*The Third Digital Games Research Association International Conference
(DiGRA 2007) "Situated Play"*
Second Circular and Call for Papers
1. Date and Venue
The conference is planned to take place from September 24th to 28th.
This will be immediately after the Tokyo Game Show 2007, which is
currently scheduled from September 21st to 23rd (There is still a small
chance that these dates might change).
The conference venue is expected to be the University of Tokyo's Hongo
campus in Tokyo, Japan. As a thriving center of digital culture and
games, Tokyo is an extremely relevant location for the conference
especially given the proposed theme of "situated play."
2. Conference Theme: Situated Play
Games are everywhere. On subways, we see people playing Tetris with
cell-phones. On the street and in restaurants, kids play with GameBoys
and other portable devices. At home, we gather around the console or
collaborate with a family member to take out a monster in a multiplayer
game. In our offices, we spend stolen moments playing PC games. Our
elderly are whiling away free hours playing online games. Games are
everywhere, and becoming more deeply embedded in the fabric of our
As digital games penetrate our life and society, they are increasingly
difficult to ignore. Games have created huge industries in some
countries, while still others note this success and clamor to build
industries of their own. The idea of games as mere entertainment is
beginning to fade: the potential of games is now being recognized as
they are becoming progressively more employed for education, job
training, physical exercise, rehabilitation, psychotherapy and more.
Children and adults spend a substantial portion of their life playing
games - in many cases, spending more time with games than television or
other media. Games are now an integral part of our societies and lives.
Games, therefore, deserve serious attention.
Yet, we have a problem. A digital game is an extremely complex
aesthetic, social and technological phenomenon. Games are not isolated
entities that one can effectively study in vitro. Games are situated in
culture and society. To truly understand the phenomenon of digital
games, it is not enough to merely study the games themselves or
short-term impacts as described by laboratory experiments -- these are
only part of the story. Their context begins when the games are
marketed and circulated, and they reach the hands of players. Context
continues to build as potential players satisfy certain prerequisites:
resources to obtain a console or a PC, time and motivations to play
games, and skills to enjoy sometimes very complex digital games. We
need to understand not just narratological and ludological aspects of
the games, but also the industrial and economic contexts that produce
them, and the socio-cultural backgrounds that produce game players and
generate gameplay. In short, to understand games, we need to
investigate at them from multitude of different perspectives.
To make the case even more complex, while games are ubiquitous, they are
geographically diverse, and game play is local. Games are produced and
consumed differently in Japan and in North America. Online games have
different meanings and functions in Korea and in Europe. When we look
at the situatedness of games, we see greater cultural diversity in
games, even beyond the superficiality of geo-political boundaries into
myriad sub-cultures that might find unifying interests across
traditional cultural lines. Gameplay is messy. Yet we must strive to
understand it, even if that means pulling together many small pieces of
the overall puzzle together in the hope that the whole might reveal
itself over time.
We, therefore, need to unite. We need to mobilize all those who can
provide any insights about digital games, from academia to industry,
across a wide range of disciplines and expertise. In particular, we
need to gather voices from around the world to better reflect the wide
range of experiences and perspectives that games solicit. Tokyo is a
very appropriate city for game researchers from around the world to
meet, and an excellent place for game studies scholars to talk with
practitioners from game industry. We propose that this conference be an
opportunity to act as a bridge between West and East, Industry and
Academia, the result being a greater holistic understanding of games,
their impacts, and potential in our world.
3. Call for Full Papers
Papers and panel proposals are invited for the third Digital Games
Research Association International Conference (DiGRA 2007) in Tokyo. The
theme of this conference is "Situated Play." Its goal is to shed light
on various kinds of situatedness of games. In particular, the conference
aims to create a bridge between professionally and geographically
diverse scholars and practitioners. We therefore welcome panel proposals
and papers that tackle various facets regarding the situatedness of
digital games and attempt to combine a range of approaches in innovative
The deadline for papers and panel proposals is midnight (Apia time),
February 14, 2007. The selection will be based on full papers and panel
proposals. The time allotted to one paper is 30 minutes, and the
submitted papers should be between 2500 to 6000 words and an abstract
must be attached. A panel session will have two hours, and a panel
proposal should be up to 800 words in addition to all the full papers in
the panel. Authors and organizers of panels will be requested to
specify a relevant thematic focus (see below) and their relevant
disciplinary backgrounds. Submission will be accepted by an online
review system. Practical details of submission will be announced on the
conference website in January.
