown area – strange if you think of the history of bus stations in urban centers….). Anyways, walking down Waterlow Row along the riverfront was like being transported in time – funny how geography (and smell…) can bring back such vivid, almost physical memories.

 As I approached the walking bridge underpass (at least  that’s what I think it is …), the city of Fredericton had  groomed the slope to welcome Congress.

This morning marks day one of the annual  meeting/conference of the Canadian Game Studies  Association. I present today at 1pm – still not ready – but  realize that I don’t think I ever really am anyways – so I decided to not stress too much and just try to be as prepared as I can be. I am nervous since I am presenting the core ideas from my dissertation (that I had hoped to be finished by now!). I am probably even more stressed about the question period, since I am not sure how to address certain issues that I know will be brought up. I guess that’s the point – learning how to address the hard bits effectively (and convincingly…).

I will do my best to blog about the sessions – will probably only be after my 1pm presentation – on that note, I should get dressed and pack up – breakfast in 15!

Online Video Game Conference Closing 5à7 @ TAG

The closing conference cocktail was put on by TAG at Concordia University. An intimate 5à7  (actually, was a 4à8!) held in the open lobby space of the 11th floor of the EV building where  Hexagram and Tag are housed. With two walls consisting of floor to ceiling windows opening on to  a large terrace, the views from the room were beautiful, giving the international guests a  magnificent visual to take home with them (we even had our first snowfall that evening!). The food, consisting of all local Quebec fare (cheeses,  pate’s and delicatessen delights) was paired with carefully selected local artisanal beers, and  delectable wines (both white and red), the spread was a delightful temptation – even for those who  had already eaten.

With great candle light, and ambient (video game soundtracks) music, the atmosphere lent itself to  getting to know each other, squeezing in a last few chats with people you were sad to see leaving, a nd playing a game or two that were conveniently set up in the space.

Another shout out to those who helped put this all together, the hosts and the bar staff were amazing; warm and friendly, willing to answer any question they could. Thanks to Bart Simon & TAG for hosting, Alanna & Saleem for coordinating all the crazy details, to Shanly Dixon for selecting such great food and to everyone who made this a great event – the bar has been set high for future conference events – I can promise you all that! Here are a few more shots taken during the early part of the evening (much more impressive once the sun went down of course!).

Personally, this was a great ending to a pretty great conference. While the food and drink will be missed, I got to talk with a lot of great people, reconnect with some old colleagues and walk away from the whole thing inspired to write my dissertation.

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).

CGSA- Day 2 Afternoon, Session 1

Disclaimer: These are notes that I took throughout the presentation. There may be errors in understanding of content or mis-interpretation . With that being said, this session was a research group synopsis.

Research group-Verus

Suzanne de Castell, Jen Jenson, Stephanie Fisher, Nick Taylor, Florence Chee, Nis Bojin

  • Theoretical framework for game studies research
  • Actor-network theory and the ways they are trying to put it into use in the context of game studies research
  • Past gendered based research had problems that
    • Not boy/girl play – but novice/expert (as discovered through using ANT instead of other frameworks)
    • Games as networked assemblages –
      • Different projects / different research questions using the same framework
      • “Ants in space” – the structures and affordances in different games (how the game shapes the player) and that trying to determine real life identity through avatars is quite erroneous, since art and game form are so different across the board. Therefore ANT will allow for research and analysis to occur across genres / game types (structures)
    • Explaining the research method, lab play, not as ‘contextually real’ but that is accounted for within the research design
    • competency is based on experience not on gender (as determined by eye tracking during novice & expert game play of both genders)
    • bodies
  • virtual usage in broad geographical locations – looking for virtual world players (in both public and private spaces, predominantly public) and to compare the ways in which players around the globe play in virtual worlds. Geography (location) as an actor in the network in ANT
  • Work in schools: evaluating the use of educational game used in schools. Different school sites change the play / game. Schools as an actor within the network. Different variables (technology, attitudes, etc) influenced the results
  • Video Game Club – gender and game play; space and entitlement differences based on club structure over two years.
  • Design: looking to make games with educational content in reaction to the results of the different actors researched in the network as described above. Aiming to consider content as an actor within the overall network that dictates design choices. De-prioritizing content as a design problem