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Archive for Oktober 2010

‚Serious Gaming‘ or ‚Ludic Culture‘? – Preaching Islam to Videogame Generation

by Erik Munder

At the Summer School ‚How Virtual is Reality?‚ in Bremen 2010, Vit Sisler lectured on Islam respectively Muslims in video games in general; Islamic educational video games and video clips from the Arab world, Iran and the United States. His aim -as articulated in his abstract- was to show how private companies try to claim those new markets of Muslim youth while promoting (their idea of) Islamic moral and ethical values in video games and edutainment software. Another aspect of his lecture was the significance of video games and such as an important but still under-examined aspect of cultural life, not only in the Middle East. For this purpose he calls on Walter J. Ong’s concept of >secondary orality<, Ian Bogost’s >persuasive games> and also >neglected media< coined by Philipp Reichmuth and Stephan Werning.

Ong’s idea of >secondary orality< is about the parallels between primary oral cultures and secondary oral cultures like our own. Secondary oral cultures are actually primary literate cultures which became more and more oral and aural again by means of new electronic communication media. The fundamental empathetic and participatory nature of orality itself shapes “new” forms of communities which show great resemblance to communities of primary oral cultures in their social interactions.

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Digital Games and Religion

by Annette Juretzki

If you think about „Digital Games and Religion“ you don’t really expect the creation of board games, hence the teaching unit of Markus Wiemker was quite surprising.

An imaginary NGO concludes a contract to design a board or card game which transmits the message of peace and supports the tolerance for different religions. Before starting with the group work, we watched a short videoclip about the contract to gain an insight of the project. In small groups of four or five people, we had to agree on one of the many ideas we had in mind in order to figure out the rules for our game in the next step and create a prototyp of it.

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Religiousness and God in Computer Games

by Simon Heider

A lecture that deals with Computer games – The eyes of many people would light up immediately and they would start to listen with eager anticipation. I also was curious what Michael Waltemathe would tell us about „Religiousness and
God“ in Computer games.

The first part of the lecture dealt with the topic of religion in computer games. For that he chose three games as main examples to show how the topic might be placed and handled within a computer game.

The first one was the final sequence of Jedi Knight – Mysteries of the Sith. In the  sequence the character Mara Jade has to solve an encounter with her friend Kyle Katarn, who has been corrupted by the dark force. Before that final encounter she had to find her way to the center of the temple. During that she passed many pictures which described what two Jedis have to do in order to solve a conflict. One of this things is that the player learns that conflicts are solved by the abdication of violence. So in the final scene the only solution is at first not to cross the bridge to attack Kyle but to commit „suicide“. In the following scene a picture at one end of the thrown hall shows a kneeling Jedi with his switched off lightsaber in front of him. This is the final hint for the player – only if one condemns violence, one is a true Jedi. When Mara switches off her lightsaber Kyle is so moved by her confidence in their former friendship that he sees his failures and realizes the corruption by the dark force. In Waltemathes opinion this scene shows the central substance of the Star Wars universe where a Jedi acts in accordance to friendship, faith/reliance and devotion.
Only if one’s matters are seen as arbitrary one can become a good Jedi. The inspiration by some religions can be recognized in it’s absolute clarity in this scene. He used the term sledgehammer method for the approach of Mysteries of the Sith.

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Researching the Everyday Mediatization of Religion

by Xabier Riezu Arregui


“Mediatized Worlds of Religion: Researching the Everyday Mediatization of Religion Empirically” was the title of the lecture on August 05. The professor Andreas Hepp of the University of Bremen talked to us about the importance of taking mediatization processes into account in our research projects. His lecture was aimed to provide us with the conceptual tools for that purpose. Hepp says there are two extreme positions with regard to the meaning of “mediatization”. The first one discusses mediatization as a “logic of the media”. According to this approach, there is one specific logic of the media, and what we can study is how actors and organizations accommodate to that logic. The second position on the contrary, contends that the society is shaped through a lot of acts of appropriation, interpretation, and resistance; not necessarily media related. Furthermore, the media-related pressures are too heterogeneous to be reduced to one media logic.

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Visiting St.Pixels. Church of the Internet

by Stacey Pitsillides

Within the post I will try to give a brief overview of our excursion to St Pixels, some history on the formation of the ‘virtual church’ and some insights into the type of feeling and questioning this experience instigated in me, and the group at large.

There was an air of excitement on the day of our excursion to St Pixels. We had all made our simple cartoon-style avatars earlier that day and were keen to test them out. After having spend a great deal of time the previous week within Second Life, which is very closely modeled on the physical world, it was kind of a breath of fresh air to see the very simple mainly text-based web environment and the lack of emphasis on creating a ‘beautiful’ avatar form.

On the home page of St Pixels it is stated:

one of the most important functions of this site is to provide opportunities and resources for worship (http://www.stpixels.com/headline-news)

But what is worship when it happens from behind a screen? That was one of the questions we hoped to uncover, as we all filed into the dimly lit computer lab and took our relevant places behind the rows of screens, ready to enter St Pixels! As we entered the conversation started almost immediately – or as soon as everyone had made their way to the porch – and there was a flurry of tapping keys as we all tried to figure out which avatar contained which person… Then Mark, who was leading ‘The Sermon’ arrived and we were led into ‘The Sanctuary’ for conversation and worship.

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The Role of Ritual: Experiencing Death in Internet Ritual

by Lolita Šteinberga (University of Latvia)

At July 29 morning I arrived in Bremen, I went there to attend the summer school „How virtual is reality?“. I have many questions about reality and virtuality role in human social life, about the border that separates and unites this two worlds; about methods and theories to explore and explain what virtual space is? So we had 10 days to find out the answers to these and many other questions about virtual worlds and media-related issues.

At 05.08.2010. in Summer School we had the opportunity to listen to Marga’s lecture entitled: „The Role of Ritual: Experiencing Death in Internet Ritual“. Marga Altena is a historian of visual culture working as a researcher, teacher and publicist. She is specialized in the use of images in historical research. Marga participated in the project Netherlands‘ Refiguring Death Rites. This Interdisciplinary program aims to investigate new ritualizations of death in the Netherlands. She performed a postdoctoral research on the representation of death in films, television shows and weblogs. In this lecture she shared with us her findings and experiences. I am very grateful for the meeting with Marga Altena, because this lecture encourage me think about death, how it is mediated by the media; in this essay I will try to reflect my understanding of her lecture(you should choice).

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Fieldwork in Second Life: Theory in Practice

by Niels de Jong

‚Go forth and do likewise‘
– L. Nader [1]

In a figurative way, ‚ethnography‘ spells ‚doing‘. As fun as it is to read about ‚doing ethnography‘, eventually one has to do it in order to know what it is all about. Luckily we had enough time to practice during the second session of the 4th of August and luckily I can write about it. So in the upcoming 10.000 characters I will share my experience of that session with you all, not only telling you about the bizarre things we encountered but also providing you argue how these practices can be related to the literature. Weiterlesen …