Game Studies. Narrative in Games. Digital Mythology.
The Mythology in and of Games: Why the Legend of Zelda is just as important as the legend of Beowulf
PAX East 2014, Boston Convention Center
April 13th, 2014
Panelists: Christopher Michael Yap, Jon Padua, and Thomas May III
Mythology at large is the very essence and timeless story of humanity. The advent of the modern video game has undoubtedly reinvigorated the phenomenon of the myth, granting new life and form to well-known legends of old as well as enabling the interactive telling of new digital myths. In this panel, we will discuss how myths and legends live in the digital tapestry of games, discuss some well-known examples of how classical mythology has been reinterpreted as interactive digital games, and we even boldly and happily claim what gamers at large have intrinsically known all along—that games may very well be the future shape of myth in the digital age.
Conceptualizing Player-side Emergence in Papers, Please and Gone Home
International Conference on Meaningful Play 2014
Michigan State University, East Lansing
October 17th, 2014
The concept of emergence--that a certain thing may emerge from several distinct (and not necessarily related) parts, which is different, larger in scope, and mostly originally unintended or expected--exists in many fields such as Philosophy, Information Science, and Biology. With respect to the modern video game, emergence can potentially manifest as emergent narrative and/or emergent gameplay. Furthermore, emergence in games can potentially manifest through true technological, procedurally-generated gameplay and/or a game design which encourages emergence from the game elements within the mind of the player.
In this paper, we engage in a critical discussion about what it means for an interactive video game to have emergence. Firstly, we will be briefly discussing what emergence means to other scientific disciplines, and in doing so delineate specifically how we will be using the term "Emergent" in reference to interactive video games. We then frame the discussion of Emergence in games by considering a range of recent video game examples, and a close critical look at the critically-acclaimed indie games Papers, Please and Gone Home. From these analyses, we propose a concept of "Player-side emergence in games," in which emergence in the form of narrative is expressible and observable in games as the result of the current technological capabilities of games, which relies not on the game software itself, but rather upon the complex system of the human mind for reconstruction of the game experience and a subsequent expression of emergence. In this proposed concept, the constituent narrative pieces offered by a game can be expressed emergently as a unified, overall game narrative experience by the player mind. Based on this concept, we propose that emergence in a game need not wait or rely upon the advent of a truly, technology-based procedurally-generated platform, but rather can be an expression of player-side experiential reconstruction. We conclude that emergent narrative between video game and player can manifest so long as a human player can be encouraged via the game's mechanics towards an overall narrative reconstruction whose blueprint does not wholly originate from the source game, and we also contend that such an emergent design consideration can be potentially useful for designers who are trying to deal with the trade-off of Ludo-Narrative Dissonance in their games.
Genetic Predestiny vs. Digital Free Will: A Critical Analysis of Character Foils in Metal Gear Solid
Replaying Japan 2014, 2nd International Conference on Japan Game Studies
University of Alberta, Edmonton
August 21st, 2014
This is the presentation (slides + narrative) of my academic paper entitled "Genetic Predestiny vs. Digital Free Will: A Critical Analysis of Character Foils in Metal Gear Solid" which was presented at the Replaying Japan 2014 2nd International Conference on Japan Game Studies on Aug. 21st, 2014 at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.
Video Game Studies Indiegogo Campaign Intro Video
August 18th, 2014
The stories of video games allow gamers to have a wide variety of interactive experiences which can be both entertaining and meaningful. They allow us to take a break from life.
They teach. They inspire.
They have the potential to allow each and every one of us to become the heroes of our own quests.
My own quest is to commit academically to investigating how stories and narratives are told in the video game medium. To that end, I wish to participate actively in the academic community of Game Studies.
Video Game Studies on Indiegogo: Update #01
August 28th, 2014
In our first week on Indiegogo we made $1351 of our $2000 goal (that's 68% of the way there)! Thanks to everyone who believes in the seriousness of games and supports my academic and research efforts.
In this video I'm reporting on the current state of the campaign, and the recent Replaying Japan 2014 conference at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. We heard from Tomohiro Nishikado, the creator of Space Invaders, and made a ton of new friends and colleagues.
Also, happy to report that I'm accepted for presentation and publication at the upcoming Meaningful Play 2014 conference to be held in Michigan in October.
Video Game Studies on Indiegogo: Update #02
September 6th, 2014
In our second week of the campaign we've made it to $1402 of our $2000 goal! Thanks to everyone who believes in the seriousness of games and supports my academic and research efforts.
In this video I'm reporting on my recent trip to Yokohama, Japan for a conference called CEDEC 2014, which is the Japanese game developers conference. If you're interested in attending events like these, the IGDA offers Student Scholarships for all kinds of game development related events around the world (http://scholars.igda.org/).
Also, the best talk at CEDEC 2014 was given by Mrs. Kokoro Nakamura, CEO and Founder of Gamedo. Very inspiring presentation for anyone who is thinking of getting into the game industry.
Video Game Studies on Indiegogo: Update #03
September 13th, 2014
In our third week of the campaign we've made it to $1527 of our $2000 goal! We're 76% of the way there and still with 2 weeks to go! Thanks to everyone who believes in the seriousness of games and supports my academic and research efforts.
In this video I'm happy to report that my conference paper submission to the Meaningful Play 2014 conference has received one of five Top Paper Awards and the chance to submit for publication in a special issue of the Journal of Games and Culture. This is huge news and helps to progress our research and my PhD degree.
Also, I'm getting back together with my co-panelist buddies from the PAX East 2014 panel on the Mythology in and of Games (and one more new awesome party member) to hopefully bring everyone a recurring monthly podcast show on Game Studies. Stay tuned for more
Video Game Studies on Indiegogo: Update #04 from the Tokyo Game Show 2014
September 20th, 2014
In our third week of the campaign we've made it to $1562 of our $2000 goal! We're 78% of the way there and we're heading into the last week! Thanks to everyone who believes in the seriousness of games and supports my academic and research efforts.
In this video, I'm reporting in from the annual Tokyo Game Show. There's quite a lot going on with Indie Games at TGS this year, and I even get to meet Blindflug Studios, the makers of one of my all-time favorite iOS games, First Strike.
Best of all, I had the opportunity to meet the creator of Megaman, Mighty No. 9, and phenomenal supporter of indie games, Mr. Keiji Inafune.
Video Game Studies on Indiegogo: Update #05 (Final) THANK YOU TO EVERYONE!
September 27th, 2014
It's the final day of the Video Game Studies IndieGoGo campaign, and we made it to our funding goal! Thanks to everyone who believes in the seriousness of games and supports my academic and research efforts.
I was also interviewed for an article on the GeekPr0n website which you can check out in the link above.
In this video, I'm doing something a little bit different--I'm actually discussing my origins as a Game Researcher and my experiences living in Japan as a Westerner.
A glimpse of life at my graduate school, Nara Institute of Science and Technology (NAIST) in Japan.
Our laboratory gets a new iPresence robot to help out with classes, and instead of properly figuring out how to use it, we are compelled to do other things to it.
インタラクティブ物語：文学としてのテレビゲーム / "Interactive Stories: Video Games as Literature"
Osaka Univeristy, Suita Campus
(Note: this presentation is in Japanese) Video games now rival other more conventional media such as that of print and cinema in terms of market strength, emotive power, and interactivity. As the technology of video games progresses, so too does the power it has to tell stories. In this talk, I outline the need to understand the narratives of games on an academic level, and discuss my research goals to that end.