October 20, 2018

Awe, terror and spreadsheets: Video game monsters as computational others

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The Institute of Digital Games is thrilled to have Dr. Jaroslav Švelch kick-off this academic years Game Seminar Series with his presentation Awe, terror and spreadsheets: Video game monsters as computational others - 26th October 15:00 at the Institute of Digital Games Lab

The Game Seminar Series: All facets of digital games

The Game Seminar Series (GSS) are special academically oriented lectures that are held approximately once a month at the Institute of Digital Games. They are open to the public, but targetted to give University of Malta students suplementary information and update them on current research in the field. Research and education doesn't happen in silos, especially not in the multi-disciplinary field of game design. The Seminars bring together academics, practitioners and enthusiasts with a common love for games of any type: digital, analog, urban, free-form, and can range from the highly technological to the extremely philosophical. There is sure to be something to interest you. If you'd like to be kept up to date on our GSS and other events we invite you to subscribe to our Newsletter.

The Seminar: Awe, terror and spreadsheets: Video game monsters as computational others

Dr. Švelch will outline a short history of how monsters have been adapted into computer-controlled opponents in digital games. Traditional conceptualizations of monsters emphasize their “sublime” aspect. Monsters of myth evoked the emotions of awe and fear through their unknowable, cognitively challenging nature. Monsters in games, on the other hand, have become objects of player action and usually need to be well-defined through predictable algorithms and stat tables. Using examples ranging from Dungeons & Dragons and The Legend of Zelda, to BioShock, Dark Souls and Alien: Isolation, he will show how monsters have been “gamified” and suggest some ways in which game designers attempt to rekindle the awe and terror monsters have traditionally evoked. The talk is based on the research conducted within the Games and Transgressive Aesthetics project at the University of Bergen.

The Expert: Dr. Jaroslav Švelch

Jaroslav Švelch is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Bergen and assistant professor at Charles University, Prague. He is the author of the upcoming monograph Gaming the Iron Curtain: How Teenagers and Amateurs in Communist Czechoslovakia Claimed the Medium of Computer Games (MIT Press, 2018). He has published work on history and theory of computer games, on humor in games and social media, and on the Grammar Nazi phenomenon. He is currently researching history, theory, and reception of monsters in games.

You can follow in on Twitter @raguklemenso

*Please note that attendees to this event may be filmed*

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