Eugen Pfister

Project Lead of the SNF Ambizione research project “Horror – Game – Politics”. Researches the History of Political Ideas in Video Games. Studied History and Political Sciences at the University of Vienna and at the Université de Paris IV- Sorbonne. Wrote his Ph.D. in History of the Political Communication at the University of Frankfurt am Main and at the University of Trento.

The Austrian games industry and the free market economy 1991-2006. A political history of ideas.

FROG 2020 – Keynote

The Austrian games industry was particularly successful with business simulations and construction games. In these games we got to know the beautiful new economic world of the post-cold war period in a playful way: Capital had to be increased, production expanded, profits maximised and competition eliminated. During their heyday, the Austrian developer scene were honoured with state and federal awards, and Austrian politicians presented themselves to the press together with “their” shooting stars. After various bankruptcies, takeovers and company dissolutions, the young model entrepreneurs disappeared just as quickly from the collective memory. It is remarkable that this peak phase of Austrian game production took place at the same time as a political transition phase of Austria, which has not yet been studied much. After the end of the Cold War, Austria joined the European Union. In addition to the paradigm shift in foreign policy, there were also far-reaching changes on the social and economic policy side. For example, the privatisation of Austria Tabakwerke, Telekom and Post took place between 1991 and 2006. In addition, Austrian federal governments have adopted several austerity packages since 1995. It can therefore be said that the development of the Austrian game industry took place in a time of political and social change. In this sense, it is necessary to examine whether the games that emerged can also be read as a sources of direct contemporary Austrian history.

Clara Fernandez-Vara

Clara Fernández-Vara is Associate Arts Professor at the NYU Game Center and co-founder of Fiction Control, a narrative design company. She’s a game designer and writer as well as an academic, so her work for the last 10 years combines scholarship with the creation of narrative games both  for research and in the commercial sphere. Her first book, Introduction to Game Analysis, has been published by Routledge.

NYU Game Center

Playing the Detective: Game Design and Mysteries

Keynote, FROG main conference | Saturday, 14th October, 09:45 – 10:45

Detective stories and games allow us to understand both how stories can be playful and how games can be narrative. In the case of games, designers have to help the player become a detective by creating ways to encourage exegesis, which entails letting players explore, gather information, and then come up with their own version of the story. Two components are essential for the player to be a detective and for designing a compelling mystery: spatial narratives where the challenge is decoding how the space reveals what has happened there, and leaving informational gaps and providing tools for storytelling.

Eugen Pfister

Eugen Pfister is a researcher at the Institute of Culture Studies and Theatre history (ÖAW) and lecturerer at the University of Vienna. Founding Member of the research group “Geschichtswissenschaft und Digitale Spiele”. Since 2015 he operates a research blog on cultural studies and video games called “Spiel-Kultur-Wissenschaft.

Institute of Culture Studies and Theatre history (ÖAW) & University of Vienna.

Politics in Games: How (we) players are potentially socialized in digital games

Keynote, FROG main conference | Saturday, 14th October, 15:00 – 16:00

“Whatever we know about society, or indeed about the world in which we live, we know through the mass media” (Niklas Luhman). All information we acquire in mass media frames our future cultural, economic, social and political knowledge. This means that we are also partly socialised in video game. Our collective identities are a result not only of our upbringing and education, but also of our interaction with mass media, especially when related to the more abstract concepts of politics and society. The further away such knowledge is from the experience of our everyday life, the more likely we are to learn it in popular culture.

Jaroslav Švelch

Jaroslav Švelch is a postdoctoral researcher at University of Bergen and assistant professor at Charles University. He is the author of the upcoming monograph Gaming the Iron Curtain on the social history of games in 1980s Czechoslovakia. He is currently researching history, theory, and reception of video game monsters.

