game conferences

Just a quick note on past events. June 6-8, the second Nordic Digra Conference was held in Tampere, Finland. Right after Nick Montfort gave his keynote, I presented my article “Domesticating Play, Designing Everyday Life” as the first presenter in our panel, which was a very interesting one overall. I also got to  enjoy both the presence  and presentations of many of my  great colleagues/friends from all over Europe AND delicious carrot-beetroot cake served during the coffee break! All papers are accessible from the Proceedings, published in the Digra Digital Library.

Unfortunately I had to hurry home to the MACA graduation, (which NB was a great event!) and had to miss most of the second day. But Nordic Digra 2012 was a great event the organizers can be proud of and it is always great to listen and mingle with  game studies people who tend to come from all kinds of disciplinary corners. An anthropologist, Minna Ruckenstein,  even got to give one of the keynotes – on  gambling. For those of you with Facebook, some additional info and pics can be found here. Linderoth has also written, in Swedish though, about the conference and a few of the papers on his blog Spelvetenskapliga betraktelser.

And here I thought Game Studies was NOT male-dominated :). In any case: a glimpse of the game scholars attentively listening to Annika’s talk.

Annika Waeern and Raine Koskimaa

Annika Waern “framing games” in a full room of critical game scholars! Program Chair Raine Koskimaa listening to the left.












Next on this site, we should hear from Lotta’s attendance and presentation at the 32nd Nordic Ethnology and Folklorist conference in Bergen, Norway, where she gets to hang out with all our great ethnology-colleagues. Yes, I wish I were there!  But, then we are soon both off to Paris to present at the huge conference Crossroads in Cultural Studies 2012 – which btw must have the most boring website ever… they rely totally on the attraction of Pareeeeh. Aah, but soo do we.  Alors, brioche et vin, la semaine prochaine !! See you there perhaps!

Welcome to a week of research on digital aesthetics and culture at the Department of
Arts & Cultural Sciences, Lund University
November 14-17, 2011!

On Monday November 14, Dr Hanna Wirman from HongKong Polytechnic University will give a lecture for all MACA student from Lund and Copenhagen on Virtual Ethnography.  Wirman wrote her Ph.D on female computergame players and skinning practices in the game Sims 2. Please contact for inquiries and details.

On Tuesday, November 15, Dr Olli Leino, from HongKong City University, will give a HEX-lecture at 15.15 on what makes playable artefacts motivating to play. More info in the invitation to the lecture and lab below.


Wirman and Leino will also take part in the international symposium “Playing with Affection” on Game Love Aesthetics and Culture that takes play November 16-17, at the Department of Arts & Cultural Sciences. More on this later. I hereby extend an invitation to the HEX -lecture. A description of HEX and the Digital Cultures and Games Lectures and Lab,  and links to previous lectures and conferences, can be found at the end of the invitation.


How are computer games experienced as meaningful?
Playability and Experienced Significance.

WHODr. Olli Tapio Leino, City University of Hong Kong.

WHAT: How are computer games experienced as meaningful?  Playability and Experienced Significance.

Why are in-game monsters frightening? What is erotic about erotic Tetris? Are the decorative stickers with which the players can decorate their virtual cars in Need for Speed: Undercover (2008) a waste of (in-game) money? In short, how does significance emerge in computer game play? Furthermore, what is the role of technology in this signification, and, how do computer games compare to other forms of new media in this regard? While the answers to these kinds of questions related to interpretation and experience are presupposed by critique and analysis of computer games and other playable new media forms, they are seldom explicated in detail. In this lecture, I discuss the ways in which meaning emerges in interactions with playable media forms. I will discuss also the challenges these forms of signification pose to the paradigmatic methods of interpretation, analysis, and critique of new media.

Conceptualizing computer games through the traditional “game” metaphor has been at the heart of the emerging tradition of game studies for the past decade. Computer games have been described using concepts like “rules”, “winning” and “losing”. In this lecture, however, I argue that for understanding how significance emerges in computer game play, i.e. how and why players find details in computer games meaningful, the game metaphor is slightly problematic. This is because computer game play, more than “traditional” game play, is underpinned by the involvement of technology. Admittedly, computer game play, too, is a human practice, but it is a practice defined by the involvement of technological artefacts rather than rules governing human behavior. These technological artefacts, are not simply at the service of human players like pawns on a Monopoly board, but assume an active role alongside the human subject in co-shaping and transforming the experience of play.

