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GAP Seminar #2

On Monday May 11 the Centre for the Study of Digital Games and Play (GAP) will host its second seminar at Muntstraat 2a, room 1.11 from 10:00-12:00. Sjors Martens and Joleen Blom (both RMA students) will share their game-related work with us. For these discussions we will read short texts in preparation (see attached).

Connecting the Dots: The Playful Ontology of Media Constellations – Sjors Martens (RMA Media & Performance Studies)
Transmedial universes rank amongst the most elaborate entities in current media culture. Despite their current prevalence little holistic approaches exist that address the worlds themselves instead of singular instalments. In his presentation Sjors provides a model based on Miguel Sicart’s definition of play to deal with what he understands as Transmedial Universes. The different characteristics of play shall be scrutinised and related to the main characteristics of transmedial universes. This model shall then be tested on different cases that fit with the discussion group, such as videogames and urban practices. In this discussion we will critically examine this theoretical framing of play and the model’s limits.
In preparation we will read the the first chapter of Miguel Sicart’s latest book Play Matters (2014).

Japan and Games: A Hybrid Culture in a Hidden Environment – Joleen Blom (RMA Media & Performance Studies)
During this presentation Joleen discusses the issues and revelations she discovered in her on-going thesis research on Japanese Studies and Game Theory. She will adress questions such as “why can we not speak of a clear division between Japanese and Western Games?”, “Why do we need to take manga (Japanese comics), and anime (Japanese animation) into consideration when addressing Japanese Games?”, and “from what perspective is she planning to approach Japanese and Western gaming in regad to each other?”. Through this presentation, Joleen will try to bring forth a better understanding of the background she is coming from, while at the same time, trying to open up a discussion on how one might be able to open up the bridge between the Western and Japanese gaming culture on an academic level.
In preparation we will read chapter three, starting from page 94 “Disney as Model and Rival“, of the book The Soul of Anime (2013) by Ian Condry.

GAP Seminar #1 – kick-off edition

Monday April 13 is the kick-off seminar organised by Center for the Study of Digital Games and Play (GAP). It is the first out of three seminars organised by GAP this academic year, the aim is to create a new regular meet-up for game scholars and excellent students to present research, to provide room for game-related discussions, and to expand our academic and professional network. The first meeting will be held April 13 from 10:00 until 12:00 at Muntstraat 2a Utrecht University.

The programme:

– Zowi Vermeire (RMA Media and Performance Studies) is going to present her thesis: ‘Good’ Men vs. ‘Bad’ Men: Problematic Masculinities Playing Call of Duty: Black Ops 2

– Alex Gekker (PhD candidate Charting the Digital), Zowi Vermeire & Stephanie de Smale (RMA Media and Performance Studies) are going to share their field work experience of the project Go Go Gozo: Interdisciplinary Playful Mapping Methodologies.

ISIS 2015: Play / Perform / Participate conference


Our colleagues within the department of Media & Culture Studies at Utrecht University will host the second conference by the International Society of Intermedial Studies called Play/Perform/Participate between 16 and 18 April. From the conference website:
In today’s mediatized culture and society, we use media for playing, performing, and participating in artistic practices and also in larger processes of cultural reproduction, social integration and socialization. The aim of the conference Play / Perform / Participate is to discuss the intermedial valences of play, performance, and participation as increasingly intersecting practices. Spread out over three days, with around 50 panels, the second conference by the International Society of Intermedial Studies will take place at Utrecht University in the Netherlands from the 16th till the 18th of April 2015. The panels address the most important themes and topics in contemporary media cultures in an interdisciplinary way: changing processes of participation and co-creation in politics and culture, the complexity of representations and interactions in a media-saturated environment, and the influence of all kinds of mediators on our interpretation of experiences, our sense of presence and affect.
View and download the conference program here (pdf) or visit the Play/Perform/Participate website here.

