Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Do I get workman's comp for carpal tunnel? 

I was at a Public Choice meeting a few years ago when a young economist gave a paper on the virtual economy created in an online role-playing game (RPG, for those of you unfamiliar with the language of video games.) Edward Castronova has gone on to make a nice name for himself as an expert on virtual economies. And this research has blossomed dramatically among other economists as well, and has developed even a blog that delves in these issues (Castronova is a moderator of that blog).

So I suppose it had to spread to other disciplines, even English, and lead to its own conference.
Editors Sidney I. Dobrin, Cathlena Martin, and Laurie Taylor seek proposals for a new collection of original articles that address the use and place of space and ecology in video games. This collection will examine video games in terms of the spaces they create and use, the metaphors of space on which they rely, and the ecologies that they create within those spaces. This collection will address the significant intersections in terms of how and why video games construct space and ecology as they do, and in terms of how those constructions shape conceptions of both space and ecology.

The editors seek proposals for innovative papers that explore the intersections between ecocriticism, theories of spatiality, and video games. Ecocriticism of video games straddles studying ecology as the Earth (or alternate world setting), nature, and land, while adding physical representation and experimentation through video game spaces and other technological spaces. These video games spaces create their own spatial practice through their representation and through the players' lived interaction with the gaming environments as constructed worlds. Video game spatial analysis comprises the created representation of space in the games, the players' experiences with those spaces, and the nuances by which those spaces are constructed and conveyed, including their portrayal of cultural norms for space and spatiality. In addition, the editors are looking for several papers that specifically address children's culture and education in terms of video games, space, and ecology.
As someone who hung around the computer center at St. Anselm and Claremont looking for spare 110 baud modems to play D&D, this simply doesn't strike me as weird as it does Erin.