Carly Kocurek Presents Work At Conference
Recently, I made my usual trek to the Southwest Texas Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association (SWTX PCA/ACA, for short) annual meeting. SWTX PCA/ACA is a regional meeting of the national PCA/ACA. While the national conference has its merits, the regional conference has proven both highly productive and collegial in the years I've attended.
SWTX PCA/ACA's Game Studies, Culture, Play, and Practice (GSCPP) area actually attracts international scholars -- this year from South Korea, Germany, and Australia, as well as the United States. This is quite a feat for a regional conference, and it's amazing to see a single area both fostering graduate students and independent scholars while attracting established academics from around the globe. The credit for this largely goes to Judd Ethan Ruggill of Arizona State University, who coordinates the GSCPP area.
At this year's SWTX PCA/ACA, I presented some of my current work on feelies, which are physical objects like maps, magnifying glasses, and other trinkets included with computer and video games. Feelies are interesting because they are game components that exist beyond the confines of the screen. Feelies are more than marketing gimmickry. These trinkets add significantly to the cost of producing computer games, and are often included at the insistence of game designers, which means we should think of them as an important part of the games they are associated with.
In addition to presenting my work, I attended a number of panels on topics from military gaming to the development of gestural games to the experimental nature of Richard Garriott's early titles, and met with collaborators about upcoming projects. For the first time, I also attended a meeting of the Learning Games Initiative (LGI). I've long had a loose association with the group, but I'm now serving as a regional director. I'm looking forward to the programs I'll be working on with LGI, and I'm especially excited for the opportunities this association will offer for IIT students taking my classes in coming semesters.
So, I had another productive weekend in the beautiful New Mexico desert, and I've now got a half-dozen more projects to follow up on.
Photo above (l-r): Carly Kocurek of Illinois Tech, Jennifer deWinter of Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and Andrew Chen of Minnesota State University Moorhead. Photo courtesy Judd Ethan Ruggill.