Katharina Bisset

Katharina BissetKatharina Bisset is geek, lawyer, translator and all-round creative. Early on in law school she focused on what interested her most: the legal implications of technology. She’s been working in IT-, IP-, Media-, and Data Privacy Law since 2002, whilst never giving up her side passions, whether that’s podcasting, photography,  publishing fiction and writing the occasional line of code. With Nerds of Law, equally IT-minded lawyers are working on LegalTech in an effort to bring technology and lawyers together. In some moments of free time she writes on her dissertation about the Open Source Software License GPL. As Associate she advises clients in her areas of expertise, from software licensing contracts to privacy policies and, if necessary, representing them in court.


Players Unite Legally

Lecture,  Sunday, 20th October, 11:30 – 12:00

Virtual reality is not an anarchistic space. Laws apply here, too. When technical advancement races ahead and legislation struggles to keep up, lawyers, game-designers and players face new legal challenges. Who owns digital goods? Has the GDPR stopped online games in Europe for fear of fines? What are the copyright implications of Twitch, Walkthroughs and other player-generated content? What are the contractual problems regarding in-game- purchases? When do games become gambling?

This presentation aims to cover these and other current legal issues, combined with a general overview of the legal principles that apply to gaming, to create awareness of where the pitfalls may lie, what lawyers deal with in relation to gaming and why it helps if a lawyer is a gamer himself.

Mahshid Mayar

Mahshid MayarSince Oct. 2016, Mahshid Mayar has been an assistant professor of American Studies at Bielefeld University. In her current position, Mahshid follows two broad lines of research; while she engages with the ‘blank’ in postmodern American literature (‘erasure’ and ‘blackout’ literature) for her second-book project, she also conducts research on digital games, where she theorizes the study of digital games and examines game titles that open dialogues on history and culture. Since early 2019, Mahshid has been a member of the central committee of the Arbeitskreises Geschichtswissenschaft und Digitale Spiele.


Banal, Boring, Banned: Unplayability in Digital Games

Keynote,  Sunday, 20th October, 10:30 – 11:30

Frowning frantically as you look for a replacement to the missing link to a controversial game; scratching your upper arm in boredom; hesitating to press the ‘next’ button; averting your gaze from the screen; going online to vent about the banality of the newest release by your favorite gaming company; breathing with difficulty in shame or shock…. You are working your way through an unplayable game. Labeled banal or boring, or banned by various gamer communities, unplayable games are titles that are received with mixed reviews and that either come with (1) varying degrees of ‘un-play-ability’ inherent in them, or (2) are received by gamer communities as such. Examining a number of digital games, ranging from Everything to September 12th and from Muslim Massacre to Super Columbine Massacre RPG, I wish to theorize a category of games that are at odds with the founding tenets of an industry so narratively and structurally conservative and so entirely profit-driven. To this end, I raise and try to answer a number of questions: What does unplayability in digital games connote? In what respects do playable and unplayable games stand apart? What motivates companies other than financial profitability to produce unplayable games in the first place? In other words, is playable the bare, expected minimum a game has to be in order for it to be marketable? And, finally, once dismissed as ‘unplayable,’ what do we do with unplayable games?

Richard Hahn

Richard HahnRichard Hahn hat in Tschechien, Spanien, der Ukraine, Slowenien und der Slowakei Deutsch als Fremdsprache sowie Landes- und Kulturkunde unterrichtet und zahlreiche Bildungsprojekte durchgeführt.

Spielerisches bzw. spielbasiertes und digital vermitteltes Lernen haben dabei immer eine tragende Rolle gespielt. Als Projektleiter des „Digital Learning Centers“ ist er derzeit mit der Entwicklung und Implementierung einer E-Learning-Strategie für ein Unternehmen in der Erwachsenenbildung beauftragt. Im Rahmen seiner Masterthesis hat er 2019 das Potenzial von Chatbots in der Wissensvermittlung erforscht.


