Replaying Japan 2024 – The 12th International Japan Game Studies Conference – [Conference Theme] Preservation, Innovation and New Directions in Japanese Game Studies [Dates] Monday, August 19 (University at Buffalo, SUNY) Tuesday, August 20 (University at Buffalo, SUNY) Wednesday, August 21 (The Strong National Museum of Play) [Locations] University at Buffalo, SUNY (North Campus) and … Continue reading “Call for papers 2024”
The Call for Papers for Replaying Japan 2024 has just gone out. The theme is Preservation, Innovation and New Directions in Japanese Game Studies.
The conference which is being organized by Tsugumi (Mimi) Okabe at the University of Buffalo is also going to have one day at the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester which has a fabulous collection of Japanese video game artefacts.
The conference could be considered an example of regional game studies, but Japan is hardly at the periphery of the games industry even if it is under represented in game studies as a field. It might be more accurate to describe the conference and community that has gathered around it as a inter-regional conference where people bring very different perspectives on game studies to international discussion of Japanese game culture.
U of A computing scientists work with Japanese researchers to refine a virtual and mixed reality video game that can improve motor skills for older adults and sedentary people.
The Folio of the University of Alberta published a story about a trip to Japan that I and others embarked on, U of A computing scientists work with Japanese researchers on virtual reality game to get people out of their seats. Ritsumeikan invited us to develop research collaborations around gaming, language and artificial intelligence. Our visit was a chance to further the collaborations, like the one my colleagues Eleni Stroulia and Victor Fernandez Cervantes are developing with Thawmas Ruck around games for older adults. This inter-university set of collaborations build on projects I was involved in going back to 2011, including a conference (Replaying Japan) and a journal, the Journal of Replaying Japan.
The highlight was the signing of a Memorandum Of Understanding by the two presidents (of U of A and Ritsumeikan). I was also involved as was Professor Nakamura. May the collaboration thrive.
Yesterday I was part of a signing ceremony for a Memorandum of Agreement between Ritsumeikan University and the University of Alberta. I and the President of the University of Alberta (Bill Flanagan) signed on behalf of U of A. The MOU described our desire to build on our collaborations around Replaying Japan. We hope to build collaborations around artificial intelligence, games, learning, and digital humanities. KIAS and the AI4Society signature area have been supporting this research collaboration.
Today (March 2nd, 2023) we are having a short conference at Ritsumeikan that included a panel about our collaboration, at which I talked, and a showcase of research in game studies at Ritsumeikan.
At the conference I organized a roundtable about the Replaying Japan conference itself titled “Ten Years of Dialogue: Reflecting on Replaying Japan.” I moderated the discussion and started with a brief history that I quote from here:
The Replaying Japan conference will have been going now for ten years if you include its predecessor symposium that was held in 2012 in Edmonton, Canada.
The encounter around Japanese Game Culture came out of the willingness of Ritsumeikan University to host Geoffrey Rockwell as a Japan Foundation Japan Studies Fellow in Kyoto in 2011. While Rockwell worked closely with researchers like Prof. INABA at the Ritsumeikan Digital Humanities Centre for Japanese Arts and Culture, he also got to meet Professors Nakamura and Koichi at the Ritsumeikan Centre for Game Studies. Out of these conversations it became clear that game studies in the West and game studies in Japan were not in conversation. The research communities were siloes working in their own languages that didn’t intermingle much. We agreed that we needed to try to bridge the communities and organized a first small symposium in 2012 in Edmonton with support from the Prince Takamado Japan Centre at the University of Alberta. At a meeting right after the symposium we developed the idea for a conference that could go back and forth between Japan and the West called Replaying Japan. Initially the conference just went back and forth between Kyoto and Edmonton, but we soon started going to Europe and the USA which expanded the network.
(From the abstract for the roundtable)
At the conference I was also part two papers that were presented others:
Keiji Amano presented on “The Rise and Fall of Popular Amusement: Operation Invader Shoot Down.” This paper looked at Nagoya tabloids and how they described the explosion of Space Invaders as a threat to the pachinko industry.
Mimi Okabe presented on “Moral Management in Japanese Game Companies” which discussed how certain Japanese game companies manager their ethical reputation. We looked as specific issues like forced labour in the supply chain, gender issues, and work-life balance.
Leonardo Impett has a nice demonstration here of ImageGraph: a visual programming language for the Visual Digital Humanities. ImageGraph is a visual programming environment that works with Google Colab. When you have your visual program you can compile it into Python in a Colab notebook and then run that notebook. The visual program is stored in your Github account and the Python code can, of course, be used in larger projects.
The visual programming language has a number of functions for handling images and using artificial intelligence techniques on them. It also has text functions, but they are apparently not fully worked out.
I love the way Impett combines off the shelf systems while adding a nice visual development environment. Very clean.
The article talks about the carbon cost of flying and the advantages of econferencing, that we have all learned about in this pandemic. It asks about after the pandemic.
As we move into the post-pandemic future, we find ourselves at a crossroads. Once travel restrictions are lifted, will we return to face-to-face conferences and double-down on travel requirements? Or will we continue to explore more sustainable, virtual alternatives, like econferences?
Gather is a video-calling space that lets multiple people hold separate conversations in parallel, walking in and out of those conversations just as easily as they would in real life.
Kisha introduced me to Gather, a cross between Second Life and Zoom. If you have a Gather account you can create a space – your own little classroom with different gathering spots. People then move around these 8-bit animated spaces and when they are in hearing distance they can video conference. Users can also read posters put up, or documents left around, or watch videos created for a space. It actually looks like a nice type of space for a class to use as an alternative to Zoom.
This paper focuses on the fact that AI is predominantly portrayed as white—in colour, ethnicity, or both. We first illustrate the prevalent Whiteness
“The Whiteness of AI” was mentioned in an online panel following The State of AI Ethics report (October 2020) from the Montreal AI Ethics Institute. This article starts from the observation that if you search Google images for “robot” or “AI” you get predominately images of white (or blue) entities. (Go ahead and try it.) From there it moves to the tendency of “White people; and the persistent tendency of members of that group, who dominate the academy in the US and Europe, to refuse to see themselves as racialised or race as a matter of concern at all.” (p. 686)
The paper then proposes three theories about the whiteness of AI to make it strange and to challenge the myth of colour-blindness that many of us in technology related fields live in. Important reading!