New York last week

So I was at the State of Play conference last week, which put me in New York City!

Stayed with cousin Lee-kai on the west side. It was brilliant except that our busy schedules meant that we only actually hung out for like 3 hours total: a game of Race for the Galaxy when I arrived on Tuesday and lunch at Crema with Jafe (friend from high school and husband of Crema owner, Julieta) the next day. Lee-kai and his friends know RftG really, really well and basically kicked my ass even though just the week before I won a game at home. In my defense, I guess, I had some really crappy cards throughout the game and waffled on which specialization I should take. I don’t think that game is about diversifying at all, and I paid for it.

Crema was as fantastic as the last time I was in New York back in April 2008. Mmmmm.¬†Other restaurants I got to try out were Big Nick’s (got a guacamole burger), Penang (got sizzling tofu which was good but had that weird slimy coating that I sometimes see on tofu; what is that stuff? Also, Krista-Lee thinks she got sick on the curry chicken… ūüôĀ ),¬†Buona Notte (“the best” claimed the street hawkers),¬†the cafe above Fairway on Broadway,¬†Golden Unicorn (full on Chinese banquet, ftw!), and Katz’s (hot pastrami sandwich, yum). Pretty much great food all around.

Katz's pastrami sandwich
Katz's pastrami sandwich

Since I think the conference sessions were summarized pretty well by others (Raph, Tim, Bart, Sara, Greg L at Terra Nova, twitter hashtag #sop09), I’ll stick to the people I met. Anyway, I place more importance on the connections made and individual and collective collisions of people and ideas than I do on the sessions, so it’s pretty appropriate to list the fine folks I met.

I met a ton of really cool people including lots of grad students (note 1) at the grad student symposium (Thursday) and a bunch of profs and others (note 2) during the rest of conference days (Friday and Saturday).

I created a backchannel (thanks to Sylvie who got it from Liz for the backchannel app) for the grad students who were in the symposium to use during the conference, which was later shared by the conference organizer, Dan Hunter (<3), and also broadcast to the world on the Terra Nova blog! Yikes. Not so backy, that backchannel. At one point, they projected the backchannel on a screen during a session, which sort of killed it for a while. Then during the last session, the app bugged out on us! I sent a tweet to the developer and was able to get it back up and saved an xml file of the transcript which can later be synced with the video that was taken for each session. (I haven’t decided if I’m going to share it with the world or just the grad students…)

I got a chance to walk around Central Park with KL, play cards, drink some cider and wine, ride the subway (and look like I knew what I was doing and where I was going due to the distributed cognition going on between me and my Android phone), share some Lonely Island and Death Star canteen, and meet a whole asston of Terror Nova guildmates. Terror Nova was outed at the conference by Ta-Nehisi Coates during his panel. ūüôā

In secret, the State of Play conference was Dan’s way of getting as many Terror Novas together in one place at the same time. It was also meant to connect grad students with each other and generate great momentum for moving VW, MMO, and games research forward. Slight misnomer: games research. The majority of us are actually studying players. Player research.


Jakob J. Assmann,¬†Institute for Information, Organization and Management,¬†Munich School of Management — Jakob and I toured around Times Square one night after all the evening’s festivities. It was great fun!

Mark Danger Chen, Learning Sciences, College of Education, University of Washington – Seattle — that’s me!

Samuel Coavoux,¬†Center for Research on Socialization (Groupe de Recherche sur la Socialisation),¬†Ecole Normale Superieure – Lettres et Sciences Humaines — We lost Sam when a group of us went to Times Square (the night after Jakob and I toured around it). I texted and called him several times only to find out from others the next day that he was fine. Damn freakin international long distance charges… ūüôā

David DeWester,¬†Management Information Systems,¬†¬†Department of Management,¬†University of Nebraska ‚Äď Lincoln — David is really, really into Asian cultural products apparently. I wasn’t sure how to read it.. just pure excitement? a hint of colonialism and exoticizing the Asian (orientalizing?)? but anyway, he seemed like a nice guy. ūüôā

Greg Dhen,¬†Laboratory for a prospective anthropology (LAAP),¬†University of Leuven (UCL) — Greg from Belgium had a more difficult time with the English than the others I think. His research seemed really interesting, and I hope to stay in touch with him.

Sean C. Duncan,¬†Department of Curriculum & Instruction,¬†Games+Learning+Society Initiative, University of Wisconsin Madison — Sean got a job! Sean got a job! Sean got a job! Hooray!

Nathan T. Dutton, School of Media Arts and Studies, Ohio University — one of Mia Consalvo’s. I met Nathan at an AoIR conference a while back when it was in Vancouver. His stuff has always been interesting and he’s not shy, so I’m sure he’ll go places with his academic career.

Eric Ellis, Educational Technology, Pepperdine University — Eric healz like nobuddy’s buziness. He’s also among the top raid leaders in the world, I’m sure. Not in terms of raid progress but in terms of management and communication skills.

