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Mon, Jun. 20th, 2005, 04:02 pm
DIGRA, Day 3

Writing on the plane, heading home. Home!! Somehow it feels like I've been away for ages, though I think much of that is a function of how damn long it takes to get to and from Vancouver. We're talking twelve-hour transit times, which just plain sucks. The next DIGRA is going to be somewhere in Europe, which isn't any better. Hopefully I'll be able to do it as part of a vacation, though; with a wedding next weekend and Shavuot last week I really couldn't stay in Vancouver longer, but I'm hoping the logistics will work better next time.

Anyhow, on to the random events of the conference, which you might be really bored with by now:


Another 8am wakeup call, this one complicated by the fact that my roommate had brought home an extremely cute guy from the party, which I didn't realize until I stepped out of the shower and found boxers in the sink. I might have squealed a little bit; I'm not the world's most modest or shy person, but I really wasn't expecting visitors. Still, we all managed to get downstairs in time to hear Jim Gee give a rehash of his most recent book; it was good to hear him talk, but I wasn't exactly gaga at what he had to say. As always, he's a smart guy with good insights. I just wish they'd been new insights. Then I headed to a panel on learning and collaboration, which basically consisted of a guy presenting a game he designed to foster collaborative problem-solving (very good!) and a woman talking about an experiment they'd done looking at how tutorials and other forms of explicit learning affect gameplay (very interesting topic; poorly designed experiment). Then I went to a round-table, which was basically lightning presentations (under five minutes) from a bunch of people and then discussion/argument. I got into something of a feud with the guy who decided that he could make sweeping statements about City of Heroes without any actual observations or data to back them up. I got really annoyed when he started talking about gender preferences by archetype ("There are lots more male tanks and scrappers, because clicky clicky fighty fighty testoooooosterone!") without actually having numbers or interviews. I have no idea how the player gender/character gender/heroic archetype breaks down in CoH, and I think it's actually a really interesting question. That's why I got kind of annoyed when he started to talk out of his butt about it. Oh, yeah, they call that a "cultural studies analysis." Whatever.

Lunch with a bunch of people interested in role-playing, where I tried to encourage folks to create more connections among the few of us studying this field. I'm actually a little fringe on RP, as I'm focusing on games that involve creative participation on the part of the players, not just role-playing - but there are lots of people who are equally fringe, and would do well to be connected to experts who know all the ins and outs of RP because their research could be extremely supportive of the core group of RP theorists and researchers. This went over moderately well, and we shall see what comes of it in the future.

Post-lunch, I missed half a really interesting panel on games as teaching tools; since I might be doing a workshop on using game design to teach traditional thinking skills, I was really sorry to arrive late. However, I have names and contact info, so we'll see where it goes. Finally, there was the concluding talk at which there was a lot of discussion of how to get academics to take game studies seriously. I had about a dozen ideas for papers and studies, which is good, but have also walked away with a deep fear that no one is going to want to hire me, which is bad. I am going to go look at the emails those Arizona folks sent me, to remind myself that I've always got a backup choice. -g-

I was socialed out by the end of the conference, so I took a couple of hours to decompress (and play long-distance City of Heroes with my boy!). By the time I was feeling human again, it was near dinnertime (and still gorgeously light!) so I went out with Gus and a woman from a media studies program in Boston. We ended up having tasty food and three major arguments - over the conflict between career and kids, over the double standard of appearance for women, and over advertising/marketing and whether corporatism always is evil. They were really good, fun discussions, but I was a little uncomfortable because I was taking some very non-conventional positions (at least within academia) and they were making me feel a little defensive about not being all OMG!!! CORPORATE CULTURE IS TEH EVIL!1!! WOMEN ARE TEH OPPRESSED!!! But I guess that's why it was a good discussion. :)


And now, home again home again jiggety jig!

I have Family Stuff (tm) going on this week, and then a wedding to go to over the weekend, so it may be a little while before I'm back journaling. See you all (relatively) soon!