Archive

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2019

Papers that Changed My Mind

3 minute read

I recently came upon a philosophy paper that seemed to tackle a problem I didn’t know existed and had a convincing argument for identifying and perhaps fixin...

Replacing the Fairphone

3 minute read

I will soon need a new phone. My previous one was released in 2015 and I’ve been using it for three years. That doesn’t sound like a long time, but in the cu...

Migrating to Minimal Mistakes

1 minute read

I’ve used the Skinny Bones Jekyll template for several years now. Unfortunately, it’s no longer supported by the author, and I started noticing problems cree...

Things Best Expressed by Games

1 minute read

There are, I think, some things best expressed by games, as opposed to other media. When I say ‘games,’ I mostly mean videogames, but some of this probably a...

Pepe the Frog at Kiasma

3 minute read

Last year me and Johannes Koski published our study on a series of fascinating and confusing events.

Magical Computers

1 minute read

I read a lot of texts on computers and games from the humanities and social sciences perspectives. They are usually non-technical papers that deal with the h...

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2018

Common Problems in Writing About Games

2 minute read

After reading game studies for years, there are a few issues that I regularly encounter and that I find problematic. I thought about writing a more thorough ...

Misusing Emotes

1 minute read

What do players do when they can’t talk to each other directly? Argue on the forums, it seems to be. We studied the forum users of the popular card game Hear...

Indiewebifying My Website

3 minute read

Note: I’ve updated my site to use a newer template, losing the changes I describe in this post in the process. If you want to understand how IndieWeb works, ...

Why is Mastodon Growing?

3 minute read

Mastodon is a decentralized Twitter alternative growing fast. What is driving its growth?

Context Collapse and Mastodon

2 minute read

Facebook assumes we have only one identity, but that’s never been true. Social media has to allow for multiple selves.

Intentionally Bad Interfaces

1 minute read

Most of the history of games has been an evolution from hard-to-use interfaces to better interfaces. This makes old games painful to play – I don’t mind that...

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2017

Surveillance Capitalism - A Case Study

5 minute read

Surveillance capitalism is the new default way of doing business on the internet. Even businesses that don’t need to collect data do so because it’s so easy.

Living with Algorithms

3 minute read

I spent last Friday at a seminar about algorithms. We discussed everything from health technology and citizenship in the digital era to the structure of neur...

The Future of Academic Networking

2 minute read

I just deleted my accounts on Academia.edu and ResearchGate. I think we are currently in a crucial time in choosing how academia shapes up in the future and ...

How to Change the World with Memes

11 minute read

I gave a talk at National Meeting of English Students about the political use of memes. In case you missed it, here is what I intended to say. It might not b...

Everything is a Computer

1 minute read

You probably didn’t notice that there was a fundamental shift in how technology operates in and integrates into our lives. It used to be that there were cust...

The Age of Bullshit

2 minute read

“One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit”, Harry Frankfurt wrote in On Bullshit (1986).

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2016

What’s Hybrid in Hybrid Games?

2 minute read

Hybrid games may not yet be a household name like VR and AR, but they seem to be getting similar attention at least from developers and researchers.

Halat hisar

3 minute read

Note: This is not an explanation of what Halat hisar was. If you need to understand the context, you can read an explanation written by the organizers.

Counterplay 2016

2 minute read

Counterplay was an odd experience for somebody like me, who mostly goes to academic conferences. Some of the program was very much like you would experience ...

Nights Black Agents and Zalozhniy Quartet

3 minute read

We recently finished a campaign of Night’s Black Agents, after playing it for 1.5-years and 29-sessions, making it one of the longest campaigns I’ve played. ...

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2015

Shared Playful Politics

7 minute read

I presented some preliminary observations on playful politics at the Sharing the Play -seminar. Here’s what I talked about.

Adult Play, Day 2

5 minute read

The second day of Adult Play seminar discussed sexual play, parents and mature players and understanding some basic features of games through psychophysiolog...

Adult Play, Day 1

5 minute read

The first day of Adult Play seminar was an interesting combination of all kinds of different approaches to play and playfulness, and how they relate to toys,...

Real-Time Hermeneutics, the Book

less than 1 minute read

My dissertation Real-Time Hermeneutics: Meaning-Making in Ludonarrative Digital Games is now available on this website. Just click the link in the navigation...

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2014

Jekyll

less than 1 minute read

I recently changed the site over to Jekyll. The previous version was written by me in HTML5 on top of HTML5 Boilerplate and the blog was handled by Octopress...

GamerGate and Language

4 minute read

I recently tweeted a high-profile article on the Guardian about Felicia Day and GamerGate, the online movement mostly visible on Twitter, but also making wav...

