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Community Conversations: Thinking Video Games: Finding a Niche in Academia


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This panel discussion will bring together faculty from various, unrelated disciplines to explore the fledgling field of video games studies, and examine video games as an artistic, narrative medium separate from film or literature, and their place in academic thought. Points of discussion will include: Understanding the historical birth of video games as a medium and relating it to the birth of other (artistic?) mediums; Studying video games textually as one would literature as opposed to socially or psychologically; Considering video games as situated between the aesthetics of the moving picture and the principles of environmental design; Questioning the future of video games as an artistic, narrative-based medium without necessarily projecting advances in technology or video games’ future financial success.
The panel will also discuss the tenets of ludology, a discipline which regards video games as texts made primarily of rules, and the underlying assertion that disciplines that study traditional narrative (English, film studies, etc.) do not have an adequate toolbox to critically approach games; thus, the field of games studies should be separate from traditional media studies. Jasper Juul’s Half-Real: Video Games Between Real Rules and Fictional Worlds and Gamestudies.org, the first peer-reviewed, academic journal for the study of video games, offer foundation for this study. Science Librarian Annie Zeidman Karpinski, manager of the UO Libraries video game collection will assist with the bibliography.

Community Conversations is an academic program that is one of the Living Learning Initiatives of University Housing in partnership with the Clark Honors College, the Oregon Humanities Center, and Undergraduate Studies. The goal of Community Conversations is to stimulate intellectual curiosity, critical thinking, contrarian debate, and articulate discourse among the 3,300+ residential students at the University of Oregon.

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