Meet Us at Media Arts and Design | Blockchain Conference 2020 (Online)

It has been a long and complicated journey for our fourth event, Games & Blockchain. First, it has been planned for CEEGS 2019; later, it was moved to DiGRA 2020. In the end, it will happen online, as a section at an international online Media Arts and Design | Blockchain Conference 2020. We are endlessly grateful to everyone who supported us during this journey in these difficult times, rather demanding both personally and, eventually, for the humanity at large.

Media Arts and Design | Blockchain Conference 2020 is a joint event of the Department of Digital Media at Drexel University, the Education Arcade and the LIVE LAB (USA), the Department for Arts and Cultural Sciences at Donau-Universität Krems (Austria) and the Conceptualizing Blockchains research project at the University of Vaasa (Finland), with more presenters from the University of Malta and many other places in the world.

Full information on the conference can be found at its website, as well as the preliminary program, and the registration is already open.

The copy of our initial agenda can be found here.

Join us online to celebrate human connectedness and more than human perseverance!

The Committee

The Agenda for the Games and Blockchain Workshop at DiGRA 2020 (cancelled)

We live in the time of ‘tokenomics’, as real world economies become less real and more ludic. Cryptocurrency markets have already been conceptualized as ‘money games’ that are played against the centralized banking system (Hutten and Thiemann 2017). Due to the many technological opportunities provided by blockchain, cryptocurrencies are gradually becoming more integrated into business and finances (Iansiti and Lakhani 2017), even though they still require a high level of technical and financial literacy from their users.

Developers of games have taken the challenge to make cryptocurrencies more accessible: Gamification of blockchain technologies is visible in the new genre of cryptogames. There are already several interesting examples of cryptogames, such as CryptoPunks (Larva Labs, 2017), CryptoKitties (Axiom Zen, 2017), Gods Unchained (Fuel Games, 2018), Blockchain Cuties (Blockchain Cuties, 2018), and Axie Infinity (Sky Mavis, 2018). These games offer new forms of ownership that allow peer-to-peer trade on open markets using cryptocurrencies such as Ether, with a possibility to transfer profits into the real world. Just like regular cryptocurrencies, game tokens are subject to a wide range of speculations, which parallels descriptions of early open markets in multiplayer games (Dibbell 2006; Fairfield 2008). These potentially anti-social tendencies are balanced by full transparency of all interactions and self-regulating gaming communities.

It could be said that cryptogames were foreseen long before their actual existence in game studies, for example, in the concept of fair and righteous ‘ethical games’ of Miguel Sicart (2009), as well as in the imaginary libertarian virtual worlds of the game economist Edward Castronova. Castronova went as far as predicting that the players will have to collectively pay the maintenance fee of a virtual economy to speed up the congested network, a principle that characterizes many cryptogames today (Castronova 2005). This highlights the increasing importance of informed discussions of games and blockchain technologies in the game studies community today.

Despite their youth, ‘insider politics’ of cryptogames are already getting complicated. Decentralization allows players to rule their worlds on their own, but also demonstrates the limits of freedom and trust in gaming communities. Many cryptocurrency-based games are games of chance by design, and very little more than that. They are played on a technological platform that hosts major gambling applications, by crypto traders and sometimes professional gamblers. These developments challenge the orthodox definition of a game once again, but also makes us revisit the old dispute between Huizinga and Caillois (Caillois 1961). Is gambling as important as competition in the evolution of gaming? Are game researchers equipped well enough to understand all these burgeoning new forms of digital “cock fights” and “kitty races”?

Join us, and let us find out together!

Possible topics for discussion:

  • Cryptocurrency-based games: the future of the game industry?
  • Skin in the game: how crypto games are actually played;
  • Playing it fair: blockchain technologies in gambling;
  • ‘Smart property’ and new forms of ownership in games;
  • Gamifying blockchain technologies: from CryptoKitties to CryptoKicks, and more.

The archived Call for Abstracts can be found here.