Surveillance in Online Games

4 minute read

I recently presented a paper at the Internet Privacy summer school. While preparing for that, I looked at how government agencies viewed games as tools for s...

Critical Evaluation of Game Studies

5 minute read

I participated at the Critical Evaluation of Game Studies conference at Tampere this week. As the name implies, the theme was very meta, with commentary abou...

Real, Fictive and Virtual

3 minute read

The concepts real, fiction and virtual get tossed around pretty casually around game studies. It seems that “virtual” is a lasting favorite, used to rescue a...

Free-To-Play

3 minute read

I’ve recently had to reflect on my attitude towards free-to-play games. I recognise there are two sides to the issue, and I’ve been trying hard to reconcile ...

First Deploy With Octopress

less than 1 minute read

Thinking I could move all my blogging to a single place I tried using Octopress. It seems nice and light, converting markdown text to static html-pages.

Dissertation Summary

4 minute read

I recently gave a mock-lectio praecursoria as part of a course I’m taking. It summarises some of the work I’ve done for my dissertation.

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2013

Computers Run on Metaphors

4 minute read

Computers are built to run on metaphoric relations taken from earlier forms of technology and human experience not related to computers. An obvious example i...

Meaning Effects in Video Games, Talk

11 minute read

I gave this talk at the Games and Literary Theory -conference at Malta. It describes the contents of the paper I submitted to the conference.

Journals in Game Studies

less than 1 minute read

Because I occasionally search for this information myself, I’ll post it here for future reference to me and others. A list of journals in game studies in no ...

PanoptiCorp, part 2: When Now Is Too Late

3 minute read

This is the second post about PanoptiCorp. The first was about personal experiences, so it actually makes more sense to read this first to get some context f...

Gamified apps and tools

less than 1 minute read

I’m taking a Coursera course on gamification and as part of that I looked into what kind of things have been gamified and how. Here is a short list of the mo...

Jeepform scenario, iteration 2

1 minute read

I ran a simple jeepform scenario based on Reservoir Dogs a few years ago. I recently became interested in larp again, partly because of Monitor Celestra.

Embodied Control Schemes

5 minute read

Modern games often use control schemes that rely on our intuitive understanding of the human body. With modern controllers, this has become even more true.

Google is Building an Ontology

1 minute read

Since the spring of 2012, Google has started to move from search of particular combinations of letters to searching things. This move from string-based searc...

Neural Correlates of Meaning-Making

1 minute read

In humanities research related to psychology there tends to be a tendency to look for answer from neurological research. Things like consciousness, language ...

Meaning Effects in Video Games

1 minute read

I’m writing a paper about the tools authors can use in literature to convey certain meaning effects, but applied to video games. There are several tools avai...

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2012

Advanced Dungeons & Discourse

1 minute read

A couple of years back I ran a game of Dungeons & Discourse. It’s based on the brilliant web comic, Dresden Codak. It ran very smoothly, but mostly thank...

Metaphoric Rules in Role-Playing Games

2 minute read

It is very common for role-playing games to extend rules meant for one thing to cover other fields. The archetypical example of this is using combat rules fo...

SMBC, Frame Semantics and Political Speech

1 minute read

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal had comic a while back about political speech. The idea was that, if you replace everything except nouns with nonsensical w...

Mage: The Re-Awakening

2 minute read

I used to run a lot of Mage: the Ascension. Nobilis has almost perfectly taken its place, but for a nostalgia trip, there is no replacing the original. Havin...

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2011

Gender in Apocalypse World

2 minute read

I’ve recently been playing Apocalypse World in our weekly playing session. It is a generally good game, at least if you prefer the style: violent, apocalypti...

About Randomness in Role-Playing Games

3 minute read

When randomness in role-playing games is discussed, it usually means analysis of specific dice-mechanics. And since most rpg’s employ dice, it is a useful pu...

Pervasive Games

9 minute read

I recently gave a lecture on pervasive games. In preparing that lecture I took some notes that were almost an introduction to the subject itself. It seemed a...

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2010

Gaming over great distances

2 minute read

I just played my first game of role-playing over the internet today. I’ve played IRC-based role-playing games before, but these have centered on the text; th...

Games may be art after all

less than 1 minute read

It seems that Roger Ebert has changed his opinion of games. The acclaimed movie critic admits that he cannot make the judgement that games are not art becaus...

For all I know, you’re the rat

1 minute read

Reservoir Hounds was a success, at least with some criteria (and some post-game lie). The game ran for less than an hour, but that wasn’t surprising as I wa...

Politics in FPS-games

1 minute read

To a great surprise to everyone, this post is not going to be about the fuss surrounding the killing of civilians in Modern Warfare 2. Instead, I’ll write ab...

While on the topic of games as art…

less than 1 minute read

Recently, I touched upon the subject of games as art. This is by means unexplored territory; in fact it is so well traversed that the great movie critic Roge...

