First of all, I’d like to extend my robust gratitude to everyone who found the time to make it out to last week’s 5a7 Town Hall meeting! The gathering was a resounding success: attendance levels continue to rise, the conversations in the room were lively and engaging, and each of the motions brought before the gathering were unanimously accepted.
More on that last point: for those of you who weren’t able to attend last week’s meeting, the 5a7 community has collectively decided to change the default location of the 5a7s to the TAG lab (just down the hall from the 5a7’s previous home, the HEX lab), and have opted to adopt a semi-official structure that will guide the kinds of presentations and conversations we hope to encourage in the context of our weekly meetup. The idea behind the structure is that we will try to alternate between two different types of presentation on a weekly basis. One week will be part of the “Critical Conversation Series,” where TAG students and community members are encouraged to assemble a Pecha Kucha, talk, video presentation, interpretive dance number, or Jackson Pollockesque work of art and present it to the group with the express intention of fostering a critical conversation about some aspect of games, gameplay, game culture, the cultures of game production, art in games, games as art, or some other game/internet/new media-related topic. The presentations for the Critical Conversation Series should last between 5 and 15 minutes, allowing the next 45 minutes or so for an in-depth round-table discussion of the subject matter.
We’ve decided to name the other type of 5a7 Symposium the “Good Game Series”; these will form the lighthearted rejoinders to the previous week’s more serious and in-depth Critical Conversations. Presentations for the Good Game Series should similarly run for about 5-15 minutes, but rather than focusing the presentation on a particular topic or issue in game studies/creation, they should focus on a particular game. This is the forum where I encourage impassioned aficionados to focus our community’s attention on an interesting game that has some kind of salient artistic, mechanical, political, social, cultural, or affective value which might have been overlooked by our community. I challenge everyone reading this to try and change our minds about a universally panned game (such as the ET game for the Atari – I’m looking at you, Skot!), or to give a deeper or alternative reading of a game we might have all already played and loved, or simply to show us a little-known game that’s fun as hell and you think has some kind of academic or critical merit that the community should be aware of. For the Good Game Series, I also encourage presenters to try and find a way to bring in a copy of the game that the presentation focuses on so that 5a7 attendees can have a chance to play it and experience what it is you’re talking about. If, for some reason, the presentation is on a game that would be very difficult or impractical to bring into the lab, try to show videos, a ‘lets play,’ or some other kind of visual demonstration of the game’s overall flow and feel so that we get a sense of what is being talked about.
I encourage anyone and everyone to come present at the 5a7s! If you’re interested in giving a talk as part of either the Critical Conversation Series or the Good Game Series, feel free to get in touch with Pierson, the 5a7 coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please be sure to include a little blurb describing what you would like to present on, and I’ll be sure to get back to you to give you some free dates that you can claim.
Finally, watch out for the next 5a7 post that’ll be out later today: the first entry in the Critical Conversation Series is happening this Thursday, and it’s sure to be topical, timely, and of great interest to almost everyone who has watched in dismay as #GamerGate has risen to prominence… Stay Tuned!