I’m co-coordinating the AMC’s game and simulation design track, Imagining Better Futures Through Play. It will be all about using play and rule sets to understand why many existing systems aren’t working, and to model and experiment with alternatives. It’s the first time that the concept of play as a tool for social change will be explored as a full track, and I’m so proud of the content we’ll have this year. Check out the sessions here.
There will also be the Drop-in Playpen, an ongoing showcase of a wide selection of videogames and tabletop games, along with a 3D simulation of Detroit. We’re stoked to be presenting games by the likes of Anna Anthropy, Molleindustria, Toronto’s own Damian Sommer and more!
There are two huge ways you can get involved and support Imagining Better Futures:
1. Register for the Allied Media Conference (June 28 – July 1, Detroit) and participate in Imagining Better Futures Through Play! Presentations are only one part of the equation. We need your voices, your ideas, and your energy. There are lots of other tracks as well, such as Research Justice and Webmaking.
2. If you want free conference registration, consider volunteering for a 3-hour shift in the Drop-In Playpen. Your tasks will include welcoming people to the space, showing people how to play games, troubleshooting technical issues, and participating in multiplayer games. Sign up here.
3. Forward this info to anyone you think might be interested in the intersection of games and activism.
Hand Eye member and Social hoster David Fono let us know about his latest project, sure to be of interest to ARG fans:
ZED is an immersive narrative experience that simulates an end of the world scenario and encourages its participants to engage with the story through various mediums… By charting the rise and fall of ByoLogyc, a fictional biotech corporation, ZED is an investigation into the hubris of mankind in its hurry to innovate and improve itself – regardless of the price.
If you want to be involved, consider contributing to their Indiegogo campaign, which ends in 37 hrs. I went to an event hosted in a gallery in Yorkville and they’d pulled out all the stops: great improv from the actors demoing the “products” and a lot of production value.
Also ending this weekend is Scott Carruthers’ mesmerizing Parallax Scroll show at Harbourfront. This game-referencing cartoon universe is proof that you don’t need 3D models to create a compelling and immersive world: a vision and a sharpie will do just as well.
But maybe you’re too busy planning for the impending Toronto Game Jam, May 11-13th? Well, you probably know about the IGDA’s next event then: the awesomely named “We All Die Together” TOJam Pre-mortem and Matchmaking Event on Thursday. If you need a programmer or an artist for a future game project you’ll definitely want to fill in their online survey to take part.
Difference Engine Initiative participant Stephanie Fisher sends along this call for observers and participants, with an April 1st deadline.
We are inviting submissions for participation in an inaugural “Feminists in Games” workshop to be held in Toronto, Ontario at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in collaboration with York University, Simon Fraser University and OCAD University from May 4-6, 2012. The structure of the workshop is two-fold:.
1) For Participants
We invite young and up-and-coming scholars as well as established practitioners in the field (including researchers, educators and practicing or aspiring game designers) who are interested in presenting a short paper (maximum 3000 words) on questions related to, but not limited to the challenge of advancing gender equity in relation to the following areas:
game design and development;
socio-cultural constructions of “gameplayers”;
player communities and online play; and
the games industry
Applicants will have the opportunity to bring their work into conversation with established feminist scholars and activists during a two-day invitational workshop. Participation and attendance at the conference is free. There is a limited amount of money allotted to assist participants with their travel costs. If you wish to apply for this funding please include a short statement (no more than 100 words) with your abstract describing your financial need.
2) For Observers
We invite members from the general public, the games industry and academia to attend keynotes and workshop roundtable sessions, and to lend their voices, perspectives and experiences to conversations and emerging initiatives that support feminist purposes and processes in games education, research, design and development. There will also be an opportunity to participate in a roundtable session aimed at generating a collaborative research project between scholars and industry professionals.
Those interested in participating may send abstracts of no more than 1000 words, outlining their research question(s) and approach, to Rachel Muehrer (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Jennifer Jenson (email@example.com) by April 1, 2012. Those wishing to attend as ‘observers’ (this includes the industry round table) are invited to reply by April 1, 2012 with a short statement about how attending might be of benefit to you (250 words).
People who are interested in a mix of politics and games will be interested to hear that the Allied Media Conference in Detroit is having a Play track this year. Hand Eye member and Difference Engine participant/coordinator Una Lee has passed on this call for session proposals — deadline’s in two weeks.
About the Allied Media Conference
The AMC cultivates media strategies for a more just and creative world. From the unique intersection of media and communications, art, technology, education and social justice, we share and develop models for transforming ourselves and our communities. More info here: http://amc.alliedmedia.org/amc2012/about/amc-mission
Imagining Better Futures Through Play Track
We play games because they are fun! They let us inhabit different worlds and help us tell our stories. Designing and playing brings us together in spaces that encourage experimentation, collaborative problem-solving, and helps us understand and re-imagine the nuts and bolts of complex systems. This track is focused on building movements through creative play, questioning how games teach us, resisting the dominant narratives produced by the video game industry, and working together to learn and hone key creative and technical skills though hands on workshops. We will explore conventional games (such as board & video games), physical and movement games, and new forms of play like simulations and alternate reality. We will share how our communities are using gaming and simulation to collectively imagine — and build — a better world.
What are we looking for?
We’re looking for track sessions that do one (or more!) of these things: 1) teach/practice technical or creative skills; 2) address and brainstorm about conceptual issues; 3) allow space for playing together. These proposals can take the form of workshops, panel discussions, facilitations, skillshares, or something else altogether. We are also looking for projects in progress or finished games that fit the mission of the AMC to exhibit at a game fair session. We especially encourage sessions that are: appropriate for all ages or are youth-focused; accessible to people with disAbilities; intersect with other topics that are being addressed during this year’s AMC; or are oriented toward affinity groups traditionally excluded from the gaming community. Proposals are due March 14! Game on!
The games made during the second incubator of the Difference Engine Initiative are here, along with screenshots and descriptions. Play a raging cyclist, an immoral prisoner, a space explorer, a Newfie adventurer, a memetic cat and a doughnut slaying questor.
The games of the DEI were showcased at the TIFF Bell Lightbox last month as a part of the Women in Film, Games and New Media Conference. If you missed it, you can watch the keynote and other videos here.