Deborah A. Fields, Graduate School of Education & Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles — Debbie is keenly cool, very thoughtful about methods and findings, and smart to boot.

Matthew Gaydos, Educational Psychology, Learning Science Doctoral Program, University of Wisconsin – Madison — Crazy Matt. Every time I see him online I yell his toon name to mimic a line from the play Iphigenea.

Sara M. Grimes, School of Communication, Simon Fraser University — Like Nathan, I met Sara up in Vancouver a few years ago. Also like with Nathan, we didn’t really hang out back then, so it was cool getting to know her better. It turns out we basically have the exact same tastes in popular culture. She’s smarter though, or at least seems smarter since she knows stuff about philosophers. I need to sit with her at dinners at every opportunity presented to me so that I can absorb some of that insight.

Juho Hamari, Advanced Virtual Economy Applications (AVEA) – research project, Helsinki Institute for Information Technology (HIIT), Helsinki University of Technology (TKK) — Juho is cool. Black suit cool. Black suit smoker cool. And his research is really cool, too. Not sure about his taste in music though. ūüôā

Shawna Kelly, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern California — She bugged out one day and watched the live video feed of the conference instead. From her hotel room. Eating delivered sushi. Damn her and her sushi! But as a fellow engineer, she of course rocks.

Yong Ming Kow, University of California ‚Äď Irvine — I actually didn’t get to know Yong Ming that well, but as with everyone else, the esteem I place is pretty high. ūüôā

Andras Lukacs-Kocso, Department of Sociology, Loyola University Chicago — Andras and I kept calling each other Wednesday night when some of us who were in NYC early met up for dinner and then drinks after. We kept missing each others calls and then not really hearing each other when we got connected. But finally, we met up and all was good. Very good to have him on my team.

Krista-Lee M. Malone, Department of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee — I cited her DKP paper in my Games and Culture paper. Turns out that hers was just published this week, too (which makes my reference outdated since I cited the SSRN version I think)! I met her last year at GLS but it turns out that she had a flu back then so didn’t hang out with the rest of the guild. This time, though, we hung out lots. Not enough, though. I like her. Might work on a paper with her in the future (with gracious aknowledgements to Ren Reynolds for pointing out how similar our research is).

Jennifer Martin, Department of Media Studies, Faculty of Information and Media Studies, The University of Western Ontario — Another guildie. Didn’t get to talk much since she was staying in Queens, but it was cool to meet (yet) another guildie. ūüôā

Lindy McKeown, Australian Digital Futures Institute, University of Southern Queensland — Really insightful comments and questions.

John Carter McKnight, Human and Social Dimensions of Science and Technology, Arizona State University — We can be impostors together, John!

Tyler Pace, School of Informatics, Human-Computer Interactions and Design, Indiana University — Hmm… again, we didn’t talk much (if at all…) face to face, but we did sort of talk over the backchannel. Love that backchannel.

Barton K. Pursel, College of Information Sciences and Technology, Pennsylvania State University — He was liveblogging the conference. That is hard work. Thanks Bart!

Kristin A. Searle, Graduate School of Education, Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania — Alas, I don’t think we talked at all… ūüôĀ But her research sounds really interesting.

Cuihua (Cindy) Shen, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern California — Someone who works on the Massive Amounts of Data(TM) provided by Sony to Dmitri Williams and crew.

David W. Simkins, Curriculum & Instruction, University of Wisconsin – Madison — Guildie. Works with Constance. Role-playing games. Ethics. Great.

Nicolas Suzor, School of Law, Queensland University of Technology — for a conference that originally focused on law and VWs, I think it’s surprising to find that Nic was like the only law student! Plus he got a job!

Joshua Glen Tanenbaum, School of Interactive Arts and Technology, Simon Fraser University — Guildie. Probably one of the few who focuses specifically on how game design affects player experience. Cool stuff. We need to organize a Pacific Northwest guild meet-up.

Jing (Annie) Wang, Department of Communication Studies, Northwestern University — Studies expertise! She also got a postdoc, so that’s cool.

Moses B. Wolfenstein, Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis, University of Wisconsin – Madison — Moses supposes and he supposes right. Unfortunately, Moses could only stay for the first day. Another guildie.

Li (Leo) Xiong, University of Southern California — Also didn’t talk to much. We’ll make up for that through our online group that we started.

2. (no order) Bart Simon, Ren Reynolds, Thomas Malaby, Doug Thomas, Mia Consalvo, Torill Mortensen, Jesse Houston, Tim Burke, Tom Boellstorff, Greg Lastowka, Andy Zaffron, Sande Chen, Rita Bush, Ted Castronova, Dmitri Williams, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Chuck Cohen, Julian Dibbell, James Grimmelmann, Jia Ji, Raph Koster, Liz Lawley, Will Leverett, Liz Losh, Dan Norton, Tori Horton, Jerry Paffendorf, Diana Rhoten, Michael Schrage, Michael Theis, Kevin Farrell, Mike Sellers, Kevin Werbach

3 thoughts on “New York last week”

Leave a Reply