Educators: don’t forget to register for the Summit

The Higher Education Video Game Alliance is joining us on Gotland at the end of may!

The Higher Education Video Game Alliance is joining us on Gotland at the end of May!

There is still some room in the Game Educators Summit. Are you too pressed for time to attend the full Summit + GGC? We have a suggestion!

Why not attend just the last two days: Tue 30 – Wed 31. That will get you the final day of the GGC show floor, with awards and mingle (= get to know everyone), and the summit working day on 31/5. You can even make the evening flight or ferry back that same day.

So if you are teaching university level game design- och development and haven’t already done so, please:

We – Uppsala University and HEVGA – hope to see you there!

The votes are in, and the fifth talk is…

Bonnie Ruberg at the GGC 2011

Our fifth speaker presented us with not just one idea, but four(!). We wanted all of them, natch, and the arguing about which one to pick was so fierce we just decided to abdicate our responsibility and let someone else choose. You all voted in our Facebook poll and the result was 40% for a critical examination of so called “empathy games”.

So Bonnie Ruberg – founder of the Queerness and Games Conference, academic overachiever per-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.

The full abstract has been added to the existing line-up for your perusal.

So let us just gush about Bonnie for a while, because we have been fan-girling over following 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.

From Bonnie Ruberg's 2010 workshop "Re-Doing Sex/Gender in Games", on campus Gotland

Then we had her back for the keynote at GGC 2011 where she talked about close reading video games – because there is no such as thing as taking your entertainment media too seriously! More recently her work with the Queerness and Games Conference have contributed greatly in helping us make not only our education, but also this conference as inclusive, welcoming and safe as possible!

In short; we like Bonnie quite a lot, and we think you will too. 🙂 We are extremely happy to have her back, and slightly embarrassed it’s been so long!

Thank you Bonnie, and thanks to everyone who participated in the poll! We hope you take the opportunity to see Bonnie deliver the presentation live next month!

Announcing the jury!

Jury hard at work. :)

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!

  1. Anton Albiin, Association of Swedish Game Developers
  2. Bonnie Ruberg, UC Irvine
  3. Chris Franklin, Errant Signal
  4. Doris Rusch, DePaul University
  5. Maria Guadalupe Alvarez, Högskolan i Skövde
  6. Joakim Sjöberg, Odd Raven Studios
  7. Joshua Juvrud, Uppsala University
  8. Martine Pedersen, IndSpark
  9. Mattias “Ditto” Dittrich, Art in Heart
  10. Mike Sellers, Indiana University
  11. Richard Bartle, University of Essex
  12. Sabine Harrer, University of Vienna
  13. Samson Wiklund, Diversi
  14. Patrick Seibert, Founder:
  15. Travis C. Parrott, Westlaw Legal Solutions
  16. Fred Ström, Pixel Ferrets
  17. Jens Berglind, Might and Delight
  18. Joakim Andreasson, Paradox Development Studio
  19. Jona Marklund, KJ Interactive
  20. Martin Greip, Eat Create Sleep
  21. Max Tiilikainen, iGotcha Studios
  22. Olof Wallentin, Starbreeze Studios
  23. Pernilla Sparrhult, Paradox Development Studio
  24. Peter Stråhle, Might and Delight
  25. Sigrid Svederoth, Cortopia AB
  26. Teddy Sjöström, Pixel Ferrets
  27. Thommy Siverman, Electronic Arts
  28. Tobias Wahlberg, TOB-E GAMES
  29. Vilya Svensson, Pixel Ferrets
  30. 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!

Which talk should we pick?

One of our still-secret but crazy-awesome speakers is just blasting ideas at us – they have pitched no less than 4 excellent talks so far!

We love them all and can’t seem to pick one! Please help us decide by voting in our poll:

Thanks for weighing in, and please check out all the conference sessions so far!

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!

Swedish Game Awards in Visby

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. 🙂

Anouncement over at the Swedish Game Awards blog

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 Execution and Best Execution in Narrative. Head on over at our less-official department blog for a full list of all SGA-awards earned by our students.

Earn a free conference pass!

Three of the 2016 jurors, hard at work jotting down feedback and discussing the projects they've seen
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.

So; if you are interested in going to Visby to meet our students, provide them with thoughtful feedback, and participate in a uniquely wide-eyed games conference, simply fill in the application!

Thank you!

Educators Summit update

Adam Mayes introduction lecture for Big Game Project, 2012
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.

Please check the summit page for all details and to submit presentations!

Conference sessions so far

Audience at GGC 2016 sessions
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.

There have a big-picture talk from the father of MMO’s – Richard Bartle – about the surprising interweaving of human rights and the virtual worlds we create.

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. 🙂

UPDATE 2017-04-12: slot 5 is in place!

Tickets are available!

Registration for the 2017 Gotland Game Conference (29/5 & 30/5 in Visby) is now open! Please visit our page to register. registration page screenshot

The GGC is an annual non-profit conference hosted by the department of Game Design at Uppsala University campus Gotland.

About the Visitors Pass

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?

    Invoicing is available to groups of 4 or more. Fill in that form. We will contact you to confirm the order before printing the invoice!

  • What’s included with the GAME Student and GAME Alumni passes?

    They are full conference passes, so: food during the VIP booth crawl, 2 lunches, coffee breaks with snacks, pre-award champagne mingle and a drink ticket.

  • What’s included with the Visitors Pass?

    Everything except the food stuff. A Visitors Pass will still get you into any of the talks, the show floor and (if you’re 18+) the award ceremony and party.

Any other questions? Email Ulf Benjaminsson (ulf dot benjaminsson at speldesign dot uu dot se) and we’ll update this post over time.

The theme is up!

The theme of the conference has been set – we call it M for Mature for short. Let me share a piece by Doris C. Rusch that helped inspire this choice;

“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.

Thus; M for Mature.

And there will be juicy bits. 🙂