Archive for the ‘Computer Games’ Category

Is it Pokemon or Big Data ?

Sunday, November 29th, 2015

Is it Pokemon or Big Data ? is a simple game where you are presented with a name and you have to guess if it is a big data company or a Pokemon creature. My thanks to Jane for this.

Canadian video game industry catching up to TV & film production

Monday, November 16th, 2015

The CBC has a story on how the Canadian video game industry catching up to TV & film production. The story is based on the annual report of the Entertainment Software Association of Canada (ESAC). You can download the PDF from here. Some of the interesting facts from the report include:

  • The video game industry employs 20,400 people (up 24% from 2013) with an average salary of $71,300.
  • The currecnt skills most lacking in the talent pool include programming, artist and animation, data analysis, and game design.
  • Quebec has 29.4% of the companies or 10,850 full-time employees (53% of all direct employment).
  • Revenues from console games are down and mobile games are up.

ReFig 2015

Sunday, November 8th, 2015

I’ve just left the ReFig 2015 workshop. I kept my workshop notes at Re-Figuring Innovation in Games (ReFig) 2015. Important research with an awesome team that I hope to follow. Last night we were treated to a conversation with Anita Sarkeesian that was fascinating. She has had more of an effect and probably done more good research in preparing the videos than most of the rest of us. There are lessons to be learned about how to address a broader audience, how to have an impact, and how to stay focused on social justice.

Replaying Japan 2016

Friday, October 30th, 2015

The Call for Papers for Replaying Japan 2016 is up. See CFP here.

The theme of Replaying Japan 2016 is “From Pac-Man to the present: Japanese Games between the local and global”

The conference will be held for the first time in Europe at Leipzig University from August 15 to 17, 2016. This is right before GAMESCOM in Cologne, Germany.

Join us!

Depositing Archives

Friday, June 12th, 2015

We have recently deposited two research archives here at the University of Alberta. One is the John B. Smith Archive. You can download bundles or the complete archive which can be found at Amy Dyrbye and I worked with John B. Smith to assemble this, document it and deposit it in ERA (the Education and Research Archive).

Another archive that we are building is a collection around Gamergate. The DOI for this is:


For this we are using Dataverse that allows us to manage the archive and publish some parts or not.

Given the work that goes into developing and documenting these archives I would argue that they should be considered scholarly work, but that is another matter.

Pachinko Development Story

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

Wandering around the KYORAKU company web site I came across a recruitment section including two manga that tell (dramatised) stories of the development of machines. The image above is from one of the manga that tells the story of the development of a pachinko Winter Sonata, a popular Korean soap. Pachinko machines like this are developed to attract more women into pachinko parlours as audience numbers are declining. I was struck that the team, at least as shown in the comic, has no women designers, which raises the question of whether there are any women designers?

Replaying Japan 2015

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

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I’m at the Replaying Japan 2015conference at Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, Japan. You can see my conference notes here. The conference features a keynote by the father of the Final Fantasy games who will talk on “From the Famicon to the World: The Lineage of JRPGs’ Globalization from the Perspective of the Genesis of Final Fantasy.”

Why empathy is the next big thing in video games

Sunday, May 17th, 2015

CBC Spark with Nora Young had a segment on Why empathy is the next big thing in video games. The category seems to map onto “persuasive games” or “art games.” Some of the games mentioned:

  • RIOT – a forthcoming game where you experience being in riots
  • Spirits of Spring – about a “young native in a mythical land”
  • Papo and Yo – about alchoholism

Ian Bogost talks on the segment and makes the argument that in empathy games one feels a different type of empathy than in narrative media. When you make the choices you have something at stake. He also made a point about empathy with systems that I didn’t quite get. He talked about systems oriented game design where you get exposed to a different system or environment and learn about it through playing. The idea is that by playing someone running a fast food chain you learn about the system of fast food. You learn to empathize with the fast food mogul in order to understand the constraints those systems are under.

The Let’s Play Archive

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

The Let’s Play Archive is a charming collection of play-throughs of games. Some use screenshots and text, others link to video with voiceovers. Useful for understanding historical games.

Gone Home: A Story Exploration Video Game

Sunday, April 12th, 2015

Just finished a gem of a game called Gone Home: A Story Exploration Video Game. The game is simple. You are the older daughter returned to an empty home after a year in Europe. You wander around the house finding notes and other clues as to where your family is. In the process you uncover the stories of your parents, your sister and a dead uncle. The ending had me in tears – proof for me that a game can evoke emotions.

The empty and mysterious mood reminds me of other games that use that mood like Dear Esther and even Myst.