Based on the abstracts and the specified disciplinary backgrounds, the
Review Committee Chair Douglas Thomas will assign papers and panel
proposals to a Review Committee member, who will assign three or more
reviewers to the paper. Based on the double-blind evaluation of the
reviewers and taking the relevance of the papers to the conference theme
into consideration, the Program Committee will select approximately 50
In addition to full papers, there will be lightening sessions, student
round tables, and poster sessions. A call for papers for these kinds of
sessions will be announced later. The deadline of submissions for these
sessions is planned to be in May. Further details of the conference will
be announced on the conference website (http://www.gamesconference.org)
as the preparation proceeds. For inquiries, contact Kenji Ito at
kenjiito67 [at] gmail.com.
4. Thematic Foci
Thematic foci are meant to be used to help organize sessions and tracks.
They are mainly for the convenience of conference attendees, and is
certainly not meant to be overly prescriptive.
- Player-Focus: Sociology and economy of MMORPGs, sociological
approaches to games, gender and gaming, player engagement, player
co-production, cross-cultural issues, etc. Relevant disciplines
include: sociology, anthropology, cultural studies, gender studies,
history, economics, and psychology.
- Content Focus: Theory and practice of game design, game storytelling,
game graphics, etc. Relevant disciplines include: literature, film
studies, art studies, and game design theory.
- Learning/Education Focus: Teaching and curriculum development in game
programs, serious games, games at school, learning and games. Relevant
disciplines include: education and psychology.
- Technology focus: Game programming, AI, computer graphics, computer
hardware. Relevant discipline include: Computer science and electronic
- Business Focus: Economics-based studies of game industry, business
models, sociology of game production, copyright and legal issues,
national policy of game production and training, independent/amateur
designers, etc. Relevant disciplines include: business and management,
economics, sociology, history, law, and political sciences.
- Interdisciplinary: Any studies to cross these themes or innovative
attempts that do not fit in any other theme areas.
5. The Review Committee Chair, International Advisory Board, and the
Local Organizing Committee Douglas Thomas (University of Southern
California) has kindly agreed to be the chair of the Review Committee.
The International Advisory Board provides advice to the Local Organizing
Committee and oversees the Review Committee. The current members of the
International Advisory Board are:
Espen Aarseth, IT-University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen
Matteo Bittanti, IULM University, Milan
Staffan Björk, Göteborg University and The Interactive Institute, GAME
Suzanne de Castell, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver
Tak-Wai Chan, National Central University, Jhongli
Adrian David Cheok, National University of Singapore, Singapore,
Marinka Copier, University of Utrecht, Utrecht
Patrick Crogan, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide
Drew Davidson, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh
Gonzalo Frasca, IT University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen
Jesper Juul, IT University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen
Tanya Krzywinska, Brunel University, London
Frans Mäyrä, University of Tampere, Tampere
Janet H. Murray, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta
David Surman, Newport School of Art, Media and Design, Newport
Annika Waern, Swedish Institute of Computer Science, Kista
Sang Min (Leo) Whang, Yonsei University, Seoul
Eric Zimmerman, Gamelab, New York
The members of the Local Organizing Committee are:
Akira Baba, The University of Tokyo (Chair)
Akinori Nakamura, Ritsumeikan University
Kiyoshi Shin, IGDA Japan
Kenji Ito, The University of Tokyo
The Local Organizing Committee is a part of DiGRA Japan, which was
recently established as a Japan Chapter of DiGRA. DiGRA Japan's website
is: http://www.digrajapan.org. For inquiries, please contact Kenji Ito
at kenjiito67 [at] gmail.com.
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