News Update: Now Play This, Characters and Franchises, Religion, DiGRA UK, Identity and Game On

In our fortnightly news update we seek to draw together some recent stories from a range of sources that reflect our project’s vision around video games and culture.

The Guardian recently presented a roundup of the Now Play This Festival. Billed as ‘a festival of experimental game design’ the examples explored here demonstrate the varied ways in which those exhibiting at the festival have approached the concept of gaming, generating gaming experiences that take place both on- and off-screen.

Two recent publications seek to explore the relationship between games, gaming and religion. Religion in Games by Oliver Steffen  provides ‘a methodological framework for the study of religious contents in games, combining religious studies and game studies methods’. Meanwhile, ‘Gamen Mit Gott’, also by Steffen, discusses ‘religion in games, religious games, religious gamers and religious answers to games’.  

Rowman and Littlefield have announced two new volumes that relate to gaming, both edited by Banks, Meija and Adams. The first volume,
‘100 Greatest Video Game Characters’, explores the cultural significance of video game characters across a range of games,  considering what each tells us about the ways in which we relate to games and the experiences they provide. Meanwhile, ‘100 Greatest Video Game Franchises’ considers the influence and impact of what could be considered the most significant game franchises.

The DiGRA (Digital International Games Research Association) UK 2017 Conference is to be held on 5th May, 2017, at the MediaCityUK in Salford, hosted by University of Salford. DiGRA is the international association for academics and professionals who research digital games and associated phenomena. It encourages high-quality research on games, and promotes collaboration and dissemination of work by its members. For this conference they welcome submissions on a range of topics, including: game cultures, gaming in non-leisure settings and gender and games.

A recent paper from the Television and New Media Journal, ‘What Does a Gamer Look Like? Video
Games, Advertising, and Diversity’
by Chess, Evans and Baines, explores media perceptions of gamer identity. Performing a content analysis on a number of video game commercials, they consider ‘how the gamer is represented in terms of physical and behavioural attributes’.

There is a call for papers for the 18th annual Simulation and AI in Games Conference,  GAME-ON 2017, to be held at the Institute of Technology, Carlow in Ireland from September 6-8, 2017. They are seeking papers on a range of game related topics, including Gamification and Social Game Mechanics; Learning and Adaptation; Games Applications in education, government, health and corporate contexts.