Digitale Gamebooks mit twine

Praktische Präsentation, Samstag 19. Oktober, 17:45 – 18:00

Gamebooks bzw. andere Formen von interactive fiction können auch zur Wissensvermittlung bzw. zur spielerischen Auseinandersetzung mit (Mikro-)Lerninhalten eingesetzt werden. Dabei kommen nützliche Effekte wie Selbstbestimmung, intrinsische und extrinsische Motivation sowie zeitliche und örtliche Flexibilität zum Tragen. Neben den eigentlichen Inhalten werden – je nach tragender Story – auch verschiedene persönliche bzw. soziale Kompetenzen trainiert.

Mit der quelloffenen und kostenlosen Software twine ist es möglich, sebst digitale Gameboooks zu erstellen, die als .html-Dateien auf allen internetfähigen Endgeräten lauffähig sind. Mit Basiskenntnissen in HTML und CSS sowieder Bereitschaft, sich mit Grundkonzepten der Programmierung (Datentypen, Variablen, Fallunterscheidungen, Schleifen, etc.) auseinanderzusetzen, kann jede/r zur Autorin bzw. zum Autor attraktiver Gamebooks mit unterschiedlichen Graden der Komplexität werden.

In der Präsentation werden zunächst anhand eines Prototypen die Möglichkeiten von twine zur Darstellung verschiedener Inhalte und Interaktionsformen betrachtet, um danach auf die theoretischen Grundlagen einzugehen: Für ein gelungenes digitales Gamebook sind abgesehen vom Design noch andere Faktoren wie Story und Spielmechanismen ausschlaggebend. Eine tragende narrative Struktur sorgt für die emotionale Bindung der SpielerInnen und stellt sicher, dass sie sich noch länger an das Gamebook und seine Inhalte erinnern. Unterschiedliche Spielmechanismen schaffen extrinsische und intrinsische Motivation und geben den SpielerInnen Feedback auf ihren Spiel- und damit Lernerfolg.

Um den geschlossenen Rahmen von Gamebooks im Sinne der Mixed Reality, Communities of Practice oder persönlichen Lernumgebungen zu sprengen, werden abschließend Möglichkeiten zur Interaktion mit externen Ressourcen aufgezeigt.

Dominik Müllner

 

Dominik MüllnerDominik Müllner is a teacher for English and History. During his academic studies, Dominik Müllner specialised on the pedagogical use of digital games in history classes and was also working as an expert for the “Federal Office for the Positive Assessment of Digital Games”. Furthermore, he is also working as a freelance trainer for educational play.


Playing History – Practical Applications for Teachers and Youthworkers

Practional Presentation,  Saturday, 19th October, 17:30 – 17:45

While Videogames are on the technological step of augmented reality and virtual reality, the pedagogical merits of videogames are slowly being realized in a school setting and the field of youthwork. Even though educational videogames are already in use at some schools, as a means to aid learning processes, the full potential of digital games has yet to be realized. Games provide students with the opportunity to delve deeper into its core and analyse the medium from a critical point of view. Thus, adolescents are able to reflect their own self-reference and moral values onto the game and vice versa. Especially videogames with a historical context provide themselves to be delved into, further explored and let adolescents transfer their experiences, discoveries and insights into the real world.
In light of this, a project commissioned by the Federal Office for the Positive Assessment of Digital Games (BuPP.at) was focused on creating a pool of methods to be used to convey history and political education through the use of digital games, which includes the following:

  • Paperchase through ancient Egypt
  • Refugee and migration
  • Media competence: World War 1
  • Change in perspective/judgement on political topics
  • Learning by Doing – political education
  • Climate change – possible measures through digital games
  • History as a strategy guide

Those methods were already tested with adolescents and it has been demonstrated that these subjects were more open-minded to a deeper analysis of videogames with serious content and grew to be more critical towards the presented contents of the games with growing interest. Furthermore, the adolescents demonstrated transfer processes from the games’ contents to their everyday life, thus proving that this project was successful in creating a mixed reality construct between history-focused games and reality, allowing learning processes to flourish.

Alexander Preisinger und Florian Aumayr

Alexander PreisingerMMag. Dr. Alexander Preisinger ist Senior Lecturer am Institut für Geschichte der Universität Wien im Bereich Geschichtsdidaktik und Lehrer an einer Wiener HAK.

