[-empyre-] Welcome to Week 2 on -empyre: GAMES AND REPRESENTATION

helen varley jamieson helen at creative-catalyst.com
Thu Apr 9 18:26:14 AEST 2015

yes "computers as theater" has also been a very important book for me in
my journey; yay brenda laurel! :)

h : )

On 9/04/15 6:41 11AM, Ana Valdés wrote:
> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Hi empyre and all guests and specially to Brenda Laurel! Maybe you
> don't remember me, we met in Stockholm when the world was very young
> and the web was still unexplored :) I read at that time your excellent
> book "Computers as Theater" and I travelled later to Palo Alto to make
> an interview with you. At that time you were working at Interval
> Research and you were launching Purple Moon. I wrote at that time for
> Swedens largest newspaper, Dagens Nyheter, and I made enthusiastical
> reviews about all the games you launched. Games based on collaboration
> and networking, games without violence, games aimed to develop
> leadership and comradeship.
> I wrote a book called "Women at Internet" where my interview with you was
> published. Sadly the book is only available in Swedish :(
> Very nice to meet you again after all those years, you were a real
> pioneer and I am glad your work has been recognized in it's just value.
> Ana
> On Wed, Apr 8, 2015 at 6:41 PM, Brenda Laurel <blaurel at soe.ucsc.edu
> <mailto:blaurel at soe.ucsc.edu>> wrote:
>     ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>     I’ve been interested in gender issues in computer gaming for many
>     years. In 1996, after 4 years of qualitative research with over
>     1000 girls and boys throughout the US, I co-founded Purple Moon, a
>     company to create interactive media explicitly for 8-12-year-old
>     girls. This was the “girl games” moment with many entries into the
>     field from such companies as Her Interactive and Mattel with
>     “Barbie Fashion Designer.” Purple Moon’s first mission was to
>     learn as much as we could about how girls play and then to create
>     interactive experiences that took advantage of these insights in
>     order to encourage girls to put their hands on the machine. In
>     this period, girls were extremely reluctant to play computer games
>     and were generally both afraid of the technology and afflicted
>     with the belief that using it would be gender-transgressive. As we
>     did the interviews, however, another goal emerged that would
>     overshadow the first. We saw the opportunity to meet girls where
>     they were (including their social structures, dreams and fears).
>     We strove to encourage through play a cultural intervention to
>     counter the sort of female gender identity as promulgated by the
>     enforcers of a consumerist, sexist status quo (exemplified by Mattel).
>     We decided to make a cultural intervention in the definition of
>     femininity itself, including stereotypes about beauty, proper
>     behavior, intelligence, social interaction and self-esteem. Purple
>     Moon lasted for about 3 years until its investors pulled their
>     funding to move to web-based enterprises that promised greater
>     valuations and profits. Just as we released our eighth game we
>     were suddenly taken into Chapter 7 bankruptcy. We raided our real
>     estate deposit to be sure that all 40+ employees went home with a
>     paycheck that day. Later, we persuaded our investors to choose
>     Chapter 11 bankruptcy instead so that the company might be sold.
>     Purple Moon was eventually acquired and killed by Mattel, as were
>     most of the girl game properties of the time, and the party was
>     over. However, I still get mail at least once a week from former
>     Purple Moon players thanking me for our efforts and testifying to
>     the positive differences the games made in their lives. Usually I
>     send them a copy of my book Utopian Entrepreneur that talks about
>     how the sausage was made.
>     More recently, I have done design research with my students on
>     such topics as the construction of masculinity in relation to
>     media with 6-year-old boys. I have just finished another design
>     research project with my UCSC game design students looking at ways
>     to make interventions for kids with math anxiety. Over the last
>     three years I have become more closely affiliated with feminists
>     in games as well as with the queer games movement. I believe that
>     games can serve to disrupt stereotypes – most importantly, the
>     stereotypes that young people apply to themselves. I also believe
>     that the current efflorescence in queer gaming reflects a desire
>     to create social and personal spaces where one feels safe and
>     happy in one’s own skin. I see games as a powerful force for
>     cultural intervention in stereotypical identities and as places
>     where one may investigate alternative versions of one’s own identity.
>     On Apr 8, 2015, at 1:56 PM, Soraya Murray <semurray at ucsc.edu
>     <mailto:semurray at ucsc.edu>> wrote:
>>     ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>>     Welcome to WEEK 2 of -empyre's April 2015 discussion dedicated to
>>     Digital Media and the Interstices of Identity.
>>     The WEEK 2 theme focuses on issues of GAMES AND REPRESENTATION.
>>     These matters have dramatically come to the fore in recent
>>     months, although in truth these challenges have faced the games
>>     industry and its visual cultural production since its inception.
>>     #GamerGate, which purports itself to be about ethics in games
>>     journalism, came in the form of misogynistic treatment and
>>     violent threats against outspoken women in games who were labeled
>>     "Social Justice Warriors" out to destroy games by demanding the
>>     industry adhere to so-called PC politics. Women have been
>>     threatened, like Anita Sarkeesian, who critiques games for their
>>     sexism, and Zoey Quinn, an alternative game designer publicly and
>>     falsely maligned by her ex on his blog, setting off a firestorm
>>     of debate about her, but also about the state of games criticism.
>>     Their private information has been hacked, circulated online with
>>     the entreatment that they should be harmed or even killed. In any
>>     event, recent games 'culture wars', notably (but not exclusively)
>>     #GamerGate, definitively confirmed that games traffic in the
>>     politics of representation, just as any other form of mass media.
>>     Among other things, the burgeoning indie and alternative games
>>     movement(s) happening strike a hopeful note that games and their
>>     representations can be more, and can be better than the dominant
>>     industry would offer. Also, the demographics of those who play
