CfP: Book Chapters – Arranging the World: Puzzle Games and Digital Play (edited by Gareth Crabtree)

Arranging the World – Puzzle Games and Digital Play aims to provide insight into one of the less studied genres of computer game. Present on all computer game systems, puzzles have developed into a range of sub genres, proving to be a highly adaptable and dynamic game form. Puzzles offer one of the purest examples of digital play. For many players from Tetris through to Candy Crush Saga, puzzle games are the most frequent way to engage with the virtual.  Through the manipulation of shapes, colours and symbols on a grid, network or other interaction space often simple and refined mechanics cascade into a range of complexity that keep players transfixed.

Below are some key genres and games to stir memories of the hours spent playing them:

  • Falling Block – Tetris Puyo Puyo
  • Advancing Block – Puzzle Bobble and Zuma
  • Matching – Lumines Candy Crush
  • Logic – Professor Layton series  & Sudoku Gridmaster
  • Hidden Object – Minesweeper
  • Obstacle Course Navigation – Chu Chu Rocket Lemmings series
  • First Person Puzzle – Portal series
  • Puzzle Collections – WarioWare series & Big Brain Academy 

Through a study of the components of puzzle games the collection will investigate fundamental questions into game studies and digital culture including, why we play, the pleasures of play, defining how game rules operate as well as the unique characteristics of computer game play. Though far from an exhaustive list and a range of alternative approaches are welcome some possible approaches for chapters include:

  • Concepts of time and space in the puzzle game
  • Gameplay without narrative
  • Puzzles games and the furthering video game critical theory
  • Puzzle mechanics and Csikszentmihalyi’s concept of flow
  • The play mechanics of puzzle games
  • Puzzle games and addiction
  • Puzzle games and mobile gaming
  • Puzzle games as casual play
  • Puzzle game fan communities
  • Puzzle games and the joys of failing
  • The historical development of the puzzle genre

Completed chapters are expected to be around 7000 words including endnotes. For consideration please email a 300-500 word abstract detailing the indicative content of the chapter as well as the essay title, author affiliation and a brief academic curriculum vita to by the 27th January 2014 Questions and your thoughts on the project are also very welcome.

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