Call for Papers – G|A|M|E Games as Art, Media, Entertainment The Italian Journal of Game Studies

20Mar13

G|A|M|E Games as Art, Media, Entertainment
The Italian Journal of Game Studies
http://www.gamejournal.it/

Special issue

Video game subcultures
Playing at the periphery of mainstream culture  curated by Marco Benoit Carbone (University College London) and Paolo Ruffino (Goldsmiths, University of London)

Hardly identifiable with a unique audience, video games are an ever growing variety of texts and practices, with diverse technological, aesthetic, and cultural features. They form a complex, protean, and stratified medium, involving different kinds of audiences. They are addressed to the male and female markets alike, propose forms of family entertainment, welcome casual gamers as well as ‘hardcore’ players, and are equivalently sold to children, teenagers and over-35s. Furthermore, their reception in different countries and regions (Asia, Europe, USA, Australia) highlights very different uses and segmentations in relation to audiences and other media.

However, even as “gamers” are increasingly hard to define in stratified and multi-faceted markets, it is not clear whether or not the production of games actually articulates an equally nuanced series of relations between “local” content and “global” recipients. This posits a question regarding the possibility of games to actually entail cultural specificity in regard to their authors and their place
of origin, as most of them are transnational titles that apparently replicate similar game mechanics, regardless of their countries and agents of production.

> From this standpoint, the medium of the video game is largely supported by global industries, proposing over-arching cultural standards for aesthetics and narratives. The overall historical processes have shaped a pervasive yet apparently homogenized medium, whose symbols and references today are part of a larger visual and pop culture, embraced and celebrated by escalating numbers of supporters.

These aspects have implications on the ideological and political level. As video game culture is becoming pervasive and influential on a global scale, game creators and audiences have also been producing narratives of “independence”. Games are allegedly emerging as a medium for personal expression or collective engagement for addressing social causes. However, despite these claims that the medium may be actually a new and burgeoning vessel for works of social resistance, it has rarely been questioned exactly which forms of connivance, subversion, or deviation might, could or should emerge from games, or whether these practices would remain entrenched in the systems that produce them.

This issue of G|A|M|E aims to investigate the above issues relating to the audiences, the different practices, and the possible  deologies at work in this medium, in the contexts of the economic systems in which games are made and consumed. Not only G|A|M|E encourages scholars to look at these forms of cultural productions by mapping their possible socio-cultural specificities or categorizing their relations to the “mainstream” industry, but it also encourages to raise questions about the very possibility of defining gamers as one or more subcultures.

Considering the complexity of this topic and the uncountable forms of experiences which could belong to it, G|A|M|E invites game scholars and practitioners alike. This Call accepts contributions in the form of papers, but short texts and visual examples are also welcome. We will consider proposals from game scholars as well as artists, game designers, hackers, journalists, players.

**Further research questions might include, but are not limited to:

– Have gamers as a subculture ever existed, and in which ways?

– Does the controversial opposition between “mainstream” and “subculture” hold any
value for the medium of the video game?

– Is it possible to claim or demonstrate that video gaming has gone mainstream at
some point in some context?

– How has this very idea been developed inside the journalistic and critical video
game culture (e.g., as “hardcore” vs. “casual” games and gamers?)

– Is there any particular correspondence between types/genres/themes and particular
(gaming) subcultures?

– How does the industrial process of making and marketing games address to different
clusters of consumers?

– Is it possible to claim recognition for the medium without falling into
apocalyptic or redemptive narratives (“all games are bad” / “good”)?

– What kind of overlap is there between the consumption of games and other media in
terms of the audiences?

–Are games defined more by their internal logic or from the aesthetic and figurative
aspects they carry?

Keywords
game art; indie games; online communities; arcades; age; sex; race; gender:
minorities; hacking; modding; homebrew; abandonware; consumer culture; culture
jamming; mainstream; subculture; underground; trans-nationality; resistance

Abstract deadline: 26th April
Notification of acceptance: 10th May

All accepted abstracts will be expected to submit a full paper by the 19th of July
We expect to release this special issue in Autumn 2013

Proposals and questions to
subcultures@gamejournal.it



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