Unquestionably video gaming, which by definition includes video games, is one of the most significant ways that values are communicated in today’s highly mediatized culture. The cultural and social influence not just of video gaming, but of gaming’s influence on other media, calls for an original, specific, analytic discourse. This new academic peer-reviewed online journal, the first of its kind, aims at establishing and fostering a platform for just such discussions. It seeks to explore both established approaches and new frontiers of researching video gaming as related to value formations in culture, religion, and society.
Our concept of value formations derives from a social-constructivist approach, which understands values not as timeless, essential, universal, or static, but rather as constructed by specific social locations. Values are therefore discourses and practices that are constantly (re)defined and (re)negotiated by competing actors according to time, context, and skill. These actors can be individual persons, groups, or organizations. Our goal is not to evaluate these values, but rather analyze how the different individual and collective actors (re)define and understand something as value.
This journal takes an actor-centered approach. No doubt many games play with values or construct symbolic universes that are related to values, and accordingly numerous existing studies on video gaming focus on deciphering and interpreting value formations within in game narratives. Such media-centered approaches are significant, especially when studying the role of values for games and the intentions of game designers. This journal, however, argues that we need to widen the perspective. While we are primarily interested in the (cultural, social, and religious) implications of gaming and in studying gaming as practice, it is necessary to also include the recipients’ perspective. We acknowledge this by focusing on the actors in their respective mediatized and gametized life-worlds.
The journal’s title – gamevironments – consequentially refers to an actor-centered approach which highlights how games are part of larger media environments. Gamevironment as a concept and lens encompasses the technical as well as the cultural environments of video games and gaming. The journal welcomes contributions applying all approaches and highlighting all fields of investigation related to video gaming and value formations in relation to culture and society. The journal also explicitly seeks to acknowledge the steadily increasing impact of video 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.