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Espen Aarseth is a leading Norwegian game researcher who has been an active contributor to the field of game studies since the 1990s. He is the author of Cybertext: Perspectives on Ergodic Literature (John Hopkins UP, 1997). Currently he is a head of Research at the Center for Computer Games Research at the IT University of Copenhagen where he devoted his time to studying aesthetics of computer games since 2003. He is a former director of the Games Program at the IT University of Copenhagen and Editor-in-Chief of Games Studies, the oldest peer reviewed journal in the field of game studies. His current research interests include ideological, narrative, semiotic and ontological aspects of games and game communication, as well as game addiction, games and meaning and digital literature culture and aesthetics. He was recently awarded a 2 million euro Advanced Research Grant by the European Union’s Research Council to help fund a five-year effort to “develop and quality-assure some basic concepts for game analysis.”

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Selected publications:

Aarseth, Espen, Calleja, Gordon (2015). “The Word Game: The Ontology of an Indefinable Object”, Foundations of Digital Games, http://www.fdg2015.org/papers/fdg2015_paper_51.pdf

Aarseth, Espen (2014) “Ontology”, in The Routledge Companion to Video Game Studies.

Aarseth, Espen (2012). “A narrative theory of games, Proceedings of the International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games” 129-133, ACM.

Aarseth, Espen (2011) “Define Real, Moron! Some Remarks on Game Ontologies.”, S Günzel, M Liebe & D Mersch (eds), DIGAREC Keynote-Lectures 2009/10vol. 6, DIGAREC Series. 50-68, Universität Potsdam, Potsdam.

Aarseth, Espen (2008). “A Hollow World: World of Warcraft as Spatial Practice” in Digital culture, play, and identity: a World of Warcraft reader.,The MIT Press.

Aarseth, Espen (2005). From hunt the wumpus to everquest: introduction to quest theory” ,International Conference on Entertainment Computing. 496-506,Springer Berlin Heidelberg.

Aarseth, Espen (2001). “Allegories of space,” in Cybertext Yearbook 2000,,,152-71, University of Jyväskylä.


Frans MayraFrans Mäyrä is the Professor of Information Studies and Interactive Media, with specialization in digital culture and game studies in the University of Tampere, Finland. He is the founder and head of University of Tampere Game Research Lab. Frans Mäyrä has studied the relationship of culture and technology from the early nineties and he has specialised in the cultural analysis of technology, particularly on the ambiguous, conflicting and heterogeneous elements in this relationship. Professor Mäyrä has published on topics that range from information technologies, science fiction and fantasy to the demonic tradition, the concept of identity and role-playing games. He is currently teaching, researching and heading numerous research projects in the study and development of games, interactive media and digital culture. He has also served as the founding President of Digital Games Research Association, DiGRA. He is recipient of grants and leader in 45 externally funded games research projects, with total external funding of c. 6.4 million euros. He is currently heading e.g. the Academy of Finland funded consortium research project Ludification of Culture and Society. Author of An Introduction to Game Studies (2008), he has over 150 scientific publications, including the recent work published e.g. in Journal of Communication, Video Game Policy, The Video Game Debate and The Dark Side of Game Play.

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Selected publications:

Koskimaa, Raine, Jaakko Suominen, Frans Mäyrä, J. Tuomas Harviainen, Usva Friman & Arjoranta, Jonne (Eds.) (2015) Pelitutkimuksen vuosikirja 2015. (The Finnish Yearbook of Game Studies 2015.) Tampere: Tampereen yliopisto. Online: http://www.pelitutkimus.fi/vuosikirja-2015.

Hatavara, Mari, Matti Hyvärinen, Maria Mäkelä, Frans Mäyrä (eds.) (2016) Narrative Theory, Literature, and New Media: Narrative Minds and Virtual Worlds. New York: Routledge.

Mäyrä, Frans (2015) “Mobile Games”. In: Robin Mansell et al. (Eds.), International Encyclopedia of Digital Communication & Society. Wiley-Blackwell (2015). PDF link

Mäyrä, Frans (2015) “The Culture and Identity of Casual Online Play”. In: Frissen, V., Lammes, S., Lange, M. d., Mul, J. d., & Raessens, J. (Eds.), Playful Identities: The ludification of digital media cultures. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. pp. 321-336.



