Florian Kelle, former chef, is a master’s student in the Game Studies and Engineering programme at Klagenfurt university. Prior to studying in Klagenfurt, he received a bachelor’s degree in British and American studies from Bielefeld University. His bachelor’s ‘If I Throw a Ball at You, You Could Wait until It Starts Telling a Story – A Ludo-Narratological Approach to Metal Gear Solid 3 and 4’, he concluded his first work on games. Beyond narrative and formalist approaches, he interested procedural literacy and the extra-academic communities of knowledge that arise around videogames. During a seminar he taught on horror in videogames, he has developed an interest in the archaeological implications of exploring games as virtual spaces. Currently, Florian Kelle is working towards his master’s thesis on conducting archaeology in and of videogames.
The Big Dig: On Rethinking Videogames as Nexus
Videogames are cultural artifacts. Just like in the real world, archaeology can be conducted in digital spaces. Recent developments in the archaeological treatment of videogames, archaeogaming, strive to regard videogames as hyperobjects. Whereas this concept does well in accounting for the pervasive nature of videogames, it further complicates how videogames can be analysed and interacted with from an archaeological perspective: What constitutes a videogame? Who is proficient enough to assess the phenomenon? Where do we start when dealing with this unfathomable artifact?
Videogames have traditionally been defined through cultural play theory and medium specific theories from the school of ludology. Considering paratexts, such as discussions on the magic circle, there seems to be more to what constitutes the game. Consequently, demarcating what truly constitutes the digital artifact through established positions becomes difficult.
In my talk, I address the nature of games as hyperobjects. First, I look at how archaeology and archaeogaming deal with artifacts. By extending on existing notions of archaeology in and of videogames, I complement theories of archaeogaming with the medium specific character of play and interaction. Concrete examples from videogames and their contextual surroundings illustrate the extension of boundaries. I claim that games in the narrow sense should be considered as a nexus for all the features that constitute the artifact ‘game’ as a hyperobject, allowing for archaeology in and of games to be conducted.
The historian and pedagogue Gerhard Pölsterl is the officer for media and pedagogy at the department Youth Policy of the Federal Chancellery of Austria. His responsibilities include topics such as digital media, safer internet and gaming. Therefore he manages the “Office for Media and Pedagogy” (Medien-Jugend-Info im BKA) and the “Federal Office for the Positive Assessment of Digital Games” (Bundesstelle für die Positivprädikatisierung von digitalen Spielen im BKA) and organizes the annual international conference “FROG -Future and Reality of Gaming”. Furthermore he is a lecturer in the context of media literacy at University of Vienna. As a former teacher and educator he has experience in working directly with children and the youth, which may be beneficial in connecting the life reality of young people with pedagogy and digital media.
Positive Gaming – the Austrian Strategy
Lecture, Saturday, 20th October, 18:00 – 18:30
The Federal Office for the Positive Assessment of Digital Games (BuPP) has been founded in 2005 satisfying the needs of parents and educators to keep up with the then massively developing sector of digital (and online) games. As an addition to classical rating systems such as USK and PEGI, BuPP has been established with the focos on recommending high value games. After a brief overview of the historical development and challenges in Austria, the lecture will give insights in how the catalogue of criteria, testing procedure and types of commissions are playing together to get to a sound seal of quality.
Achim Birkner is a Junior Lecturer and PhD student at the Otto-von-Guericke-University Magdeburg, Germany. His academic focus lies on the intersection of digital technology and education/educational research.
Lootboxes and Micro Payments as unbeatable revenue makers.
Is it all a gamble that needs to be sanctioned or are Lootboxes simply the new Panini Cards?
Lecture, Saturday, 20th October, 15:30 – 16:00
The goals of the presentation are: to firstly distinguish loot boxes against micro transactions; secondly to give a detailed look into the revenue generated from loot boxes and micro transactions; thirdly to relate loot boxes to older phenomena of youth culture like the Panini collectible stickers or other collectible cards; and lastly, coming from the conclusions drawn in the earlier chapters, a final conclusion is drawn that tries to find a balance between an unregulated free market catering to the interests of youth on the one hand and gambling and addictive tendencies on the other that made it necessary to regulate these things.