An excellent site, Games and Storytelling, has uploaded lectures from leading academics on…you guessed it…games and storytelling. The program investigates the two, highly contested areas, inviting top researchers to address:
How do game-play and storytelling exactly relate to each other in different game genres and cultures? What are the interactive stances of play and storytelling? How can they be most powerfully applied to game design? Games and Storytelling lecture presentations by top professionals introduce some important industry case histories, while providing the contextual, historical and cultural background necessary for deeper understanding and resulting innovation in game design. GameMaster workshops apply knowledge from case histories and lectures in practice and introduce principles of surprise and suspense in game design and storytelling. The program runs in yearly cycles for three years: September-May 2004-5, 2005-2006, 2006-7.
The lectures, uploaded after the event, so far feature: Jessica Mulligan, Mika Tuomola, Frans Mäyrä, Christa Sommerer, Aki Järvinen, Henry Jenkins and Katie Salen. Wow! The lectures are long and some have accompanying powerpoints and pdfs. This is an excellent resource organised by the Media Lab at the Unversity of Art and Design Helsinki and the Hypermedia Lab, Tampere University with corporate sponsorship from Nokia and the Finnish national lottery company. I have no problem with the thankyous to the financiers every lecture — well worth it.
So far I’ve only listened to Henry Jenkins’ talk, War on Effect and Meaning, on violence and games after his appearance in court over the Colombine shooting where the judge decreed that ‘videogames do not express ideas’. Jenkins provides some level-headed insights around references to America’s Army and the educational games company he’s involved in: Education Arcade. I can’t wait for the next one.