Talk.Play’s Third Episode is Out!

In the third update of the podcast Talk.Play, hosts Dante, Blake, and Tegan are joined by Think.Play Steering Committee member, Rebecca Tobe!

You can listen to the episode on iTunes or on Libsyn.

Description:

Join us as we fall down the Bubsyhole and discuss, for a change, a bunch of video games! Dante also has a cough and he says he is very sorry for how much the cough is all over the podcast. Bummer. There’s a lot of good, clean, in this cast. Just hangin’ with the boys. Goofin’. Laughin’. Hangin’ out. America.

Topics Discussed: Shrek the 3rd, Final Fantasy: Shrekmode, Nuclear Throne, Earthbound, Metroid Prime, The Unfinished Swan, Ben Esposito, Arcane Kids, Bubsy 3d (the real one and the other one), Yume Nikki, Osamu Sato, LSD: Dream Emulator, Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines, The Cure, TellTale’s Game of Thrones, TellTale’s The Beatles, Dying Light, DayZ, Year Walk, Life Is Strange, Alan Wake, Skyrim, and Naut.

Event: Video Game Triathlon! (Saturday, Nov 22nd, 2014)

TRIATHLON

Have you ever wanted to compete in a triathlon with a buddy, without all of the troublesome biking, running, and swimming? Well, now you’ve got the chance! Join us this Saturday for Think.Play’s annual Video Game Triathlon!

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Team up with a friend and come compete in three events for a chance to win a prize! Brush up on your shooter skills in Halo Reach’s Firefight mode, warm up your vocal chords for some Sing Star doubles karaoke, and get ready for an awesome throwback with some co-op Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for the Genesis.

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Make sure you bring a partner! All events are scored and cooperative, with rankings to follow based on team performance. Win or lose, it’s always a blast. GSH provides a fun and lively environment, and has one of the finest dining halls on campus if you’re eager to break for snacks. In addition, we’ll be providing an all-purpose gaming lounge with a few titles…feel free to bring your portable platforms to kick back and relax between events!

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WHERE: UO Global Scholar’s Hall,  Room 117, 1710 E 15th Ave, 97403

WHEN: Saturday, November 22nd at 8:00pm.

Tonight at Think.Play: Journalism & Gaming With Eder Campuzano!

Gamers, gaming enthusiasts, lifestylers, and acquaintances! We’re so glad to have you all still with us here at Week 8. We’ve had a number of highly productive and engaging conversations so far in our humble little corner of Knight Library (as well as a lot of fun), and we’re just getting the discussion started!

Join us in 101 Knight tonight for a very special discussion on contemporary themes in video game journalism hosted and led by current director for audience engagement  and former senior managing editor at The Emerald, UO’s Eder Campuzano. We will begin with a brief history of journalism in the U.S., followed by a history of games journalism, as well as the evolution of games publications from hobbyist pastime to professional endeavor. We’ll then transition to exploring the newly blurred line that emerged in the industry between hobbyist and journalist, ethics policies across the industry, before finally concluding with an examination of GamerGate’s claims. Bring your questions, comments, and informed opinions!

We’re delighted to host Eder, and his expansive journalism resume. Eder is the director for audience engagement at The Emerald. He’s interned for The Oregonian and the News-Register in McMinnville. He also wrote for the Dualshockers gaming blog, where he covered everything from breaking announcements about Pokémon games to squabbles between the largest Battlefield fan community and DICE. In addition, Eder was a digital managing editor at Flux magazine.

When he’s not playing games or teaching young whippersnappers how to embed Google Maps in stories about campus crime, Eder is probably reading up on how journalism will change the world and praying that those predictions are right.


We hope to see you there!

Fall 2014: We’re back in full swing!

Hello again readers, friends, and colleagues! It is the end of Week 4 here, and Think.Play has been in full swing since the beginning of the term. I wanted to write a post to convince everyone that Think.Players have not become zombies or victims of the night…yet!

For the month of October, Think.Play’s weekly meetings have been veiled in a theme of fright and horror as the Halloween fever infects all of our presenters and game choices. It has been a scary-good time!

This past week was a wide discussion on many aspects of horror in games, the forms that it can take, and the implications for gamers. It was a fascinating look into many well-known games, while Rebecca and Ana flexed their knowledge of some lesser-known gems as well. There is a good chance that the talk could appear on the blog within a short time in some form or another. Stay tuned!

Uncanny valley

Does this look familiar?

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The surreal horror game Grave came up in the conversation. Is it done yet?

