November 7, 2019

Focus on Game Philosophy - IDG at the 13th International Conference in the Philosophy of Computer Games

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The IDG has with the Philosophy of Computer Games conference series - we hosted the conference's 10th edition in Malta in 2016, and members of the IDG are regulars at the annual conference.

This year was no exception. For the 13th edition of the conference series, held last month at the State University of St. Petersburg, Russia, Dr Daniel Vella was chosen as one of the keynote speakers. He delivered a presentation titled "The Promise of Being Otherwise: Games and the Aesthetics of the Self," which drew on the philosophical ideas of Jean-Paul Sartre and Eugen Fink to talk about what lies behind the invitation games extend to us to leave behind our everyday self and explore different ways of being.

Students Researching Philosophy Through Video Games

In addition, two of the IDG's PhD students also gave presentations at the conference. Renata Ntelia's presentation, "Masculine Text, Feminine Skin: Rules vs Aesthetics," suggested a feminist approach to understanding games on the basis of the writings of the philosopher and literary critic Hélène Cixous.

Renata Ntelia at POCG2019

Meanwhile, Stefano Caselli, the IDG's newest PhD student, gave a presentation with the title "Thrown into the World: Transformative Aesthetics of Avatars' In-Game Awakenings," which focused on imagery and themes of birth with regards to player-characters.

Wittgenstein's Language Games Philosophy

In the Allegory of the Cave, Plato exhibited the difference between the perception of reality and its true form with the use of fire and shadows. Experiments followed. Wittgenstein’s thought experiment—about a beetle in a box which no one can see but you—is meant to demonstrate that our use of language and its functionality is not affected by the fact that, ultimately, we do not know what is in one another’s box. Professor and game designer Dr Stefano Gualeni has developed a small game named Something Something Soup Something as an interactive thought experiment questioning the unreliability and relativity of language and humans’ methods of communication.

Philosophy Research and Philosophy Board Games

The Insitute of Digital Games is at the forefront of philosophy and games, publishing their research in leading academic journals, such the recent academic article by the IGD's Dr. Daniel Vella and Prof. Stefano Gualeni titled Virtual Subjectivity: Existence and Projectuality in Virtual Worlds in Techne'. The Institute also functions as a hub of international research related to philosophy and games, with visits from Dr. Daniel O'Shiel, postdoctoral researcher and teacher in philosophy, currently working at the Instituto de Filosofía, Universidad Diego Portales, Santiago, Chile and Dr. Jaroslav Svelch, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Bergen.

Additionally, Prof. Stefano Gualeni has examined the transformational potential of making and playing games. He has put it in practice with Construction Boom! a small board game that makes use of procedural rhetoric that will be presented at the International Games Festival in Malta.