To complement the game metaphor, I identify “playability” as an affordance of a kind of audience engagement characterized by a duality of freedom and responsibility. By introducing themes from existentialism and post-phenomenological philosophy into a game studies framework, I focus on the ways in which playable technological artefacts, like computer games, social media applications and electronic artworks offer themselves to be experienced as significant. Contrasting playability with “playfulness”, considered as a set of aesthetic strategies, constitutes a position from which contemporary computer games and other playable artefacts, and our attempts at making sense of them, can be related to preceding forms of art and culture like participatory and performative art on the one hand, and to the contemporary forms of interactive, perhaps playful but not necessarily playable, art and media on the other.  The ensuing lab session, led by Dr. Hanna Wirman and Dr. Olli Leino, we will look at examples that illustrate the themes of the lecture in more detail.

WHEN: Nov 15, 2011. 15 – 18

15.15-16.45 Lecture + Q & A
** small break **
17.00-18.00 Exercises in the computer lab

WHERE: Department of Arts and Cultural Sciences, Lund. Room 109, ground floor, to the left, in Kulturanatomen at Biskopsgatan 7 . The ensuing lab will be held at Biskopsgatan 7, in basement game labs 022 and 019. We’ll lead you there.

HOW: Drop in. It is not mandatory to announce your participation ahead of time, but it is much appreciated! Please email:


Jessica Enevold
Seminar coordinator HEX Digital Cultures and Games Series

Dan Pinchbeck – Preserving Digital Games – Immaterial Cultural Heritage
Annette Markham – Remix Ethnography – Digital Material and Virtual Ethnography
Olli Sotama – What Makes Gamers Tick? – On Player Motivation, Production & Consumption
Esther MacCallum-Stewart – The Street Smarts of a Cartoon Princess: Female Avatars, Female Players
Miguel Sicart – Play, Interrupted: On the Ethics of Computer Games
Patrick Williams – What people do in Fantasy Gameworlds and How They Do It: User Interfaces and MMOS
Espen Aarseth – What are Games Anyway? – Introduction, Digital Cultures & Games Lecture Lab Series

Folkhälsoinstitutet och Lunds Universitet samarrangemang. 10-11 december, 2010. Spel om pengar och datorspel – Fokus på kvinnor och unga.
[Collaboration with The Swedish National Institute of Public Health; Games and Gambling – Focus on Youth and Women]

Upcoming International Symposium, Nov 16-17, 2011. “Playing with Affection” on Game Love Aesthetics & Culture. Stay tuned for more information.

is a cross-disciplinary experimental humanities and social science research platform funded by the Faculty of Humanities and Theology, at Lund University.The aim of the experimental research group, HEX, founded in 2005, is to make possible the organizing and creating of events and products (books, films, installations) that are academically and artistically innovative. HEX serves as a think tank and a breeding ground for new research projects incorporating formats that go beyond the ordinary lecture or publication format; for example, in November 2010, Sweden’s first Science Slam was arranged by HEX  – for all activities concult the website:

The Digital Cultures and Games Lecture and Lab…
is a HEX-funded seminar series that features international scholars of various disciplines well versed in the various fields of digital culture. The seminars consist of a lecture and a hands-on laboratory session in order to illustrate and make concrete what the research lectured on is truly about. The seminar series aims to bring together scholars from a variety of disciplines with the goal of familiarizing a wide culturally interested audience, including scholars, professors as well as students, and laymen to various digital cultures including games. The seminar series is open to all and conducted in English.

 “Spel om pengar och datorspel – med fokus på kvinnor och unga” hette en konferens som 10-11 december arrangerades på Institutionen för kulturvetenskaper. Det var ett samarbete med Statens folkhälsoinstitut och Spelberoendes Riksförbund och Jessica var en av arrangörerna för kulturvetenskaper samt som representant för Program K för vilket hon bedriver projektet Spel och Lek i Nöd och Lust. Tillsammans presenterade vi olika genusaspekter av spelforskning under rubriken “Spel, kvinnor och vardagskultur”. Läs mer om konferensen här.


Det var en mycket intressant och välbesökt konferens, uppåt 90 deltagare från olika delar av Sverige, och många spännande och tänkvärda presentationer lades fram. Flera olika organisationer och föreningar deltog, bland andra  X-CONS, Spelberoendes föreningar från olika delar av landet, Lotteriinspektionen, Romska Ungdomsförbundet och handläggare från socialförvaltningar, skolor samt ludomanicentret i Danmark.

