[-empyre-] game creation is game deconstruction

Melanie Swalwell melanie.swalwell at googlemail.com
Mon Mar 24 14:57:01 EST 2008

Hi Jason,

I'm not sure I am understanding your question properly.  But regarding this bit:

> (or scholar, meaning why cant game
> interfaces
> be used for scholarly work?)

I think there is some work done like this, though off the top of my
head I don't have a lot of examples to tell you about.  I can say that
I've had a go.  I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to
collaborate with the artist/designer/programmer, Erik Loyer, to make a
piece for the interactive journal, Vectors www.vectorsjournal.net, a
couple of years ago.  The subject matter is actually my research into
the history of games in NZ.  Ok, if you want to get picky it's not a
game as such, but it uses a game-ish interface.

As for why more people don't do it...  well, tenure committees in the
U.S. can be pretty conservative about these things, I hear.  I gather
they don't tend to appreciate scholarship in a different form, let
alone the work involved in presenting it in another form, and people
I've discussed this with don't think their work will be as well
recognised as if they publish it in a peer reviewed journal.

To that I would add that it's pretty hard to make work if you don't
have the technical skills yourself, unless you do it in collaboration,
and those opportunities don't come up every day.  Actually I would say
that this is more of an impediment than the tenure thing.  The Vectors
model resolves this issue in that they aim to team humanities scholars
up with people with technical (and other) expertise.  My sense would
be that while there's still a concern locally (in Australia and NZ)
about where you publish, we've more latitude than in some other parts
of the world -- but we tend to lack the digital humanities research
centres that have the resources to support this sort of thing.  More
opportunities would be great, and I reckon there'd be interest,
especially amongst younger scholars.


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