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Heritage Via Games and Game Mods, Feb 12

In this informal talk, I will discuss classroom experiences (both good and bad) gleaned from teaching game design, especially work by students to develop serious games using historical events or mythological happenings.
My central argument is that despite apparent initial barriers, both students and teachers (and academics in general) can learn from the actual process of game design, and from watching people play. Theorists learn about the entangled issues of game design, the politics of user testing, and the designer fallacy (I designed the game, I know how best to experience it, if the audience can’t work it out there is something wrong with them, not the design). Students, in turn, can begin to understand (perhaps) how theory, good theory, can help open eyes, inspire new design and turn description into prescription. There are of course even more dilemmas and difficulties for visualizing and interacting with history and with heritage, and with moving from easily accessible commercial games and open source games, to larger Virtual Reality centres, planetariums and museums, but it has been done, with some significant successes.
This talk will touch on and move past projects mentioned in the following and free to download book: Champion, Erik (Ed.). (2012). Game Mods: Design, Theory and Criticism. Pittsburgh: ETC Press. URL: http://press.etc.cmu.edu/content/game-mods

Erik Champion is internationally renowned and respected in the field of the use of computer gaming in learning, research, and broader interest contexts of archaeology, history, and cultural heritage. Trained originally in architecture, his Ph.D. dissertation in 2006 from the University of Melbourne was on Evaluating Cultural Learning in Virtual Environments, using the archaeological and cultural heritage site of Palenque, Mexico, as a test-case. In 2013 he became Professor of Cultural Visualization in the School of Media Culture and Creative Arts, in the Humanities Faculty of Curtin University, Perth, Australia. Prior to that he was Project leader in new Digital Humanities Lab Denmark, a consortium of four Danish universities, where he was hosted at Aarhus University. Here he worked with EU research infrastructures and projects acting as the “Research and Public Engagement” leader for DARIAH.eu. From 2008 to 2011 he was Associate Professor in the School of Design, College of Creative Arts, Massey University, New Zealand. In his 2011 book Playing with the Past (Springer-Verlag) Dr.Champion discusses the construction of virtual environments, place-making, cultural presence, game-style interaction, interactive narratives, serious games, and architectural visualization in the context of past cultural contexts of heritage, history, and archaeology. These same research themes are discussed in his edited book Game Mods: Design, Theory and Criticism (ETC Press, 2012), and numerous other book chapters, journal articles, and conference papers that may be found in: http://erikchampion.wordpress.com/. Erik is currently working on a book “Critical Gaming and Digital Humanities” for Ashgate Publishing Group’s Digital Humanities Series. The topic of these talks owe their origin to material that he wrote in a book chapter for the Oxford University Press Handbook on Virtuality.

Events Planned for Erik Champion visit
Monday 10 February, 2014. 4pm-6.00pm. “What is Virtual Heritage?” Kroeber
Hall, Gifford Room.

Tuesday 11 February 10.30-12.30pm. “Workshop: Games ­ serious or
otherwise ­ for and about archaeology and cultural heritage” 2224
Piedmont Avenue, MACTiA lab (room 12)

Wednesday 12 February, 2014. 12noon-1pm. “Heritage Via Games and Game
Mods” Archaeological Research Facility Lunchtime series:
2251 Building, Room 101.

Thursday 13 February, 2014. 12noon. “Cultural Heritage and Surround
Displays, VR and Games for the Humanities OR Immersive Digital
Humanities: When The Motion Tracker is Mightier Than The Pen” Modeling,
Virtual Environments and Simulation (MOVES) Institute, Naval
Postgraduate School, Monterey.