Hollywood Gamers – a new book on film and games

October 26, 2010 by

Hollywood Gamers: Digital Convergence in the Film and Video Game Industries – written by Robert Brookey, published by Indiana University Press, late 2010. 

Read bits of it here…

New book on games and film

March 29, 2010 by

Alexis Blanchet has a new book titled “Des Pixels à Hollywood. Cinéma et jeu vidéo, une histoire économique et culturelle” (“Pixels goes to Hollywood. Cinema & Video Games, an economical and cultural history”). The book is adapted from Alexis’ thesis about synergies between cinema and video games from the 1970’s to 2010.

For more on Alexis’ book, go here.


Crossroads in HK

March 16, 2010 by

“Cultural Studies and the Research of (Digital) Games” track at The 8th International Crossroads in Cultural Studies Conference in Hong Kong, June 17th – 21th 2010 features an interesting collection of papers, including a few that look to the relationship between games and film, including Harrison Gish’s paper ‘The Advancing Avatar. Projections of the Self in Literature, Film and Videogames’ and G.S Freyermuth presentation, ‘Games & Movies. Convergence vs. Complementarity: Towards a Theory of Audiovisuality in the Digital Age 

More information about the conference is at: http://www.crossroads2010.org

PhD scholarships

February 1, 2010 by

The IT University of Copenhagen (ITU) invites applications for a number of PhD scholarships starting in September 2010. We are interested in applications that focus on one or several of the subject areas below:

Game aesthetics, game ontology, games and narratives, game culture, game play, player communities, games and human computer interfaces/game testing, game artificial intelligence, player (cognitive and affective) modeling, computational intelligence and games.

Deadline: 24th March – noon

Full call at: Link

Game Center website: http://game.itu.dk

Game space c.f.p

January 22, 2010 by

CfP: LudotopiaWorkshop on Spaces, Places and Territories in Computer Games at the IT-University Copenhagen, 27-29th May 2010

The Center for Computer Games Research of the IT-University of Copenhagen and the Digital Games Research Center of the University of Potsdam hereby invite researchers and scholars from Game Studies, Media Studies, Cultural Studies and related fields to hand in proposals for the 1st Ludotopia-Workshop to be held in Copenhagen in May 2010.

The aim of the workshop is to evaluate current approaches to space in computer games as well as to discuss new ways of analyzing them. For this purpose papers will be selected and grouped in pairs. Contributors will then have to get in direct contact and prepare presentations on each other’s papers. These will then be discussed at the workshop.

Possible topics include but are not limited to:  Presentation and perception of computer game-spaces // Classification of computer game-spaces //  Site-specifity in computer games // Function of maps in computer games //  

Abstracts of 300-500 words are to be sent to ludotopia2010@googlemail.com by the 1st of March, clarifying the focus of the approach, the games to be analyzed and the related theories. Also welcome are suggestions for work-units. Participants will be notified by the 15th of March. Working papers need to be exchanged between the participants by the 1st of May and reworked until the 15th of May. The workshop is free of charge; participants are responsible for their own travel expenses and accommodation.

Center for Computer Games Research, IT University of Copenhagen. Rued Langgaards Vej 7. DK-2300 Copenhagen. http://game.itu.dk/

Digital Games Research Center, University of Potsdam, Am Neuen Palais 10, D-14469 Potsdam

Games papers

January 19, 2010 by

This special issue of EC is called Computer Games: Between text and practice  and it has papers on narrative in games, cinema and games, and game space.

Redefining Machinima

January 9, 2010 by

I am currently looking at a redefinition of what machinima is and feedback would be immensely welcome at <a href=”http://gtmachinimablog.lcc.gatech.edu/?p=291″>Free Pixel</a>. In two words: I try to base machinima on procedurality and performance.

(PS or try this link: http://gtmachinimablog.lcc.gatech.edu/?p=291 )


December 7, 2009 by


military media mix

November 29, 2009 by

Just stumbled first over the (relatively) new teaser trailer for America’s Army 3 on nba.com presenting pure in-game footage and a reload of the same page replaced that trailer with one of the “Army strong” advertisements showing some Army stunts. That certainly is no surprise. But before those two commercials the one that started it all was the new NBA 2K10 clip featuring an in-game Kobe Bryant doing non-in-game stunts.

