CfP: Video Game Art Reader

Video Game Art Reader Issue 3
Call for Papers


This issue proposes overclocking as a foundational metaphor for how games are produced and experienced today, and the temporal compressions and extensions of the many historical lineages that have shaped game art and culture. In the same way that a computer user might overclock the processor of their machine to achieve results beyond its intended use, how can video game art studies overclock its received historical boundaries and intervene on current video game practices that are accelerating past their limits? Might overclocking practices also produce strain and wear on video games and their stakeholders in a variety of ways that need to be identified and understood?

The Video Game Art Reader (VGAR) is currently accepting submissions that critically analyze video game art at the limits of temporality: through long historical vectors, across significant investments of lived human experience, and in terms of other considerations of time.

Though digital gaming emerged in the last half of the 20th century, papers in this issue can draw connections between games and a wide variety of transhistorical and transmedia influences. Papers may ask: Do the deep histories in which video games can be framed serve as resources for the equally deep contributions of video game laborers and video game audiences to our current epoch? How do video games spread themselves–through the labor of production or the experience of gameplay–over excessive amounts of time? If we interrogate the materials, conventions, and aesthetics of video games of the past and present, what kind of deep history might emerge? If we look at the aggregate amount of time spent producing video games, what kind of systemic practices emerge? If we look at the amount of time a player base applies to a single game title, what can we learn about the game as well as the lives of those who play it?

Possible topics and questions include but are not limited to:

– Expansions of, or interventions into, theories of media archaeology. How might we expand a media archaeology of video game aesthetics, genres, or modes of play, and what do these histories help us understand about the present?
– As cultural critics, how do we respond to the overclocked demands of video game labor across all levels of production, from art games to indie to AAA?
– How do we reconcile the extensive amount of play time demanded by certain games, and the overwhelming volume of games available, with the limited attention (or life) spans of audiences?
– What kinds of historical grounding can be identified in the visual culture that precedes and informs the current video game epoch, and what are the conceptual underpinnings of these choices?
– How are the conventions of contemporary video game art distributed across digital and non-digital media?

Deadline for Submissions is March 29th, 2019

All submissions should be sent to: tfunk (at) vgagallery (dot) org.


The VGA Reader is a scholarly electronic and print journal. It is blind peer-reviewed, invitational, and open to submissions in the form of theoretical papers, interviews, practitioner statements, and reviews on video games and video game-related events. The journal is published annually as a singular summer edition. The electronic and print versions differ in format but are similar in content.

There are four types of articles the VGA Reader publishes. Each have a distinct focus and designated word count:
1) Essays
2) 500 to 5,000 words

The VGA Reader welcomes essays pertaining to any investigation of video games, be they historical, theoretical, instructional (dealing with the hardware or software involved in creating games), or experimental in nature (manifestos, essays proposing new kinds of games, equipment, or approach to gaming in general, etc.). We welcome writers of all kinds, be they practitioners (game designers, writers, etc.), academics, or enthusiastic gamers with novel ideas and information to share. Manuscripts must be under the 5,000-word count limit (including references and figure captions) before it will be considered for review. Because of the length of these essays, they must be accompanied by a 100-word abstract.

2) Practitioner (Artist/Designer/Writer) Statements fewer than 2,000 words

The VGA Reader welcomes practitioner statements, constituting articles detailing the video game-related work of the author, be it a video game, video game-themed artwork/performance, multimedia work/event, etc. These essays can take the form of longer artist statements about conceptual and narrative-driven concerns, but we also encourage details regarding issues of game play, troubleshooting during production, user testing, and anecdotes about the creative production process.

3) Reviews of video game-related events (gallery shows, multimedia events, etc.) fewer than 2,000 words

The VGA Reader welcomes reviews, selected by the VGA Reader’s Editor and Editorial staff. This section of the journal offers opportunities for authors to report on a variety of video game-related events in brief, exploratory essays detailing the experience. These essays must be accompanied by media (images, video) of the event as illustration, provided by the author.

4) The VGA Reader will also publish selected interviews; however, these submissions will be by invitation only.


All submissions must be formatted as follows:
– In Microsoft Word .doc or .docx
– Font: Times New Roman
– Size: 12
– Styles: Normal
– Alignment and Spacing: Horizontal, Left aligned, Single space
– Endnotes: Do not use automatic formatting. Place any endnotes after the main text of your essay but before your Reference/Bibliography list. Place the endnote number reference in parentheses in the left margin, using the same number as in the text of the paper. All references/citations are written in the format of the Chicago Manual of Style. For more information, see: http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/home.html.
– Media (images, video, and/or sound files) should be submitted as attachments via email. DO NOT embed images onto your Word doc. After acceptance, the editor will send copyright permissions documents.

Submissions should contain the following information, in this particular order:

1. Essay title
2. Author’s name
3. Author’s affiliation/academic position/affiliation/ etc.: (e.g.: Collective/company name, independent designer/artist, researcher / Assistant Professor / Professor)
4. The body of the essay
5. References (in Chicago Manual of Style format)
6. Author’s Bio – 50-word count. Email and/or www. can be included at the end of the bio.


Keeping articles accessible to a large, but interested audience is a primary goal of the VGA Reader. While general “good-writing” practices demand attention in your use of language, style, and organization, writing video game scholarship and practitioner statements should also avoid too-specific jargon, acronyms, and other specialized language, unless defined specifically in the article. Include subheadings and bullet points along with section introductions when necessary for organization purposes. Paying attention to these tenets will ensure a fair critique of the work, and will greatly improve your chances of publication.

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