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2017 Research Symposium – Video Games: A Medium that Demands Our Attention Paper Deadline

December 5, 2016 @ 12:00 pm

Research Symposium Chair: Nicholas David Bowman |
The Research Symposium takes place in Las Vegas during BEA2017 on Sunday, April 23, 2017

From the first “interactive computer demonstrations” at MIT in the 1950s to the blockbuster Grand Theft Auto V in 2013 (the highest-selling packaged media product of all-time), video games have continually captured the public’s imagination and interest. Video games are credited with improving the skills of pilots and surgeons and encouraging murder and mayhem. The gaming industry’s revenues have continually exceeded the film industry, while debates rage as to whether games are toys or more serious forms of art. Games are celebrated for their ability to spark children’s emotions, and chided for corrupting their morals. Finally, games are regarded as social media technologies that encourage interaction, while also regarded as distractions from reality that result in social isolation.

In parallel with these interests is a growing field of scholarly study around video games. The Digital Games Research Association counts nearly six dozen academic journals devoted to games research, and both the National Communication Association and the International Communication Association have formed game studies divisions. The regulation of video games has been raised at state and federal levels in the United States and abroad, and as the medium (and the industry) continues to evolve, so does the academic and general public interests in the uses and effects of the medium.

Somewhat lost in debates over video games as a “good” or “bad” technology is a more nuanced understanding of the experience of digital gaming itself. At least one way to understand video games is to focus on the unique elements of the medium that jointly and individually lead to the creation of the digital experience. Video games can place immense demand on the user’s cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and social resources.


December 5, 2016
12:00 pm