Call for papers: Learning from Video Game Music

The Ludomusicology research group will be hosting the two day conference on video game audio “Learning from Video Game Music” to take place on the 9th and 10th of April, 2015 at Utrecht University. The call for proposals is open for papers on the topic of video game music and sound. Papers may contain interdisciplinary import of any type. Paper proposals are welcome from both academics and those working in the video game industry.

While all proposals are welcome, there is a particular interest in papers that support the education theme in terms of how we learn with, learn from, and learn about, video game music. Possible paper topics on this theme include:

Instrumental teaching through video games
Pedagogics of ludomusicology
Composition in video games
Music, sound design and video games in higher education
Game audio outside games
Trans-media interactions
Lessons for musicology from game music

A keynote address will be given by Karen Collins, author of Playing with Sound (2013), Game Sound (2008), and From Pac Man to Pop Music (2008). Our second keynote address will be given by David Roesner, the author of Musicality and Theatre (2014), and the leader of the Guitar Heroes in Music Education AHRC research network.

Papers should be a maximum of 20 minutes in length, with 10 minutes allowed for discussion. Shorter papers will also be considered for inclusion. Proposals should be no more than 250 words in length and sent as an attachment to


Organizers: Michiel Kamp, Tim Summers, Mark Sweeney.

Hosted by University of Utrecht.

Supported by The Institute for Cultural Inquiry (ICON).

Playful Identities: The Ludification of Digital Media Cultures is now out


Amsterdam University Press has now published the edited volume “Playful Identities: The Ludification of Digital Media Cultures”. See here.

Digital media technologies increasingly shape how people relate to the world, to other people and to themselves. This prompts questions about present-day mediations of identity. This book explores the notion of play as a heuristic lens to look at changing media practices and identity construction. Playful media culture is analyzed far beyond its apparent manifestation in computer games. The central argument of the book is that play and games nowadays are not only appropriate metaphors to capture post-modern human identities, but also the very means by which people reflexively construct their identity. Playful Identities presents academic research at the intersection of media theory, play and game studies, social sciences and philosophy. The book carves out a cross-disciplinary domain that connects the most recent in- sights from play and game studies, media research, and identity studies.

The book is one of the results of the Research project Playful Identities, that was funded by de Dutch Organization of Scientific Research (NWO), see here. The book will also be made available as an Open Access publication through

“Playful Identities is an illuminating study on the increasing complexity of digital playgrounds, ludic media, ludic interfaces and technologies of the self. The book presents a variety of roles and identities such as: players, learners, gamblers, users, fans, role-players, theory crafters, cheaters, and digital savages.” Prof. Dr. Mathias Fuchs, Leuphana University Lüneburg

“What a brilliant, refreshing, and positively playful approach to the ludic imperative. In stark opposition to the business world’s cynical application of “gamification” to productivity or even the social do-gooders urger to make games “serious,” these essays reveal and reify play as the essence of human experience. Herein lies access to the truth: the play is the thing. These are the smartest, most articulate, and up-to-date essays on this subject, by the very people creating this field of study” – Douglas Rushkoff, author, Present Shock, Program or Be Programmed, and Playing the Future.

Teresa de la Hera receives Spanish award for her PhD thesis “Persuasive Structures in Advergames”


The PhD thesis Persuasive Structures in Advergames by our own Teresa de la Hera has been awarded as the best academic work by a Spanish scholar in the field of audiovisual communication. The prize was awarded by the Consell de l’Audiovisual de Catalunya, a Spanish organisation committed to promoting research in the audiovisual sector. The jury was composed of renowned professors in the field of media studies.
De la Hera’s thesis aims at broadening the understanding of how advertising messages can be embedded within digital games. In recent years marketers have shown a keen interest in using digital games for advertising purposes. Digital games specifically designed for a brand with the aim of conveying an advertising message, are known as advergames. In the thesis an interdisciplinary framework is used in order to outline a theoretical model aiming to structure the existing knowledge to help explain how persuasive communication works within digital games.

Teresa de la Hera currently works as a postdoc researcher in the NWO-funded project ‘Persuasive gaming‘, a collaboration between Utrecht University, Erasmus University Rotterdam and the University of Technology Eindhoven.