August 16-17 I attended the first conference of the Nordic DIGRA – the Nordic chapter of the Digital Games Research Association. It was held at the department of computer science at Stockholm University, located in Kista. The roster contained several familiar faces. The turn out was in general positive and it was a luxury for once to be able to just sit and enjoy while others did the talking. Thank you all participants who presented. A special thank you to Markus Montola who presented on the uncomfortable topic of roleplaying games that can be considered controversial to say the least, and political, challenging, provocative and educational at best. Thanks also to Tobias Wrigstad who dares make such games that Markus spoke of. And I learned some new words in the process like “bleed” in the context of roleplay and “jeepform” RP. 🙂 You can see for yourself here! Kisses to you for enlightening me and hugs to the conference organizers for making this an enjoyable first Nordic Digra conference and greetings to everyone else who made the conference a success.

Last week we went to the UK and attended Under the Mask 2010 at University of Bedfordshire in Luton. During this one-day-conference we listened to several interesting presentations about various aspects on games and gamers, such as cosplaying as fan practice, response cries and Czech hard core gamers in the 1990’s, just to mention a few. We also presented a  paper, “Modifying the Methods: Player Research Reconsidered“.


Miguel Sicart lectures on the Ethics of Computer Games

Lab session with Sicart- digital cultures and games 4

This time around, the 4th Hex Digital Cultures and Games Lecture/Lab seminar had a slightly different format than usual. On Thursday March 25, Jessica Enevold, HEX and Bodil Pettersson, Centre for the Study of Denmark, collaborated to arrange a half-day seminar on the theme Digital Ethics. Assistant Professor Miguel Sicart from the IT University of Copenhagen gave an inspiring and enlightening keynote with the title “Play, Interruped. On the Ethics of Computer Games.” This was preceded by presentations by Sarah Marie Holm Hansson, Nicolò Dell’Unto and Daniel Carlsson who angled the topic from as different perspectives as library science, archeology and religious studies and did so very well. The keynote was followed by a session in the gaming lab, as is customary in the Digital Cultures and Games Lecture/Lab series. Two games were tried out and discussed in terms of their success in producing ethical gameplay. Apart from being thought provoking the seminar also benefited from both speakers and audience contributing to a dynamic discussion. On behalf of Bodil and myself, I want to thank all of you who made the day so enjoyable. The entire program of the day can be found here. Next event will be held on May 18, when Dan Pinchbeck will talk about Digital Preservation. More info will be published on the Hex blog.

Last Monday we attended an interesting one-day-seminar at the IT University in Copenhagen: Ludic Aspects of Everyday Life. Participants came from Denmark, Sweden, England, Norway and Finland. Our own presentation was called “The Way You Make Me Feel: Play as Ludic Sins and Mixed Emotions”. Here is a picture of us taken by Hanna Wirman who organised the seminar.

The 31:st Nordic Ethnology and Folklorist Conference was held in Helsinki  August 18-22. We participated with a paper called “Frustrated Mom Kills Dragon. Motherhood, Emotions and Computer Games” presented by Lotta in the session “Gendered Emotions”. In the same session Danish researcher Nina Wittendorf presented a paper on male online poker players, ”’Rigtige mænd spiller da poker!’ Oplevelser, forhandlinger og forskydninger af det maskuline i spillets rum”. Besides meeting colleagues from here and there, which is always nice, there was time to see the  Suomenlinna/Sveaborg, the 250 year old fortress on the UNESCO World heritage list.

Hyde parkI början av juni var vi i England där vi deltog i konferensen Under the Mask 2009 vid University of Bedfordshire. Vår presentation hette “Time to Play. Ethnographic Perspectives on Mothers’ Digital Gaming”.  Här sitter vi och tar igen oss i Hyde Park, trötta i fötterna men nöjda med både konferensen och ett besök på British Museum.

SO, I went to the Game Developers Conference to see what the fuss was about, and had a lot of interesting experiences. Some of them, for instance finding an advert in my conference bag with the above slogan “Mom said playing computer games would never pay off – start proving her wrong today” made my day. 🙂 I have written about this and other observations in a paper about women, games and fun that I presented at
the next event I went to, in Finland, – the Playful Experiences Seminar arranged by our nice Finnish colleagues at Tampere University and the GameResearch Lab.

I want to here thank all the nice participants, Aki Järvinen, Frans Mäyrä and Oscar Juhlin for all the comments on the paper and for the very nice ambience that everyone contributed to. THANKS!