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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


New Media Studies Magazine #8: The Age of Play


We are proud to present the latest issue New Media Studies Magazine, a magazine created by students of our MA programma New Media & Digital Culture. This issue focuses entirely on the theme The Age of Play. Edited by Laura Coomans and Joeri Taelman, the issue compiles some of the best and most innovative research papers written during the MA courses ‘Game Studies’ and ‘Software Studies’.

Taking Eric Zimmerman’s recent Manifesto for a Ludic Century as a starting point, the papers collected in this issue all showcase a move to an increasingly playful culture. From the editorial:
As Zimmerman argues, play is everywhere. From serious games in health care to gamification in business. Even politics is undergoing a ludic turn. Play isn’t only connected to games, and in this edition of the magazine, we would like to play the game of play with you. As you read this magazine, with every chapter, a next level is achieved. Every level of this magazine of play provides you with a new angle, a new perspective on games and play, unlocking more knowledge as you read.


Here are the contents:

– Level 1: Not being square by being square: A paper on non-photorealistic rendering, Minecraft, gameplay and craftsmanship – Lara Coomans

– Level 2: How to ‘VR‘ a videogame – Menno Gottmer

– Level 3: Living another life? Identity formation in The Sims and its effects on the player’s non-virtual life and personality. – Antje Ziska

– Level 4: Is digital game based learning the educational utopia of the future? Constructing youth’s professional identities with epistemic games. – Mara Vandorou

– Level 5: Run for your life: An examination of Zombies, Run! and the use of narrative persuasion in exergames. – Emma Norton

– Level 6: Pollination of Politics: Political polls as pollen for the gamification of politics. – Kevin Willemsen

– Level 7: Gamification: Time to go with the Flow? – Ben Borrow

– Level 8: Building Material: Exploring Playfulness of 3D printers. – Stephanie de Smale


Read the full editiorial here, of download the entire issue as a pdf eBook here!

PhD dissertation defense Nicolle Lamerichs

We have another upcoming PhD dissertation defense to mention here: our colleague Nicolle Lamerichs will defend her thesis Productive Fandom: Intermediality and Affective Reception in Fan Cultures at Maastricht University. Here’s the teaser text from the back cover of the dissertation:

Loners, geeks, fanatics – fans have often been misunderstood and ridiculed in popular media. Productive Fandom proves this imagery to be false and offers a media ethnography of fan cultures as they are lived: social, creative and felt spaces of productive reception. Fans appropriate populare culture to suit their alternative tastes.

Written from an insider’s perspective, Productive Fandom explores these rich subcultures that provide new insights on the shared spaces of consumers, producers and media texts. Productive Fandom shows that fans are above all creative. They write their own stories, “cosplay” in their own dresses and invent their own games. Fandom is a rich and vibrant culture of rewriting – a formation of media spaces and audiences that come together online and offline.
Fandom gets more complex as media franchises are distributed across different platforms and audiences translate a television text from one medium to the other. Intermediality is a core concept in this study that shows the diversity of contemporary fandom by studying fans of Sherlock, Glee, Firefly and other popular franchises. The book addresses both scholars and fans and tackles broader questions about production hierarchies, gender, sexuality, play and affect.

The defense ceremony will take place on March 26, at 12.00, at the Maastricht University Aula,  Minderbroedersberg 4-6, Maastricht.

PhD dissertation defense Teresa De la Hera Conde-Pumpido

We are proud to announce the upcoming PhD dissertation defense of our colleague Teresa De la Hera Conde-Pumpido. The title of her thesis is Persuasive Structures in Advergames: Conveying Advertising Messages Through Digital Games, and here’s a short summary:

The evolution of the game industry and changes in the advertising landscape in recent years have led to a keen interest of marketers 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.

The increasing interest in the use of digital games as a marketing strategy is undoubtedly related to the development of new technologies and the proliferation of broadband and mobile devices and the closely popularization of digital games. However, despite the increasing interest in this marketing strategy, marketers and marketing companies still need more knowledge about the potential of digital games as a medium to convey advertising messages. This thesis aims at broadening the understanding of how advertising messages can be embedded within digital games.
In this 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.

You are welcome to join us at the defense ceremony, which will take place on Monday March 17, between 12:45 and 13:45, in the Academiegebouw (Senaatszaal) in Utrecht. More information can be found here.

Graduate Program Game Research at Utrecht University

We are delighted to be able to announce that Utrecht University has started a Graduate Program in Game Research for selected (research) master students participating in one of the participating programs:

Game and Media Technology 
Media and Performance Studies
Artificial Intelligence
Computing Science 
Business Informatics 

Within this graduate program Game Research, excellent student can be offered a PhD position on a research project written by themselves. There is room for four such PhD positions, two starting September 2015, two starting in September 2016. The PhD positions are funded by the NWO Graduate Program.
For more information on how to apply for admission to the Graduate Program Game Research, please go the the program’s website HERE.

European Summerschool in Game Research

Together with our partner universities, we have received funding of 60,000 euro for an ERASMUS Intensive Programme ‘Identity and Interdisciplinarity in Games and Play Research’. Together with four other Dutch en thirteen foreign universities we will organize a short programme of study in the form of aSummer School in games and play research, in 2014 in Utrecht (16-31 August).

