A woman is wearing VR glasses. Behind her is a large screen and two other people.
University of Konstanz / Philipp Uricher

Play along in the GameLab

On 26 April 2024, the GameLab at the University of Konstanz opens its doors to the public from 10:00 to 12:30. The day before, the GameLab will host an academic workshop to kick off its new focus on studying the social relevance of digital (gaming) skills.

In March of 2022, the University of Konstanz's GameLab was founded as a core facility in the field of media studies to establish and promote research on computer, board and card games as well as gamified interactions. The GameLab supports researchers from different disciplines by building a research network on the topic and providing the necessary technical infrastructure for completing corresponding research projects. On 26 April 2024, the GameLab opens its doors for the public to learn about current research in the GameLab as well as to join the games being played there.

Social media and gaming
During the open house event, the Konstanz GameLab will showcase its new focus involving gaming literacy and digital literacy, e.g. media competencies that players acquire through analogue and digital (gaming) practices. "Like board games, digital games also involve both co-operative and competitive practices. In digital games, players exchange data as well as game-specific information. The GameLab now provides a kind of 'real-life' laboratory for different stakeholders from the areas of research and everyday practice to study the social relevance of gaming practices in contexts with increasing data orientation", explains media scholar Beate Ochsner who, along with Isabell Otto, leads the GameLab.

Media competencies in the sense of digital literacy are also relevant for social media. For example, through informal learning on their own, social media users acquire the skills required for using the corresponding platforms and apps. Although social media companies keep barriers to access low for economic reasons, there are still many unwritten rules about the "right" way to handle topics, trends, algorithmic recommendations and data collection. Take handling algorithms, for example. Such know-how is rewarded with a higher number of clicks, followers and likes. "Users really have to 'game' social media platforms", says media scholar Isabell Otto, co-director of the GameLab.

Project exhibition, opportunities to play and an academic workshop
The open house event opens with a presentation of the GameLab and its research possibilities by lab manager Benjamin Schäfer. Afterwards, visitors can explore the GameLab, play board games and digital games, and browse through the exhibition of current research projects along the way. Kristina Jevtic's project uses the game "Outer Wilds" to study, for example, which temporal dimensions digital games have. Maren Kraemer presents her doctoral project examining the function of decisions in digital and analogue role-playing games, such as "Baldur's Gate 3". Luisa Hoffmann's doctoral project focuses on games with a connection to mobility, like, for example, "Days of Wonder" or "Grand Theft Auto V". She studies the integration of environmental issues and sustainability in these games.

The day before, on 25 April 2024, the GameLab will host an academic workshop entitled "Social Gaming | Playing Social Media". At the event, researchers will discuss skills and competencies related to gaming and social media.

"Gaming is a resource for finding creative solutions to complex problems. The GameLab aims to explore this potential", the GameLab's co-directors say.

The full programme for the open house day and the workshop "Social Gaming | Playing Social Media" as well as information about the GameLab are available on the event website (in German).

Overview of events:

  • Academic workshop "Social Gaming | Playing Social Media" on 15 April 2024 from 14:00 to 18:00 in the University of Konstanz's GameLab in room C 202
  • GameLab open house on 26 April 2024 from 10:00 to 12:30 in the University of Konstanz's GameLab in room C 202