The week before we had a flashback to one of the earliest Think.Play events where Limbo and a dark room made for an enjoyable but foreboding group play experience. That game can be seriously creepy! We were also pitting players against zombie hordes in Resident Evil 4’s The Mercenaries mini game.

RE4 Merc. Picture

Silencing zombies for points? Cool.

I’ll end abruptly with a shoutout to a new group that is forming on campus that is separate but tangential to Think.Play. It is called Waypoint, and they are a group for students to discuss and work on video game development. If that sounds like something you REALLY WANT TO PARTICIPATE IN, please visit them on Facebook. Go on now, and make greatness.

– Jon

Battle of the Rock Bands: Spring Term Event

Have you ever wanted to be in a band? To play in front of a live audience and be showered with love and admiration? Whether you know how to play instruments or not here is an opportunity to participate in a musical competition of epic proportions! Battle of the Rock Band is a tournament featuring the video game Rock Band in which bands will compete against each other for prizes and glory. 

WHERE: Room 123 (aka the Great Room) of The Global Scholars Hall

WHEN: Saturday, May 24th.Competitions begins @ 8:30pm (Optional Rehearsal @ 7:00pm)

To compete in the Battle of the Rock Bands, your band must have 1-4 members, righteous showmanship, and a radical band name. Sign up your band online at http://bit.ly/QWm8uC and get ready to rock! Also join the Facebook event page and invite your friends: https://www.facebook.com/events/633590163389503/

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An available song list for Think.Play’s copy of Rock Band will be posted on the Facebook event page and the Think.Play website prior to the competition.

Games Considered Conference: Schedule

#GameConCon

March 1st, 11am-3pm LLC South Performance Hall

[11:00 am – 12:30pm] The Panel

Conventions of Gender in Minecraft
Iris Bull, School of Journalism and Communications

This paper explores the perimeters of gender and sexuality in Minecraft (Mojang 2012) through a textual analysis of the “vanilla” (i.e. unmodified) PC version of the game. I describe how the genderless design of the game’s only default character, “Steve,” reproduces a masculinist fantasy on the frontier or homestead of a player’s choosing. By elucidating the problematic nature of gendered conventions in Minecraft, this paper demonstrates how genderless worlds ultimately limit feminist imaginations.

Performing Love and Labor: Intersections of Work and Sexuality in an Online Girl Game
Kelsey Cummings, School of Journalism and Communications

Popular culture has long been involved in the teaching of gender performance to its young audiences. In particular, representations of sexuality and romance play a key role in demonstrating to children how different modes of gender performance, influenced by class, race, and other identity types, should intersect with one another according to the dominant paradigm. In this paper, I will analyze how gameplay mechanics in an online “girl game” genre reinforce a particular form of encouraged gender performance, in which women’s sexuality is understood as a form of labor. I look at the “Jennifer Rose” games, which combine occupational and romance game models to equate women’s love and sexuality with work.

WiiFat: American Genealogies of Fascist Japanese Calisthenics Remediated
Bryce Peake, School of Journalism and Communications

This paper examines the history of exercise that gave way to Japanese conceptions of the social function of Wii Fit—a device that has so easily fit within the fat shaming culture of the United States. Historical in nature, it traces a surprising history that leads back not to some idealized fascist Japanese state, but from the Japanese postal service to the United States itself.

[12:30 – 1:00pm] Lunch Break

[1:00 – 1:30pm] Workshop: Hacking the Kinect, Oculus Rift with John Park

[1:30 – 2:15pm] Play Session: Oculus Rift & Kinect Demo; Free-Play Game Stations; Game Club Tabling;

ALSO

Poster: Game Design and Place-Based Education
Alicia Kristen, Environmental Studies

Through the lens of place-based pedagogies, I am exploring how ethnoecological knowledge, attitudes, and skills in the Eugene youth community and among environmental leaders in order to inform my content. I am constructing storyboards for diverse quests within a game framework that integrate locally relevant content & practices. I will then take one chain of quests and develop it into a prototype using a mobile augmented-reality technology platform. Finally, I will pilot the prototype and evaluate user response.

My poster will visually synthesize data on applicable principles of game design and their relationship to place-based education in Eugene. It will also include a sample of quest-chain summaries, and one quest-chain displayed as it would appear on players’ mobile devices. QR codes will allow visitors to sample content on their mobile devices.

[2:15 – 3:00pm] Open Forum: The Emerald League hosts an informal discussion about TwitchPlaysPokemon