Hi Carl-Erik, where are you from?
– I am born and raised in Southern Sweden, on the countryside outside the city of Helsingborg.
How did you get interested in the academic side of games, story-telling, gaming in general??
– For me it is definitely the world- and story building aspect which intrigues me, and discovering that most stories are built by a number of components which then are put together according to certain patterns. And that we have done this for thousands of years. Further on, when you build a world the main ingredients are its stories. Each world has its own myths, songs, mysteries, theories, symbols and so on, and to truly understand (and create) a living world you must delve deep into its stories, even sometimes the language these are told in.
What is some result, either by yourself or others, that you think is really cool?
– I recently read Games: Agency As Art from 2020 by the professor of philosophy C. Thi Nguyen. He proposes that games are in essence a medium for storing and communicating forms of agency: a particular set of goals framed by a particular set of abilities. If games then can record and transmit forms of agency (or with other words inscribing and recording bits of an immersive human experience), you can learn new modes of agency from being immersed in a game, without real-world consequences. Agency is thus, you could say, the artistic element that games do best, or the main artistic component. I think that's a pretty cool theory.
What would you like to do in the future?
– From the academic side I would like to explore autogenerated stories (through AI) and even explore the possibility of creating reactive immersive environments which respond to your words and emotional state. Imagine sitting and playing a board game in a room with your friends and the light, sound, even the music changes automatically based on what is happening at the table. Outside of my academic work I have very mundane ambitions. I would to explore Meso-American mythology and history for example, and also publish a larger RPG book. And I think both will be taken care of within two years.
Was there anything you feared as a little kid?
– Well, besides the regular fears you have as a kid, I was afraid of getting eaten by a T-Rex.
Did you have any favorite animal?
– One of my favourite animals were salamanders, partly because I had a couple of my own. But I also liked bats.
What was your favorite game when you were a kid?
– I loved a game called Blaster Master for NES. You are a kid exploring a society of mutants deep beneath the sewers. Trying to save your mutated pet frog. Besides that, I liked tabletop RPGs like the Swedish Drakar & Demoner. And of course, the first Zelda games for NES.