CfP: Edited collection “New Perspectives on Bioshock”

One of the most popular and critically acclaimed games in recent years, the underwater dystopia-themed first-person shooter Bioshock (2007) has come to exemplify a particular ideal of mainstream game development that balances entertainment and marketability with mature artistic expression (Sicart, 152), leading critic Brendan Keogh to assert that we are now in the “post-Bioshock” era of gaming (135). Drawing together a number of genres and influences into a streamlined, stylish package (Weise, 153), Bioshock was “conceived as converged content from the start” (Aldred & Greenspan, 485), and the franchise’s popularity and scope has continued to grow. Since 2007, it has spawned two similarly successful sequels, Bioshock 2 (2010) and Bioshock Infinite (2013), extensive downloadable content, several failed attempts at a film adaptation, and a host of tie-ins including a novel, a board game, branded clothing, and collectibles.
Call For Chapters: “New Perspectives on Bioshock”
Editors: Jessica Aldred (Université de Montréal) and Felan Parker (York/Concordia University)
(PDF version available here:
The Bioshock franchise has also been taken up by game scholars and critics in a wide variety of (sometimes contradictory) ways, as an heir to the dystopian literary tradition (Schmeink), a moral-ethical text (Sicart, 154; Travis, 99), a sophisticated metacommentary on gaming conventions (Tulloch), a subversion of the capitalist game industry from within (Dyer-Witherford & de Peuter, 196), an unintentional meditation on choice and propaganda (Jackson), “the masterpiece of recent gaming” (Tavinor, 91), and an overrated, “ham-fisted” slog, built around a “one-bit moral klaxon” (Bogost). While it has been the subject of spirited debate and critique both within and outside of academia, the Bioshock franchise has yet to be considered in the context of a rigorously curated, book-length edited collection.
This volume strives to redress this by critically examining the franchise and its legacy in the “post-Bioshock” era. We are seeking chapters that respond to and extend existing Bioshock scholarship and criticism in new directions, as well as those that carve out entirely distinct territory for analysis. We also welcome studies of games outside of the Bioshock franchise (for example Spec Ops: The Line or Gone Home) that elucidate or complicate the lasting impact of the franchise. As editors, we recognize that the new perspectives we seek will necessarily come from a diverse range of disciplinary and methodological approaches, and are interested in receiving proposals from game creators and critics as well as game scholars. Influential game designer and critic Clint Hocking has tentatively agreed to write a preface for this proposed volume.
Please send your proposal (title, 400-word abstract, three or four bibliographical references, brief biography) to Felan Parker ( and Jessica Aldred ( by July 15th, 2015.

Notification of acceptance: August 15th, 2015.
Completed chapters due December 1st, 2015
Chapter length: 6,000 – 8,000 words

Works Cited
Aldred, Jessica, and Brian Greenspan. “A Man Chooses, A Slave Obeys: BioShock and the Dystopian Logic of Convergence.” Games and Culture 6, no. 5 (March 27, 2011): 479–96. doi:10.1177/1555412011402674.
Bogost, Ian. “Perpetual Adolescence: The Fullbright Company’s ‘Gone Home’ -.” Los Angeles Review of Books, September 28, 2013.
Dyer-Witheford, Nick, and Greig De Peuter. Games of Empire: Global Capitalism and Video Games. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2009.
Jackson, Robert. BioShock: Decision, Forced Choice and Propaganda. Zero Books, 2014.
Keogh, Brendan. Killing Is Harmless: A Critical Reading of Spec Ops: The Line. Adelaide, South Australia: Stolen Projects, 2012.
Schmeink, Lars. “Dystopia, Alternate History and the Posthuman in Bioshock.” Current Objectives of Postgraduate American Studies 10 (2009).
Sicart, Miguel. The Ethics of Computer Games. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2009.
Tavinor, Grant. “Bioshock and the Art of Rapture.” Philosophy and Literature 33, no. 1 (2009): 91–106. doi:10.1353/phl.0.0046.
Travis, Roger. “Bioshock in the Cave: Ethical Education in Plato and in Video Games.” In Ethics and Game Design, edited by Karen Schrier and David Gibson. IGI Global, 2010.
Tulloch, Rowan. “Ludic Dystopias: Power, Politics and Play.” In Proceedings of the Sixth Australasian Conference on Interactive Entertainment. IE ’09. New York: ACM, 2009. doi:10.1145/1746050.1746063.
Weise, Matthew Jason. “Bioshock: A Critical Historical Perspective.” Eludamos. Journal for Computer Game Culture 2, no. 1 (February 29, 2008): 151–55.

Become a DiGRA Member

Join the premier international association for professionals, academics, developers and other individuals interested in the evolving fields of digital gaming and game studies.