Six of the University of Washington's HASTAC Scholars simultaneously belong to a graduate interest group (GIG) funded by the Simpson Center for the Humanities, who sponsor our HASTAC nominations and provide for our working group. The GIG is called Keywords for Video Game Studies, and we have planned a year-long series of reading groups/workshops organized around various "key" terms/vocabulary as a way to navigate the burgeoning field(s) of video game studies (e.g. play, immersion/interactivity, avatar, power/control, pedagogy). For more information, go here: https://depts.washington.edu/critgame/wordpress/keywords/
To coincide with our GIG, we would like to propose to co-host a forum on video games/video game studies, inviting Scholars with aligned interests to help develop a focused yet fully-engaging forum. Given the Scholars broached the topic last year (see http://www.hastac.org/forums/hastac-scholars-discussions/participatory-play-digital-games-spacewar-virtual-peace), we would like to think about how to extend that conversation but take it in a different direction. The forum last year outlined a massive number of thought-threads. The UW group have tossed around ideas about teaching with video games, video games as digital text/artifacts, humanistic and/or computational approaches to video games, the tensions between interface and interactivity, and the troublesome metaphor of the "digital native" particularly when invoked in tandem with video games.
Given the recent attention to video games in the media (e.g. Roger Ebert's redux of "why video games can never be art" -- see our discussions here: https://depts.washington.edu/critgame/wordpress/2010/06/do-video-games-matter/ and here: https://depts.washington.edu/critgame/wordpress/2010/08/how-do-games-matter/ and the Supreme Court hearings on the California law banning video game sales to minors and the intensifying cinematographicness of video games and video gameness of movies), a new lively forum seems timely and worthwhile.
It would be interesting to take up thinking about the different kinds of questions we can ask about video games and video game studies that break away from the intellectual, political, and aesthetic ruts we are all too used to seeing:
--how do video games matter (not why or do they matter or are they art)?
--how do we develop a common vocabulary for video game studies?
--can we escape from the freak-of-the-week thematics of violence?
--how might we bring new interdisciplinary, multimodal approaches to video game studies (beyond the ludology/narratology debate, beyond the study of players/study of synthetic worlds)?
--can we only talk about video games in terms of previous media?
--is the push toward computational/platform studies also a problem?
--how do we study, teach, learn with, produce scholarship about video games?
Again, these are meant to be brainstormy. We'll pare down once we get a core group of hosts. Please email me changed @ uw.edu if you are interested in co-hosting a forum like this and offer what you'd like to see addressed. A special shout out to those who have already been active walking the walk and talking the talk about video games on the forums. Please join us! Thank you for your time and interest. Keep up the good work!