 

Alexander PreisingerMag. Florian Aumayr studierte die Lehramtsfächer Latein und Geschichte, Sozialkunde und politische Bildung an der Universität Wien. Derzeit arbeitet er als wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter.

 


„Geschichte ist, was Sie daraus machen!“ Computerspiele als Mittel der historisch-politischen Bildung

Vortrag,  Samstag 19. Oktober, 17:00 – 17:30

Digitale Spiele sind längst zum Massenphänomen geworden und prägen die Alltagswirklichkeit von Kindern, Jugendlichen und zunehmend auch von Erwachsenen. Da Computerspiele immer auch auf die gesellschaftliche Realität reagieren und kollektive Wissensbestände behandeln, prägen sie die Lern- und Verstehenswelten von SchülerInnen und Studierenden.

Der Vortrag will am Beispiel historischer Inhalte zeigen, wie die „mixed reality“ aus traditionellen schulischen und digital-lebensweltlichen Wissensformen systematisiert und genützt werden können. Dazu wird zunächst thematisiert, in welchen Formen und mit welchen Eigenarten Geschichte im digitalen Spiel vorkommt: Computerspiele werden als historische Simulationen verstanden, der Game Designer als „developer historian“, der Spieler zum Rezipienten und Produzenten von historischem Sinn. Durch ihre popularkulturelle Transformation von historischen Inhalten nehmen digitale Spiele Einfluss auf die Geschichtskultur und das individuelle Geschichtsbewusstsein. Der Vortrag wird ein Modell vorstellen, das zeigt, wie der Transfer dieses populärkulturellen Wissens in der Realität aussehen kann und letztlich zu Lerneffekten führt. Daran knüpfen Überlegungen der Didaktisierung im Unterricht an, die zeigen sollen, wie digitale Spiele für das kompetenzorientierte Fach Geschichte genützt werden können.

Felix Schniz

Felix SchnizFelix Schniz is the director of studies and co-founder of the master’s programme Game Studies and Engineering at the University of Klagenfurt. He originally graduated as a Bachelor of Arts in English and American studies from the University of Mannheim, where he subsequently joined the master’s programme Cultural Transformations of the Modern Age: Literature and Media. With a thesis exploring the metamodern tendencies of the third-person shooter Spec Ops: The Line (2012), he concluded the programme with excellence. Today, Felix Schniz furthermore is a PhD candidate and research assistant at University of Klagenfurt, as well head of the Klagenfurt Critical Game Lab. The focus of his dissertation are experiential dimensions of videogames.


The Flanêur in a Masticator: An Experience of Thought through Virtual Walking inAmnesia: A Machine for Pigs.

Lecture,  Saturday, 19th October, 16:00 – 16:30

The Romantic tradition of the Lustwandel experiences a Renaissance in virtuality. Walking simulators – videogames that want us to focus on our primordial sense of existence – revive the traditions of the philosophical ritual. They transform the exploration of fictional landscapes into an interactive work of art that aims to foster emotions. Depending on the design principles of the videogame world, players can undergo impactful processes of understanding.

I analyse the experiential quality of the horror game Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs that, as I argue, arises from its foundational conception of players as flâneurs and the concurrent subversion of this motif. Set at the dawn of the 20th century, players navigate industrialist Oswald Mandus through a fabulaic search for his missing sons that takes him from the safety of his manor into death by the maws of his own meat-processing factory. I portray how the game counterpoints freedom and automation in mechanical, as well as aesthetical dimensions, transmuting the videogame’s archetypical eclectic procedurality into the machinated catharsis of a protagonist who is unable to outsmart the machine he created.

Ultimately, I demonstrate Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs as being capable of facilitating a philosophical experience in the sense of a recondite revelation. Mandus’ swansong of the creator devoured by its own beast is presented as a tale of early Modern naiveté. Likewise, the players are inclined to reflect upon themselves as mimicking victims of machinated horrors: by immersing into the game, I propose for discussion, they succumb to their very own ‘machine for pigs.’

