Freedom | Oppression | Games & Play
Freedom and Oppression are not simple opposites, they form a dialectical relationship in which, as concepts, one cannot exist without the other. Sometimes, they can even enable, emphasize and strengthen each other: just as freedom begins to shine once it contrasts against oppressive forces, oppression becomes the most effective when it gives a certain amount of leeway to the oppressed.
This intricate connection between Freedom and Oppression often shapes political systems, social environments, and personal relationships; but it is also at the heart of matters of Games & Play, which rely heavily on the interplay between artificial constraints and the desire to gain a liberating sense of agency within them. Can a better understanding of Games & Play heighten our understanding of oppressive forces and liberation efforts in real life? Is the act of playing (and creating) games a reflection or even reinforcement of oppressions and freedoms that exist outside the game world? Can Games & Play themselves become liberating forces, or even tools of oppression? And what promises of freedom, what mechanisms of oppression exist in the world of games and gaming?
The 16th Vienna Games Conference “FROG – Future and Reality of Gaming” 2022 has aimed to address these and other related questions. This volume presents 24 contributions to the conference, which strive to enlighten the complex relations between Freedom and Oppression, Games and Play.
Koenig, N., Denk, N., Pfeiffer, A., Wernbacher, T., Wimmer, S. (Hrsg) (2023). Freedom | Oppression | Games & Play. University of Krems Press.
The Magic of Games
Magic and Games are connected in many ways. There is a certain magic in making games, when we create otherwise impossible worlds and bend the rules of these worlds to our will. There is the magical quality of playing games, through which we immerse into tangible fantasies, explore new ways to interact with the world and each other, and are ourselves transformed in the process. There are the many representations of magic in games, which showcase or shift cultural ideas about what is possible, what is desirable, and how we wish (or fear) the world might be. And finally, magic is also a key metaphor in the games discourse, which significantly shapes our perception of play and games – most prominently in the form of the magic circle concept, but also in the ways in which game scholars, creators, fans and activists frame “their” medium as something that, like magic, seems to stand apart from ordinary life.
The 15th Vienna Games Conference “The Future and Reality of Gaming” (FROG) 2021 has explored how magic and games seem almost inextricably intertwined. This volume collects 17 contributions that have emerged from the conference, and which together form a multi-faceted examination of the “Magic of Games”
Koenig, N., Denk, N., Pfeiffer, A., Wernbacher, T. (Hrsg) (2022). The Magic of Games. Edition Donau-Universität Krems.
A LUDIC SOCIETY
Contemporary game scholarship offers a broad palette of theories and methods inherited from such fields as sociology and communication studies, experimental sciences, literary analysis, educational sciences and cultural critique. At large, this inherently interdisciplinary research aims for a holistic perspective on the ‘LUDIC SOCIETY’. With that in mind, this book is organized into four sections that present related and often intertwined ideas and observations about the ways we manifest ourselves in games and play, how games represent us in the present and in the past, how games and play change us, and what it all may mean for contemporary society. This book invites readers to engage with the key challenges of a ludic society, explore new perspectives and initiate fruitful discussions. It is aimed at both passionate game scholars and all those who want to get a first taste of the multifaceted research field of game studies.
Denk, N., Serada A., Werbacher, T., Pfeiffer, A. (Hrsg) (2021). A Ludic Society. Edition Donau-Universität Krems.
The anthologies of the previous FROG conferences will be listed soon.