Gamevironments seeks to explore both established approaches and new frontiers of researching video games/gaming as related to religion, culture, and society. The journal encourages inter- and multidisciplinary works combining for example Cultural Studies, History, Religious studies, Theology, Ludology, and Psychology. There is one regular issue per year, which is published in summer. Additionally, gamevironments aims at publishing one special issue on a specific topic per year, in winter. Call for Papers for upcoming issues will be widely advertized. All submitted articles will be reviewed on a double-blind peer-review basis.

Please consult the Gamevironments submission style sheet before submitting your paper, as well as the Help Desk for some general principles.

All submitted articles will be reviewed on a double-blind peer-review basis.

CALL FOR PAPERS – REGULAR ISSUE 2022

Possible formats for submission include:
a) regular academic articles
b) interviews
c) research reports
d) book reviews
e) game reviews

If you are ready, please send your contribution as an RTF file to games2@uni-bremen.de.

Full Chapter Submission: 1. February 2022


CALL FOR PAPERS – SPECIAL ISSUES: 


SPECIAL ISSUE

End Games: Apocalyptic Play
edited by Rachel Wagner

Video games are, in a way, a natural vehicle for telling apocalyptic stories. Games are structured to involve an imminent end to life as we know it, and often involve a limited time frame in which to complete the game’s mission. They can involve a messianic savior figure, especially in the form of the first-person narrative shooter, in which the player takes on a role of saving the world through self-determined judgment and violence. They may involve otherworldly journeys or otherworldly figures that function as guides to a reality beyond the game itself. They may draw explicitly on biblical imagery, or they may approach fears about the world’s end through more secular means.

Apocalypticism has been around since before the formation of Christianity, showing up in ancient Jewish and Christian traditions in which the authors describe an imminent end to the world as we know it, and positing a coming violent judgment on those perceived to be the enemies of believers. Apocalypticism crops up throughout Christian history, most often as a means of coping with crisis, such as massive illness, social or political threats, and perceptions of powerlessness. One can consider apocalypticism as a genre of religious literature, as a political perspective, and as an approach to storytelling. Apocalypticism can be viewed literally by those who expect a transcendent deity to forcefully intervene in human affairs, or more symbolically, in the secular apocalypses that depict fictional crises like zombie uprisings, cataclysmic wars, or resource shortages leading to social unrest. Contemporary artists might consider the apocalyptic impact of natural crises like water pollution, polar melt, and climate change. Apocalyptic visions may be driven by human messianic urges, or they may depend upon an external force of redemption. They are almost always characterized by violence or destruction. And they seem an incredibly common focus for the creators of video games.

The analysis of video games with apocalyptic impact can take a number of different approaches. It may involve reference to the contemporary analysis of ancient apocalyptic literature. It may refer to biblical themes like those presented in Daniel or Revelation. It may draw on contemporary evangelical Christian dispensationalism, Islamic apocalypticism, or Jewish apocalypticism. And of course it may also be a form of contemporary secular apocalypticism, drawing on widespread fears about climate change, nuclear war, or social unrest.

The scope is broad. Submissions may focus on design-based or structural links to apocalypticism in video games, as in otherworldly journeys to fantastic spaces that evoke heaven or hell or some other realm. They may consider how games work, looking at the periodization of time as provoking a kind of apocalyptic experience. They may consider the function of rewards and punishments as an apocalyptic theme in gaming, or they may consider how games approach (or deny) hopes for an afterlife. They might ask what it means that players take on crucial roles for themselves with new agency as apocalyptic messiahs, god-figures, or agents of punishment.

Submissions might consist of readings of video games with post-apocalyptic themes (religious or secular), imagining what the world might look like after an apocalyptic event, and what it might mean to survive in the violent (or not-so-violent) aftermath of world-shifting events. Authors might also consider games that deal with actual contemporary apocalyptic fears, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, portraits of Donald Trump as a messiah, or the threat of global collapse. Considerations of games of any style are welcome: serious games, fictional games, religious games, and games intended for entertainment (but please query what other functions they may also serve). The hope is that all submissions will thoughtfully consider what happens when games introduce apocalyptic elements, what synergies and tensions are produced, and what the cultural impact of this relationship might be.

We live in a world awash in apocalyptic concerns.

  • How can we learn more about our world and ourselves by thinking about the apocalyptic games we play?
  • What is gained by looking for apocalyptic themes, structures, influences, or ap-proaches in video games?
  • What role does violence play in accomplishing a game’s apocalyptic mission, and why might this matter?
  • Who wins and who loses, and why does a game or set of games present these dualistic perspectives?
  • What can we learn about ourselves as players or as people by looking at the games we make and play with apocalyptic purposes?

GUIDELINES
Submit a title and 300-word abstract to Rachel Wagner (rwagner@ithaca.edu) by 1. April 2021.

Possible formats for submission include:
a) regular academic articles
b) interviews
c) research reports
d) book reviews
e) game reviews

All articles submitted will be subject to double-blind peer-review.

Here you find more information on submission formats and guidelines.

