Symposium: Controlling or Controlled?, March 5, 2015

All controllersThis month, let’s take a different approach to talking about video games. Instead of what we see or feel, let’s take some time to discuss touching, tapping, swiping, pressing buttons, and moving toggles, and how our experiences with them shape our understanding of the games themselves. It’s time to talk about controllers and interfaces: do we control them or do they control us?

Based primarily around the ideas from distributed cognition and activity theory of how information is embedded within systems and not purely part of an individual, let’s discuss how controllers situate us, what they afford us and how they, in turn, constrain us in different ways.

Does holding a Wiimote affect how you think about a game? How about a plastic guitar like those found in connection to the Rock Band and Rocksmith games? What is the difference between a joystick and a keyboard? In what ways do we understand our context through controllers?

Join us, as always, via Skype starting at 9:30pm EST / 6:30pm PST to discuss these questions, ideas, and your own anecdotes around controllers influencing behavior in different ways.

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