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AoIR 9 wiki


IR9, day 1, 5pm: Practice Theory

Beyond Place: Using Concepts and Methods of Practice Theory to Study Mediated Experience

Edgar Gomez Cruz
From virtual communities to co-presence practices: Some theoretical notes from the field

[Mark]my PC just crashed and I lost all my notes![/Mark]

Annette Markham

Adolfo Estalella

David Silver

Well, here’s a photo of David, at least…

From Copenhagen, Oct 16

IR9, day 1, 3:30pm: Video game cultures, innovation, and user generated content

From Copenhagen, Oct 16

Hector Postigo

Fan studies/Political economy
Terranova and social factory (working for nothing)/Jenkins and participatory culture (everyone media rich)

Picking at social factory:
Are theories of post-industrial labor enough for understanding what work means to co-producers?
There is in fact agency, etc. and the actors aren’t just dupes for the cog machine.

Two examples:

  1. GI Joe mod as resistance
    idea that love of the game and creation = rights
    equate the mod with DeCSSS makes the mod no longer a game but a symbol of resistance
  2. AOL volunteering as passionate labor with intrinsic rewards
    15k people volunteering
    access to gui to create content, etc.

These larger theories can’t get at specific people’s voices nor cover what happens when work becomes not work anymore.

Olli Sotamaa
Democratizing the console environment?

Do the XNA and WiiWare actually democratize? Not really. They more just extend the oligopoly.

Modding is more democratizing.
“casual modding” includes LitteBigPlanet, etc.

MyBuzz (website or PS3? to create quiz games).

Julian Kucklich
Collusion: Mapping connections between games and users
cheating = de-lodology
Titiana Terranova

Within gamespace, some moves are possible and some impossible for specific people. This goes hand in hand with labor concept.

I find it funny that Julian really wants to do a roundtable chat but he is following the lecture format. He says that he doesn’t want to do slideshows and he keeps saying “we’re talking about…” but yet he still just lectures. Too much stuff to cover in too little time. ๐Ÿ™

Gaming capital (not cultural capital): capitalizing play, bending the structure, commodifying gamespace

distribution of risk from center of games to periphery

the logic of play is infused by the logic of gain and more and more logic of risk

Aphra Kerr – NUI Maynooth, Sociology
Outsourcing risk

Discourse: Rise of open innovation, etc.
Reality: Distributed productions and offshoring, Accumulation by disposession

Not much stuff going on in Irish gaming market. Middleware, underbidding licensed stuff, or distributed original production.

Three trends: disintermediation (online distribution), distributed production, ownership and policing of IP

IR9, day 1, 11am: Multiplayer gaming

On the 15th I went to the In the Game workshop and then dinner party afterwards. I’ll skip that and go straight to the conference which started on the 16th, but here’s a photo of my breakfast spread. ๐Ÿ™‚

From Copenhagen, Oct 15

Celia Pearce
Identity as place: Trans-ludic identities in mediated play communities-The case of the Uru diaspora


  • fictive ethnicity attached to virtual place
  • diasporic discourses of displacement
  • imaginary community v. imagined community

method includes:

  • feminist eth, etc. but also
  • ethnography as game (Denzen)

Refugees of Uru would evaluate different VWs and games as possible places to migrate to.
They used the same identities from place to place incl. clothing/avatar appearance.
They also recreated architectural artifacts (like the fountain, the common hub for the game Uru) to keep cultural artifacts and continuity in space/place.

It was the loss of Uru that led to the creation the identity/community.

Celia mentioned briefly a conference happening at Georgia Tech.

More info on Celia and her research can be found at http://cpandfriends.com/

Emily Hannan
Virtual worlds: Forming relationships online and offline within gaming communities

Unfortunately, Emily was a no show.

Luca Rossi
MMORPG guilds as online communities: Power, space, and time in virtual worlds

Not in so many words, but essentially, I think Luca is saying that shared goals are sometimes in conflict with individual goals, which is something I’ve been thinking a lot about as I write my expertise and socialization paper.

Luca claims that guilds are not fluid and getting in and out is difficult.

I don’t think that is true for all guilds… not true for many guilds in fact, or maybe just on my server?
Also, he conflates guilds with raiding! Why do people still do this? Did I have a completely abnormal server?
In my experience, people might have to go through some sort of application process but to leave a guild (breaking up friendships, aside) is actually quite easy.


Luca then the use of tools to manage time and to lower downtime such as calendars, etc.

How conflicts are resolved: Hirschman voice/exit concept -> when conflict happens you talk and then /gkick as last resort.

gkick is a form of power

He didn’t cover conflict management in detail but just 3 ways to leave guilds.
It would be more interesting to talk about the tension between personal and group goals. Then also talk about specific motivations for leaving or staying. What is compelling about staying that people put up with drama? Do some players recognize that management and work is needed for the labor of fun?

Also, he didn’t show us anything from outside of the game. Isn’t there a whole social economy that affects power dynamics and reputations?

I thought what he covered is basically was very superficial, but maybe it’s a language barrier…

Mia Consalvo
Where’s my montage? The performance of hard work and its reward in film, tv, and MMOGs
Mia and her students were in a seminar that did an exploration of what a Unit Operation is (from Bogost).
A “unit” is a building block, and each medium uses a different procedural rhetoric to express them.

