Different Games

An Introduction from the organizers

difga2

As the diversity of these proceedings illustrate, Different Games has grown in many ways, including the number of attendees, the number and breadth of panels, the arcade’s size, and the expansion to a three-track panel schedule. The co-organizers have also increased in number, which has allowed us to more closely consider a greater number of submissions. We consistently strive to expand the reach of our call for participation and will continue to work at encouraging emerging designers, scholars and players to feel that their voices are welcome and desired. We’ve also increased our budget for offering travel grants for speakers, in the hopes of continuing to increase the accessibility of the event. Continue Reading

Eight Speculative Theses

on GamerGate

Commentary - Theses on GamerGate

There is nothing conclusive to be said about enduring violence save that it endures through its violence. When encountering the shifting yet systemic violence perpetuated by elements of a gaming culture obsessed with finding pleasure and prestige in the very play of violence, the individuated enunciation of critical theory finds itself tasked with sharpening the aphoristic insight. By embracing the strategy of the inconclusive and epigrammatic, the tension of play and desire at the intersection of technocapitalism, gender, and power can be articulated to the gaming cultures of militarisation. Continue Reading

‘We Will Force Gaming to Be Free’

On GamerGate & the Licence to Inflict Suffering

Commentary - We Will Force Gaming to Be Free

GamerGate will be remembered for its breathtaking scope; it drew together hitherto dissociated monads of angry, resentful elements in gaming— once content with shouting from the pestilent valleys of comment sections and tweets by themselves—and made of them a movement with a battle-standard.

From the beginning it was a concatenation of ironies. They declaimed unethical games journalism with the aid of an unethical journalist; they claimed women and minorities were #notyourshield while using them as a shield against criticism of GamerGate; they excoriated “blacklists” while creating aggressively enforced boycott lists of websites and authors who disagreed with them; they averred their movement had nothing to do with Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn even as they remained unable to stop talking about them; they promoted a vague notion of “inclusion” while expending great energy claiming that there was nothing wrong whatsoever with gamer culture’s treatment of women Continue Reading

Useful, Joyful, Willful

Thinking About Types of Play

Essay - UsefulJoyfulWillful

In this paper I outline three perspectives that emphasize different characters of play: useful; joyful; and willful play. I further argue that designing for willfulness (e.g. rule-bending) will allow players to become game-changers rather than being played.

Generally speaking, computer games have created new arenas for play in several senses. Massive multiplayer online games have spurred, amongst other things, particular forms of social interaction and behavior; mobile and casual gaming has generated new breeds of gamers; the fundamentally code-based underpinnings of computer games make hacks and modifications possible; and grand ambitions of gamification, supported by digitization, even aims to turn ‘anything and everything’ into a race for points and badges. Instead of clearly situating itself within one particular practice, this paper will take an overarching perspective on play. It will go on to propose three perspectives that, in the light of processes such as the increasing specialization, quantification and rationalization of play(Pargman & Svensson), emphasize different characters of play. Continue Reading

The Gamer Identity Crisis

Towards a Reclamation

Essay - Gamer Identity

Recent events have called into question just exactly what it means to be a “gamer” today. What was once a title associated with being a member of a fun loving community now seems to have become intertwined with the promotion of misogynistic and discriminatory behavior. This perceived shift in gamer culture has been spurred by a series of recent events: the influx of threats directed towards Anita Sarkeesian following her Tropes vs. Women YouTube Series, the scripted unscripted interaction presented at Microsoft’s E3 event that seemed to condone “rape culture”, and the transphobic comments by one of the hosts of the Video Game Awards, just to name a few. These incidents have called into question what it really means to be a gamer today and has led some members of the gaming community to consider the resignation of their “gamer” title. Continue Reading