So Bonnie Ruberg – founder of the Queerness and Games Conference, academic overachieverper-excellence and a well known fan-favorite of ours – is coming to GGC to talk about games that allow players to experience the lives of the marginalized. These games, designed to be immersive, impactful, and socially meaningful, run the risk of being appropriative. As Robert Yang recently put it; “If you walk in someone else’s shoes, then you’ve taken their shoes.” So Bonnie will help us look at the problems with game empathy, and methods of solving these problems.
So let us just gush about Bonnie for a while, because we have been fan-girling overfollowing Bonnie for quite some time! We had her on the island back in 2010 when she ran a full day workshop with our students, about bravely (yet responsibly!) approaching sex and gender representation in their game designs.
The jury represents the most hard-working participants at the Gotland Game Conference (save for our students, naturally). Jurors travel from near and far to listen to our students’ presentations a day before the conference even starts, and to play all of the student productions on the show floor.
Each members brings their own set of experience and expertise, and share that insight directly with the students during the presentations. This is followed by two days of hard labor where each jury member needs to play enough to provide meaningful written feedback (as well as numeric scores) on each game. These scores does not affect student grades, of course, but are an integral part of the GGC Awards and for our students’ learning outcomes!
The jury is absolutely massive, as they need to cover all three years of our education!
Without further ado, here is the complete 2017 Jury!
Anton Albiin, Association of Swedish Game Developers
Bonnie Ruberg, UC Irvine
Chris Franklin, Errant Signal
Doris Rusch, DePaul University
Maria Guadalupe Alvarez, Högskolan i Skövde
Joakim Sjöberg, Odd Raven Studios
Joshua Juvrud, Uppsala University
Martine Pedersen, IndSpark
Mattias “Ditto” Dittrich, Art in Heart
Mike Sellers, Indiana University
Richard Bartle, University of Essex
Sabine Harrer, University of Vienna
Samson Wiklund, Diversi
Travis C. Parrott, Westlaw Legal Solutions
Fred Ström, Pixel Ferrets
Jens Berglind, Might and Delight
Joakim Andreasson, Paradox Development Studio
Jona Marklund, KJ Interactive
Martin Greip, Eat Create Sleep
Max Tiilikainen, iGotcha Studios
Olof Wallentin, Starbreeze Studios
Pernilla Sparrhult, Paradox Development Studio
Peter Stråhle, Might and Delight
Sigrid Svederoth, Cortopia AB
Teddy Sjöström, Pixel Ferrets
Thommy Siverman, Electronic Arts
Tobias Wahlberg, TOB-E GAMES
Vilya Svensson, Pixel Ferrets
Ylva Ljungqvist, Paradox Development Studio
Bold is GAME alumni – welcome back! 🙂
And thanks in advance to all the jurors for taking the time – and putting up the effort – to help improve our students, our education, and our medium!
Oh, and a pro-tip: Visby is fast running out of hotel beds for the conference dates. Please make sure you book your conference pass, and get yourself reservations at the hotels / AirBnB / CouchSurfing if you need a place to stay! This is particularly important for participants of the Educators Summit, since you start a day early and end a day later!
The Swedish Game Awards is the nation’s largest video game development competition, pitting all Swedish game educations against each other. It has been held annually since 2002 and is organized by a student-driven, non-profit association. They just announced that the 2017 finale will be held in Visby – just a few days after the Gotland Game Conference!
Ergo, you might want to adjust your travel schedule to allow for a few more days in this medieval town of ours. 🙂
The Wikipedia page is a good source of information for the SGA, including the competition categories and winners from previous years. We will of course shamelessly point out that our students generally fare very well; last year Gotland took home Best Diversity Effort, Best Execution in Design, Best Technical ExecutionandBest Execution in Narrative. Head on over at our less-official department blog for a full list of all SGA-awards earned by our students.
So your crowdfunding missed its target, your company can’t send you, or you want to scout talent before anyone else gets the chance. Whatever the reason, you may earn yourself a free Conference Pass and front row seats to meet our students by serving on the GGC Jury!
The jury arrive a day early (28/5) to attend student presentations (2-4 hours, with breaks) and then play their games on the show floor and provide thoughtful and constructive feedback throughout the conference. Jury duty requires no work prior to the event, but once here you will have to prioritize and make time to play all games – enough to provide fair criticism and advice.
