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