Australian Video Game Researchers Seek Common Ground to Improve Future Research

Monash University researcher Dr. Andy Ruddock from the School of English, Communications and Performance Studies and Brendan Keogh from the School of Media and Communication at RMIT (both in Australia, in case you didn't know) will host a seminar to discuss how better collaboration between media effects researchers and games studies researchers can find common ground and work together to improve understanding on the effects of violent video games on real world behavior.

Dr. Ruddock notes that people who research the effects of games and violence are often deemed to be hostile to people who enjoy playing video games.

"It is true that effects researchers don't spend enough time thinking about why people like playing violent games, and how it might have a number of positive social effects," Dr. Ruddock said. "On the other hand, I think it's also true that, when it comes to controversies over the role of video game violence in society, effects researchers aren't 'the enemy' for gamers. There's a lot that gamers and effects researchers agree on, and I think that, like gamers, effects researchers are often misrepresented in these controversies."

Brendan Keogh, a game critic, scholar, and author of the book "Killing is Harmless (Stolen Projects)" belives that many researchers do not understand that games are more than just gore, kills, and points. He thinks researchers can't past the play mechanics to see the cultural significance of gaming.

"Videogames are more than just mechanical actions and videogame players and scholars alike need to be literate in videogame aesthetics — while not being apologetic for the many problematic themes that still undeniably permeate a lot of videogames and their surrounding culture," Keogh said.

Ultimately the goal of the seminar is to recognize the areas where both camps agree and how those areas of agreement can be used to improve research agendas for the better. The seminar is called "Effects Researchers Vs Games Studies: Getting Beyond Conventional Divisions in Gaming Debates," and will take place on Monday June 10, in Room 2.26, Building T, Monash University Caulfield campus (Caulfield, Victoria, Australia) between 3 – 4.30 pm.

We asked Christopher J Ferguson, Associate Professor and the Chair of Psychology & Communication at Texas A&M International University for his thoughts on this seminar and if it will be at all useful in helping researchers from different schools of thought understand more about video games:

"I think this is a good idea, honestly," Ferguson told us. "I think though that one thing they’d have to talk about and get into the open is the degree to which some (not all but some) violence researchers have *misrepresented* the data on video game violence which I think is a part of what has bred some of the potential hostility. By insisting on rigid ideological beliefs, and often vastly overstating the data, I think some researchers have done little then pour fuel on the flames. "

"That having been said, I think looking for common ground is an excellent idea, and perhaps could help to move these debates forward," he added. "I'll be curious to see how it turns out."

Hopefully we will be able to find either a transcript of the event or a video we can post after the seminar takes place. Stay tuned.

Source: Health Canal

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