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Posted on: August 5th, 2019 by Jonathan Elmergreen No Comments

WASHINGTON, D.C. – February 26, 2018 – There is no evidence that video games cause school shootings or gun violence. As an organization whose researchers are dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge, free speech, and academic freedom, we certainly would accept and amplify the results of a sound study that does––yet, after decades of research on the issue and a case before the United States Supreme Court, no such causal connection has been established. Why, then, are politicians blaming video games again? Because they need a scapegoat. This must stop.

The scientific debate over video games and violence is effectively over, and has been for years, but took a notable turn in the public forum in 2011 when the Supreme Court wrote in its 7-2 decision in Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association, “Psychological studies purporting to show a connection between exposure to violent video games and harmful effects on children do not prove that such exposure causes minors to act aggressively.”

Proponents of the connection in the real world often base their claims on several laboratory studies on aggression. However, any effects generated from these experiments and studies lasted for minutes and were comparable to the effects of watching cartoons, as noted by the high court, “the “effect sizes” of children’s exposure to violent video games are “about the same” as that produced by their exposure to violence on television . . . [T]he same effects have been found when children watch cartoons starring Bugs Bunny or the Road Runner, or when they play video games like Sonic the Hedgehog that are rated “E” (appropriate for all ages), or even when they “view a picture of a gun.”

Since the Supreme Court’s ruling, others have continued to refute connections between video games and violence. The American Psychological Association’s Media Psychology and Technology division’s report analyzing over two dozen studies writes that, “Scant evidence has emerged that makes any causal or correlational connection between playing violent video games and actually committing violent activities.” The Washington Post gathered data pointing out that consumption of video games does not correlate with gun violence. Journalists are well versed in the research and have written extensively on the topic in USA TodayThe New York TimesForbesThe GuardianFortuneBBC, and The Washington Post. All point again and again to the lack of evidence. And finally, the research of HEVGA members and others in the video game field, encompassing decades of work and thousands of peer-reviewed studies, provides overwhelming evidence that video games are vehicles for change, learning, empathy, and connectivity.

Former advisors at the White House in the Office of Science and Technology Policy, who started the effort to use games for impact at the federal level, also weighed in on this matter. Constance Steinkuehler, former HEVGA President and current professor at the University of California, Irvine, served as the first Senior Policy Analyst on games from 2011-2012 and briefed then Vice President Biden on the lack of supporting research following the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting. She ran a subsequent meeting and listening session that included Biden, key White House staff, industry leaders, and top games researchers. Mark DeLoura, who served as the Senior Policy Analyst on games from 2013-2014 following Steinkuehler, wrote on Twitter, “In the previous administration we looked into this and learned that the research does not support any such correlation.” The current administration has not filled a similar or related post.

If the research debate on video games and violence has been settled in the academy and by two branches of the federal government, then why––despite the Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association ruling, the voluminous research on the positive effects of games, the work in the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and even the megaphone of the popular press––are politicians still blaming video games as the cause of gun violence and shootings when it directly contradicts the overwhelming evidence to the contrary?

As Erik Kain stated in Forbes, “Shifting the focus to violent video games is just one of many strategies used to divide and distract rather than unite and problem solve.” The National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre, following Sandy Hook, blamed video games in a press conference, throwing their hat into the ring in what has now become an overused strategy for politicians and other stakeholders. The effect was loud and clear: you can still blame games, despite the recent evidence, and continue to use them as an easy scapegoat.

That is why we are issuing this statement: the core values of the university––the pursuit of knowledge, academic integrity, public and community engagement––demand it. When we observe politicians misrepresenting the facts for political purposes, scapegoating important issues, and quashing genuine public conversation, it is our responsibility to defend the truth. When we see them proposing games legislation based on unsound research in repeated attempts to avoid their own duty to directly address the core issue at hand, we must respond.

If Washington wants to enact legislation for positive change in America on the subject of gun violence, then it should do so, but it should leave video games out of the debate. They have no place there.



HEVGA’s mission is to create a platform for higher education leaders which will underscore the cultural, scientific, and economic importance of video game programs in colleges and universities. The key is to create a robust network of resources ­– ­including unified advocacy, policymaker engagement, media coverage, and external funding – in order to incubate and harness the impact of this community in a 21st century learning environment. For more information, visit, like HEVGA on Facebook, or follow @theHEVGA on Twitter.

