(Apologies for the inconsistency of font regarding umlauts.)
In my last post I promised you a more in-depth account of the Critical Evaluation of Games Studies conference. Then I went to Sweden to give a guest lecture, so… Yeah. Things got a little busy.
So since I can’t offer you a full run-down of the Tampere conference, I can recommend some clever people who have! I thoroughly recommend that you check out Jonne Arjoranta‘s blog post which not only gives a action-by-action replay of the event, but also uses the Twitter feed to illustrate the types of discussions which happened. Here is the only Twitter screenshot I was able to find about my presentation:
Anyway, Frans Mäyrä has pulled together an overview about the bigger picture of the seminar and the current state of games studies as a field over on his blog. Both blogs are fantastic accounts and do the conference a justice I simply cannot.
Now onto Skövde. Last week on the 14th May I was fortunate enough to be invited to give a lecture to students and a presentation to staff at the University of Skövde. I was amazed at how well the students responded to the lecture, how happy they were to approach me and their thorough engagement and curiosity. They were very keen to deepen their understanding of how sexuality might be implemented in game design and what this might mean for society/culture overall. They were also kind enough to leave me Twitter feedback. 🙂
And to wrap up this recap, an interview I did with Rami Sihvo about my research is now up and available to read in both Finnish and English over on the perliraati.fi blog. I am very humbled at being published (sorta) in a language other than English. It is really special for me to get my research out to a larger audience and I am very grateful for the opportunity to do that.
And now I am off to prepare for an impending trip to Liverpool to give a talk about erotic play and spatiality/location. Phew, this summer is a busy one.
This past Saturday Esther MacCallum-Stewart and myself gave a talk about the state of games education and research in the United Kingdom at Update Show. (There was, of course, a particular shout out to the newly formed DiGRA UK chapter.) I have been informed that the videos of the talk are being edited and will be uploaded shortly.
As soon as the talks are available, I’ll be sure to link them. This post, however short it might be, is about how I accidentally made a game during the Update Show afterparty. The game, entitled #selfiequestis detailed below. I hope to see some of you playing it this summer!
The Birth of #selfiequest
There is always a strong digital presence at in-the-flesh networking events. Whether this presence takes the form of carefully printed links on business cards, Facebook posts about the event, or quickly snapped selfies, everyone is connected online as they try to establish connections offline. Especially when the bartenders offer free wifi passwords along with free drinks. After 20:00 on Saturday night, my Twitter feed started to flood with pictures like this one:
Some folks, researchers included, are troubled by this reliance on digital media- particularly when it seems to supplant ‘normal’ or ‘traditional’ methods- such as talking to people face-to-face. My personal philosophy is that online and offline interactions are two sides of the same coin which blend together to make a cohesive social experience. Saying that, there is always the danger of the formation of cliques.
Perhaps more prevalent in-the-flesh (as people tend to pick a spot in the room and sit there the entire night), there are power structures, hierarchies, fears of rejection, awkwardness, and small talk over who sits where and when and for how long. Sometimes this works out for the best and a former group of strangers sit together, dig their roots in, and form a brand new social group. Often what happens instead, however, is that people coalesce around common contacts and the room quickly turns into a high school cafeteria. This annoys me far more than selfies ever could. So, to fix this, I made a game.
To find an anonymous Twitter user at the same event as you and take an awkward selfie with them (if they consent). Also, to make contacts in-the-flesh as well as through Twitter.
What You Need
A Twitter account
A smart phone/tablet with camera
An event with 25+ people. This can be a conference, convention, concert, etc.
How to Play
There are two roles: The Quester and The Tweeter. Any time someone tweets a picture of an event, they become The Tweeter(whether they realise it or not) and the game starts. So, log into Twitter and follow the event organiser and/or search relevant hashtags to find the first photo- or become The Tweeteryourself by taking the first photo!
Using only the tweeted event photo, The Tweeter’s user photo/background image, The Quester must embark on an epic mission to find them in the flesh. Use strategy! Use the setting/décor found in the photo to locate the general area The Tweetermight be at or ask random people if they happen to know the user by showing them the tweet.
Once found, the ritual must be completed and the magic circle closed. The Questermust take a selfie with The Tweeter (as long as they consent), and tweet it to show others playing the game that a point was just scored. If The Tweeterdoes not want to be in the photo, then a simple “I just met The Quester” tweet is sufficient.
At any time The Quester may ask anyone at the event for help locating The Tweeter– but The Questermust ask them one-on-one and in-the-flesh. Tweeting for help or shouting is forbidden.
When The Quester asks someone for help, they must introduce themselves and explain the game. This not only widens social circles, but also spreads the game to new players. The more folks playing, the merrier!
If you have played the game before and are approached by a Quester asking after someone you don’t know, you must respond (regardless of gender) “I’m sorry, but your princess is in another castle”. This indicates that you know of, and have played/are playing the game and thus don’t need it explained. Expediency is valuable in the game of tweets.
Once The Questerhas found The Tweeterand completed their mission, they must tweet to score points. 1 point is awarded for a confirmation tweet from The Tweeter. For example, “Quester @_____ just found me! Well done!” -OR- 1 point is awarded for a selfie which features The Questerand The Tweeter.
The game ends when the event does. Scores are added by going through past tweets. The winner wins… well, the most new contacts!
This game has only been played once, so I’m sure there are a few bugs to work out, but I think the overall concept works well. I hope to see some of you playing #selfiequest during your summer conference and festival adventures. If you do decide to play, tweet me, k? I’d like to see my game-baby grow.