Seeing a virtual Kobe on the official site of the “real” NBA seemed to give extra credibility to the fake soldier in AA3 praising the “real” Army. In terms of media mesh ups, Army training turns into sports and video game imagery into some form of cross-media glue.

Vicarious Thrills

November 23, 2009 by

Lansdown Lecture: Brendan Walker on Vicarious Thrills

When: 4:45pm, Wednesday 2 December 2009

Where: Room 137, Middlesex University, Cat Hill, Barnet EN4 8HT

A Lansdown Lecture for the Art and Design Research Institute at Middlesex University.

On 2 December 2009, Brendan Walker will show how he uses a mixture of performance and broadcast technologies to thrill new audiences, spanning Theatre, Theme Parks, and TV. Brendan Walker describes himself as ‘the world’s only Thrill Engineer.’ Brendan originally trained as a military aeronautical engineer, before researching and teaching in Interaction Design at the Royal College of Art. Brendan now runs Aerial – a design practice specialising in the creation of tailored emotional experience, with clients such as The Science Museum, Merlin Entertainment, and Disneyland. Brendan is a visiting Senior Research Fellow in the Mixed Reality Laboratory at the University of Nottingham. Entrance free. All welcome. No need to book. http://www.cea.mdx.ac.uk/?location_id=85&item=30


Zero Gamer exhibition in Cardiff

November 23, 2009 by

Zero Gamer exhibition at Ffotogallery, Cardiff

25 – 28 November www.http.uk.net/zerogamer

Zero Gamer presents games that play themselves, video documents of in-game performance, game engine experiments and challenging documentaries on gameplay.

Lecture: Wed 25 November / 7 pm Corrado Morgana

A hacker mentality, and situationist strategies of detournement and derive, offer varied ways of encountering cultural artefacts, institutions, spaces and wares. Corrado will discuss how artists rethink the spaces and engines of digital games and other environments, through modifying, breaking and just not playing by the rules. Through curatorial contribution on Zero-Gamer and contemporary artworks he will discuss the complexities, significance and challenges that Game Art explores and exploits. Corrado Morgana is an artist, electronic musician (retired), lecturer and researcher. Alongside Furtherfield.org he has recently co-curated ‘Zero Gamer’ and ‘Game-Play’, a national touring exhibition which explores playful interaction and goal-oriented gaming through media arts practice.

The Art History of Games

November 19, 2009 by

The Art History of Games is a three-day public symposium in which members of the fields of game studies, art history and related areas of cultural studies gather to investigate games as an art form. Also featured in the conference is the premiere of three commissioned art games. The designers will exhibit their work and participate in the symposium.

Organized by Georgia Tech Digital Media and SCAD Atlanta, the symposium will be held Feb. 4-6 in the High Museum of Art’s Rich Auditorium on the campus of the Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E., in midtown Atlanta.

Register here by January 5 for reduced rates:

New work on adaptation

November 12, 2009 by

Congratulations to Alexis Blanchet, who has successfully completed a PhD in Film Studies with a thesis titled Synergies between film cinema and video game : history, economics and theory of video game adaptation led by Professor Raphaëlle Moine at the University of Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense. Alexis has also published a short article with material about film/game adaptation here, with lots of data:  http://jeuvideal.com/?p=283

See also Will Huber and Stephen Mandiberg’s DiGRA 2009 paper (‘Kingdom Hearts, Territoriality and Flow’), for a discussion of adaptation and translation – it’s at the DiGRA digital library.

Assassin’s Creed 2 marketing via short films

October 19, 2009 by

Not uninteresting to see the merger of games and film continue in the Assassin’s Creed universe. Not only did they start a short film contest ‘Live by the Creed’ (deadline Nov 17 – here is one contender) organized by IFC medialab but they also announced the release of a number of professionally produced live action short films before the game launch

Apparently 70 per cent of the ‘sets’ of the short films – shot almost entirely on green screen – are taken directly from the game. Most of the actors involved in the motion capture and voice-acting are also being used for the shorts. (says IGN)

Game-machinima-cosplay film-bluescreen short-feature film -all become seriously blurred. It fits only too well that, then, that Mechner pitched his idea for a Prince of Persia movie with PS2 game footage.