REFERENCES

  • Thiemann, M. and Hütten, M. 2017. “Money at the Margins”. In Bitcoin and Beyond: Cryptocurrencies, Blockchains, and Global Governance. Edited by Campbell-Verduyn, M. London: Palgrave Macmillan. 25-47.
  • Iansiti, M., and Lakhani, K. R. 2017. “The Truth About Blockchain.” In Harvard Business Review, February.
  • Castronova, E. 2005. Synthetic Worlds: The Business and Culture of Online Games. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Fairfield, J. A.T. 2008. “Anti-Social Contracts: The Contractual Governance of Virtual Worlds”. In McGill Law Journal. Vol. 53. Washington & Lee Legal Studies.
  • Dibbell, J. 2006. Play Money: Or, How I Quit My Day Job and Made Millions Trading Virtual Loot. New York: Basic Books.
  • Caillois, R. 1961. Man, Play, and Games. University of Illinois Press.
  • Sicart, M. 2009. The Ethics of Computer Games. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.

LUDOGRAPHY

  • Larva Labs. 2017. CryptoPunks. Digital Collectible. Larva Labs.
  • Axiom Zen. 2017. CryptoKitties. Online Game. Dapper Labs.
  • Fuel Games. 2018. Gods Unchained. Online Game. Immutable.
  • Blockchain Cuties. 2018. Blockchain Cuties. Online Game. Blockchain Cuties.
  • Sky Mavis. 2018. Axie Infinity. Online Game. Sky Mavis.

Ludic Violence and Playful Control

The multidisciplinary journal “CROSSROADS” (“ПЕРЕКРЁСТКИ” ) published by the European Humanities University announces the call for papers for the special issue on Game Studies. More specifically, the issue will be dedicated to social and cultural effects of control (or lack thereof) and violence in games.

How is control executed in playful forms? What forms of violence emerge when the game is taking control over the player? Are non-violent games even possible? Violent games are not just misunderstood — they might be able to reach beyond understandable in humans. Ludic mediums and interfaces continue to challenge our ideas of power and control, and the radical gamer theory states that digitalization is violence done to reality, if there is one.

We invite papers that focus on digital and physical games as their main object of academic inquiry. Not limiting the scope to purist game studies, we hope to see more contributions from media studies, cultural studies, sociology, philosophy and other related disciplines. 

We encourage authors to submit articles on following topics.

  • Technologies of control in games and beyond;
  • Ludic violence: a carnival, a ritual, a call to action?
  • Exploitative game design and its moral implications;
  • Gaming beyond control: addiction and digital gambling;
  • The Player is absent: non-human and post-human agency in games,
  • The many gender troubles of video game cultures;
  • The Gamer Theory: when reality is a game arena, and more.

Many of these topics have been discussed at workshops Games and Gender, Games and Violence and the conference Games against Players organized by the European Humanities University and the game research community  Games & Scholars. Prospective authors are encouraged to check the agendas to get a better understanding of the work already done.

The first deadline for submissions is November 15, 2019.

We consider original articles (up to 40 000 characters), reviews (up to 20 000 characters) and authorized translations. This special issue accepts articles in English and Russian languages. All articles will be subjected to double blind peer review (and violent editing if needed).

Full guidelines for Crossroads

Original articles and reviews should be e-mailed to perekrestki@ehu.lt 

Feel free to contact Viktoriya Kanstantsiuk (Executive Secretary) for more inquiries on the journal: perekrestki@ehu.lt.

The Committee will answer any other game- and/or violence-related questions you may have at games.and.scholars@gmail.com.

Submit and prosper!

CORE TEXTS FOR DISCUSSION

  1. Condis, Megan. Gaming Masculinity: Trolls, Fake Geeks, and the Gendered Battle for Online Culture. Fandom & Cuture. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2018.
  2. Mitchell, Liam. Ludopolitics: Videogames Against Control. Zero Books, 2018.
  3. Schott, Gareth. Violent Games: Rules, Realism and Effect. Bloomsbury Publishing USA, 2016.
  4. Sicart, Miguel. The Ethics of Computer Games. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2009.
  5. Wark, McKenzie. Gamer Theory. Harvard University Press, 2007. 

Games against Players: the Conference Program

Day 1

Sunday, April 14

  • Language of the day: Russian
  • Time: 12:00 — 18:00
  • Location: Media Center of European Humanities University (located in the building of Lithuanian National Radio and Television), S. Konarskio street. 49
  • Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/WvsCoxdQf2J2

12:00 — 12:15 Introduction

Section 1. Deconstructing Game Cultures

12:15 —13:00 Keynote: Konstantin Ocheretyany. Why Should We Love Games Which Hate Us?

