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Call for Chapters
Examining the Evolution of Gaming and Its Impact on Social, Cultural, and Political Perspectives (link to call)
Editors
Dr. Keri Duncan Valentine, (West Virginia University)
Lucas John Jensen, (The University of Georgia)
Proposal Submission Deadline: March 13, 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
Researchers and practitioners in the field of library and information / computer science are invited to submit on or before March 13, 2015, a chapter proposal of 1,000 – 2,000 words clearly explaining the mission and concerns of his or her 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, Handbook of Research on Collection Development and Management in Massive Digital Libraries. 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 13, 2015- Submit proposals
April 30, 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: lucasjohnjensen@gmail.com

 

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