CfP: “Game Love” – An Edited Collection on Love and Games

Game Love – Call for chapters
Editors: Jessica Enevold & Esther MacCallum-Stewart

The editors seek to assemble an edited collection of papers on the subject of Love and Games. Whilst much has been written on violence and sex in games, the representation, creation and expression of love in and for games has hitherto been sparse, but is now gathering increased attention and interest. The authors have wished to assemble this collection for some time, and feel that Games Studies has reached a point of maturity during which such a study will help further some of the complex debates emerging in this area.

Further details below

Digital romances are reportedly complicated to tell in game form–whether it be story articulation or graphical rendition–still, attempts have been made both to convey stories of love and to engage the player emotionally in games. But how, and to what effect? What are the limitations and affordances of the game format when it comes to love? Moreover, love frequently evolves digitally among gamers–both for the game and for each other, but their stories seldom get told other than in forums or occasional journalistic sprees disclosing the behind the scenes of gaming. What are the specific qualities of games, gamers and gaming to bring such digitally inspired love about? Lastly, celebratory invocations of games and declarations of affection for individual avatars or favorite game characters abound, in fan, media and academic texts. If looked at more closely, what do they tell us about games and players, today and historically?

The collection Game Love attempts to address some of the key debates in current Games Studies. We invite papers that draw from the topics listed below as a starting point from which to direct your investigations. The framework drawn up is based on earlier studies into the definition of love in and for games begun here: Game Love – a model. We welcome challenges and alternative perspectives to this framework, as well as lively debate within the collection as to the nature and manifestation of love in and for games.

Abstracts on the following issues or combinations thereof are therefore encouraged:

1. The Game itself:
Semiotics–representation, narrative, cinematographic elements such as cut scenes or mono/duologues, asides or intertextuality
Mechanics–interface options, verbs, changes in game state related to love.
Design– technique, design structure and theory, avatar and emotional design.

2. Player-generated love, paraludic action or interaction among players.
Performative aspects of gaming– roleplay, fan fiction, machinima, webzines.
Fan cultures and production.
Gaming as romance.
Sociological, autoethnographic or other studies of love in games.
Love for or of specific foci, such as avatar, place or specific title.

3. Game Discourse
Critical and Media Debates surrounding the issue of love in/and for games
Gaming history
Socio-cultural understandings of love and its relation to games and gaming.
Critical approaches to love and games– for example gendered readings or other critical standpoints.
Critical fan discussion on games, the language of reviewers etc.
Media responses to love in games.

4. Love for Games
Ludophobia, ludophilia, ludomania, which may be interpreted in a number of ways
Excess and moral panics; Addiction – strongly connected to the theme of love – other perspectives will be tested for relevance

For additional ideas, inspiration or explanation of these four main topic clusters, have a look at the previously referenced model here: Game Love – a model. (Enevold 2008/2010).

We recommend writers to stick to a jargon free, clear, but firmly academically anchored prose.
Abstracts should be 500 words, for chapters aiming to be approx 7-9000 words when complete.

Timelines are as follows:
30th April 2011 – Deadline for abstracts
30th May – contributors informed of selection
1st December 2011 – first draft due in
July 2012 – Estimated date of publication

Please send abstracts to both editors :
Esther MacCallum-Stewart ( and
Jessica Enevold (
Dr Jessica Enevold
Researcher and Lecturer,
Department of Arts and Cultural Sciences
Lund University, Sweden
Mg. Editor Game Studies –

Dr Esther MacCallum-Stewart
Vice President, Digital Games and Research Association
Lecturer in Games, New Media and Online Communities
The University of Chichester, UK.

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