Damian Stewart

Damian Stewart is a New Zealand-born Wiener. As well as being a veteran of the Austrian and New Zealand game industries, he has worked as a software engineer for interactive design, AR and VR projects, and as a professional artist and musician. Damian is currently studying toward an MA in Anglophone Literatures and Cultures at the University of Vienna.

 

 


“This Is For The Players”: Industry Construction of the “Gamer” Identity

Lecture,  Saturday, 19th October, 15:30 – 16:00

In 2019, almost everybody plays videogames. However, the dominant cultural narrative around videogames says something different: the stereotypical “gamer” is still an under-socialized straight white young man playing with toys in the basement. Negative stigma leaves many players unwilling to self-identify as “gamers”; those who are willing to do so often work to reinforce the stereotype (despite its negative connotations) by actively excluding those who do not “fit”.

Drawing from a growing body of recent scholarship that examines the behaviours and identities of players often subject to exclusion from videogame culture (such as women, queer people, and people of colour), the present work argues that the “gamer” identity is a subcultural formation constructed by and for the benefit of the videogame industry, and that the cultural idea of the “videogame” exists hand-in-hand with the stereotype of the “gamer”.

To illustrate this process, an analysis of selected scenes from the film Wine Country (2019) and the TV programme Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (2017) reveals how these media construct a “gamer” identity in tandem with a particular conception of the videogame as a cultural artefact. Comparison with industry practises and “gamer” behaviours suggests a similar parallel construction of identity and cultural artefact at work in the videogame industry; here, however, the reality of a broad, diverse audience of videogame players renders such constructions inherently contradictory. This causes ongoing conflict and exclusion and ultimately stunts artistic growth within the medium; until it is addressed, irrespective of technological improvement, the promise of videogames will remain unfulfilled.

Harald Koberg

Harald KobergHarald is a games researcher, media pedagogue and cultural mediator based in Graz, Austria. He works for the Styrian Government as an expert in digital culture.

At Ludovico – an NGO focusing on the culture and pedagogics of play – he is responsible for digital play and organizes the annual button Festival of Gaming Culture. And at the Institute of Cultural Anthropology at the University of Graz he is currently finishing his doctoral thesis on the interplay of digital games and their social surroundings.


Men at Play – Analyzing games as masculine retreats

Lecture,  Saturday, 19th October, 15:00 – 15:30

Over decades games have grown to be playgrounds of masculinity. Much of their narratives and visual design cater to concepts of male heroism and the heterosexual, male gaze. Their communities are dominated by men and have in many ways proven to react questionably to female presence and, obviously, feminist criticism. The same people who argue that it’s “just about games” become very emotional and determined when defending these games against change.

Feminist criticism has, in many aspects of social life, forced patriarchal structures to justify themselves, questioning existing norms of male behavior and power. Digital games, at the same time, offer what can be described as counter-places – places people turn to when they feel pressure or experience too little freedom and agency in other parts of their lives. Over decades they have become retreats for what is perceived to be traditional masculinity. While being part of the internationally dominating group of white, heterosexual males, many players do not experience themselves to be powerful outside of game worlds.

This talk will link what has repeatedly been described as a crisis of masculinity to gaming culture and Gamergate. Looking at games as phenomena between heterotopia and utopia it will take into account Juul’s concept of games as half-real in order to offer an interpretation of their role in the bigger context of a fast changing society.

Christina Obmann

Christina ObmannChristina Obmann has completed her bachelor’s degrees in English and American Studies (thesis on the portrayal of chattel slavery in video games, specifically in Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag: Freedom Cry) as well as Media and Communication Studies (thesis on the ‘zombie’ and the The Walking Dead-franchise as serialized transmedia experiences) at the Alpen-Adria Universität Klagenfurt.

Currently, she is working on completing her master’s degrees in English as well as Game Studies and Engineering in Klagenfurt, while also being engaged as a student assistant at the Department of English and the Department of Science, Technology and Society Studies. As a tutor, she is co-hosting the Klagenfurt Critical Game Labs, where she helps fellow students practice critical game analysis.