Kick-off meeting of the focus area Game Research of Utrecht University

On Monday 30 of June took place the kick-off meeting of the interdisciplinary and interfacultary focus area Game Research of Utrecht University, in which GAP is involved. Games play an increasingly important role in (arts) education, healthcare, safety, creative industries, and other economic, cultural, and societal sectors. It is a “game changing” phenomenon. The unique position of UU in gaming will be reinforced and used as a lever to expand scope, quality, volume, and impact of its research and education.

All UU groups involved in game research contribute to this focus area, from disciplines such as computer science, humanities, social sciences. Together, these groups form the Utrecht Center for Game Research and Technology (U-GATE, The research and education in the center address aspects of game research, such as the design, development, and application of serious games and simulations. During the kick-off meeting we informed about the plans of the focus area Game Research of Utrecht University, and we presented examples of game related activities at UU.

You can find more information about the Focus Area Game Research of Utrecht University and its activities at:

We are looking for: Assistant Professor in New Media and Game Studie (1,0 fte)

Please spread the news: the Department of Media and Culture Studies, Utrecht University, The Netherlands, is looking for an:

Assistant professor in New Media and Game Studies (1,0 fte)

Job description: 

You will work within the Department of Media and Culture Studies, in particular within the New Media & Digital Culture (NMDC) programme. NMDC is part of the chair of Media Theory and caters to the MA New Media & Digital Culture and the BA’s Theater-, Film- and Television Studies and Communication and Information Studies. You will be responsible for teaching predominantly on courses in the domain of new media, games (entertainment and serious) and gamification, and undertake coordination tasks related to these activities.

In addition to your teaching, you will carry out research which complements and enhances the research profile of the Utrecht Focus Area Game Research. You will also perform various job-related administrative tasks.
We are especially interested in applicants whose areas of expertise include two or more of the following:

  • serious gaming;
  • playful media cultures;
  • playful communication, persuasive gaming and gamification;
  • Mobile and social media, data analysis and software studies.

All of these areas of expertise should be grounded in a critical, media-theoretical approach.

The application deadline is 7 May 2014.

For an overview of all vacancies, click here. Our department is currently also looking for Assistant Proffesors in Musicology, Gender Studies, and Television Studies. For Dutch native speakers, there are also 3 positions as lecturers in New Media and Digital Culture (0,5-0,7 fte).

Research Seminar on Game Studies & Creative Production – May 13

We would like to invite you to an upcoming event, organized on may 13th by the GaP research group with the University of Cologne. During the day representatives of both universities will present their respective research groups and engage in relevant discussions.
Please note that the first part is intended for faculty and has a limited space. Thus please email Alex Gekker [] to RSVP no later than May 5th. The second part is open to all and requires no registration.

Part I – Invitation only – Muntsraat 2a R 1.11
11:00- Introduction: Utrecht Games Studies Focus- Joost Raessens, Utrecht University
11:30- Introduction: Game Studies Cologne- Benjamin Beil, University of Cologne. Followed by presentation with Pablo Abend, Cologne: “Editors of Play: The Scripts and Practices of Co-creativity”
12:30- Lunch and discussion

Part II – open to MA/ RMA students – Achter Sint Pieter 12 R 0.12

13:30 René Glas, UU – Paratextual Play: Unlocking the Nature of Bonus Features and Extras of Games.
13:50 Nicolle Lamerichs, UU: Productive Fandom: Transmedia Play in Audience Cultures
14:15 PhD Presentation: Christian Schmidt, Cologne – Transmedia Topoi: World Building Across Media in Serial Narratives

15:00 Coffee Break

15:30 PhD Presentation: Federico Alvarez, Cologne – Perception of Time in Computer Games
16:15 PhD Presentation: Alex Gekker, UU – Geolocative Play in Non-Game Setting.
17:00 Closing remarks and drinks.

The Research Seminar is organized by the Chair of Media Theory and Games and Play Research Group, Utrecht University