June 24, 2022

Institute of Digital Games Faculty Members Go Abroad to Share Institute’s Research

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Prof. Stefano Gualeni and Dr. Daniel Vella from the Institute of Digital Games – University of Malta travelled around the continent early this month to share parts of the research that they have been developing at the Institute.

The first stop was at the University of Bergen (UiB), which is an internationally recognized research university in Norway. Dr. Daniel Vella gave a masterclass on visualization technologies in game worlds and Prof. Stefano Gualeni gave an invited guest lecture about ludic unreliability and deceptive design, which he has also given in the past for the University of São Paulo (USP) in Brazil.

Together, they also gave a keynote speech for UiB’s seminar “questioning immersion”. Their talk was titled “Existential Immersion in Virtual Worlds”, which will be also given in a reduced form at the “A Multidisciplinary Metaverse Future: From Education, Research and Innovation to Regulation” event hosted by the Institute of Digital Games and the Centre for Distributed Ledger Technologies, both from the University of Malta on June 17th (more info).

The next stop for the two academics was Manchester, where they took part at the Digital Society event, organized by Manchester Metropolitan University, in this event they presented a talk on the topic of “Subjectivity and Being in Virtual Worlds”.

Both their keynote and their talk were based on their co-authored monograph Virtual Existentialism (Palgrave Pivot, 2020): https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-030-38478-4

“Our book was published in 2020, but due to the global pandemic situation we had not been able to launch it publicly or to give talks and seminars about it. It was great to have the opportunity to go and give two talks about it live and engage with our community and readership in person. Next stop: the FDG conference in Athens!”

Videogames and virtual worlds in general are one of the key forms in today’s cultural landscape, taking their place alongside more established forms like theatre, film, TV, literature and performance art. Their impact is something we take seriously at the Institute of Digital Games.

The Digital Humanities Research Group, formed by faculty members and students from the institute, examines what games are, what they do, and how we experience them. Current research threads include tracking and mapping the differences in representation between traditional fiction and virtual reality, the player-avatar relationship in games, architecture and the built environment in game worlds, music and musicking practices in games, and the use of videogames as philosophical tools.

Prof. Stefano Gualeni and Dr. Daniel Vella are among the world's leading scholars when it comes to applying existential philosophy to our relationships and aspirations with games, and our relationships and aspirations within games.