CFP – Routledge Advances in Games Studies -The Playful Undead and Video Games: Critical Analyses of Zombies and Gameplay.

The Playful Undead and Video Games: Critical Analyses of Zombies and Gameplay. Routledge Advances in Game Studies

The Playful Undead and Video Games

Critical Analyses of Zombies and Gameplay – abstract due date 31/Jan/2017

please see link below for further details…

The zombie has had a glorious evolutionary journey. From its humble beginnings in early cinema, where it was portrayed as a somnambulistic Haitian drone, it has evolved into a diseased cadaverous cannibal that has managed to infect all forms of contemporary media and take centre stage in popular culture. The turbulent decade of the 1960s saw the Haitian zombie reinvented and radically politicized by the independent filmmaker George A. Romero. Over the following decade the zombie became a key component in politicizing the horror genre itself. Once considered as puerile teenage entertainment, horror was to become a serious tool for social commentary. With the growth of consumerism and later Cold War narratives the zombie became an ideological entity in its own right, animating the horror genre as a mythic form of social critique, and creating the ideologically charged post-apocalyptic survival space onto which audiences projected their desires, fantasies, and fears.

Since the early 2000s and the beginnings of the war on terror the zombie has continued to evolve and grow in popularity. Its presence can today be observed across the mediascape, from literature and graphic novels, to film and television series, to art and music, to video games. In fact, it is hard to avoid a video game that somehow includes a zombie. They dominate all gaming markets from app store based mobile and casual games, through indie titles and fan-made mods, to AAA productions.  The zombie has become a video game enemy par excellence, appearing in such dedicated franchises as Resident Evil or in hugely popular downloadable content and add-ons to games such as ‘Nazi Zombies mode’ for Call of Duty. Moreover, even games that are not overtly of the zombie apocalypse canon contain both antagonists and protagonists that can effectively be labelled Undead. Titles as diverse as World of Warcraft or the Fallout franchise utilize the zombie and its undead tropes to create deep and meaningful characters and interactive experiences for players to indulge their fantasies.

Building on the cultural fascination with zombies this book will offer different ways to understand the roles of zombies in video games: Johan Huizinga (1938) posited that ‘… All play means something…!’ So we ask what can a focus on play and interactivity bring to the growing corpus of work developed on zombies in film and other media?  Why the fascination? What practices have evolved? How and why are zombie based games designed and developed?  What are the consequences? What does it mean to participate in an interactive zombie apocalypse?  What does it mean to play with, or as, the undead?

This call for chapters will consider contributions from a wide set of academic disciplines, for example: economics, cultural theory, sociological studies, social psychology, psychology, politics, business, design, arts, history, philosophy, literature, and film. Today the study of zombies as a topic within many of these disciplines has become popular, resulting in articles, chapters and books. This book will build on the existing interest that is dispersed into different outputs, exploring this phenomenon in a multidisciplinary Routledge Advances in Game Studies publication.


Please submit one page abstract (500-600 words), plus references. In this abstract it is important that you 1) highlight your focus on zombies and video games, 2) draw out your theoretical framework you plan to apply, and 3) state possible contribution made in the chapter. In addition to the abstract we ask you to submit a short bio, including key publications and academic discipline/school. Expected length of final chapter, 5000-6000 words.

Time plan 2017

January 31 – Deadline abstract

April 30 – Deadline chapter, first draft

May – Workshop (planned for Staffordshire or Gothenburg)

August 30 – Deadline chapter, second draft

October 31 – Deadline, final chapter


Stephen J. Webley, Staffordshire University,

Peter Zackariasson, University of Gothenburg,

please see link below

call for papers

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