Nation(alism), identity and video gaming

Guest Editors: Lisa Kienzl (kienzl@uni-bremen.de) and Kathrin Trattner (kathrin.trattner@uni-graz.at)

Although video games can be seen as a prime example of a globalized media culture, questions of nation and identity have been the subject of increasing scholarly as well as public discussion in recent years. In 2018, two games in particular sparked controversy around gaming and nationalism, though in very different ways: The US-American first-person-shooter, Far Cry 5, and the Czech role-playing game, Kingdom Come: Deliverance. The former caused debates by creating a dystopian vision of American ultra-nationalism and fanatic religiosity, the latter was critically discussed for consolidating narratives of national romanticism. Yet, such debates do not only concern game content: Entanglements between nation(alism), identity and gaming can also be found on the levels of video game production as well as gamer discourse.

To further explore the multilayered socio-cultural and political contexts of video games and gaming, the international peer-reviewed journal gamevironments is calling for submissions for a special issue on nation(alism), identity and video gaming. We encourage reflection on the socio-political contexts, as well as on cultural influences on different types and aspects of video games and gaming culture, including educational games, the gaming industry, esports, gaming communities, etc. We particularly invite non-Western perspectives and postcolonial approaches to questions of nation(alism), identity and video gaming, as well as the role of religion within this framework.

What are the specific relationships between national political contexts and game development? Do nation building and nationalism influence various forms of representation within video games? What is the relationship between national identity building processes and religious systems in video games? What socio-political discourses accompany such representations? (How) do national(ist) discourses influence gamers’ self-identification and in-game-choices?

In this issue, they want to approach these and other questions on the levels of video game production, in-game-representation, as well as negotiations through gamers. Topics for further investigation may include, but are not limited to, nation(alism), identity and gaming, in the specific contexts of / regarding:

  • theoretical approaches
  • postcolonial approaches
  • gender theoretical and queer perspectives
  • actor-centered approaches
  • constructions of identity/otherness
  • national video game cultures
  • identity building and nation(alism)
  • history and nation building
  • race and nation(alism)
  • cultural heritage
  • religion and nation(alism)
  • museum education and/or educational games
  • global and/or national aspects of esports, video game industries or game development

Submit a title and 300-word abstract to Lisa Kienzl (kienzl@uni-bremen.de) and Kathrin Trattner (kathrin.trattner@uni-graz.at) by 01.03.2019.

Possible formats for submission include:
a) regular academic articles
b) interviews
c) research reports
d) book reviews
e) game reviews

All articles submitted will be subject to double-blind peer-review.

For more on submission formats and guidelines see:



Title and abstract submission: 01.03.2019
Full text submission: 01.07.2019
Review results returned: 01.09.2019
Revised text submission: 15.10.2019
Online publication: December 2019

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.