CfP: ‘Landscapes of Digital Games’, RGS-IBG Annual Conference, Royal Geographical Society, Cardiff

RGS-IBG Annual Conference, Royal Geographical Society, Cardiff

Tuesday 28 August – Friday 31 August 2018, Cardiff University


Call for papers (Deadline 4th February 2018)

Landscapes of Digital Games


Digital games in their various forms (video, computer, mobile, and, recently, virtual reality and ‘extended’ or ‘augmented’ reality), are increasingly understood in geographical terms. Whether in relation to territory and exploration (Bennett 2011, Garrett 2014), space and place (Martin 2011), digital games present complex worlds to be studied and theorised through geographical ways of thinking.


For some time now, geographers have considered the social, political, and economic spatialities of virtual landscapes (Longan 2008, Shaw and Warf 2009, Dodge 2009). Notions of landscape feature in game design and game studies (Wolf 2002, Nitsche 2008, Adams 2013). Examining games-as-landscapes may fruitfully attend to the uniquely geographical quality of games, whilst offering opportunity for reflection upon the epistemological and methodological approaches in ‘landscape studies’ when brought into contact with virtual worlds.

This session seeks to expand the consideration of digital games to include broad geographical notions of landscape, including social and cultural landscapes (Barnes and Duncan 1992, Duncan and Ley 1993); mobilities and tourism (Merriman et al. 2008, Della Dora 2009, MacPherson 2009); art, image and visual representation (Massey 2006, Merriman and Webster 2009), embodiment, affect and (post)phenomenology (Lorimer 2005, Rose and Wylie 2006, Ash and Simpson 2016), and other landscape-related concepts. From landscape as a surface, to landscape as representational and non-representational, we welcome contributions that open up future discussions on the nature of digital games, their environments and design, and encounters in virtual worlds.


Possible topics include:

Identity, culture and politics in digital game landscapes
The representations of landscapes in digital games and related media
The moving image and the gaze
Relationships of power and contestation in the creation/experience of game landscapes
The role of narrative and storytelling within, and through, game landscapes
Social and cultural landscapes of gaming and games consumption
Links between games and landscape visualisation, spatial design, GIS, urban planning, and other digital technologies
The translation of “real” landscapes into game landscapes, and vice versa
Landscape design in games
Affective and embodied encounters through, and in, game landscapes
Methodological reflections upon studying games-as-landscapes
The application of geographical notions of landscape to digital media
Digital games as landscapes of play
Mobile and locative games; city games
Augmented and hybrid reality games, VR and XR, such as Pokemon GO

Instructions for Authors

Please submit title, name & affiliation and an abstract of no more than 250 words to the session organisers, by Sunday 4th February.

The expected format is 15-minute presentation slots with 5 minutes for questions afterwards and a chaired discussion. Submissions from post-graduate researchers are especially welcomed.



Emma Fraser (Manchester University): emma.fraser@manchester.ac.uk

Jack Lowe (Queen Mary): j.lowe@hss15.qmul.ac.uk

Nick Rush-Cooper (Durham University): nicholas.rush-cooper@durham.ac.uk


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