TIMELINE
Title and abstract submission: 1. April 2021
Full text submission: 1. July 2021


SPECIAL ISSUE

Revisiting Teaching and Games:
mapping out ecosystems of learning

edited by Björn Berg Marklund, Jordan Brady Loewen and Maria Saridaki

Games educate us, challenge us, and generate novelty in how we relate to ourselves and each other. They help us learn that failure can be fun and encourage us to explore. Yet, it is worth asking ourselves: when we think about the potential of gameplay for teaching, how can we better consider the ecosystem of unique relationships between players, creators, and those who try to facilitate spaces for meaningful play? If we hope for games to reach their most meaningful potential in – and as – educational environments, starting an authentic and open dialogue of intentionality and failure is crucial. As a community, we need stories, models, practices, and theories of teaching to map out the complex ecosystem of learning.

Like teaching, gameplay is environmental. The social and cultural setting, the ambitions (and biases) of designers, educators and players, and the technologies used all influence the colors, moments, stories, and characters we ultimately experience on our screens. Gameplay is at its most meaningful when we intentionally put play and its environment in dialogue, making space for learning, exploration, and engagement. However, understanding the living, complex, and dynamic intertwining between the inhabitants of this ecosystem and the actualizing of meaningful teaching has proven difficult. It is often the „thingness“ of the game, not the persons involved, which captures our attention – flashy visuals and impressive technologies overshadow the unique qualities of those who gather around the screens, who create experiential environments of gaming hardware, and who code and curate the pixelating properties of gameplay.

In this special issue, we want to curate a collection of accessible stories, theories, and methods of triumphs and failures involving gaming and teaching. We invite perspectives from inhabitants of the entire gameplay ecosystem: developers, teachers, museum guides, facilitators, students, policy makers, scholars, journalists, artists, and anyone else who would like to share their experiences of creating and incorporating games and game-based technologies into their teaching. We particularly invite methodological/theoretical approaches addressing the topic of teaching and games, especially those involving, new approaches as well as critical discussions and praxis involving missed opportunities and failures, as well as moments of unexpected successes and meaningful change. We encourage reflections on positive and negative experiences as sharing both is necessary if we want games to ultimately become accessible to everyone, and ensure that we create inclusive learning environments. This call is an invitation to join the conversation.

In addition to the journal’s traditional formats of peer-reviewed articles, we are also including a Call for Failures and Successes, a short-paper format focusing on real-world experiences with games and teaching (see information below).

Topics for the peer reviewed articles & the stories of failure and successes may include, but are not limited to:

  • Teaching about games, teaching with games, or teaching through games
  • Teaching with new immersive technologies: VR, AR, MR, playful wearables & IoT
  • Games for journalism, activism, public outreach, citizen empowerment, and critical discourse
  • How to design better games & better educational experiences
  • Failures and Success in collaboration between designers, educators and policy makers.
  • Pedagogical strategies for using games in different contexts and with different purposes
  • Gameful Facilitator: Processes involved in organizing & executing game-based events.
  • Gaming related to value formations in culture, religion & society
  • Empathy games: cultural awareness, human connections, and/or community building
  • Designing and using games as a democratic tools towards accessibility & inclusion
  • Transformative learning in the educational environments – the interplay between the physical and virtual spaces
  • Students’ experience & perspectives – individual and intersocial changes in the teaching environment
  • “Failure is Fun” – discussing games as pedagogy & transformation, reaching positive learning outcomes through “failures”
  • Discussions of game literacy, and its impacts on teaching with games
  • Discourses on physical, socio-economic, cultural, and political aspects of game environments
  • The politics of games and game technologies: structures of power that affect the creative use of games for teaching
  • Teaching by making games: game design & game jams as a teaching opportunity
  • Designing site specific games & urban games in education
  • Designing and using single-player vs. multiplayer games for and in educational environments
  • Methods for evaluating games and teaching: how do we evaluate the unique outcomes of using games in a plurality of environments?
  • How do we define “learning effects” when studying teaching and games?

GUIDELINES
Submit a title and 300-word abstract to Björn Berg Marklund (bjorn.berg.marklund@his.se), Jordan Brady Loewen (jbloewen@syr.edu) and Maria Saridaki (msaridaki@gmail.com) by 1. April 2021.

Possible formats for submission include:
a) regular academic articles
b) interviews
c) research reports
d) book reviews
e) game reviews
f) short-paper format “Failures and Successes”

Guideline for the short-paper format Failures and Successes:
Please provide in 1 concise page (roughly 400 words) the context, intentions, and failures or successes involving digital games for teaching. In your proposal, clearly highlight each category.

  • For context, provide important information about the situation you’ll be writing from. For example, what types of students are you working with? What type of learning setting are you going to be discussing (e.g., courses, programs, grades, public space, etc.)?
  • What was your intention to use, teach, or involve video games as part of your pedagogical strategy? What were you hoping it would help students learn?
  • How and why did it fail or succeed, and what was learned from that failure/success? If you were to try again, what might you do differently?

Please include pictures and media if you have them. Keep your language clear and concise.

All articles submitted will be subject to double-blind peer-review.

Here you find more information on submission formats and guidelines.

TIMELINE
Title and abstract submission: 1. April 2021
Full text submission: 1. July 2021