University of Bergen

We have always been indie: Lessons from social history of game making in 1980s Czechoslovakia

Keynote, FROG main conference | Sunday, 15th October, 15:00 – 16:00

In my talk, I want to look at my historical work about history of games in Czechoslovakia, and find its implications for digital game theory and design. Through a social historical lens, I want to rediscover the connections between state policies, institutions, banal facts of everyday life and the practices of playing and making games. I will argue that games have always been used for more than entertainment and that many aspects of today’s independent games find their foreshadowing on 1980s homebrew scenes.

Katharina Fellnhofer

Katharina Fellnhofer is an Erwin-Schrödinger-Fellow at the Lappeenranta University of Technology. In addition, she is the CEO of the Research and Innovation Management GmbH, which is engaged in interdisciplinary European research and innovation projects (e.g. HORIZON2020 projects). She holds a PhD in Social and Economic Sciences from the University of Innsbruck, Austria. As a docent at the Lappeenranta University of Technology, she is engaged in boosting innovative educational science for entrepreneurship education in Europe.

Lappeenranta University of Technology

Entrepreneurship education via games?

Keynote, FROG main conference | Sunday, 15th October, 09:45 – 10:45

Entrepreneurship education via games?In entrepreneurship education, it is well known that the effectiveness of different educational initiatives appears to vary across different approaches. Kuratko (2003; 2005) stresses in his contribution regarding the development, trends, and challenges the importance of innovative driven initiatives within this field as international economic force. In his call to action he emphasized to expand pedagogies through new and innovative approaches for teaching entrepreneurship. In line with his suggestion we will discuss innovative approaches such as entrepreneurial stories and entrepreneurial games to prepare potential entrepreneurs for an exciting entrepreneurial journey.

Scot Osterweil

Scot Osterweil is Creative Director of the Education Arcade and the Game Lab in the MIT Comparative Media Studies Program. He has designed games in both academic and commercial environments.  Designs include the acclaimed Zoombinis series (math and logic), Vanished: The MIT/Smithsonian Game (environmental science), Labyrinth (math), Kids Survey Network (data and statistics), Caduceus (medicine), and iCue (history).  He is a founder and Creative Director of Learning Games Network ( where he led the Gates Foundation’s Language Learning Initiative (ESL), and where he designed Quandary, named Game of the Year at the 2013 Games for Change festival.


Games as Resistance

Keynote, FROG main conference | Friday, 13th October, 13:30 – 14:30

As games have become big business, and forms of mass media, they have also become sites of political struggle (see Gamergate). This talk will be an exploration of the ways in which games are often conveyors of dominant culture, and how we can marshal them in resistance to those same forces of dominance.

Anderson Mccutcheons

Anderson is Co-Founder of Synereo, a company developing blockchain-enabled attention economy solutions. Before turning to entrepreneurship, Anderson has managed digital marketing for the world’s largest gambling companies and programmed thermo-chemical control systems.

Monetize the Weak – Breaking the Algorithmic Echo-Chamber

Dinner talk, FROG main conference | Friday, 13th October

Today’s content distribution and consumption systems are perpetually optimised via machine learning, designed to ensure user retention and drive engagement metrics. A plethora of psychological hooks that increase the user’s dependency on the application, which translates into revenue for advertisers and the platform, who leverage the behavioral data to drive revenue. The true, native, users of the systems are content creators and the users. These are the organic parts of the system that truly care about each other.However, in today’s attention economy, the biggest beneficiaries remain the platform and the advertisers that inject their content onto it.Decentralization and the introduction direct User<->Creator platforms and new monetisation models are aiming to disrupt this status quo. Synereo’s Crytocurrency AMP and especially the brand-new plattform is a new way of how gamified Blockchain-based Application can transfer users to curators, creates a flow-like thrill while exploring new content and pays the content creators and the curators in a fair manner.

