Call: Examining the Evolution of Gaming and Its Impact on Social, Cultural, and Political Perspectives (Book chapters)

Call for Chapters: Examining the Evolution of Gaming and Its Impact on Social, Cultural, and Political Perspectives

EDITORS

Dr. Keri Duncan Valentine (West Virginia University)
Lucas John Jensen (The University of Georgia)

Proposals Submission Deadline: March 30, 2015
Full Chapters Due: June 30, 2015

INTRODUCTION

The maturing field of video games offers unparalleled narrative complexity, experimentation with new game mechanics, and avenues for in-game creativity. Can the interactive nature of video games shift a player’s perspective on sociopolitical and cultural topics by placing them in unique and challenging situations, characters, and/or points of view?

As video games grow in popularity, ambition, scope, and technological prowess, they also mature as an art form, shedding old definitions tethered to video games as competitive exercises with simple sets of mechanics. Over the last four decades, video games have made great narrative strides, from the rather simple days of Pong and Mario Bros. to the branching narratives of the Mass Effect series. In fact, those who view videogames as an art form often point to game narrative and storytelling as a place where videogames have not only matured, but have offered something different than other narrative experiences like literature or film. Greater technological capabilities, in addition to years of experimentation and maturation, have expanded the ability of games to tell different kinds of stories, offering branching paths.

The question of “what makes a game a game?” looms larger than ever in this expansive era of video game storytelling. As plots and characters grow, branch, and develop, so, too, expand the boundaries of storytelling provided by video games. Simply put, video games can do more stuff than they could before, and the notion that games are competitive exercises first and foremost has been subsumed by the possibility of video games as a new type of storytelling medium. In traditional definitions of gaming, a set of rules and a victory condition/win scenario were essential elements to a game. Because of this, most video game definitions have followed, focusing on the rules and winning as the things that made video games “games.” This debate is not a new one, but a recent growth in boundary-pushing and experimental game mechanics, precipitated in no small part by easier game development tools and an explosion in indie game developers.

Traditional definitions of “video games” rely heavily on the notion that games are competitive exercises. This book will examine their power to change perspectives in any number of dimensions, including the social, artistic, cultural, political, and scientific.

OBJECTIVE

This book will survey the current landscape of video games and summarize recent trends in video game narrative, transformative changes, and emergent gaming that are broadening the definition of “video games” and causing perspective shifts – whether aesthetic, cultural, social, political, scientific, or even mathematical – by forcing players to embody different personas or engage with perspectives they might not normally encounter. How do video games, with their integration of interactivity, storytelling, and aesthetics, cause players to shift perspectives?

We are interested in tracing the development of games as transformative art and media. New video game types have emerged that challenge the notion of games as exercises in fun escapism. An explosion in independent games has led to games about topics as serious and diverse as living with depression (e.g. Depression Quest), LGBT issues and family dysfunction (Gone Home), the drudgery of bureaucratic work (I Get This Call All the Time), or working in an autocracy (Papers, Please). By placing players in these unique points of view, these games might shift player perspective on these issues. Similarly, technological prowess has allowed games to offer worlds with physics and dimensions that are not accessible through other media, exhibited in games such as Portal, Fez, and Monument Valley, where playing with perspective itself is the central mechanic. Finally, we hope discuss some implications that perspective shifts from games might have on the use of video games in educational settings, whether formal or informal.

TARGET AUDIENCE

We hope this book finds a home in university courses that address game design, educational gaming, art in gaming, and sociopolitical issues surrounding gaming.

With a compilation of perspectives on gaming and research chapters, this book will serve as a resource for researchers of video games and their effect on players.

Educators will learn about current trends in gaming that could help them better implement game usage in their field, as well as have conversations and understand students who game (which is most of them!).

As a professional community, game designers and developers always working to improve their craft and design ideas, so the conceptual and practical information presented here might be of use to them.

RECOMMENDED TOPICS

We are looking for chapter proposals–empirical, historical, narrative, theoretical/conceptual, or practice-based case studies–that intersect with (but not limited to!) the following topics as they relate to the notion that games can shift player’s ideas, notions, beliefs, and perspectives:

  • Experimental video games
  • Political/social gaming
  • LGBT gaming issues
  • Creativity in games
  • New definitions of “video games”
  • The history of transformative gaming
  • Perspective shifts through game mechanics
  • Games as sandboxes
  • Games as art objects
  • Tabletop and role-playing games for perspective shifts
  • Critical theory issues (race, gender, class, etc.) in video games
  • E-Sports
  • Embodiment in gaming
  • Video game narratives
  • Emergent gaming
  • Multicultural gaming issues
  • Gaming as spectator sport/e-sports
  • Socializing in games
  • Customization in games
  • Game modding
  • Machinima
  • New perspectives on play in video games
  • Possible selves through video gaming
  • Point of view in video games
  • Perspective shifts in video games
  • Design thinking and games
  • Games as learning tools
  • Game usage in educational settings
  • Serious games
  • Let’s Play videos

SUBMISSION PROCEDURE

This book is interdisciplinary, so researchers, writers, and practitioners involved with video games and gaming are encouraged to submit a proposal. Proposals are due on or before March 30, 2015. Each chapter proposal should be around 1000 words, clearly explaining the mission, goals, themes, concerns, ideas, and/or concepts of his her or his proposed chapter. Authors will be notified by April 10, 2015 about the status of their proposals and sent chapter guidelines. Full chapters, 10,000-12,000 words each, are expected to be submitted by May 8, 2015. All submitted chapters will be reviewed on a double-blind review basis. Contributors may also be requested to serve as reviewers for this project. Chapters with multiple authors are welcome, even encouraged.

Note: there are no submission or acceptance fees for manuscripts submitted to this book publication, Examining the Evolution of Gaming and Its Impact on Social, Cultural, and Political Perspectives. All manuscripts are accepted based on a double-blind peer review editorial process.

PUBLISHER

This book is scheduled to be published by IGI Global (formerly Idea Group Inc.), an international academic publisher of the “Information Science Reference” (formerly Idea Group Reference), “Medical Information Science Reference,” “Business Science Reference,” and “Engineering Science Reference” imprints. IGI Global specializes in publishing reference books, scholarly journals, and electronic databases featuring academic research on a variety of innovative topic areas including, but not limited to, education, social science, medicine and healthcare, business and management, information science and technology, engineering, public administration, library and information science, media and communication studies, and environmental science. For additional information regarding the publisher, please visit www.igi-global.com. This publication is anticipated to be released in 2016.

BOOK SERIES

For release in the Advances in Media, Entertainment, and the Arts (AMEA) book series

Series Editor(s): Giuseppe Amoruso (Politecnico di Milano, Italy)

The Advances in Media, Entertainment, and the Arts (AMEA) book series aims to explore current academic research in the field of artistic and design methodologies, applied arts, music, film, television, and news industries, as well as popular culture. Encompassing titles which focus on the latest research surrounding different design areas, services and strategies for communication and social innovation, cultural heritage, digital and print media, journalism, data visualization, gaming, design representation, television and film, as well as both the fine applied and performing arts, the AMEA book series is ideally suited for researchers, students, cultural theorists, and media professionals.

IMPORTANT DATES

March 30, 2015- Submit proposals
April 10, 2015- Notification of acceptance
June 30, 2015- Submit full chapters
August 30, 2015- Review results to authors
September 30, 2015- Submit revised chapters
October 30, 2015- Submit final chapters

INQUIRIES

Lucas John Jensen: theevolutionofgamingbook@gmail.com

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