March 3, 2006

Living Game Worlds 2006

by Mary Flanagan · , 12:04 am

February’s Living Game Worlds symposium, held at Georgia Institute of Technology and hosted by the GVU and Ivan Allen College/LCC among others, was a superb thinktank, bubbling forth ideas, strategies, studies, art forms, and communities around computer games.

An intense meeting of industry folks, scholars, and artists, Living Game Worlds was among the best game-centered events I’ve attended. I was late from the airport and missed Michael Matteas’ talk (but made up for it later in the Augmented Reality lab- see embarassing photos, below!). During the VIP sneak preview, I found most resonance with the discussion by Ian Bogost in his commitment to ‘procedurializing the everyday’, a theme that recurs in my own work. He discussed the ‘airport insecurity’ game – basically a queueing game to be played while queueing (explored in an earlier post) – and then discussed ‘constrained computational authorship’ – exploring themes of extreme constraint. Bogost teased listeners with his quick diatribe on code and writing, discussing the double coded language in ‘chef’ among other engaging projects (such as his Kinkos game, which Bogost noted has been taken up by the workers!)

During the pre-game tour, we snacked and saw demos in ‘the aware home’, which was a lot of fun. Some of the researchers, including fellow blogger Mateas, are creating living artworks based on the home.

Later, I was one of the lucky few who, along with Will Wright
(pictured suiting up)
– was able to experience the Augmented Reality (AR) version of Mateas-Stern’s Facade project. It rocked! Most of the experience was creepy, and quite believable – how is it that I spent time talking to 2D vector graphic people in their apartment, reaching for a cocktail proffered by said vector graphic??

But – huzzah! – the adaptability of human nature prevailed. Within seconds it felt utterly natural to be touring Trip and Grace’s apartment and commenting on the new furniture. Blair MacIntyre, Michael Mateas, and the GVU should be congratulated on the whole experience and in particular for the construction and interior design of Trip and Grace’s apartment, from real furniture within the Technology Square Research Building to the, ah, detailed interior design.

Here, Michael M. and I leave the AR room, dazed, thrilled, and a little distraught from our reality augmentation;
and look!
game scholars on a bus! Katie Salen, professor at Parsons School of Design, is caught with with Will Wright, Joell Jones, JanetMurray, and Celia Pearce.

Day two, I particpated on an art-focused panel with Michael Mateas, Jay Bolter, and Jane Prophet, a thoughful and thorough art-sci researcher from the UK.