UEA Game Studies

Introducing Game Studies: A Programme of Talks from UEA

Thursday 1st June

This day of short talks from researchers at the University of East Anglia (UEA) aims to introduce various topics of interest within game studies. UEA was at the forefront of recognising film as a valid subject of study, and now they're aiming to get the same recognition for games.

The talks are free and are designed to be accessible, which makes them perfect for players, designers, scholars and the curious public. So come along and find out about a new perspective on the videogames you know and love.

Book your space!

Bleeps, Bongs, Bassoons and Booms! The Evolution of Sound and Music in Games

10am - Stephen Bennett

This talk explores the history and development of game sound and speculates how it will unfold as the industry moves to a future of virtual reality and three-dimensional gameplay.

How do composers and sound designers cope with the special challenges that a non-linear medium presents? Is the advent of algorithmically generative processes and artificial intelligence the beginning of the end for the sonic artist in the games world? Can new technology enable the soundtrack itself to become a more integral part of the interactive gaming experience?

Pedestrian Verse: How Walking Simulators are the New Frontier of Gaming

11am - Dean Bowman

In recent years a curious type of game has emerged called the walking simulator. Garnering critical acclaim from many and provoking unfettered rage in many others, it has become a flashpoint in a ferocious debate about the value and potential of videogames as an art form.

Eschewing violence and spectacle in favour of exploration, mature storytelling and simple interactions, this exciting genre, still under construction, challenges our notions of what can be defined as a game. This talk will explore the aesthetics of the genre through some of its core works including Gone Home, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, and Firewatch, and its relationship to the wider industry.

Time and the Tie In: A Look at Doctor Who adaptations in Video Games

1pm - James Mclean

Video game ‘tie-ins’ have been often been considered subsidiary low-value attempts to ‘cash-in’ on media franchises. Such assumptions subvert the value media adaptations can offer in exploring how story, narrative, and gameplay are forged through video games.

This talk will offer a historical analysis of Doctor Who and its relationship to video games, exploring how the television show has manifested within the medium; officially and unofficially; as functions of gameplay and transfused narrative. There will be an in-depth look at Doctor Who: Return to Earth, drawing on James’ practical experience working on the project to the complications of translating franchises to video games.

Nerf this!
Women and Power in Games

2pm - Tarnia Mears

Video games have been a thing for a while now. Even cool people play them! Yet many of the old stereotypes surrounding the medium persist, and are often perpetuated by both industry and community alike.

The medium maintains an image of being a masculine space, and as such, is inundated with examples of male power fantasies. But we know women also game, and in large quantities. So what does a female power fantasy look like? Do women want the same things from games as men? Are the current protagonists and characters on offer catering to our gaming needs? This talk analyses the results from a qualitative survey in an attempt to answer these questions.

The Geeks Come Out at Night: Understanding Pokémon Go in Norwich

3pm - Dr Tom Phillips

In July 2016 Norwich was swept up in Pokémon Go fever, with hordes of players taking to the streets in an attempt to capture as many monsters as possible with the augmented reality mobile app.

While the media picked up on the game’s cultural, social, economic, and even medical benefits, this talk examines the specific appeal of the game to citizens of Norwich – why did players take to the city in such numbers? Why was the Castle so important? Where was the best spot to find a Charizard? This talk looks to answer these questions with specific reference to players’ practices in the city recently named by online retailer Amazon as the ‘Pokémon Go capital of the UK’.

Ludic Humour

4pm - Merlin Seller

Game mechanics can make us cry with sadness, cower with terror and cringe with guilt, but we tend to forget about the tears we shed with laughter.

This talk argues that there is much to be gained from considering ‘comedy’ as a category for games analysis, and proposes ‘ludic humour’ as a kind of mechanical, affective and more medium specific form of humour, using examples such as Portal and Octodad. ‘Ludic humour’, which makes use of collaboration, surprise and distributed agency, is more akin to improvisational folk humour than other mass media comedy, and can help productively disrupt traditional media presentations of humour.

Bits & Bobs

Games Lineup

Independent Games showcased by their creators, giving you the chance to find out more about a game's creation.

Play the games from local developers such as Four Circle Interactive, as well as games from all over the UK and Europe!

From point and click renaissance adventures, to train tower defence - VR experiences to board games; we hope there's something for everyone!

Last Year's Talks

Did you miss last year's festival? Interested in getting into games? Be sure to check out our YouTube channel for talks from industry professionals! We'll be adding all of the talks from this year's festival, too!

Interested in being a Game Designer? Want to break into Games Journalism? Be sure to check out our channel!

Check out last years talks!