CFP: Video Games and Interactivity (7/12/04; essay collection)

full name / name of organization: 
Nathan Garrelts
contact email: 

Call For Papers: Collection of Essays on Video Games and Interactivity


Gamers today are presented with a number of options on how to tailor =
their individual gaming experience. The most recent video games present =
gamers with expansive spaces and allow them to interact in multiple ways =
within these spaces; this often results in each gamer having a unique =
experience. For example, while a game such as Grand Theft Auto III may =
have a rather complex gangster narrative embedded for gamers to uncover, =
gamers may instead choose to spend their time rescuing non gamer =
controlled agents with an ambulance or giving these agents taxi-cab =
rides-gamers need never participate in revealing the embedded narrative =
of the game. Other games allow gamers to customize their characters, =
change camera perspectives, and even design new levels for gameplay. It =
seems that the interactive potential of gameplay is dramatically =
increasing with each new game.

When faced with an overabundance of interactive choices, gamers are not =
often confused. In fact, most gamers somehow manage to sort out =
essential from nonessential information, to reveal the embedded =
narrative within a game if there is one, to finish the game if finishing =
it is possible, and in general, manage to keep gamer controlled agents =
alive. Conversely, other gamers are quite capable of subverting these =
ends and effectively re-appropriating video games to some other end. As =
Fiske argues in his book Popular Culture, through the process of =
excorporation members of a subordinate group can use the resources =
produced by a dominant group, i.e. the culture industry, to produce =
popular culture (15) which "is relevant to the immediate social =
situation of the people" (25). Not only have gamers discovered brilliant =
ways to waste time in-game, subvert narratives, and kill the agents they =
control, they have also used the raw content of video games to create =
short films and music videos, to teach classes, and to make money.=20

The fact that gamers actively engage in preferred playings, or =
successfully subvert them, suggests that we can attempt to understand =
the ways in which gamers are encouraged through the content of the video =
game to cause their agents to interact within a video game in certain =
ways. While the most popularly discussed orienting systems have drawn on =
narrative and/or game models, there are other models that can be studied =
and applied. Video game scholars might fruitfully borrow models from =
economics, psychology, popular culture, cultural studies, theatre, etc. =
and use these models to frame the complex relationship between game and =
gamer. Essays that theorize about the nature of interactivity in video =
games or theorize about any system that orients gamers (or the gamer =
controlled agents) in relationship to a video game are particularly =
encouraged. Other related topics may be accepted at the editor's =

                Interested scholars should email their contact =
information and an abstract to as soon as possible. All =
materials should either be pasted in the body of the email, or attached =
and saved in rich text format (.rtf). Contributors will be accepted on a =
rolling basis and receive a detailed e-mail with more information as =
soon as a decision is made. Abstracts received after July 12 may not =
receive full consideration. Please keep in mind when writing your =
abstract that these essays should be chapter length with a target word =
count of 5,000+ words. As always, a completed rough draft of an essay in =
lieu of an abstract is acceptable. Questions and comments should also be =
e-mailed to



Nathan Garrelts

Assistant Professor of English

Saginaw Valley State University

         From the Literary Calls for Papers Mailing List
                       Full Information at
          or write Erika Lin:
Received on Mon Jun 14 2004 - 23:58:11 EDT