CfP: ICA Games Studies Division Preconference, Jun 8 ’16 (Tokyo, Japan)

ICA Games Studies Division Preconference
8 June 2016 – Nihon University – Tokyo, Japan
Navigate to the following link to view a PDF of the call for papers:
Driven by Japanese innovation in the early 1980s to its global extensions today, digital gaming has become pervasive not only in our contemporary mediascape, but as part of our broader cultures. Computers, consoles, smart phones, tablets, and other devices bring digital games to increasingly diverse audiences and provide more opportunities to engage in digital play. Within game worlds, people from around the globe engage with one another to produce and influence online and offline digital cultures.
One consequence of the centrality of gaming to the contemporary mediascape has been a rich body of research into the effects of games on individuals and groups. Extant work on the effects of digital games often considers questions with normative slants – Do games cause violence? Can games improve educational programs? Do digital games affect players’ social embeddedness? Questions such as these underscore a central tension for this massively popular medium – that is, is it the responsibility of digital game developers to move beyond pure entertainment and of scholars to explore the deleterious effects of the medium on consumers? The discussion surrounding games seems to indicate that, in order for this medium to achieve respected cultural status, it must offer more than entertainment. Rarely, however, do scholars have the opportunity to focus solely on the positive aspects of gaming when the investigation of problematic phenomena drives so much of the games related scholarship.
Contemporary digital gaming derives much of its legacy from Japanese origins and with Japan hosting this year’s ICA conference, this pre-conference theme asks us to look beyond games merely as a means for entertainment and to consider the positive role of digital gaming in our lives. The goal of this preconference is to consider the history, future, ethics, and nature of games as pro-social forces. In order to facilitate discussion surrounding these issues and to explore related areas of research, the pre-conference welcomes submissions with different theoretical backgrounds, methods, and perspectives. Possible pre-conference topics include, but are not restricted to:
> Digital games as
   • Art
   • Historical records
   • Social connectors
   • Cultural bridges
   • Meaningful experiences design
> Theory driven ethical/pro-social design
> Methods for examining pro-social effects
> Industry perspectives on pro-social game
> Digital game content and design promoting
   • Health
   • Social change
   • Cultural preservation
   • Education
   • Social embeddedness
> Ethical challenges in game design
   • What is pro-social and who decides?
   • Should game developers strive to create pro-social content?
The submission deadline for the pre-conference is December 7, 2015 at 11:59pm EST. The preconference committee will send notification of acceptances by February 1, 2016. Please email all submissions and questions to Teresa Lynch (lyncht@indiana.edu). The pre-conference organizing committee invites submissions for the 2016 event in three
Breakout Session Themes
To promote an open exchange of ideas among game scholars we will hold breakout sessions that facilitate small group discussions related to the pre-conference theme. The breakout sessions will feature three different sub-themes centered on a particular question or phenomenon related to the pro-social aspects of digital gaming. Selected submitters will facilitate discussion of their themes with a senior scholar or industry professional serving as an informal respondent in the session. Anyone interested in submitting and facilitating discussion of a theme should prepare a brief abstract (max. 500 words) that includes: a) the question or topic for discussion; b) rationale for the selected question or phenomenon; and c) anticipated discussion directions. Please blind submissions for review. The pre-conference organizing committee and ICA Game Studies Division leadership will review the blinded, submitted themes and cast a vote to determine the three selections.
Original Research Submissions
To encourage the sharing of original research, we invite submissions of extended abstracts on topics related to the pre-conference theme. The presentation format will resemble high-density sessions at the main conference. Accepted presenters will share the results and conclusions of their studies in brief presentations to the pre-conference attendees. Following this series of brief presentations, presenters will navigate to individual stations where attendees may engage them in open format conversation. Visual supplements (e.g. laptop presentations, posters) by the presenters are strongly encouraged. Anyone interested in submitting original research should prepare an extended abstract (1,000 – 1,500 words main text) in APA 6th style that includes: a) a brief summary of literature relevant to the topic; b) derived hypotheses/research questions; and c) a methodological description. Although the submission does not require reporting of results, scholars must have finished data collection prior to submitting their extended abstracts and be prepared to share the results of the study at the pre-conference. Because this format does not require the reporting of results or conclusions at the time of submission, we encourage the submission of studies with anomalous, unanticipated, and null findings. Quantitative scholars should be prepared to share effect sizes as appropriate in addition to the results of significance testing. Additionally, please note that authors cannot have submitted this work to the main ICA conference Please blind submissions for peer review. All submissions of this type will be subject to a double-blind peer review process.
Invited Game Demonstrations
Many of the pro-social games created today come from independent or university-affiliated development teams. To offer an opportunity for showcase and critique, we invite the submission of digital games or modified games (i.e. mods) of any genre (e.g. serious games, games for learning, etc.), platform, and subject featuring pro-social themes. Although we will consider demos of existing games with strong connections to the theme, we prefer and encourage submissions of original games and mods. Selected submitters will present a brief demonstration of the game along with a presentation on the process and philosophy of its development. Following the presentation of all game demos accepted to the pre-conference, submitters will open their games to pre-conference attendees to play. Anyone interested in submitting a game demo should prepare a brief abstract (max. 500 words) that includes: a) the name, description, and producers of the game; b) an explanation of the pro-social aspects of the game; and c) an explanation of the logistical set-up of the game demo. Please note that demonstrators should plan to bring, set up, and monitor their game(s) and device(s). Games from independent developers and research projects of laboratories, universities, or other similar institutions are welcome and invited. These submissions do not require blinding for review. The pre-conference organizing committee and ICA Game Studies Division leadership will review the submissions for acceptance.
Nihon University in Tokyo, Japan is hosting the pre-conference event sessions. Following the session, we will transition to the Akihabara district of Tokyo to enjoy a semi-organized evening of video games related tourism in the heart of the Otaku cultural hub. Details of this fun evening in Tokyo are forthcoming! Prior to the pre-conference event, the organizing team will provide attendees with a recommended travel plan that will allow attendees and organizers to travel together from Tokyo to Fukuoka. Purchasing travel arrangements will remain the responsibility of the attendees.

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