First meeting of Digra Finland

Finnish chapter of Digra was established recently. New mailing list has been filled with people interested in local game research all around Finland. Our first physical meeting took place at the Assembly Winter 2007 event at Tampere couple of weeks ago. Finnish game reserachers from Tampere, Oulu, Rovaniemi, Turku, Jyväskylä and Helsinki (at least) were present. Koopee Hiltunen from Neogames gave us a presentation about the Finnish game-related organisations and Olli Sotamaa some words about Digras Finnish chapter. Other presentations were held by Frans Mäyrä, Jussi Holopainen and Jaakko Suominen to get some overview on Finnish game research. Discussion of different forms of co-operation between Finnish researchers catalysed a development blog at Let’s see how far we can get!

At the end of our meeting we had a public panel discussion for the Assembly audience with a topic of “How did I became a game researcher”. Olli posed questions to Elina, Aki and Tony and some interesting questions arised also from the audience. There seems to be need for more game research popularization in the Finnish media, which was also stated by the editor-in-chief Tuija Lindén from Finnish game magazine Pelit. She stated that “Our editorial staff gets still regularly questions of games and violence like there is nothing more to it” and asked for us to take more active role towards media.

Here is some pictures from the event:

Digrameeting1 Digrameeting2 PanelDiscussion

Games and Storytelling workshop-week with Emma Westecott

My last week was filled with interesting discussions, since I was attending Games and Storytelling workshop here in Tampere. Emma Westecott did her job beautifully by pushing our workshop experience towards more discussive than the previous Eric Zimmermans “fast and dirty” equivalent (which was also great strategy). Together these two weeks of game design workshops gave us participants lots to continue with.

Here are my slides from one short exercise that we had last week:

Talking about casual games in Gamers in Society seminar

We presented a working paper at the Gamers in Society -seminar (18th of April) about casual games discussion. The main point of the paper is that the discussion over casual games industry is confusing and lots of stuff is included in to the definitions of that “genre” and everything going around it.

For the sake of the clarity needed in academic studies, we introduced in our paper several different meanings to “casual IN games”: casual games, casual game player, casual gamer, casual playing and casual gaming. This is a tentative terminology to start with when trying to understand the casual “phenomena” and designing in a wider sense than “small, easy and simple games”.

The feedback to the paper was mainly positive. Among other participants of the seminar, Daniel Pargman and T.L.Taylor, that were invited to comment all the papers in seminar, gave some interesting viewpoints to the editing our paper. Daniel Pargman was seeking for more conclusive view on casual (maybe our own definition), not only presenting the terminology and the problematic discussion whilst T.L Taylor seemed to be more interested on editing the paper closer to discursive analysis of the “talks” on casual. Some other participants, like Alex Thayer from Microsoft liked the effort that we had made on clarifying the discussion and seeking synthesis. Also Ulrich Tausend from Ludwig Maximilian University (Munich) pointed that there is no need for yet another “casual games are this and this and this” analysis and thanked our paper for taking the notion further. Still it seems that the paper needs the revision of clarity in the points made and methods used.

Same kind of message came from Eric Zimmerman, who kindly read and commented our paper (outside the seminar context). More clarification it is then…

At the moment we are editing the paper (shortening and firming up the argument) and hopefully it will be available for public soon.

Ready, steady, GO!

Ok. This is it. I had to start second blog in wordpress to suit my “professional” needs (my Finnish one is mainly for my travelling purposes and it is fine for it to stay like that). Hopefully I can manage to update my game experiences, conference slides, thoughts and stuff here every now and then. Enjoy and HEY!: keep commenting!