>>     have changed, making the term "gamer" (a label which is under its
>>     own duress) potentially more diverse than ever.
>>     I'm interested to hear from our many guests, some newer to games,
>>     some who have been in and around the industry for many years,
>>     about their sense of the terrain. As with last week's guests, I
>>     would like to begin by asking each of our discussants to talk a
>>     little bit about a recent project, and outline some of their
>>     intellectual investments, or individual "stake" in the week's topic.
>>     Guests for Week 2: GAMES AND REPRESENTATION
>>     Shira Chess (US) / Brenda Laurel (US) / Jennifer Malkowski (US) /
>>     Stacey Mason (US) / TreaAndrea Russworm (US) / Sarah Schoemann
>>     (US) /
>>     Biographies:
>>     SHIRA CHESS is a critical/cultural theorist whose work
>>     interrogates several aspects of gaming and digital culture. Her
>>     primary research project considers ways which women gamers are
>>     marginalized: through industry conventions, textual constructs,
>>     and audience placements of the games deliberately designed for
>>     this audience. Recent published articles have examined the
>>     #GamerGate phenomenon, as well as several casual game designs,
>>     and the use of romance in video games. Additionally, her research
>>     also deals with broader aspects of digital culture and pervasive
>>     gaming, such as Ingress, Alternate Reality Gaming, and the
>>     Slender Man. Recently she co-authored Folklore, Horror Stories,
>>     and the Slender Man: The Development of an Internet Mythology
>>     (Palgrave, 2014). Her research on gaming and digital culture has
>>     been published in Critical Studies in Media Communication; The
>>     Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media; Feminist Media
>>     Studies; New Media & Society; Games and Culture; and Information,
>>     Communication & Society as well as several essay collections. She
>>     is an Assistant Professor of Mass Media Arts at the Grady College
>>     of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of
>>     Georgia.  Information on her research can be found at
>>     http://www.shirachess.com.
>>     BRENDA LAUREL has worked in interactive media since 1976 as a
>>     designer, researcher, writer and teacher.  She worked in the
>>     computer game industry from Atari to Activision. She also worked
>>     in research labs at Atari, Interval Research, and Sun Labs where
>>     she was a Distinguished Engineer. She currently serves as an
>>     adjunct professor in Computational Media and research associate
>>     in the Digital Arts and New Media programs at U. C. Santa Cruz.
>>     Her current work focuses on design research and learning tools.
>>     She served as founding chair of the Graduate Program in Design at
>>     California College of Arts from 2006 to 2012. She designed and
>>     chaired the Graduate Media Design Program at Art Center College
>>     of Design in Pasadena (2001-2006 <tel:%282001-2006>). Based on
>>     her research in gender and technology at Interval Research
>>     (1992-1996), she co-founded Purple Moon in 1996 to create
>>     interactive media for girls. In 1990 she co-founded Telepresence
>>     Research, focusing on virtual reality and remote presence. Her
>>     books include The Art of Human-Computer Interface Design (1990),
>>     Utopian Entrepreneur (2001), and Design Research: Methods and
>>     Perspectives (2004), and Computers as Theatre, Second Edition
>>     (2014).  She earned her BA (1972) from DePauw University and her
>>     MFA (1975) and PhD in Theatre (1986) from the Ohio State University.
>>     JENNIFER MALKOWSKI (Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley) is
>>     Assistant Professor of Comparative Media Studies and Film Studies
>>     at Miami University of Ohio. Her book manuscript Dying in Full
>>     Detail: Mortality and Digital Documentary is under contract at
>>     Duke University Press, and her work has been published in Jump
>>     Cut, Film Quarterly, and the anthology Queers in American Popular
>>     Culture. She is also co-editing a collection, Identity Matters:
>>     Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Video Game Studies.
>>     STACEY MASON is a writer, critic, and researcher of interactive
>>     narratives. She is currently working toward her Ph.D. in Computer
>>     Science with the Expressive Intelligence Studio at the University
>>     of California, Santa Cruz. Stacey formerly worked as an editor of
>>     interactive literature for Eastgate Systems, a renowned publisher
>>     of hypertext literature. She also writes about feminism and
>>     gaming culture, and advocates for women in gaming and tech
>>     industries.
>>     TREAANDREA M. RUSSWORM received her Ph.D. in English from The
>>     University of Chicago.  Currently an Assistant Professor of
>>     English at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, her articles
>>     and book chapters have appeared in Teaching Media, Flow, and in
>>     the anthologies Watching While Black and Game On, Hollywood!  She
>>     is the co-editor of two edited collections, From Madea to Media
>>     Mogul: Theorizing Tyler Perry, and Identity Matters: Race,
>>     Gender, and Sexuality in Video Game Studies.  Professor
>>     Russworm’s monograph, Blackness is Burning, is about race,
>>     popular culture, and the problem of recognition.
>>     SARAH SCHOEMANN is the founder of Different Games and a doctoral
>>     student in Digital Media at Georgia Institute of Technology. Her
>>     research on interactive tech and games investigates the
>>     implications of accessible media and tech as tools for personal
>>     expression and social critique within various communities of
>>     practice. She is interested in considering the ways the work of
>>     individual creators and communities can speak to broader issues
>>     of equity and social justice, both online and off. More
>>     information may be found at: www.sarahschoemann.com
>>     <http://www.sarahschoemann.com>
>>     ___________________________
>>     Soraya Murray, Ph.D.
>>     Assistant Professor
>>     Film + Digital Media Department
>>     University of California, Santa Cruz
>>     _______________________________________________
>>     empyre forum
>>     empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
>>     <mailto:empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au>
>>     http://empyre.library.cornell.edu
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helen varley jamieson
helen at creative-catalyst.com <mailto:helen at creative-catalyst.com>
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