With an academic background of Cultural, Media and Gender Studies, her research interests in Game Studies include issues of gender and race, ethics, as well as affective game design. When she is not playing, learning, writing, teaching, or talking about games, she is also an avid creator of cosplays, comics, and illustrations.


Gender Portrayals in Video Games: a Reflection of Production Contexts?

Junior-Keynote,  Saturday, 19th October, 14:00 – 15:00

While it is still not uncommon to view the content of video games as isolated entity (cue ‘It’s just a game’), video games are products of specific circumstances and they also affect players in various ways. If we consider video games to be cultural objects, it becomes clear that in order to understand them in their entirety we need to consider the socio-cultural and industrial context surrounding and giving birth to them.

The production context of video games has been – and still is – overwhelmingly male-dominated, with a lack of diversity that is then reflected in the games’ nature and content. Especially the representation of gender has long been a problematic issue: From a sheer lack of representation and marginalization, up to stereotypical or even demeaning portrayals of women in games, distinct patterns of gender portrayals have been observed continually.

In this talk, I want to recapitulate patterns of female representation (and the implications thereof) and suggest a way of content analysis to fully capture the specifics of the medium. I will highlight the connection between production circumstances in real life and the (virtual) content of video games. With an exemplary analysis of female player characters in games by the French studio Quantic Dream I want to support my argument that the background of developers influences the portrayal of gender in – for female characters – often stereotypical if not harming ways.

Achim Birkner

Achim BirknerBirkner, Achim, MA, Lehrkraft für besondere Aufgaben am Lehrstuhl Medien- und Erwachsenenbildung, Fakultät für Humanwissenschaften, Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Madgeburg.

Arbeitsschwerpunkte: Erfahrungsorientierte Hochschuldidaktik; Wissenschaftlich-technologische Grundlagen der Digitalisierung; Machine Learning in erziehungswissenschaftlichen Kontexten; Handlungsorientierte Medien- und Computerpädagogik mit älteren Erwachsenen


Augmented Experience und nicht Augmented Reality

Vortrag,  Samstag 19. Oktober, 12:30 – 13:00

In diesem Vortrag werden die erkenntnistheoretischen und -logischen Grundsätze Immanuel Kants in Zusammenhang mit Augmented Reality gebracht. Laut Kant sei Erkenntnis direkt an Erfahrung gebunden. Erfahrung wiederum stehe in direkter Abhängigkeit zu den Grundzügen menschlicher Wahrnehmung.

Um zu verdeutlichen, welche Einflüsse Augmented Reality Technologien auf menschliche Erkenntnis haben können, werden in diesem Vortrag eingangs die Grenzen menschlicher Wahrnehmung entlang sensorischer Limitationen des Menschen verdeutlicht. Im zweiten Schritt werden die naturwissenschaftlich-physikalischen Phänomene betrachtet, auf denen digitale Technologien aufsetzen und es wird deutlich gemacht, ab wann für den Menschen Wahrnehmung nur noch mithilfe technischer Hilfsmittel möglich ist. Konkret wird hierzu vor Ort demonstriert, welche optischen und akustischen Limitationen der Mensch besitzt und in welchen Frequenzbereichen Signale vorhanden sind, die ihn jederzeit umgeben.

1. Es werden akustische Signale wahrnehmbar gemacht, die für den Menschen nicht hörbar sind.
2. Es wird Licht in einer Wellenlänge benutzt, die für den Menschen unsichtbar ist, aber von Kamerasensoren erfasst werden kann (Nachtsicht mit Infrarotlicht von einer Wellenlänge von  940nm).
3. Es werden Signale sichtbar gemacht, die im elektromagnetischen Frequenzband vor Ort vorhanden sind (per Software Defined Radio).

Im dritten Teil der Präsentation wird erörtert, wie mithilfe von AR menschliche Wahrnehmung augmentiert werden kann und wie der Mensch dies gewinnbringend zur Erkenntnisgewinnung einsetzen kann. Dabei wird sich an Beispielen aus Computerspielen orientiert. Beispiele wären Minimaps, Radarähnliche Indikatoren, Richtungsanzeigen, Lage und Ausrichtungsdarstellung u.A..