Video game culture has had a self-image of being a distinct cultural form united by participants identifying themselves as “gamers” for many years. Variations in this identity have been perceived either in relation to preferred platform or level of commitment and skill (newbie, casual, core, pro, etc.). Today the popularity of games has increased dramatically, games have become more specialised and gaming is taking place in a number of divergent practices, from e-sport to gamification. In addition, the gamer position includes a number of roles and identities such as: players, learners, time-fillers, users, fans, roleplayers, theory crafters, speed runners, etc. Furthermore, techniques like gamification and game-based learning, as well as the playful use of computer simulation for training purposes, is making it difficult to distinguish games from non-games.
Additionally, video game culture is merging with other forms of popular culture and new mobile technologies are making distinctions between digital and non-digital gaming blurred. Yet, whilst the forms of play seem to have become more diverse, the content of games is often only challenged by independent titles. This is the case despite a maturing audience, some of whom now seem to urge for more diverse themes and representations within games. In the light of increasing criticism of the representations and practices that have dominated much of games culture, it seems that the relationship between the identity of the “gamer” and the content of games is undergoing a change.
Traditionally, game studies has tried to find common ground, seeking shared definitions and epistemologies. DiGRA 2015 seeks to encourage questions about the ‘Diversity of play’, with a focus on the multiple different forms, practices and identities labelled as games and/or game culture.
The conference aims to address the challenge of studying and documenting games, gaming and gamers, in a time when these categories are becoming so general and/or contested, that they might risk losing all meaning. Given this, what concepts do we need to develop in order for our research to be cumulative and how do we give justice to the diverse forms of play found in different games and game cultures?
The conference welcomes papers on a wide range of topics, including, but not limited to, the following:
DiGRA 2015 supports two different categories for submitting research; full papers (no more than 16 pages) and abstracts (up to 1000 words excluding references). The structure reflects the cross-disciplinary nature and different conference traditions of the conference attendants. A full paper submission is recommended for completed research work, in particular empirical or technical work. The abstract format is suitable for discussion topics and ideas. Both full papers and abstracts are subject to a double-blind review process, including a meta-review.
Deadline for submissions is January 22nd 2015, please note that this is a hard deadline, there will be no extensions. Submission for camera-ready version is April 14th 2015.
“The Gamification of the Gothic”
Tanya Krzywinska is a professor at Falmouth University (UK). She is a games scholar with a particular interest in formal properties, graphical styles and ‘world creation’ aspects of video games. She developed the Digital Games Academy that offers a suite of Games BA and BSc (Hons) courses in Digital Game Art, Animation, Design, Music, Programming and Writing at Falmouth University. She also supervises PhD students on the Games PhD programme and mentors start-up game development companies.
“Videogames as Unnatural Narratives”
Astrid Ensslin is a Professor of Digital Culture and Communication at Bangor University (UK). Her research sits at the interface between videogames and electronic literature, and she is currently running an AHRC-funded project on ‘Reading Digital Fiction’ (with Sheffield Hallam University and various non-academic organizations). Her main publications are ‘Literary Gaming’ (MIT Press, 2014), ‘The Language of Gaming’ (Palgrave, 2011) and ‘Canonizing Hypertext’ (Continuum, 2007).
“Is Hacking the Brain the Future of Gaming?”
Karen Palmer’s work has received international exposure and critical acclaim, including screenings at the ICA and Bafta. She recently exhibited at the V&A as part of the Digital Design Weekend (September 2014). She was also invited to be a speaker at the International WOW Talks series at Regent Street Apple Store as part of V&A events in conjunction with the London Design Festival.
“Ludic Epistemology in an Age of new Essentialisms”
Markus Rautzenberg is a German philosopher currently working at Freie Universität Berlin. In 2007 he received his doctorate degree in philosophy with a thesis on a ‘Theory of Perturbation’. He received a DFG-doctoral scholarship at the graduate school ‘The Staging of the Body’ and a DFG-postdoctoral fellowship at the international graduate school ‘Interart’. His main fields of research are media theory, picture theory, aesthetics, the relation of iconicity and knowledge, epistemology and game studies.
Professor, Department of Applied IT, University of Gothenburg
Staffan Björk is a game researcher within the field of interaction design. His research is partly about creating terminology for this field, but he has primarily worked on describing and exploring gameplay concepts. He is one of the contributors to introducing design patterns as a concept within game research.
Professor, Department of Informatics and Media, Uppsala University
Annika has a long-standing background in design research about games, with a focus on Pervasive Games. She has been active in the DiGRA community since 2008 and is currently editor in chief for the ToDiGRA journal.
Head of Art and Civic Media and the Gamification Lab, Leuphana University
Mathias Fuchs is an artist, musician and media critic working at Leuphana University in Lüneburg. He has pioneered in the field of artistic use of games and is a leading theoretician on Game Art and Game Studies. He is Professor at the Centre for Digital Cultures and directs “Art & Civic Media” with a research focus on Ludic Interfaces and on Gamification.
At the Art and Civic Media Lab, we research the implications of artistic, non-institutionalised and activist media practices within digital culture. We are part of the Innovation Incubator Lüneburg, supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Federal State of Lower Saxony.
One focal point of our research is the phenomenon of “gamification” or “ludification”: The permeation of economical, political and social contexts by game-elements. Game technology, rule structures and interfaces are used by corporations to manage brand communities and to create value. The very same elements, however, are also used by artists, activists and non-governmental organizations to question existing structures. But does the form of games contain a hidden agenda by itself?
The Centre for Digital Cultures (CDC), affiliated to Leuphana University Lüneburg, scrutiniszes how the digital shift re-shapes the cultural and creative sectors through research in disciplines such as media, cultural and social studies, through knowledge creation and transfer, as well as through experimental and interventionist media practices. It sets up a network and an experimental space, where partners from industry, academic research, and civil society not only talk and think with each other, but also cooperate and develop new concepts, formats, applications and interventions.
DiGRA2015 is an event ONLY for DiGRA members. All participants are required to have a valid membership for the conference. If you do not have a valid membership, please choose „for non-DiGRA member“ in order to get the required membership.
Reduced tickets are only for students. It is a must for all students to bring the student ID to DiGRA2015.
If you encounter any issue viewing our ticket system we invite you to use this direct link to our tickets tool preferably on a mobile device:
Lüneburg is a small town and a popular tourist destination, especially on long weekends like the one following the Ascension Day, which is when DiGRA2015 takes place. Therefore, we recommend booking your accommodation well in advance. A limited number of hotel rooms in Lüneburg at special prices have been reserved for the participants of the DiGRA conference. Please use the password “DiGRA2015” when making your reservation at one of the following hotels. Also, please note that some of the hotels only keep the rooms reserved until a certain date, so make sure to book within this time frame. All hotel rooms that are part of this document are blocked from the 13th -17th of May 2015:
In case of not finding a suitable option, we recommend using the following hotel booking tool thankfully provided by our supporter Lüneburg Marketing GmbH.