JCSG2016 brings national and international serious games experts to Brisbane

Griffith Film School and Griffith Centre for Creative Arts Research (GCCAR) hosted the Joint Conference for Serious Games (JCSG2016) at The Edge on South Bank in late September. Arts, Education and Law group Pro Vice Chancellor Professor Paul Mazerolle opened the conference which attracted 54 academics from 25 universities around the world, as well as 14 representatives from the games industry. 18 academics, professional staff and HDR students attended from Griffith.

JCSG 2016 Conference Chair Tim Marsh from Griffith Film School headed the local and international committees which directed the conference agenda and was responsible for its organisation, together with Paul Wright from GCCAR (as Conference Manager). Tim spoke about the conference outcomes:

“We were very-pleased with the high-quality, success and diversity of the JCSG 2016 conference program and exhibition attracting researchers, developers, practitioners, designers, writers, and artists. As well as publications from serious games experts from 16 countries, the JCSG 2016 peer-reviewed book published by Springer features works by QCA and GFS staff, current and past GFS games design degree, masters and HDR students, interested in pushing the emotional and technology boundaries and exploring new possibilities for interaction, narrative and play, with serious and experimental games.”

See the conference website: http://jcsg2016.org/

Tracy Fullerton, co-creator of Walden, a game, is Director of the Games Innovation Lab at the University of Southern California and is widely known and recognised as an authority across both serious and experimental games. In her keynote address on Day One, she spoke about the circumstances around developing Walden, her collaboration with Bill Viola (The Night Journey) and the importance to her of a slow pace in games. Walden, a game was conceived around the writings of Henry David Thoreau which reflect upon living simply in natural surroundings. While she was in Brisbane for the conference, the ABC’s Kelly Higgins-Devine interviewed Tracy – the interview can be heard here.

On Day Two, Herman van Eyken, Head of Griffith Film School introduced Sara de Freitas, Pro Vice Chancellor at Murdoch University in Western Australia, who gave the keynote address where the focus was on educational games. Her talk explored “the latest research around efficacy of gamification techniques in learning contexts”. Invited speakers Ben Schouten (Eindhoven University of Technology and Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands) and Jon Weinbren, (Head of Games Design and Development at the National Film and Television School, UK) joined Tracy, Sara, moderator Catherine Beavis (Deakin University) and Victor Lim Fei (Ministry of Education, Singapore) for a Panel Discussion on Day One: Beyond Serious Games: is the term serious games an inhibitor to our wider acceptance and does it really capture everything we do?

GCCAR Director Ross Woodrow opened the highly successful conference exhibition “Art with Purpose” in the afternoon of Day Two which included digital games, virtual reality and interactive media for relaxation, health, awareness of social issues, postnatal depression, animal cruelty, and the somewhat controversial game, La Petite Mort (Andrea Hasselager and Patrick Jarnfelt). La Petite Mort is described as “an experimental, non-explicit digital erotic experience designed for touch” Incredibly, the app for the game was banned from Apple’s stores!

The book from the conference is available in a Springer publication: Serious Games – Second Joint International Conference, JCSG 2016…(Marsh et al [Eds]) in Springer’s Lecture Notes in Computer Science series. See http://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319458403