Interview with Per Backlund, Professor of Informatics, in the Division of Game Development at the University of Skövde, Sweden




Game Development, Serious Games, Game-Based Learning, Game Research, Game Education, Swedish Game Industry, gamevironments


In this interview, Professor Per Backlund shares his experience working for more than 20 years as a researcher and teacher in videogames. He outlines his initial interest in games, in the early 2000s, while completing a Ph.D. at Stockholm University and teaching part-time at the University of Skövde in Sweden. He shares how he moved from more general research in computer science and IT to a more specific focus on games, particularly on serious games and game-based learning issues. He also discusses his role as a teacher and Program Director in the very large games education (600+ students) at the University of Skövde, sharing the challenges of supporting interdisciplinary research. As founder and chair of the new Council for Swedish Games Researchers, he also describes the aims of the organization: to bring greater understanding to the specific needs of creating a sustainable Swedish ecosystem for game development. He explains the primary objectives of the Sweden Game Arena consortium, meant to promote Swedish game development in Skövde and beyond, and its newest initiative, via the recently-funded Level Up Swedish Game Industry (or Level Up) project, where he serves as university coordinator in the project management team. Finally, he speculates about the future needs for games and game research in rapidly developing and shifting technological and socio-cultural contexts for game-making and game research.

Author Biography

Lissa Holloway-Attaway, University of Skövde

Lissa Holloway-Attaway is an Associate Professor in Media Arts, Aesthetics, and Narration in the Division of Game Development within the School of Informatics at the University of Skövde (Sweden). She is the leader for the GAME ("games, art, media, experience") Research Group, and she teaches in the games and Informatics education, from undergraduate to PhD levels. Her background is in theatre performance, literature, and digital culture/media studies, and she works across many digital media forms, from digital art, to electronic literature, and games, with a focus on socio-cultural systems and user engagement. Her creative and critical work has been published, exhibited and performed in a number of International venues. Her current research is focused on emergent media experiences (AR/VR/MR), experimental interactive digital narrative forms, digital cultural heritage games, and environmental feminist posthumanities.