Video games today are unquestionably an important factor in cultural and religious socialization and the rapidly influential gaming sector of media brought about and requires a specific academic discourse. This new academic peer-reviewed online journal, the first of its kind, aims at establishing and fostering a platform for such discussions. It seeks to explore both established approaches and new frontiers of researching video games/gaming as related to religion, culture, and society.
It is widely visible that many games ‚play‘ with religious symbols or construct symbolic universes, and accordingly numerous existing studies on video games/gaming and religion focus on deciphering and interpreting game-immanent religious narratives. Such media-centered approaches are significant especially when studying the role of religion for games and the intentions of game designers or producing companies. But additionally, it is equally productive to widen the perspective to the role and impact of religious game-immanent narratives on the actors playing these narratives. If primarily interested in the (cultural, social, and religious) impact and implications of gaming and in studying gaming as a practice it is necessary to also include the recipients’ perspective and to highlight an actor-centered research, for instance applying a mediatization approach. Mediatization when understood as a meta-process acknowledges the recipients’ perspective by no longer focusing research on one medium but on the actors in their mediatized respectively gametized worlds.
The journal’s title, gamevironments, consequentially refers to this fact and indicates that in our understanding, researching video games is not limited to the established media-centered approaches. On the contrary, also the ‘games/gaming’ – ‘environments’ need to be highlighted, and they are suitably tackled with actor-centered approaches. Gamevironments in our understanding consist of both, the technical environments of video games/gaming and the cultural environments of video games/gaming. The journal welcomes contributions applying all approaches and highlighting all fields of investigation related to video games/gaming and religion, culture, and society.
The journal also explicitly seeks to acknowledge the steadily increasing impact of video games‘ and gaming’s global aspects. In order to actively contribute towards establishing and maintaining a critical dialogue including perspectives beyond the so far dominant regional contexts the journal encourages contributions which address the diverse global video game and gaming landscape.
Gamevironments is hosted at the University of Bremen, Germany. The journal is an international and multidisciplinary collaboration effort by the two editors-in-chief, Kerstin Radde-Antweiler from the University of Bremen in Germany and Xenia Zeiler from the University of Helsinki in Finland.