University of Skövde has a new professor in the humanities. Graeme Kirkpatrick, formerly of the University of Manchester in the UK, has joined the department of Media Arts, Aesthetics and Narration.
Kirkpatrick brings an international reputation in the field of computer game studies, having written five books and more than twenty articles in refereed journals. He is a regular keynote speaker at conferences on digital games and the philosophy of technology. His ‘Aesthetic Theory and the Video Game’ (MUP 2011) was recently listed by gaming magazine ‘Edge’ as one that every gamer should have in their library, while his last book, ‘Computer Games and the Social Imaginary’ (Polity 2013) was described by the journal New Media & Society as “one of the finest books to date on the subject of digital games”.
Kirkpatrick’s most recent research has focused on the history of digital gaming. His next book, ‘The Formation of Gaming Culture’ is due to appear in April 2015 and is the result of a three-year study of the gaming press in the 1980s. Gaming magazines of that time, he contends, established much of what we now think of as ‘gaming culture’, including the idea that some people are ‘gamers’.
- I think we can see a new culture in formation, with its own values and standards, developed specifically for games. It’s useful to know this history when we look at recent controversies like the gamergate affair, he suggests.
- We can see what motivated gaming to think of itself as an all-male affair, for example, and this is useful when trying to work out how to get rid of that image.
Kirkpatrick was drawn to Skövde by the growing reputation of the department of media arts, aesthetics and narration in computer game studies.
- There is so much going on here, especially in the field of game design, he says.
- At this stage in their development it’s important to explore what you can and cannot achieve with games as against other media. The diversity of expertise at Skövde makes it an ideal place to really explore that question.