Interview with Visiting Student on Video Game Culture and His Research at Semaphore Labs

  1. Hi Augusto Schmitt.  How was your experience here as a Visiting International Phd Student from Brazil.  What did you find beneficial about working at U of T/Toronto?

    My time as a visiting student in Toronto was from September to February 2019 at Semaphore labs.  I have been working on my Master’s thesis being advised by Professor Sara Grimes, Director of KMDI – Semaphore whose research focuses on Children and Video Games.  The students and professors who work at Semaphore labs helped me develop different tools for research and writing such as LaTeX, which I didn’t have access to at my home university.  U of T’s extensive library system enabled me to get into contact with authors and theories that were new to me.  

  2. Tell us more about your home program at your current university.

    Originally, I’m doing a Master’s degree in Communication and Semiotics at Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo in Brazil.  I’m researching how the competitive scene of Super Smash Bros Melee – a videogame made in 2001, impacts culture and media.
     
  3. How did working with Professor Sara Grimes help your research?

    What attracted me to Sara’s research is she uses critical theory to examine the cultural implications of video games.  Professor Sara Grime’s focus on critical theory specific to the video gaming industry helped me tie my research together in terms of the “object” and “theory”.  For example the video game Super Smash Bros Melee was originally intended for a casual and fun setting and now 2 decades later it is primarily played as a competitive game.

    Sara Grimes’ knowledge and perspective regarding the video game industry gave me a new direction and outlook for my research.  I would like thank Sara Grimes for her guidance, time and encouragement towards my academic research career.

  4. How do you see your research expanding in the future with this new opportunity?

    Now, that I have the foundation of theories needed to analyze the video game my research can expand in terms of being critical about competitive play and unveiling the cultural values embedded in that activity.  For example, understanding how the creative usage of a video game can enable social interaction by creating an offline community. Imagine, a group of people getting together and the one thing that bonds them is this special video game from 20 years ago.