BBC 4 programme about games

September 30, 2009 by

Charlie Brooker’s Gameswipe

There’s a version online at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00n1j8q.

This version is not subtitled – but it will be broadcast in the UK over the next week (till October 5th) on BBC 4 – dates at the above link, and it’s broadcast with subtitles – at least the one I watched last night had them.

Film and Games at DiGRA 09

August 20, 2009 by

Grethe Mitchell, Erik Champion and Michael Nitsche have a panel at DiGRA this year on the topic of Film and Games (Monday afternoon at 11). More about the DiGRA 2009 conference: follow this link.

World as toy?

June 28, 2009 by

http://vimeo.com/5137183   Follow link to watch Keith Loutit’s work with tilt shift/time lapse er…stuff.

Lars von Trier videogame?

June 20, 2009 by

Rumor has it that a video game might be underway based on von Trier’s Antichrist. Morten Iversen from the Zeitguys studio in Copenhagen is supposedly involved. Even if nothing comes out of it, it seems still interesting to see the Dogme95 approach making a reappearance in video games. It has been mentioned in independent game development as well as machinima before and seems to keep attractive for developers.
And Dafoe should be ready for this. After all he already had to deal with some twisted video game experiences in eXistenZ.

Present Difference

June 17, 2009 by

Present Difference: The Cultural Production of Disability

Manchester Metropolitan University In conjunction with BBC Northwest and the Cultural Disability Studies Research Network

Wednesday 6th – Friday 8th January 2010

CFP, Extended Deadline: July 1st 2009

This conference seeks to address the contemporary cultural production of disability within and across local and global contexts. Its focus is upon representation both in the sense of the production and circulation of particular narratives, ideas and images of disability and non-disability, and in the sense of the participation of disabled cultural practitioners in the production of culture. We invite further proposals from all stakeholders in the mass mediated production of disability across a variety of themes and from a diversity of perspectives within this disparate field of enquiry. The conference includes academic panels, readings, performances, films and exhibited work

Keynote speakers:
•Lennard Davis (Illinois) author Enforcing Normalcy: Disability Deafness and the Body (1995) and Bending Over Backwards: Essays on Disability and the Body (2002)
•Jim Ferris (Toledo) author The Hospital Poems (2004) and Facts of Life (2005)
•Robert McRuer (George Washington) author CripTheory: Cultural Signs of Queerness and Disability (2006)
•David T. Mitchell (Temple) author Narrative Prosthesis: Disability and the Dependencies of Discourse (2001) with Sharon L. Snyder
•Sharon L. Snyder (Illinois) author Cultural Locations of Disability (2006) with David T. Mitchell

Confirmed speakers and contributors include:
David Bolt (Lancaster), Diane Carr (IoE, London), Sally Chivers (Trent, Canada), Paul Darke (Outside Centre), Ju Gosling (artist-in-residence at the National Disability Arts Collection and Archive (NDACA) at Holton Lee), George McKay (Salford) Simon McKeown (Teesside) Rebecca Mallett (Sheffield Hallam), Nicola Martin (Sheffield Hallam), Stuart Murray (Leeds), Tanya Raabe (visual artist), Susan Schweik (Berkeley), Peter Street (poet)

Selected papers will be published in a special edition of the Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies. The art pieces commissioned for the conference are intended for public display at the Holden Gallery Manchester University in late 2010 where they will be used as the basis for a short series of public talks on disability, culture and representation.

Confirmed Events:

Wednesday 6th January: Round Table session on the future of cultural disability studies with David Mitchell, Sharon Snyder (editors of Corporealities: Discourses of Disability, University of Michigan Press), Stuart Murray (editor of Representations: Health, Disability, Culture, Liverpool University Press), Julie Anderson (editor of Disability History, Manchester University Press), and David Bolt, (editor of the Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies, Liverpool University Press)

Thursday 7th January: Justin Edgar director of Special People gives a director’s talk followed by a screening of the film at Cornerhouse Manchester

Friday 8th January: Talk, Q&A and networking event at BBC Northwest, Manchester.