HEVGA Workshop at DiGRA

Posted on: May 5th, 2019 by 3 Verb No Comments




Constructive Alignment in Teaching Game Research in Game Development Bachelors Programme [PDF]
— Petri Lankoski, Mirjam P. Eladhari

Ludonarrative in Game Design Education – Cornerstones of a Program [PDF]
— Hartmut Koenitz, Teun Dubbelman, Christian Roth

Phenomenological Research Approaches to Game Pedagogy [PDF]
— Seth Andrew Hudson, PhD

Teaching Game System Building as an Artistic Practice [PDF]
— Hartmut Koenitz, Mirjam Palosaari Eladhari

‘Thinking through’ Games in the Classroom: Using Analytical Game Design to Play with and Investigate Historical Datasets [PDF]
— René Glas, Jasper van Vught, Stefan Werning

TOG: An Innovation Centric Approach to Teaching Computational Expression and Game Design [PDF]
— Mirjam Palosaari Eladhari

Towards a “Filipino” Video Game: Teaching Filipino Identity and Culture for Video Game Development [PDF]
— Christoffer Mitch C. Cerda

Game studies, art, design, narrative, development, and game research method courses are proliferating across colleges and universities. Some classes are organized into formal game design programs while others are not. They can be offered in a wide range of departments and disciplines, including media studies, communications, computer science, sociology, English, education, political science, art, and many others. The primary goal of such courses is varied: to teach game design skills, game writing, production, development, critical analysis skills, as well as the history and context of digital games. This workshop is for instructors in higher education of all such courses to discuss their approaches, troubleshoot issues, as well as identify best practices for the course and assignment design.
The aim of the workshop is to benefit pedagogy about games by discussing current issues and potential future directions in games teaching as well as to provide a forum for sharing and critiquing pedagogical practices. The latter will be especially valuable for scholars who are among the only faculty at their institution teaching games.
The workshop will be conducted in two parts: The morning session will be dedicated to paper presentations and discussions. The post-lunch session will be organized as work sessions, where groups discuss particular topics (self-organized by interests).


The workshop invites papers about teaching games in higher education. The following list suggests topics, but other topics relevant to pedagogical approaches in teaching games are welcome.

  • Pedagogical methods to teaching games
  • Integrating games into a pre-existing curriculum
  • Case studies—teaching specific topics or areas
  • Bridging theory and practice through the curriculum
  • Creating new teaching resources and tools
  • Teaching students to study players
  • Teaching game research methods
  • Industry partnerships
  • Working with diverse groups of students and multi-disciplinary faculty
  • Logistical challenges of teaching games (access to games, preservation, and fair use) 
    We will accept submissions for short papers between 1000 and 3000 words in length (excluding references). Submissions will be subject to double-blind peer review. Each submission will receive feedback from at least two reviewers. Authors of accepted submissions will be invited to give an oral presentation of their submission. Submissions must use the provided MS Word template or the LaTeX template for the workshop (both templates are available at
    All submissions should be in the PDF format and be submitted through EasyChair. Accepted papers will be made available online at the workshop webpage.
    A special issue of the ToDiGRA Journal (published by ETC Press at Carnegie Mellon) is a planned outcome of the workshop. Selected workshop papers will be invited to submit a journal article version for inclusion in a special issue of the ToDiGRA Journal. Publication in the special issue will require passing a second round of peer reviews.

    Deadline for paper submissions: June 7, 2019 
    Notification of acceptance: June 28, 2019 
    Final drafts of papers due: July 19, 2019 
    Workshop: August 6, 2019 
    Revised papers submitted to journal for publication: October 1, 2019 

    Workshop webpage: 
    Submissions page: 
    Word template: 
    LaTeX template:


    Location: Room Zonshin 206, Ritsumeikan University Kinugasa Campus, Kyoto, Japan 
    Date and Time: August 6, 2019, 9:00-15:50 with a lunch break 12:00-13:00 

    Mirjam P Eladhari, Mia Consalvo, Jonathan Elmergreen, Clara Fernández-Vara, William Huber,
    Hartmut Koenitz, Petri Lankoski, Adam Mayes, Andy Phelps

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      TEACHING GAMES: PEDAGOGICAL APPROACHES DIGRA 2019 PRE-CONFERENCE WORKSHOP (TGPA:DIGRA2019) WORKSHOP PAPERS Constructive Alignment in Teaching Game Research in Game Development Bachelors Programme [PDF] — Petri Lankoski, Mirjam P. Eladhari   Ludonarrative in Game Design Education – Cornerstones of a Program [PDF] — Hartmut Koenitz, Teun Dubbelman, Christian Roth   Phenomenological Research Approaches to Game […]