Aki JarvinenAki Järvinen has a unique career that includes both academic and game industry credentials. Besides experience from game design, creative direction, and executive production roles in game studios, he is known for a doctoral study into game studies and design methods from 2008. His recent initiatives include research into emerging forms of games, such as VR, and how to think about alternative directions where games are going in the future. He is also rewriting his PhD study into three separate eBooks.


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Selected publications:

Games without Frontiers: Theories and Methods for Game Studies and Design VDM Verlag (April 26, 2009)

Hamari, Juho and Aki Järvinen (2011) Building Customer Relationship through Game Mechanics in Social Games. In M. Cruz-Cunha, V. Carvalho and P. Tavares (eds.) Business, Technological and Social Dimensions of Computer Games: Multidisciplinary Developments. Hershey, PA: IGI Global, p. 348-365.

Järvinen, Aki (2010) ‘First Five Minutes: How Tutorials Make or Break Your Social Game.’ Gamasutra: The Art of Business of Making Games.

Järvinen, Aki (2010) ‘Game Design for Social Networks’. Sandbox 2009: ACM SIGGRAPH Video Games Proceedings.


Olli SotamaaOlli Sotamaa is an Associate Professor at the Games Research Lab, University of Tampere. He has a background in cultural and media studies, he is an author of numerous international publications on computer games modding, machinimas, digital distribution, game achievements, mobiles games, social games, game research methodology and experimental player-centred design methods. He has taught courses on various topics including game cultures, game design, digital popular culture, virtual communities, user research, internet research methods and designing and scriptwriting hypermedia.

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Selected publications:

Jørgensen, Kristine, Sandqvist, Ulf & Sotamaa, Olli (2015). From Hobbyists to Entrepreneurs: On the Formation of the Nordic Game Industry. Convergence, 21(4). (Online First)

Karppi, Tero & Sotamaa, Olli (2012). Rethinking Playing Research: DJ HERO and Methodological Observations in the Mix, Simulation and Gaming, 43(3), 413-429.

Toivonen, Saara & Sotamaa, Olli. (2011). Of discs, boxes and cartridges: the material life of digital games. In Proceedings of Think Design Play: The fifth international conference of the Digital Research Association (DIGRA).

Sotamaa, Olli (2010). When The Game is Not Enough: Mapping The Agency in Computer Game Modder Culture, Games & Culture, 5(3), 239-255.

Karppi, Tero & Sotamaa, Olli. (2012). Rethinking Playing Research: DJ HERO and Methodological Observations in the Mix. Simulation and Gaming, 43(3), 413-429.

Toivonen, Saara & Sotamaa, Olli. (2011). Of discs, boxes and cartridges: the material life of digital games. In Proceedings of Think Design Play: The fifth international conference of the Digital Research Association (DIGRA).

Tyni, Heikki & Sotamaa, Olli. (2011). Extended or Exhausted : How console DLC keeps the player on the rail. In Lugmayr Arthur et al (toim.) Proceedings of the 15th International Academic MindTrek Conference : Envisioning Future Media Environments. New York: ACM, 311-313.

Sotamaa, Olli; Tyni, Heikki; Toivonen, Saara; Malinen, Tiina & Rautio, Erkka (2011). New Paradigms for Digital Games: The Finnish Perspective. Future Play project final report. Tampere: University of Tampere. (TRIM Research Reports 3).



Agata Zarzycka

Agata Zarzycka is an assistant professor of literature at the Department of English Studies, Wrocław University. She has authored a monograph on role-playing games, Socialized Fiction: Role-Playing Games as a Multidimensional Space of Interaction between Literary Theory and Practice (2009). Her other publications deal with role-playing games, fantasy literature and participatory culture. Her current research project is devoted to Gothic influences on popular culture. She is also interested in game studies, convergence culture and subcultures, as well as broadly understood speculative fiction.

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Selected publications:

“Participatory Poland – an Introduction.” Co-author with Justyna Deszcz-Tryhubczak. In: Confessions of an Aca-Fan: The Official Weblog of Henry Jenkins. Henry Jenkins, ed. 22 November 2013 (part one) and 25 November 2013 (part two). Web.

