Konstanz, Germany

Social Gaming. From Cooperative Online-Gaming to Game Co-Creation

blended course
when 24 July 2022 - 30 July 2022
language English
duration 1 week
credits 6 EC
fee EUR 250

Not only since the corona pandemic video games – according to Al Gore the "New Normal" (Tsai 2017) – are becoming increasingly relevant in our digitised society. Various forms of community building (Taylor 2003; Pearce, Artemesia 2009; Quandt, Kröger 2014), peer-to-peer exchange, DIY practices (e.g. Bulok, Lemieux 2017: 35-41), formation of new communicative and cooperative skills (Payr 2008; Sharritt; Aune, Suthers 2011; Hewet 2020) and negotiation practices, and game-based trust-building strategies (e.g. via Among Us) as well as leadership qualities (Salovaara et al. 2005) bear witness to this development. Nevertheless, the socio-cultural potential of games as an everyday practice is still neglected in favor of other research foci like narrative structures and aesthetic value (Denizel, Sansal, Tetik 2021), identity constructions (e.g. Gray, Voorhees, Vossen 2018), addictive dimensions (Griffiths, Pontes 2020) or effects on violent behavior (e.g. Ferguson 2018). With our Summer School we want to bridge this research gap: Based on our common interest in playful social interactions in the context of cooperative (online) games, we propose to explore how the social, creative and at the same time productive potential in the practice of games can be theoretically grasped, cooperatively applied, and further developed in processes of co-creation (Banks 2013). By focusing on the social-cooperative potential of play, the Summer School will counteract an increasing social polarization on a scientific and intercultural level and promote empathy and alternative perspectives on a phenomenon that is often misunderstood.

The Summer School itself unfolds in three phases:
1. Self-study (April-June, off-/online): The participants prepare for the practical game sessions (instructions for the Discord server, tutorials for video recording, tutorials for videographic evaluation, etc.) as well as for the teaching units (relevant research literature, digital teaching modules on (auto-)ethnographic methods, cooperative game development and design, on (online) games, etc.) by means of the material provided on the communication platform ILIAS.
2. In three game sessions (April-June, online) the participants and the teaching staff meet on a Discord server. Games will be proposed and selected according to criteria like cooperativeness, quality, competition, recording possibilities, game duration, number of players, etc. The game sessions will be recorded by video, field notes will be taken afterwards. The collected data will be made available to all participants for data evaluation and analysis (during the online teaching week).
3. The preparation period, which is essentially online, is followed by an offline teaching week (24th-30th July 2022, offline) combining theoretical courses with data sessions and practice-oriented units (co-creation) taught by different colleagues (for more detailed information see the schedule on https://seriousgamingkn.wordpress.com/).

Banks, J. (2013): Co-Creating Video Games. London and New York: Bloomsbury.
Boluk, S., Lemieux, P. (2017). Metagaming: Playing, Competing, Spectating, Cheating,Trading, Making, and Breaking Videogames. Minneapolis: Minnesota UP.
Denizel, D., Sansal, D. E., Tetik, T. (2020): Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Narrative Aesthetics in Video Games. Berlin et al.: Peter Lang.
Ferguson, C. J. (2018): Video Game Influences on Aggression, Cognition, and Attention. Cham, CH: Springer.
Gray, K. L., Voorhees, G., Vossen E. (2018). Feminism in Play. New York: Palgrave MacMillan.
Griffiths, M. D, Pontes, H.M (2020): A History and Overview of Video Game Addiction. In:M. N. Potenza, K. Faust, D. Faust (eds.): The Oxford Handbook of Digital Technologies and Mental Health (pp. 18-33). New York: Oxford UP.
Hewet, K.J.E. (2020): Embracing Video Games for Strategic Thinking, Collaboration, and Communication Skills Practice. In L. Haas (ed.): Disciplinary Literacy Connections to Popular Culture in K-12 Settings (pp. 184-202). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.
Payr, S. et al. (2008). Game-Based Development of Collaboration Competences. In J. Luca, E. Weippl (Eds.): Proceedings of ED-MEDIA 2008--World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia & Telecommunications (pp. 4554-4563). Vienna, Austria: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved December 14, 2021 from https://www.learntechlib.org/primary/p/29020/.
Pearce, C., Artemesia (2009): Communities of Play. Emergent Cultures in Multiplayer Games and Virtual WorldsCambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Quandt, T.; Kröger, S. (eds) (2014): Multiplayer. The Social Aspects of Digital Gaming. New York, London: Routledge.
Salovaara et al. (2005): Playmakers in multiplayer game communities: their importance and motivations for participation. ACE '05: Proceedings of the 2005 ACM SIGCHI International Conference on Advances in computer entertainment technology (pp. 334–337). Retrieved December 14, 2021 from https://dl.acm.org/doi/10.1145/1178477.1178540.
Sharritt, M., Aune, K. R., Suthers, D. D. (2011): Gamer Talk: Becoming Impenetrably Efficient. In M. M. Cruz-Cunha et al. (eds.): Business, Technological, and Social Dimensions of Computer Games: Multidisciplinary Developments (pp. 252-271). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.
Taylor, T.L. (2006): Play Between Worlds: Exploring Online Game Culture. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Tsai, C. (2017): Al Gore: Games are the New Normal. Huffpost. Retrieved December 14, 2021 from https://www.huffpost.com/entry/al-gore-games-social-good_b_881017

