ICA 2014: “Communication and the Good Life” was a fantastic conference. Without question, the research presented this year was some of the best I have seen.
My ICA experience started with the games pre-conference “Behind the Pixels”. This day-long pre-conference focused on all things games and was packed with great talks on a range of topics, such as game-based learning and game addiction. The talk on video game addiction by Michelle Carras and colleagues from John Hopkins University stood out to me as particularly promising. They proposed taking a new perspective on video game addiction in terms of its similarities to substance, rather than behavioral, addictions. Fascinating stuff!
Game studies was also well represented in the main conference. Research on exer-games was particularly prevalent this year. Not only was this the topic of the top student paper this year (Huo Peng and colleagues from Nanyang Technological University), but there was also an exceptional (and incredibly large-scale) meta analysis of the efficacy of games for fitness by Ann DeSmet and colleagues from Ghent University.
I should also give special mention to Joshua Clark from the University of Southern California. His work on cheating never fails to intrigue me, while his talks never fail to entertain me.
Nick Bowman (West Virginia University) also deserves special mention for being the best respondent of the bunch. His questions and comments are always thoughtful and insightful and often spark the most interesting discussions and debates of the entire conference.
If you are interested in a more thorough review of some of the other game studies talks that were given at ICA this year, check out the series of blog posts by Wai Yen Tang on VG Researcher. The first post can be found here.
I am always excited to attend ICA as the quality of research presented there is consistently the best within in the field. However, it seems that as soon as one ICA is over, the CfP for the next one is being announced. The paper competition will likely be particularly competitive next year, as will be hosted in a beach front hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico!