August 26, 2013

Many TAG members will be at this year’s DIGRA – DeFragging Game Studies – in Atlanta Georgia from August 26-29.

(hopefully I haven’t missed anyone – feel free to let me know and I will add you to this event)


Mia Consalvo will be part of a panel entitled “What’s in a name? Procedurality, Play, and Game Studies”

Speaker #1 Michael Mateas (UC Santa Cruz)

Speaker #2 Ian Bogost (Georgia Tech)

Speaker #3 Mia Consalvo (Concordia University)

Speaker #4 Miguel Sicart (IT University of Copenhagen)

With the publication in 2011 of Sicart’s Against Procedurality, the field of game studies witnessed yet another polarized discussion between proponents of different theoretical models applied to the study of digital games. The article failed to create a widespread conversation in the community of researchers, and so the question of procedurality and its role in game studies is still unanswered.

The panel will discuss procedurality in game studies from a variety of perspectives, trying to figure out what is procedurality, and what role does it play in the configuration of the academic discipline.


Bart Simon and Jen Whitso are on a  large panel/workshop discussing Indies – organized by Felan Parker.


Jen Whitson is giving a paper –

Voodoo Software: An ethnographic analysis of intern game developers


This paper is structured into three sections. The first briefly situates the ethnography, outlining the game project, its goals, and the general composition of the development team. The second section focuses on “voodoo software”, defining it further and using descriptive vignettes to exemplify I mean -and don’t mean by the term. These vignettes illustrate the elusiveness of voodoo software. Voodoo plays a key role in shaping game content and mechanics, but is explained away by developers’ ex post facto recounting of events, thus emphasizing both the desire of participants to rationalize and tidy-up accounts of development processes, as well as the consequent importance of in-situ ethnographies for understanding collaborative game development processes. The final section provides a theoretical reflection on how voodoo software challenges common assumptions about game development, providing new routes for thinking about the secret life of software, auteurship in the game industry, and collaborating with machines.


Bart Simon will give a paper –

Playing Games with Machines: Or the New (As)sociological Imagination.
This paper argues that in digital games we have an important opportunity to examine the forms, nuances and contradictions of human-machine socialities that are becoming ubiquitous in contemporary culture. Video games can be seen as a form of technoculture consisting of a culturally bounded set of social practices and machine processes legitimated by the rubric of play. As a result, game culture can be seen as a critical site for the orchestration of our present and future forms of (as)sociation.

This paper will make the case for digital gameplay not as a matter of human-machine interaction (HCI) but as a material-social ‘encounter’ in an extended Goffmanian sense. By looking at digital gaming as an encounter, with and through machine interlocutors, we have the possibility of moving beyond a discussion of what human players might take or want or need from the games they play to a model of gameplay (and game design) as a mostly unintended and emergent form of social critique, social reproduction and social imagination. Put another way perhaps, the point of playful association in digital games is that association is actually not the point but rather a by-product of wanting to do other things (in and with games). I want to explore these ideas through a discussion of several case studies including micro-trust in Counter-Strike (Valve, 2000), Cooperative AI in Call of Duty 2 (Activision 2005) and Nintendogs (Nintendo 2005) and social imagination in Journey (That Game Company, 2012) and Way (Coco & Co, 2011).


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