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Monkey see, Monkey do - An ecological approach to challenges in games
Games, whether they are digital games, tabletop games or sports, basically challenge two aspects of human nature: our ability to choose appropriate actions and our ability to perform appropriate actions. Expressed in theoretical terms games are constituted by exploratory and performatory challenges. I will claim that this distinction is the key to understanding the experience of playing a specific game and what kind of skills and knowledge the game demands of its player. In this talk I will build upon this claim in order to discuss the following themes:
A Paradox of Play: Autonomy and Discipline in Video Gaming
Playing video games produces experiences of autonomy and freedom--compelling subjective states that contribute to the pleasure of gaming. At the same, time players often create and conscientiously deploy mechanisms of discipline reminiscent of those Foucault wrote about for 19th century prisons. Surveillance, examination, and control of the body are key elements of video gaming practice. Why do we find this seeming paradox between autonomy and discipline in video game play? Based on my empirical research, I examine the paradox, especially how it is technologically mediated, with remarks on its implications for gamification and methodologies for video games studies.
Building Social Games: From Platform to Product
In this session we will walk through the intricacies of social game development including the platform they run on all the way up to scaling and managing a live game. While social games may appear at first glance to be rudimentary Flash implementations, the reality is that there are incredibly exciting challenges associated with scaling a live product to millions of users in a matter of hours. In this talk you will learn about the foundation that these games run on at Zynga, plans to expose these systems to third parties, the data and analytics that power the games once live, and finally we will share live demonstrations of next generation games taking advantage of these capabilities.