Call: “Interactive Digital Narratives: Counter-Hegemonic Narratives and Expression of Identity” issue of GAME

Call for Papers

GAME – Games as Art, Media, Entertainment
The Italian Journal of Game Studies
Special Issue: “Interactive Digital Narratives: Counter-Hegemonic Narratives and Expression of Identity”

Edited by Ilaria Mariani, Mariana Ciancia, Judith Ackermann

Submission deadline: July 29, 2022

The discourse on IDNs is today growingly prominent in scholarly debates (Koenitz, 2018; Koenitz et al., 2015), fed by an unceasing technological evolution that opens vaste possibilities and potentialities with relevant implications in terms of expression – both from the perspective of authors and players. The eleventh issue of G|A|M|E digs into interactive storytelling and interactive digital narratives (IDNs) as ways for challenging the hegemonic narrative as a dominant perspective. IDNs are intended to strengthen their bonds with audiences which acquire possibilities of interaction with the content, to different extents. In particular, they surface as challenging spaces where to explore, discuss, and question relevant social topics.

Recognizing the role of narratives in shaping our knowledge and judgments, the focus is on how IDNs can be employed to share perspectives and experiences allowing self-expression, capitalizing on engagement, immersion, and participation. Digital configurations (Ackermann et al., 2020, p. 417) highly influence how people think, behave, live, and also interact. However, the current state and possibilities from the media landscape offer today logic and opportunities very different from the past. On the one hand, this led to questioning and revising the contemporary role of the user who is empowered to be a viewer/user/player (VUP)  (Dinehart, 2008, 2011). On the other hand, it led to comprehending how to significantly exploit opportunities given by mono-media, multimedia, and multichannel (crossmedia and transmedia) (Ciancia, 2018).

Acting as interactive systems of representation and reduction (Geertz, 1973; Goffman, 1974) able to welcome meaningful and engaging stories, IDNs allow indeed manifestation and emergence of urgent or pressing/virulent topics from perspectives that differ from the hegemonic narrative. Counter-narrative and counter-storytelling as narratives advancing the point of those who have been historically marginalized go far beyond telling the stories of those in the margins (Miller et al., 2020). They empower and provide agency to communities out of the dominant perspective and thus make a contribution to multiperspectivity (Hartner, 2014). IDNs entail the expression of identity and perspective while allowing interaction and participation in the story. As such, they can play an important role in promoting sustainability and responsibility, being a vehicle for expressing identity and valuing diversity.

In light of this, it is evident that the design that frames the interplay between the various elements of IDNs has to be accurately systematized and operationalized, both in terms of meanings to be embedded, and of engagement modalities towards players, from media affordances to narrative strategies. In IDNs, every element holistically concurs in opening up the possibility to make audiences socially conscious triggering crucial debates and reflections aiming at behavioural change and social impact (Dubbelman et al., 2018).

With engagement and sense-making regarded as crucial features to generate impact, the issue of measuring the occurrence of a change through analysis and impact assessment, as well as methods and tools for assessing are a matter of investigation in need to be further explored. The issue tends to already be addressed in the games for change field (Mariani, 2016; Ruggiero, 2015; Steinemann et al., 2017), but still needs to be discussed in the IDN field, where it is sometimes criticized as taken for granted (Deacon & Stanyer, 2014, 2015; Hepp et al., 2015, p. 2015).

This issue intends to further investigate how IDNs trigger engaging experiences promoting critically informed reflection of hegemonic narratives while sensitizing towards views mostly out of the mainstream. It means to deepen this discussion, bringing further and broader critical understanding on the topic, further expanding the reasoning of the issue 8/2019 on players’ agency. We propose to expand the perspective from that of the player to that of the content: from the significance of taking meaningful choices, seeing their implications, to counter-narratives and storytelling in games and interactive media as ways of expression.

Together with the understanding of the story, the process of interpreting meanings entailed in the story, its unfolding, and engagement possibilities can be regarded as one of the modalities through which the VUP participates in understanding the significance of the experience.

Given this premise, the tenth issue of G|A|M|E is situated at a crowded crossroad of Game Studies, Human-Computer Interaction, Interactive Digital Narratives, Digital Storytelling, Transmedia Storytelling, Design, Media Studies, Sociology and Anthropology.

