Games and Health | Exploring Game Studies, Communication and Health


Finally, after some agonizing weeks of wait, I received the letter  from Utrecht University, accepting me as a PhD foreign student for six months, starting on September, 2012.  It’s a dream come true. It will be a wonderful opportunity to build a meaningful research and contribute to form a Brazilian body of knowledge about the importance and serious uses of video games. My advisor in Utrecht will be professor Joost Raessens, who I had the honor of meet in person in Hilversum at the DiGRA conference. I’m sure 2012 will be a very exciting year!


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Health in Game

Our first seminar about Health and Video Games will happen next Thursday at Icict, the institute where I work at Oswaldo Cruz  Foundation. There will be three speakers, myself included and also a demo of a game based in Brazilian history. I hope that this event is a success and hopefully become a regular happening in the Fiocruz. Everyone is invited. Please, come to participate in this debate. The hotsite  (in Portuguese) is at:

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Digra 2011 Paper

In this paper, I present some preliminary findings from interviews with Brazilian players, health researchers and game developers about the uses of video games for health communication. It was a quick presentation, less than 10 minutes, so we could proceed with a conversation about the subject.

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Face Substitution

These technical demos are impressive, something that few years ago was scifi stuff. The substitution happens in real time. Once the technique  improves, the applications will be limitless. It isn’t difficult to imagine a future where actors and celebrities could rent their faces and body scans to movie industry. Directors would make realistic movies with these models, puppeteering them at will. “Live” actors on a movie set would become a niche thing, reserved for art movies. Pirated celebrities scans would appear in fanfics and all sorts of new legal battles would happen.

In a more prosaic approach, I believe the great application for games would be to permit players to put their faces inside the game. Instead of stumbling in unending controls to set the shape of the left nostril (as in many RPGs of today), the player would be able to scan his face and put it directly over the avatar’s head. Probably this feature would become so popular that would be dominant and would greatly enhance the link between player and avatar. And if you don’t want to use your own face, you could always buy the celebrity faces from the DLC packs…  😉

via O Velho

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The History of MMORPGs

Namaste, which is a startup working on the  intriguing concept of Storybricks, created a handy chart showing the history and evolution of MMORPGs. Despite their recent creation, there are lots of MMORPGs distributed in different genres. Looking to the chart I first had two thoughts:

1. Ok, not a single MMORPG based on health concepts. I have to convince someone to do something like that.

2. Please, no more fantasy MMORPGs!  😉

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Abstract: Potential Uses of Video Games in Public Health Communication

This is the abstract of the paper presented at IAMCR 2011 in Istanbul on July, 14.

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Paper: The Potential of Videogames in Public Health Communication

This paper sums up my research proposal and it was presented at VG3 in Oxford on July, 10th. It will be published in the conference proceedings but can be read now here or below:

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A Tale of Two Cities

I was fortunate enough to be selected to present papers in two conferences, talking about video games in health communication. I received no financial aid for travel, so I decided to turn the academic travel also in a vacation trip. Despite that, last July was not so much of a vacation even with all the sightseeing and jet lag…

The first conference, nicknamed VG3 or Videogame Cultures and the Future of Interactive Entertainment, happened in Oxford and gathered about 30 people to talk, ,think and discuss about video games. It was my first presentation in English. The conference took place at Mansfield College and its ancient walls made me even more nervous. However, my colleagues were extremely friendly and suportive, enduring my poor pronunciation and providing great insights for my research. Despite a little disappointment with my language skills, I walked from VG3 with new ideas, some brilliant new friends and the confidence that video games are a fertile and promising field for research.

Two days after VG3 I left for Istanbul, Turkey, to participate in the Annual Academic Conference of the IAMCR (International Association for Media and Communication Research) with the theme Cities, Creativity, Connectivity. This one was very different from the former, it was a big conference about communication. So, while in VG3 I took more time explaining what video games could do for health communication, in Istanbul I took more time explaining what video games could do for health communication…  😀

I still have a lot to learn about presenting papers in English, but I was happy to see the interest the audience showed about my subject. Again, I got great insights, met brilliant people and made what I’m sure will be enduring friendships. Istanbul is a wonderful city and after the conference, I managed to get some free days to explore it and even make a quick trip to Kapadokya.

There, between visits to the old stone cities and balloon flights, I had another interesting academic encounters, which can become future research opportunities. After all that, I think it was an exhausting vacation, but extremely fruitiful. Now, the task is to prepare for DiGRA conference in Hilversum, Netherlands, next moth and also write my project for qualifying. There are a lot of work ahead and I couldn’t even see the hundreds of pictures I took from the trip…

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Article on online ethnography

The last issue of the journal online Reciis has the theme The ethnographic image in the health-disease process and presents an article of mine describing the various forms of application of ethnography on the online medium. It can be read here.

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(Hopefully not) Lost in Translation

From now on, posts on this blog will be written in English. I decided to change the language so that colleagues from other countries can access this content. I’m sure that my current readers (all three of them 😀 ) won’t have any problems to read in English. Also, it will be a good training to me. I certainly need to get better English writing skills. I only hope I will be able to take more time writing than checking the grammar…

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