The Game Educators Summit is a 2-day meeting hosted by the Department of Game Design, during the GGC. We aim to bring together all higher game educations (internationally) to discuss our common concerns and set up a network of support.
So; two days, broken up by the Gotland Game Conference. The first day (28/5) is filled with short presentations and an evening meet-and-greet on the show floor among the student games.
The second day (31/5) takes place after the GGC, when everyone is warmed up and inspired. We’ll meet the Higher Education Videogame Alliance, and then split into groups to discuss our specific areas of interest.
So far, we have a one-two punch of Chris Franklin and Doris Rusch: Chris will lay the foundation of a platform study, arguing that computational devices funnels us towards spatial simulation and conflict – partially explaining the early decades of simplistic violence in our video games.
Then Doris will follow up and show how we might resist this technological determinism, bringing metaphor and nuance into our digital systems.
We contrast Bartle’s massive scope with a deeply personal and intimate design lecture by Sabine Harrer – using lessons learned from developing Jocoi, a game about pregnancy loss, to teach us about the power of grief in games.
So that’s the first four in place! There’s four more slots to fill in the coming weeks – stay tuned. 🙂
We are committed to welcoming a diverse community, and we know that financial accessibility is an important part of that goal. For 2017 we are offering a pay-what-you-want Visitors Pass. We kindly request that you pay what feels fair and right for you. All registered attendees get the same access to the conference. Paying more or less will not affect your experience at the event.
Please note that ALL visitors must be registered – even if you donate only 1kr; this is an insurance- and safety issue. Visitors Passes can be bought on site (credit cards only!).
About the other passes
If you do pay for your ticket, your contribution goes toward helping us bring you lots of great stuff. That means that in addition to awesome sessions presented by top-notch speakers, you will be fed, provided with free coffee and snacks throughout the event, and invited to our sweet pre-award mingle. The Conference Passes are available until the middle of May.
About the Game Educators Summit
The Summit is a micro-conference and meeting group – exclusively for university level game educators – which takes place on the 28th and 31st of May. Ergo; summit attendees start a day earlier (28/5), attend the GGC, and then do discussion and follow up a day after the GGC (31/5). The Summit-pass doubles as a full GGC ticket, and you will be provided a separate program for 28 and 31 as soon as it is nailed down!
Frequently Asked Questions:
We are a company / university and can’t pay with cards. Can we pay with invoice?
“It wasn’t too long ago that a US court ruled that games were not worthy of first amendment protection. They were not understood as adequately expressive or communicative to justify it. Now, games are seen and studied as vehicles for meaning generation. They are a corner stone of our social practices and play a large role in our identity formation. Tell me what you play, and I tell you who you are. They make us think about life in ways that are just as profound as reading poetry or philosophical source texts. Games are truly coming of age […]”
“But it is not just the games themselves that are ‘growing up’ – it’s the players, too. It takes a generation for every new medium to be taken seriously. We trust games to be deep and meaningful, to have the potential of moving us profoundly, of making us think about life, the universe and everything. Attitude has a lot to do with it. It’s easy to be cynical, to claim games are just for kids. Or to be fearful and object to the medium because some of its messages and representations might be concerning.”
But like the special issue journal Rusch is writing about here, we too can have a grown up discourse about a grown up medium! The GGC 2017 will see conversations ranging from human rights and virtual worlds, to how we can broach the topics of sexuality, intimacy and, indeed, sex in video games. We want to try and problematize our reliance on “gaming literacy”, and look at designing for “non-gaming” (or “normal”) people. And, always, with an eye towards social issues, power and equality.
Don’t know what GAME and the GGC is all about? Here’s a sample from last year’s conference.
That’s Richard Lemarchand – the designer of Uncharted, Jak and Dexter and many other games you know and love. 🙂
Notice how his talk was not about his games, not about big brand, big budget productions. Not about consoles or technology or platforms. Instead he spoke with us about the things we really care about at the GGC: games as a cultural expression, as complex bearers of ideas, as a medium of communication. This is what we do! We strive for the Gotland Game Conference to always take a high-minded, human and loving look at games and games culture. Loving, but not uncritical! We engage our medium with honesty, integrity and a willingness to reflect, engage, do the work and improve the medium.
Here’s another clip with Richard, from the Awards Ceremony that always caps off the conference.
I hope that convinces you to join us at the end of May, to critique and celebrate the games medium, at the Gotland Game Conference 2017!