Archive for January, 2011

In class yesterday, one of our grad students sparked a discussion of affect as it relates to video games.  One point that we didn’t get to explore is that from a marketing perspective, the video game industry is deeply interested in affect (as is any business that involves selling something in just unimaginable quantities).

For instance, this piece by Clive Thompson at Wired describes the employment of a psychologist at Bungie during the production of Halo 3, for the purpose of altering design based on observation of test users.

Even more interesting, and perhaps of increasing relevance as our class continues, is this NY Times article my wife passed along to me.  It describes a confluence of the current state of high-res web-connected cameras and software that recognizes and differentiates between emotional states with remarkable accuracy.

The company that created the emotion measurement software is called Affectiva, which I find both hilarious and ominous.  (Sounds more like a prescription drug.  “For emotions lasting longer than four hours, contact your doctor immediately.”) Their web site is here.

(PS: Also cross-posting this to our class blog.)


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I’m happy to write that the Game Studies class that I’m co-teaching (with my excellent and inestimable colleagues Carol Stabile and Annie Zeidman-Karpinski) is meeting for the first time today.

This class is a bit of an experiment. It is (to my knowledge) the first Game Studies class to be taught at the University of Oregon. We will meet Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday, with Tuesdays designated as “lab” days. Annie and I are specifically running the lab.

Our goal in the lab is pretty simple: we want to put the games that we’re studying in the hands of our students. They’ll have to play a lot outside of class, but the lab will give us the chance to help form and direct habits and methods of critical play.

Check out the reading list, or the full syllabus.

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