The CFP deadline has been extended to encourage additional submissions for panel sessions, particularly around the construction of disability in comedy, animation, theatre, popular fiction contemporary film and postcolonial contexts. Proposals (max 250 words) for individual and/or group papers, panels or alternative formats to be sent to Dr Lucy Burke, Manchester Metropolitan University, l.burke@mmu.ac.uk If you are interested in attending the conference, please contact l.burke@mmu.ac.uk with your contact details and email address.

DiGRA 2009

June 3, 2009 by

DiGRA 2009 – full papers due this month. More information is here

May was Zombie Awareness Month. Apologies for the late notice to those caught unawares. More information on Zombie related preparedness can be found here at the Zombie Research Society

Play-Machinima-Law Conference (USA)

March 18, 2009 by

EVENT : Play-Machinima-Law Conference at Stanford University, April 24-25 2009

To quote from the conference blurb: “Play-Machinima-Law, is a two-day conference to be held at Stanford University on Friday and Saturday, April 24th-25th, 2009. Organized by the Stanford Center for Internet and Society and the Preserving Virtual Worlds project of the Stanford University Libraries and Academic Information Resources, Play-Machinima-Law will explore a series of key issues relating to what is often called “player-generated” or “user-created” content based on digital games or created in game and virtual worlds. Topics will include machinima, game art, game hacking, open source ideas and “modding”, technology studies, player/consumer-driven innovation, cultural studies, fan culture, legal and business issues, transgressive play, game preservation, and notions of collaborative co-creation drawn from virtual worlds and online games.” 

More information is at http://www.stanford.edu/group/htgg/cgi-bin/drupal/?q=node/917

Film space talk

January 15, 2009 by

21 January 2009, 5 – 8 pm, Queen Mary University of London. 
‘Cinematic experience, film space, and the child’s world’
Professor Annette Kuhn, Queen Mary, University of London

This lecture will explore some ideas from psychoanalysis concerning the psychical, physical and to a degree the social aspects of the child’s world as these may inform an understanding of the cinematic experience – the particular sorts of engagements that cinema can offer its consumers – and the interplay between inner, psychical reality and outer, material reality in the world of the film and the experience of the viewer. Professor Kuhn will address the materiality of film as a cultural medium whose distinctiveness lies in the ways it can create and organize spatiality and motion, and suggest how cinema may recreate and evoke the feeling of entering or re-entering a child’s world. These questions will be discussed with reference to a number of films, including Scottish writer/director Lynne Ramsay’s 1999 debut feature, Ratcatcher.

Information : http://www.qmul.ac.uk/events/public_show.php?id=1107

New Book: Video Game Spaces

January 12, 2009 by

Apologies for the self-promotion but it might be excusable as the book has a rather large potion dedicated to the use of cinematic techniques in virtual worlds. MIT Press just published my Video Game Spaces. Image, Play, and Structure in 3D Worlds. The beginning of the official blurb over at MIT press reads:

The move to 3D graphics represents a dramatic artistic and technical development in the history of video games that suggests an overall transformation of games as media. The experience of space has become a key element of how we understand games and how we play them. In Video Game Spaces, Michael Nitsche investigates what this shift means for video game design and analysis.

As the title suggests: the main focus overall is on 3D game spaces – how we design, visualize, perceive, and use them. But it also covers a lot of “games and film” related issues as it argues that the camera always interprets these 3D worlds. You can read the first chapter online to get a much longer and more elaborate introduction.

Bio-Sensory data and game play

December 5, 2008 by

For those of us interested in the effects of game imagery and game action: there is a new article over at Gamasutra: Shoot to Thrill: Bio-Sensory Reactions to 3D Shooting Games. Among other things it discusses the value of cutscenes on emotional involvement.

Movie Game

December 1, 2008 by


‘You’re In the Movies’ on Xbox – to quote from the blurb: “You’re in the Movies brings the cool factor to kitsch as you live out your dreams of becoming a scream queen, zombie [ ! ]  or kung fu fighter [ … ] Using the Xbox LIVE Vision camera, players’ actions are captured and placed into short, riotous films that highlight the unique and often dubious acting talents of friends and family”