The main objective of the Summer School is to strengthen the European excellence in games and play research by providing a two-week intensive course and workshop in this interdisciplinary field. It aims to teach excellent PhD and MA/MSc students the state-of-the art theories and methods of game and play research. The current situation is such that students who are interested in the study of games and play have limited opportunities to broaden their horizon internationally, let alone to study this subject interdisciplinary. The goal is to fill this hiatus by offering an innovative interdisciplinary platform for learning about games and play that doesn’t yet exist anywhere in Europe or beyond.
More information about the Summer School can be found here.
About ERASMUS Intensive programmes:

An Intensive Programme (IP) is a short programme of study which brings together students and teaching staff from higher education institutions of at least three participating countries. It can last from 10 continuous full days to 6 weeks of subject related work.

PhD Defense Teun Dubbelman: Narratives of Being There: Computer Games, Presence and Fictional Worlds

On July 9 2014, our colleague Teun Dubbelman will defend his PhD dissertation, entitled Narratives of Being There: Computer Games, Presence and Fictional Worlds. Feel free to attend the ceremony!

When: 9/7/2013 10.30
Where: Academiegebouw – Domplein 29, Utrecht

The full dissertation can be found HERE, but here’s the abstract:

Narrative game designer, or simply narrative designer, is a role in contemporary computer game development. The narrative designer is responsible for designing the player’s experience of a game’s fictional world. This study delves into the practice of narrative design from the perspective of embodied presence. In comparison with books, movies and other media, the medium of computer games excels in offering the media user the feeling of being a physically present participant in the fictional world. When exploiting the merits of embodied presence, narrative designers are challenged to express fictional worlds without disrupting this feeling of “being-there”. Close-ups, flashbacks, ellipses and other narrative devices–common to other audio-visual media–cannot be employed to the same extent. This study reconceptualises and apposes the notions of presence and narrative by critically expanding on Presence Theory, phenomenological media theory and narratology. Drawing from insights and practices in game, film, performance, architecture and literature studies, the study subsequently proposes alternative narrative devices, more compatible with the interactive and spatial nature of computer games, enabling designers to express fictional worlds while maintaining the player’s feeling of embodied presence.

Research grant for project on Persuasive Gaming

We are happy to announce that we received the official notification that our 1 Million € research project entitled Persuasive Gaming. From Theory-based Design to Validation and Back will be supported by NWO Topsector Creative Industries. Jeroen Jansz (Erasmus University), Ben Schouten (Eindhoven University of Technology), Joke Witteveen (xmediaworks) and Joost Raessens (Utrecht University) will start hiring two PhD candidates and one Postdoc soon (click here for further details). The project is a collaboration with game companies IJsfontein, xmediaworks and Submarine.

A full overview of all 21 research projects receiving funding through the Creative Industries program, click here (in dutch). The Creative Industries knowledge and innovation network CLICK/NL GAMES website can be found here.

Here’s the project summary from the research proposal:
The research in this project is concerned with the characteristics, design principles, and effectiveness of persuasive gaming. We study gaming practices that combine the dissemination of information with attempts to engage players in particular behaviors and attitudes. A unique feature of the project is the collaboration with partners in the Dutch game industry enabling us to immediately relate and apply our knowledge drawn from Game Studies, Media Studies, validation research and research on Game Design to practical demands of the industry. Theoretically, we develop the innovative approach of a constant and intense interaction between what is drawn from theory with the actual design of game experiences. The subsequent merger between design and validation research provides a crucial testing ground to assess and validate the value of the knowledge we aim to produce. The process of persuasion is approached from a humanities perspective focusing on the interplay of different persuasive dimensions, including storytelling and playful interaction. The cases extend beyond traditional videogames incorporating also transmedia storytelling platforms and ambient games creating play experiences closely integrated in the context of e.g. city life, therapy or education. The ultimate goal is the construction of a dynamic model for persuasive game development and implementation that is accessible for the industry as well as the research community. We are confident that this close collaboration between the industry and the academic world will contribute to improving the international competitive position of the Dutch game industry.

Battlefields of Negotiation: Control, Agency, and Ownership in World of Warcraft – out now!

From René Glas’ blog:

After some delays, I am proud to announce that my book Battlefields of Negotiation: Control, Agency, and Ownership in World of Warcraft is out now.

About the book:


The massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft has become one of the most popular computer games of the past decade, introducing millions around the world to community-based play. Within the boundaries set by its design, the game encourages players to appropriate and shape the game to their own wishes, resulting in highly diverse forms of play and participation. This illuminating study frames World of Warcraft as a complex socio-cultural phenomenon defined by and evolving as a result of the negotiations between groups of players as well as the game’s owners, throwing new light on complex consumer-producer relationships in the increasingly participatory but still tightly controlled media of online games.




The book can be ordered (in some cases pre-ordered) at the following stores:

Amsterdam University Press
Book Depository
Barnes & Nobles

UPDATE: the book is now also available through open access. Click here to grab a copy!