I see units as genre conventions that have certain qualities and attributes that can be expressed across media.

They used the “hard work is rewarded” unit and tried to see how it is expressed differently in different media.

montage in films = (bypassing) grinding in games, etc.
montage is done by cutting/pasting in films, cheating in games

Rettberg’s corporate ideology (Yee says this too)
puritan work ethic, myth of american dream

Roger (who was sitting next to me) makes a good point in that there’s a performative act while playing games that is different than in other media. Does that make comparing texts harder to do even if a common unit can be found? In other words, the expression depends on the actions of the player, not just the author… and different players might do different things such that the unit is fungy.

Also, what operations are happening between units that are making unique or maybe not unique meanings to players? I thought Ian’s emphasis was not the unit but the various combinations and connections and networks they created and related to each other.

For a static text, units operate with each other and create a narrative meaning. For games, it seems like it is much more emergent and that specific units might not surface for all players.

Most of the questions about Mia’s talk came from niggling about the the content of the unit (grinding and montage) and not the concept of the unit. Ah well…

Total aside, wouldn’t it be great if Blizzard announced to everyone that we’d all be moving to a different, better game without all this crap grind?

Cph, day 1, October 14

I arrived to Copenhagen just fine. The flight was half empty so I was able to switch seats to an almost empty row. I kind of wish I booked the flight right before leaving, though, as I prob would’ve saved like $200.

What was kind of annoying was that the movies (peronal screen on the seatback in front of you) weren’t on-demand, so after watching one, you had no idea if the movie playing on the next channel over had just started or was midway or what… I watched The Incredible Hulk and Hancock and a part of Little Miss Sunshine.

Copenhagen’s airport feels a lot like a train station. Or at least, the connection to mass transit is featured much more prominently than Sea-Tac’s bus stops in ghetto land. I snapped a few shots while waiting for the train into town and then some more of the cityscape as I emerged from my train stop at Kongens Nytorv.

From Copenhagen, Oct 14

Lots of bicyles, like Amsterdam. Lots of huge, old buildings, like Amsterdam. I like already!

From Copenhagen, Oct 18

I checked into a tiny hotel room, by American standards, but it seems the norm for Europe.
After checking in, I met up with Casey and he told me that some people were getting dinner at 5. A few hours to kill, I went downstairs and asked the woman if there was an internet cafe around. She said that there was a place just round the corner that might be open (it’s a national holiday this week or something.. some Autum festival…).

The cafe is called Holberg 19, in case you’re wondering. They have a laptop set up that has a funky keyboard which is half broken, so typing on it was a pain. I decided to come back later with my own laptop.

Hector (Temple) called me from my hotel lobby after I got back to my hotel room, and he and I worked for a couple of hours at that cafe while we waited for dinnertime.

That was nice, and Hector had some great tips for entering the job market, especially from a Communications angle. While there, my stomach acid started going nuts (as can happen when I travel it seems), so I took a quick break to head back to the hotel room and take some baking soda pills that Robin made.

I also stopped by a convenience store nearby to get some lotion that I forgot to pack. I couldn’t read any of the labels so I just went with the cheapest one (33 DKK ~ $6), and it turns out to be really thick and greasy. Ah well… it’s just for a week.

Anyway, after working a bit, we met up with Casey (UGA), his wife Andrea, Shira (RPI), and Roger (Utah) and went out to dinner, which was quite good and featured ridiculously huge sandwiches.

Things here are expensive, though. The burger was 140 DKK which is about $28! It was really good, but damn… I’m considering frequenting the various hot dog stands I see. Roger says they are pretty good, and a dog costs about 25 DKK. Much more affordable!

While eating my burger, my temporary crown broke off! Sheesh, will my dental nightmare never end? I*’m hoping that I can just make sure to clean that tooth really well after meals and hold out until I get the permanent crown put in scheduled for the 23rd back in Seattle. Man!

We then went to an Irish pub, the Dubliner for a bit and talked about games, narrative, embodiment, emergence, the TWC issue that Casey, Hector, and I are all contributing to, the In The Game workshop that Casey and I are in tomorrow, etc.

Got back here, worked a bit, fell asleep at 10. Now I’m awake at 3 AM writing this blog post in a text editor to upload tomorrow when I have net access. I gotta get more sleep and I was practically falling over during dinner, but I seem pretty awake right now… 2 hours during the flight and now 4 hours tonight. That doesn’t seem good…

Off to Copenhagen!

I’m off to Copenhagen today and will be there for a week!

Mainly, I’m going to attend the Association of Internet Researchers conference, as I’m in the pre-conference workshop titled In the Game. I’ll be hanging out with a slew of cool people (Casey, Sean, Roger, Hector, Cassandra, Keith, Keith, etc.) I met last year in Vancouver at the same conference. In fact, it’s mostly the vibe and energy I felt from last time that made me decide I should put this conference on my regular attendance list. I hope others I met last year (Lilly, Alice, Clifford, etc.) will be there too!

I’m also looking forward to my second trip to Europe (first was The Netherlands earlier this year!) and hanging out with Lindsay and Tom and Cavan after the conference is over.

Check out this cool blog my brother found on bicycling in Copenhagen!