Course leader

• Prof. Dr. Steffen Bogen, Art Studies and Game Developement, Konstanz
• Dr. Frank Furtwängler, Game Development, Konstanz
• Ass.Prof. Dr. Hanna Hauptmann, Information and Computer Science, Utrecht
• Prof. Dr. Christian Meyer, Sociology, Konstanz

Target group

Students (B.A./M.A.), PhD students and teachers from various disciplines interested in research on digital games (media, cultural and social sciences as well as computer science, etc.) will cooperate and explore the potential of (online) gaming in theory and practice and apply the knowledge thus acquired in different forms of co-creative gaming sessions together with experts from game development, game design and game production. In close cooperation with the Media Lab, the GameLab and the Binational Center for Qualitative Methods at the University of Konstanz, we offer a combination of on- and offline teaching and practical courses.
In order to prepare for the Summer School, basic literature, video tutorials, or FAQs will be offered on the communication platform ILIAS (https://ilias.uni-konstanz.de/).
Please send a CV and a (max.) 500-word letter of motivation (outlining your education by date, explaining your interest in cooperative online gaming and a research question) to us (serious.gaming@uni-konstanz.de) by
20th February 2022
Notifications of acceptance or rejection will be sent out by 15th March 2022 (please note that a submission can still be rejected in the reviewing process).

Course aim

With its topic, the Summer School inscribes itself in current research debates in inter-national game studies as well as in cultural and social sciences or computer science. The 'normality' of playing games has been reinforced by the Corona pandemic and the WHO recommendation "Play apart together" (2020) in an increasingly digitalized society. In this context, the increasingly debated question of the pedagogical, social or even economic relevance of "playing apart together" in the sense of cooperative serious gaming - i.e. games that pursue a pedagogical, social, cultural or economic purpose external to the game - is open to discussion. While work in computer science has so far mostly focused on the production of promising games in this sense, experimental studies in the social sciences have primarily focused on the addictive potential of games in general, and cultural studies have mainly dealt with their narrative or aesthetic dimension. Parallel to these research formats, however, an urgent research and knowledge interest in the socio-cultural potential of cooperative (online) gaming is emerging - also in the above-mentioned context of a general increase in the relevance of digital and analog gaming - as it manifests itself in various forms of community building, in peer-to-peer exchange, in the learning of DIY practices, in the formation of new communicative skills and negotiation practices, and in the learning of trust-building strategies and leadership qualities (cf. on this: https://venturebeat.com/2020/12/28/2020-was-the-year-of-connection-social-games). The potential emergence of these skills can, however, be attributed to a single and specific factor, but emerges - in play as in intercultural and interdisciplinary research - in the complex interplay of different socio-technical actors, as this is to be explored in the Sum-mer School in the joint play itself, analyzed and described in the cooperative data work, and applied in the co-creative development unit. This creative and at the same time productive potential, which not only the games industry but increasingly also non-profit organizations want to use, needs to be scientifically investigated and described and enables both exciting research and fruitful further development of games. Furthermore - and this is also relevant after the pandemic and the compensation of omitted social interactions - the 'social gaming' promoted, explored and analyzed by the Summer School in the sense of shared cooperative gaming or in the context of a concept of co-opetition, and thus a (gaming) behavior in which competition and cooperation are productively combined, can counteract an increasing social polarization and promote empathy as well as alternative perspectives.
In our Summer School, which is both research-oriented and practice-oriented, this potential will be explored and described in close cooperation between teachers from the media and social sciences and students in media ethnography, in order to apply the knowledge acquired in this way in various forms of co-creative game design in cooperation with experts from game development, game design and game production. Supported by the staff of the university media lab, the GameLab, the BZQM and the university communication platform ILIAS, we offer a well-founded combination of online and offline teaching and practical units, which, in addition to the three joint game rounds taking place from April 2022, provides the opportunity for virtual self-study as preparation for the one-week face-to-face event taking place in Constance in July 2022).

Credits info

6 EC
The certificate of achievement (6 ECTS) consists of a keynote presentation (group or individual work, max. 15 minutes) and a written paper (excerpt, data analysis, concepts for co-creative design, etc., max. 5000 words) that has to be submitted by September 30th, 2022.

Fee info

EUR 250: For our international, non-German participants we can offer accommodation for the 6 nights in Konstanz à 43,70 Euro per night including catering (hostel with shared rooms). We can subsidize the accommodation costs, the outstanding costs have to be covered individually by each participant. Please let us know in your application for the Summer School, if you would like to make use of this offer.
For international students traveling to us from outside Germany, we can offer a mobility grant in order to (partly) cover the travel costs.
We will also be offering an additional cultural programme including university and city tours, language 1x1, etc.