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Japan Game Studies Conference

Posted by wbarobinson

Japan Game Studies William Robinson
Imagine going to what must be the most elegant place on earth. Now imagine going to its most meaningful and sacred places: a rock garden and golden temple. Now imagine that you stroll back to its Ritsumeikan University where every building is nicer than your university’s nicest building. You walk into a conference room with an earpiece in your ear as interpreters translate academic jargon on the fly from Japanese to English and vice versa. Now imagine that the topics are branches of research you didn’t know existed because they have been pushed partly in isolation from your entire tradition that studies the same damn thing. Now imagine that I went there. Now hold your imaginings to be true. 😛

Last week, I presented a paper called “Meaningfulness in Digital DIY: Creative Labour in Little Big Planet” which I co-authored with Dr. Bart Simon. in front of 40 or so scholars, split between North American and Japan origin. In it I spoke of imagination, creativity, intrinsic value and the problems of free labour in video games. It was a blast.

Other notable presentations:
Stephen Mandiberg gave a talk about translation vs. localization and the ways in which culture is erased in favor of tone.
David Holmes gave a presentation on JRPS and Western RPGS.
Jeremie Pelletier-Gagnon gave a presentation on the arcade and its archival properties. (He later brought me to an arcade where we put cards on a table and then they produced 3D animated battalions which you moved by moving the cards and we fought other players over the internet and then I won and we were given cards by the machine, and one was super duper shiny and Jeremie was impress that I won and impressed by the super shiny card that he got)
Shin Imai was a Japanese PhD doing work on Japanese indie. It is scary how we read the same things and play the same games and so incredibly sad that we cannot communicate well because my Japanese is non-existent.

Special thanks to Vicki Moulder for her great talk on her art and research practices that go on out west and for taking the photo of me.

Super special thanks to Geoffrey Rockwell and the people at Ritsumeikan for organizing the conference.