Sunday, June 24, 2007

Game in' Action 2007

I have been away, and then I was away. Drowning in exams, I haven't taken the time to write anything from the Game in' Action conference in Gøteborg. It was also a conference with no web access, something which was more than a little frustrating. I realised how much I rely on an available net connection, for simple things like "Are you sure your plane leaves from Landvetter?" What you mean am I sure? What is Landvetter? The airport? There's more than one airport? More than one with international flights? Help, where's the internet connection! Anyway, it was Landvetter, and I got back in time.

Jonas Linderoth opened the conferences, and as he is also a member of the researcher's guild, I will let him represent both sides of the conference, the academic and the social.

On the academic side, this was a very interesting conference in the way that it had some extremely established keynote speakers: Henry Jenkins, James Gee, Jonathan Dovey, Helen Kennedy and T. L. Taylor, while it had some quite inexperienced - in gaming - presenters of papers. A lot of the papers were of research just about to start, or very sketchy research with undeveloped theoretical or empirical base. Some were great though, and it is good to see that there is so much diverse activity in the game research field.

Among the good stuff I want to point to the work of Tina Lybæk and Emma Witkowski, who did not present a paper (their computer with all the things they had prepared, including all paper copies of the presentation was stolen the day before), but talked about the source for their paper: the Let's play initiative.

Another was Hilde Corneliussen, as always a very thorough reseacher who this time had made the effort to count female and male npc's and characters in WoW, and connect them to a discourse of gender and power which went beyond the issues of hypersexualisation which is so easy and so common.

For the most part I followed "The Truant Track" - the presentations made by members of the WoW researcher's guild, as I had after all gone to Gøteborg mainly to meet up with this group in the flesh. There were, as far as I was able to count, 17 members there, and the visit spawned a wicked role-play plot and a couple of new members. Following The Truant Track was no loss at all, perhaps quite the contrary, as all held interesting, stimulating presentations. I do however want to apologize to Luca Rossi for playing out an RP line behind his back on the monitor, and making all the Truants stare intently on the screen to read mine and Espen Aarseth's (who was not at the conference, and hence performed an ingame coup) comments, and not on the screen with Luca's notes. Sorry, Luca!

The last night of the conference there was a dinner most suitably situated at Liseberg, the Gøteborg amusement park. Here the researcher's guild kept on doing research, by bodily experiencing ilinx. Below is a brave group of game academics about to get on the roller coaster. No, I have not yet scanned the (in)famous picture taken ON the roller coaster of six game researchers in different stages of terror or joy.

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