Call: Games Research Methods seminar at University of Tampere

Call for Papers

Games Research Methods seminar
University of Tampere
8-9 April, 2010

** update: the seminar will join forces with Simulation & Gaming journal, and the best working papers will have an option of being selected for a special journal issue. More on S&G, see: **

More information on seminar in:

What are the approaches and methods that are useful while studying games, play and related phenomena? The dynamic nature of interactive game form, the changing strategies adopted during actual play, as well as the multiple research questions that surround the design, implementation, distribution as well as the social uses of games all present their distinctive requirements for the methods that are suitable for their study.

A rich collection of different scientific and scholarly approaches has been adopted to use in the games research. At the same time the researchers have found it often necessary to modify the established practices to better address the ludic nature of their subject of study. For example, the ethnographic methods as practiced in the history of anthropology do not necessarily fit the study of virtual game worlds without some adjustments. Similarly, the methods that have been designed in computer sciences to study usability issues of computer software are not always optimal for the study of game play experiences. Also, requirement for researchers to play games themselves presents also unique demands to the working practices and facilities of games researchers.

‘Games Research Methods’ seminar invites presentation from multiple topics and points of view, in order to facilitate dialogue and exchange of ideas among the research community. The organiser, University of Tampere Games Research Lab invites theoretically as well as more practice oriented papers, as well as case studies that show particular approaches being used in actual analysis. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

•          means for approaching and understanding player experiences,
•          approaches suitable for cultural and social study of games and gamers,
•          methods for game innovation and design,
•          innovative modifications of established research methods,
•          questions of validity as regards to game studies,
•          critique of research methodologies based on game studies,
•          solutions and experiences from setting up games research labs,
•          comparative and multi-method research approaches.

The seminar is sixth in the annual series of game studies working paper seminars organised by the Games Research Lab in the University of Tampere. Due to the work-in-progress emphasis, we strongly encourage submitting late breaking results, working papers and/or submissions from graduate students. Early considerations from projects currently in progress are most welcome, as the purpose of the seminar is to have peer-to-peer discussions and thereby provide support in refining and improving research work in this area. After the seminar, separate consideration will be given to various options of publishing the seminar papers.

The papers to be presented will be chosen based on extended abstract review. Full papers are distributed prior the event to all participants, in order to facilitate discussion.

The two-day event consists of themed sessions that aim to introduce current research projects and discuss ongoing work in studies of games, play and their relation to surrounding phenomena. The seminar will be chaired by professor Frans Mäyrä (Department of Information Studies and Interactive Media, University of Tampere). There will be also invited paper commentators (to be announced later).

The seminar will be held in Tampere, Finland and will be free of charge; the number of participants will be restricted. The seminar is part of the Creation of Games Cultures consortium (

Important Dates

•          Abstract Deadline: January 15, 2010
•          Notification of Acceptance: January 31, 2010
•          Full Paper deadline: March 7, 2010
•          Seminar dates: April 8-9, 2010

Submission Guidelines

The extended abstract submissions should be between 500-1000 words (excluding references). Abstracts should be sent to <gamesmethods(at)> as plain text only (no attachments). Guidelines for submitting a full seminar paper will be provided with the notification of acceptance.

Our aim is that everyone participating has been able to read materials submitted to the seminar, therefore the maximum length for a full paper is set to 6000 words (excluding references). Note also that the presentations held at the seminar should also encourage discussion, instead of only repeating the information presented in the papers. Tentatively, every paper will be presented for 10 minutes and discussed for 20 minutes.

Organised by:

University of Tampere / INFIM / Games Research Lab

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