Mia Conslavo is the Associate Director of Graduate Studies and Associate Professor in the School of Media Arts & Studies at Ohio University. She is currently a Visiting Professor in the Comparative Media Studies program for 2009-2010 in MIT. Her courses revolve around the theory of digital games, digital games and global culture, cultural and critical theory, and textual analysis. She is one of the leading pioneers in gaming studies, specifically on the subject of women in games and ethical practices in video games.
Education and Career
Mia Consalvo received her Bachelor of Science degree at Lyndon State College in Communications Arts and Sciences in 1991, her Masters of Communications at the University of Washington in 1995, and her Ph. D at University of Iowa in Mass Communication in 1999.
Her teaching experience includes 11 undergraduate courses and 5 graduate level courses. In addition to an Associate Director and Associate Professor in the University of Ohio, Mia also serves as Vice-President of the Association of Internet Researchers and serves on the steering committee of Women in Games International. Mia is also a regular guest speaker at the annual Games Developers Conference.
In 2002, Consalvo also received a research grant from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation to investigate the presence of GLBT characters in games of The Sims franchise. The result of this research took the form of a paper titled "It's a Queer World After All: Studying The Sims and Sexuality."
Contributions to the field of Gaming Studies & Ethical Practices in Games
Mia Consalvo is most known for her book, Cheating: Gaining Advantage in Videogames, which provides cultural history of cheating in videogames, insight as to why people cheat, whether it be for boredom, difficulties in game progression, or just griefing. Her research of the ethical practices are based on the world of video games, specifically online gaming environments. Her book is unique and thought-provoking because she doesn’t take on any sort of moral tone within the discussion of cheating; Consalvo does not judge or reprimand cheaters, nor does she classify any gaming action as either upright or unethical. What she does do is identify cheating practices as conditional, situational, and productive forces that can result in the movement, shift, and/or transfer of the different kinds of capital that exists throughout gaming culture. Consalvo gives a fresh perspective on an age-old behavior, bringing it up to speed and developing it as a real and influential means of capital exchange in 21st century virtual environments.
Consalvo has also published other pieces in journals such as Game Studies, Television & New Media, and The International Review of information Ethics. These works include six books, ten book chapters, and eight other publications in various other sources, including The Blackwell Handbook of Internet Studies which Consalvo is co-editor with Charles Ess and Robert Burnett. This publications deals with the the research surrounding the shift in communication practices that individuals use as we move from the industrial to he digital age.
One such publication deals with a popular topic of Consalvo's career; Japanese culture and video games. "Visiting the Floating World: Tracing a Cultural History of Games Through Japan and America", published in 2007 with the Digital Games Research Association, aims to create a better understanding for the relationship between Japanese and American games.
All of Consalvo's current research can be found at Consalvo's Research Website
Hard Work is Rewarded A study of "hard work" and massive multiplayer online games, how video games differ from other media, and how value is held in games. The research is being theorized, outlined, and a plan of action is being developed.
Fan-create content and "value" The goal of this research is "exploring another way of conceptualizing the "user-create content" that is all the hype these days. We're interested in different ways to think about and measure the value of that content, including a)just getting a grip on the volume that's out there, and b) how value gets commodified by corporations, as well as c) what that means for theory regarding fan content." This research is in the conceptualization stage.
Gamer Communications Online A study of how certain factors such as lag, language, and game lingo affect and influence gameplay experience, specifically online games. This research is currently being edited.
Fan boys and Alpha moms: Studying launch coverage of the PlayStation 3 and Wii A study of how the PS3 and Wii release craze and media coverage was primarily gendered, showing that consoles remain most masculine than other gaming media. This research is being analyzed and in the writing stage.
American Otaku A study of how US-based Final Fantasy XI players understand Japanese players, play style, and culture. This research focuses heavily on US-based players that take a strong interest in "all-things Japanese", including language, etiquette, and gaming systems.
Crunched by Passion The notion of "passion" in games is challenged, questioning whether any individual (women specifically) should be encouraged to enter a workforce that "can be so brutal in its treatment of workers".