“‘The Bravest Man I Ever Knew’: Severus Snape and the Gothic Trauma in the Harry Potter Series and Fan Fiction.” In:Magic is Might 2012: Proceedings of the International Conference. Luigina Ciolfi and Gráinne O’Brien, eds. Sheffield: Sheffield Hallam University, 32-39, 2013.

“On Alien Alders: The ‘Erl-King’ Inspirations in Andrzej Sapkowski’s The Witcher Saga.” Co-author with Justyna Deszcz-Tryhubczak. In: Collision of Realities: Establishing Research on the Fantastic in Europe. Lars Schmeink and Astrid Böger, eds. De Gruyter, 187-204, 2012.

“Liminality and Empowerment: The Aged Woman in Neil Gaiman’s ‘Queen of Knives’ and ‘Chivalry.’” In: Feminism in the Worlds of Neil Gaiman: Essays on the Comics, Poetry and Prose. Tara Prescott and Aaron Drucker, eds. McFarland and Company, 221-245, 2012.

“The More the Merrier: A Transcultural Aspect of Companionship in the Fantasy Genre.” In: Anglica WratislaviensiaXLVIII, 77-84, 2010.




Piotr Kubiński, Ph.D. works in the Section of Comparative Studies at the University of Warsaw, where he conducts research dedicated to video games and digital forms of art and literacy. In his previous research he discussed the immersive aspects of video games and their interfaces and analyzed how do they influence on other forms of cultural texts and discourses. He has recently published a book on the poetics of video games (Gry wideo. Zarys poetyki eng. Poetics of Video Games). Photo by Mike Polak


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Selected publications:

Gry wideo. Zarys poetyki, Universitas, Kraków 2016.

Immersion vs. Emersive Effects in Videogames [w:] Video Games and Gaming Culture, red. M.J.P. Wolf, Routledge, London 2016.

Bergman vs. Batman. Chwyt technicznej deziluzji w grach wideo na tle praktyk literackich i filmowych, „Images. The International Journal of European Film,

Performing Arts and Audiovisual Communication”, nr 1/2015. Borges vs. Pac-Man. Zderzenie materii literackiej i struktur gier elektronicznych, „Teksty Drugie” nr 3/2015.

Graficzny interfejs użytkownika – nowe zjawisko semiotyczne. Interfejs jako nośni znaczeń w grach wideo [w:] Przekaz digitalny. Z zagadnień semiotyki, semantyki i komunikacji cyfrowej, red. E. Szczęsna, Universitas, Kraków 2015.

Emersja – antyiluzyjny wymiar gier wideo, „Nowe Media” nr 5/2014.


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Tomasz Z. Majkowski Ph.D. Assistant Professor at Department of Literary Anthropology and Cultural Studies at the Faculty of Polish Studies of Jagiellonian University. He is an expert in Literary Theory, fascinated by historical interactions between pop culture and ideologies.




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Selected publications:

Dom Salomona. Nauka, fantazja, literatura, Tygodnik Powszechny 2014, nr 19 (3383). Dodatek Katalog Festiwalowy Copernicus Festival, s. 24-26

Odejść, żeby powrócić. „Kowal z Podlesia Większego” na tle programu literackiego J.R.R. Tolkiena, Widnokręgi literatury – wielogłosy krytyki. Prace ofiarowane Profesor Teresie Walas, red. T. Kunz, A. Łebkowska, R. Nycz, M. Popiel, Wydawnictwo UJ, Kraków 2015, s. 327-336

Prometeusz wyzwolony. Wiek XX i marzenie o lepszym człowieczeństwie, Znak 2015, nr 722-723/2015, s. 6-11

Ciało Lary Croft. Parodia i gry wideo, Czas Kultury 2015, nr 2 (185), s. 117-123

Gra, czyli świat, Znak 2015, nr 725, s. 102-110

Grotesque Realism and Carnality: Bakhtinian Inspirations in Video Game Studies, New Perspectives In Game Studies, Munipress, Brno 2015 s. 26-43