Birgit Swoboda

Birgit Swoboda studied English Linguistics as well as History at the University of Vienna and holds a PhD degree (thesis title: “L2P n00b – the pragmatics of positioning in MMORPGs”) in English Linguistics. She is a freelance researcher publishing and presenting on language use in media and computer-games. Her research focus is netspeak, politeness theory, positioning theory and computer game studies, especially MMORPGs.

Stay out of the fire you %&§!!!! – Negotiation of meanings by positioning in MMORPGs

Panel talk, FROG main conference | Saturday, 14th October, 11:15 – 11:45

Players and their communication are essential aspects of computer-games especially of MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing Games). The inclusive gaming environment, the multiple communication-channels and cooperative gaming provide researchers an opportunity to investigate how meanings are made and positions negotiated in the ingame interaction process. These questions are dealt with by drawing upon an online-questionnaire (n=324) and a self-compiled corpus of ingame communication. How do gamers position themselves by means of linguistic tokens such as acronyms, neologisms and smileys. Why do gamers position through negative behaviors like trolling and ganking? And what does “Stay out of the fire” mean?

Bruno de Andrade

Bildergebnis für bruno amaral andradeBruno Amaral de Andrade: PhD Candidate in the Post-Graduate Program in Architecture and Urbanism (NPGAU) of the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), Brazil. Master in Architecture and Urbanism by the Post-Graduate Program in Architecture and Urbanism (PPGAU) of the Federal University of Espírito Santo (UFES). Master sandwich at the Università degli Studi di Firenze (UNIFI), linked to the Laboratorio di Progettazione Ecologica degli Insediamenti (LaPEI). Associate Researcher at the Heritage and Development Laboratory – Patri_Lab / UFES (2010 -). Research Associate to the “Società dei Territorialisti” – SdT (2014 -). PhD Researcher at the Geoprocessing Lab / UFMG (2015 -) on Geoprocessing in the Management of Urban and Environmental Landscape. PhD sandwich in the “Doctorate Program in Engineering of Spatial Planning Sciences”, at the Technische Universität Wien (TUWIEN) 2016/2017. Mainly works in the areas: Planning and Management of Territorial Heritage, Citizen Participation; Geoprocessing; Geogames; Game-Based Learning; Research Methodology.

Co-authors: Ana Clara Mourão Moura: Professor in Urban Planning  at the Federal University of Minas Gerais. Ítalo Sousa de Sena: Geoprocessing Lab, School of Architecture, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil.

Federal University of Minas Gerais

Tirolcraft 2.0: The Quest for Children to Shape their Heritage Values using Geogames

Panel talk, FROG main conference | Friday, 13th October, 16:30 – 17:00

Advancing on the research of the gamification of the territorial heritage representation in which children played the role of planners in Tirol in Brazil by virtually co-designing their own heritage values at the landscape directly in Minecraft (de Andrade et al, 2016), now, the goal is to work towards concepts of geogames (Schlieder, 2014), playful civic participation (Poplin, 2012) and child-embodied interaction (de Andrade, 2017) in order to enhance the player experience amongst children to reach both game making and research. The territory of study is Tirol town, in the municipality of Santa Leopoldina, in the state of Espírito Santo, in Brazil, and the target group are children around 09 and 13 years old, from the public School of Tirol. Hence, at the same time that the pupils are working on their perception and cognition skills by shaping their territory in Sketchup and Minecraft, there’s an important game based-learning effect related to critically reflect on the values of use and existence, which supports a sense of conscious of place (Bellandi and Magnaghi, 2017; Becattini, 2015) and, moreover, a sense of spatial planning learning anchored on heritage values. In effect, the research question is how can shaping the territorial heritage in Minecraft be a value learning platform for children? And so, can this serve to shape a new generation more prepared to intervene on the territory? The next step will be to explore their heritage landscape design using a VR (Virtual Reality) Cardboard technology, to provide a new degree of spatial immersion and improve player’s’ embodiment cognition, and then to co-design self-sustainable development scenarios using the Geodesign approach (Steinitz, 2012).