Valuing the high interdisciplinary nature of the topic, we aim at contributions addressing IDNs as counter-hegemonic narratives from different and even cross-sector scientific perspectives.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • IDNs as narrative explorations in the intersectional framework, allowing thinking intersectionally with/through narrative methodologies
  • Identification and/or projection, immersion and critical dis-immersion Weidle (2018) > friction and estrangement due to bring up topics which
  • Liminality and the notion of being in-between: theories and contemporary practices
  • Vulnerability as making the user exposed to perspectives that are emotionally challenging and destabilizing
  • Exploring experientiality, between bodily, digital, and hybrid presence
  • Empowerment of people to share stories and perspectives by creating IDNs and appropriating the tools needed for this.
  • Embedding ethical, moral, and social issues in IDN applications
  • Ontological and ethical reflections in addressing social issues and expressing identity
  • Strategies and technologies for user engagement in stories
  • Narrative AI and procedural generation in IDN
  • Impact on culture and society and experience evaluation, such as measuring cognitive and affective empathy

We therefore invite scholars from all fields to submit full papers of no more than 40000 characters (references included, APA 7th style) by Friday July 29th, 2022 to,,, and

Download the paper template in .docx or .odt extension.

Papers will undergo a double-blind peer review process. Accepted contributions will be published in a 2023 issue of G|A|M|E – Games as Art, Media, Entertainment.

Notification of acceptance to the issue will be communicated by October 14th, 2022. Authors of successful proposals will then be asked to submit the revised full article by January 31, 2023.

Editors: Ilaria Mariani and Mariana Ciancia (Politecnico di Milano), and Judith Ackermann (Potsdam University of Applied Science)


  • July 29th, 2022: Full papers submission deadline
  • October 14th, 2022: Notification of acceptance/rejection sent to authors
  • January 31, 2023: Deadline for edited papers
  • End of February 2023: Publication


Hartner, M. (2014). Multiperspectivity. In P. Hühn, J. Meister, J. Pier & W. Schmid (Ed.), Handbook of Narratology (pp. 353-363). Berlin, München, Boston: De Gruyter.

Ackermann, J., Egger, B., & Scharlach, R. (2020). Programming the Postdigital: Curation of Appropriation Processes in (Collaborative) Creative Coding Spaces. Postdigital Science and Education, 2(2), 416–441.

Ciancia, M. (2018). Transmedia Design Framework: Design-Oriented Approach to Transmedia Practice. FrancoAngeli.

Deacon, D., & Stanyer, J. (2014). Mediatization: Key concept or conceptual bandwagon? Media, Culture & Society, 1.

Deacon, D., & Stanyer, J. (2015). ‘Mediatization and’ or ‘Mediatization of’? A response to Hepp et al. Media, Culture & Society, 37(4), 655–657.

Dinehart, S. (2008). Transmedial play: Cognitive and cross-platform narrative. 10.

Dinehart, S. (2011). What is a narrative designer. The Narrative Design Explorer.

Dubbelman, T., Roth, C., & Koenitz, H. (2018). Interactive Digital Narratives (IDN) for Change. In R. Rouse, H. Koenitz, & M. Haahr (Eds.), Interactive Storytelling (pp. 591–602). Springer International Publishing.

Geertz, C. (1973). The interpretation of Cultures: Selected essays (Vol. 5019). Basic Books.

Goffman, E. (1974). Frame analysis: An essay on the organization of experience. Harvard University Press.

Hartner, M. (2014). Multiperspectivity. In P. Hühn, J. C. Meister, J. Pier, & W. Schmid (Eds.), Handbook of Narratology (pp. 353–363). De Gruyter.

Hepp, A., Hjarvard, S., & Lundby, K. (2015). Mediatization: Theorizing the interplay between media, culture and society. Media, Culture & Society, 37(2), 314–324.

Koenitz, H. (2018). Thoughts on a discipline for the study of interactive digital narratives: Vol. 11318 LNCS.

Koenitz, H., Ferri, G., Haahr, M., Sezen, D., & Sezen, T. İ. (2015). Interactive digital narrative: History, theory and practice. Routledge.

Mariani, I. (2016). Meaningful negative experiences within games for social change. Designing and analysing Games as Persuasive Communication Systems.

Miller, R., Liu, K., & Ball, A. F. (2020). Critical Counter-Narrative as Transformative Methodology for Educational Equity. Review of Research in Education, 44(1), 269–300.

Ruggiero, D. (2015). The effect of a persuasive social impact game on affective learning and attitude. Computers in Human Behavior, 45, 213–221.

Steinemann, S. T., Iten, G. H., Opwis, K., Forde, S. F., Frasseck, L., & Mekler, E. D. (2017). Interactive Narratives Affecting Social Change. Journal of Media Psychology, 29(1), 54–66.

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