News Update: Diversity, Art, Moral Panic, Sexism and Simplification, Events, Awards and Call for Papers

In our fortnightly news updates we  draw together recent stories and events from the media and academia that reflect or explore concerns relevant to the Gaming Horizon’s project.

The Guardian dedicate a lengthy piece to the claim that  the videogames industry has ‘a diversity problem’, stating that ‘just 14% of people working in the UK games industry are women’. They suggest that, whilst moves may be underway to expand the scope of the lives represented in video games themselves, there is still some way to go before the gaming industry provides sufficient ‘opportunities for women and people of colour’. They advocate a number of possible actions to rectify this situation, including intervention in education, at school level.

A new exhibition held at IULM University in Milan, Italy, is exhibiting video game art, in the form of machinima. This form of digital art uses video games as ‘a raw material’. The exhibition, GAME VIDEO/ART. A SURVEY, features works that ‘explore themes related to simulation and representation, replay and re-enactment, architecture and urbanism, sex and race, politics and ideology through the lenses of the videogame’.

New York Magazine report on a recently published book, ‘Moral Panic’ by Markey and Ferguson, that deals with the perceived connection between video games and violence. The article explores the extent to which these claims can be framed as a moral panic, suggesting that the dominant dialogue around these issues is often influenced by ‘preconceived biases’.

Meanwhile, the Huffington Post focus on the reporting of a particular study, said to present findings linking gaming with sexist attitudes. Whilst noting the admitted limitations the study itself, they turn their attention to examine more directly the reporting of the study in the popular press, revealing a lack of complexity, nuance and the use generalisation and simplification to make a case that does not stand up to scrutiny.

The Digital Arts and Humanities Research Group at the University of Huddersfield have announced Historia Ludens, a Conference on History and Gaming, to be held on 19 May 2017. QGCon 2017: The Queerness and Games Conference is to be held at the University of Southern California on April 1st and 2nd 2017.

Engadget report on the recent SXSW Game Awards, providing an overview of the winning games that included the a Cultural Innovation Award for That Dragon, Cancer.

Finally, there is a call for papers on special edition of International Journal of Human – Computer Studies on gamification. With an emphasis on critical challenges and new opportunities, the journal is seeking papers with a focus on strengthening gamification studies.