Methodological contemplations

4 minute read

While I wholeheartedly think that science is mostly methodically uniform, there are two things that seem to differentiate the social sciences (or humanities)...

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2009

Defining games

1 minute read

I held a presentation on games in the National Seminar for Philosophy Students (Filosofian opiskelijoiden kansallinen seminaari, FOKS in Finnish) last saturd...

(a)Games

1 minute read

When reading about games I’ve come across some very peculiar things that may not entirely be called games, but which resemble them very closely. They also di...

The Player of Games

1 minute read

I recently read Iain M. Banks’ The Player of Games, and besides being a good book it’s got special kicks for anyone into game research. I’m not giving away t...

Roadtrip the rpg

1 minute read

Yesterday we drove some nine hours to deliver stuff. Surprisingly it wasn’t few hours of talking and then endless hours of being bored. We got company and on...

The Mountain Witch

1 minute read

I started a game of The Mountain Witch yesterday. I like this game particularly for being so easy to pick up and start with a moments notice.

Seminar paper

1 minute read

After moving into a new apartment and catching the most awful flu you ever experienced I’ve found that trying to keep up any kind of schedule for writing her...

Political games

2 minute read

Last Sunday we played the third game in my series of political games. ‘Political’ does not here mean that they included political action by the characters, b...

Using role-play as a research tool

4 minute read

A while ago I attended a philosophy seminar where the last presentation was about using science fiction as a tool for research. For researchers interested in...

Liquid Crystal

1 minute read

Next weekend I’ll have chance to play Liquid Crystal again. It is a game in which players create and play robots with no personality to start with. The game ...

On the sociology of games

1 minute read

I’ve been working on my second thesis seminar paper roughly from the beginning of the year.

New year, new ideas

2 minute read

We were sitting in sauna and it was getting late when we decided that it would be a perfect opportunity to play a short game of role-play. Few hours of time,...

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2008

Between Heaven and Hell

2 minute read

We’ve been playing Nobilis for some time now. It is a campaign, led by me, about the diplomacy between Heaven and Hell. The players have two sets of characte...

Your Eminence

2 minute read

According to Mike’s Philosophical Definitions Page an Eminence is a “famous living academic whose work is relevant but sloppy. I’d like to elaborate more on ...

Why games?

3 minute read

There are two ways to understand this question:

Horror & Philosophy

4 minute read

Two of archetypical creatures found in horror movies, zombies and vampires, have also found their way into philosophy. To eat the delicious, undoubtedly larg...

Of theory and practice

1 minute read

A discussion I had with some local rpg-players got me thinking about the history of rpg-theory in Finland. The best known of theories was the one based on th...

Huizinga and play

1 minute read

Johann Huizinga’s “Homo Ludens” is one the classics in the study of play. I’ve been trying to read it but I also have a lot of essays to return during spring...

Master’s Thesis

less than 1 minute read

I’ve been trying to come up with a topic for my master’s thesis for some time now. In March, I have to have some idea what I’m going to research. I suggested...

ReNutopia

less than 1 minute read

Remember that game of Shadowrun I mentioned before? It died after some three playing sessions. However, it had too much potential & time spent on creatin...

By train, for a change

3 minute read

It’s not something I usually write about1, but I read a few (older) posts by Thanuir about railroading, and I thought about commenting those posts. ...

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2007

Computers and role-play

1 minute read

I noticed something when I happened to watch a tv-program on games. It seems (and this is in no way rigorously analytical, just a hunch) that a (computer) ga...

Tähti

1 minute read

We’ve played Mike Pohjola’s new game Tähti (Star) for a few times. It’s a game about teenage mutant ninj- krhm, I mean about a teenage mutant girl band. It’s...

Thesis

1 minute read

I’ve been writing my bachelor’s thesis since spring and it is nearly complete. It should, since I have to present it next month. I started with the vague ide...

Nutopia

1 minute read

We’ve started a new role-playing game, with an interesting subject. It’s a game of Shadowrun, although we’ve had to make some changes in order to fit the rul...

Ropecon

2 minute read

Ropecon was some time ago. I’ve been trying to concentrate on reading, so commenting on Ropecon is several weeks late. It was an exhausting experience for se...

Dogmatic manifestos

3 minute read

I’ve finally read something I’ve been meaning to read for a long time: the manifestos Dogma 99 and The Manifesto of the Turku School. While I understand, at ...

Chronicle coming to an end

2 minute read

It seems we are finally reviving the larp chronicle we have been writing for several years now. We already agreed that the next part will be the last; maybe ...

Convention problems

1 minute read

We tested the questionnaire J. Matias Kivikangas has written for Alterations yesterday with mainly positive results. There were some minor complications that...

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