13:00 — 13:30 Vladimir Ilin. Instability of Systems as a Determining Factor in Relationships between Players and Developers

13:30 — 14:00 Denis Artamonov & Sofia Tikhonova. Indie Games about Medieval Ages: Aesthetics of Historyhacking 

14:30 —15:00 Coffee Break

Games against Players

It is our pleasure to invite you to our third international event on game studies in Lithuania — the Games against Players conference.

The conference is a 2 day event aimed at students and young scholars of media studies, cultural studies and other areas of humanities and social sciences. It will take place on April 14-15, 2019, at European Humanities University (Vilnius, Lithuania).

Games & Violence — The Program

Mind the covfefe break!

Please find below our program for April 16. We switch to Russian after lunch.

April 16, Monday

TimeTitleRoom
11:00Surprise Keynote. Gareth Schott (New Zealand). Player Experience: Empirical accounts of the experience of ‘violence’302
11:30Ewa Wylężek (Poland). The Carnivalesque Violence Exemplified by Corrida302
12:00Inno Martynow (Russia). Neither Fight-nor-Flight: the Dynamics of Non-Violent In-game Confrontation302
12:30Dmitry Boichenko (Belarus/Lithuania). The nature of my assemblage: the violence in video games as lessons in trans-humanism302
13:00Keynote. Dr. Tomasz Majkowski (Poland). How to tame the scandalous video game violence302
14:00LUNCH 
15:00Maksim Podvalnyi (Russia). DOOMed to destruction: the perspectives of the first person shooter302
15:30Леонид Мойжес (Россия). Религия как символ Другого.302
16:00Николай Токарев (Россия). Чем кончается «та сторона улицы»? Насилие в видеоиграх как воплощение эстетики литературы беспокойного присутствия302
16:30COVFEFE BREAK 
16:40Алеся Середа (Беларусь/Литва). Материя живая и мертвая. Кукольная анимация как орудие визуального насилия над игроком302
17:10Виктория Константюк (Беларусь/Литва). Трамп, насилие, видеоигры: анализ комментариев302
19:00DINNER 

Games & Violence Workshop

Laboratory for Studies of Visual Culture and Contemporary Art at European Humanities University (EHU) and the research community Games & Scholars announces the second interdisciplinary workshop on game studies “Games & Violence”.

Laboratory for Studies of Visual Culture and Contemporary Art at European Humanities University (EHU) and the research community Games & Scholars announces the second interdisciplinary workshop on game studies “Games & Violence”. The main aim is to productively apply critical thinking and academic knowledge to one of the recent concerns of the videogame industry.

Information for Guests of our Workshops

Information on logistics around Vilnius for guests of our workshops.

Our workshop will take place in the building at Valakupių Street, 5 (Valakupių gatvė 5). The university building is located in the quiet park at the edge of the city in the Antakalnis district. 

The building is shared between EHU and Mykolas Romeris University, so don’t be confused. Here’s how to get there. Читать «Information for Guests of our Workshops» далее

“Games & Gender” — The Program

November 3, Friday

Part I: “Representation of Gender in Video
Games: Depicting Norms in Virtual Environments”

10:00 Welcome speech by professor Almira Ousmanova and project
supervisor Viktoriya Kanstantsiuk
10:30 Mikhail Fiadotau “From Dys4Ia to Hatoful Boyfriend:
Representations of Gender in Indie and Dojin Games”
11:00 Innocentiy Martynow “(Un)Queering the Species: Sexuality Beyond
Human in Single-Player RPGs”
11:30 Stanislav Zveryanov and Arseniy Filtsev “Sexual Violence in
Videogames”
12:00 Coffee break

International Workshop “Games & Gender”

The Laboratory of Studies of Visual Culture and Contemporary Art at the European Humanities University (EHU) in Vilnius announces a contest for potential speakers at the international workshop “Games & Gender”.

The Laboratory of Studies of Visual Culture and Contemporary Art at the European Humanities University (EHU) in Vilnius announces a contest for potential speakers at the international workshop “Games & Gender”. The workshop will take place on November 3-4, in Vilnius with the support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). Apart from young researchers from EHU, speakers from Poland, Czech Republic, and Russia are expected.