CFP: Playing with Mother Nature: Video Games, Space, and Ecology (11/1/04; collection)

full name / name of organization: 
Laurie Taylor
contact email: 

Call for Papers:
Playing with Mother Nature: Video Games, Space, and Ecology

Editors Sidney I. Dobrin, Cathlena Martin, and Laurie Taylor seek
proposals for a new collection of original articles that address the use
and place of space and ecology in video games. This collection will
examine video games in terms of the spaces they create and use, the
metaphors of space on which they rely, and the ecologies that they create
within those spaces. This collection will address the significant
intersections in terms of how and why video games construct space and
ecology as they do, and in terms of how those constructions shape
conceptions of both space and ecology.

The editors seek proposals for innovative papers that explore the
intersections between ecocriticism, theories of spatiality, and video
games. Ecocriticism of video games straddles studying ecology as the
Earth (or alternate world setting), nature, and land, while adding
physical representation and experimentation through video game spaces and
other technological spaces. These video games spaces create their own
spatial practice through their representation and through the players'
lived interaction with the gaming environments as constructed worlds.
Video game spatial analysis comprises the created representation of space
in the games, the players' experiences with those spaces, and the nuances
by which those spaces are constructed and conveyed, including their
portrayal of cultural norms for space and spatiality. In addition, the
editors are looking for several papers that specifically address
children's culture and education in terms of video games, space, and

Editors seek contributions which explore and initiate conversations using
the triple lens of ecology, space, and video games about areas that may,
but will not necessarily, pertain to:

* Role of imaginary space in video games
* Implications of Soja?s Thirdspace and other spatial theories on video
* Artificial intelligence (AI) and artificial life (AL) and the creation
of artificial ecologies
* Games specifically designed for education about ecological concerns,
places, or uses (Oregon Trail, free online games)
* Over-all ecological educational/conceptual effect of video games
* Environment in video games and how it is constructed spatially and
* Relationship of the players to the game worlds arenas, landscapes,
cities, and worlds
* Rhetorical effect of nostalgic and romantic representations of nature
* How video games effect eco literacies
* Rhetorical effect of architecture and the creation of game spaces
* Function of utopian and dystopian World Constructions
* Creation of communities within artificial lands (often in MMORPGs, like
Everquest homes and communities)
* Ecologies of play: evolutionary change and progression (powerups and
enemy progression in relation to evolutionary models); cycle of life and
death and the disruption of that cycle with re-play
* Game creatures / anthropomorphism; cyborgs / cloning
* Relationship of science and nature (control in games like Zoo Tycoon,
science as a perversion of nature sci-fi games)
* Analysis of ecolological tropes: mastery or control of nature (SIMCITY
and the natural disasters as the opponent; land as something to be
controlled and colonized in Civilization)
* Cultural construction of nature (prevalence of post apocalyptic worlds
in Japanese games like Final Fantasy)
* Virtual zoos viewing and capturing 'nature' (photographs of alien
creatures in Beyond Good and Evil, capturing creatures in Pokemon)
* Intersections of eco-theories and visual rhetoric as portrayed in video
* Historical representations of physical spaces and its relationship to
the cultural definitions of those spaces (Battlefield 1942, Medal of

All articles should pertain specifically to game studies scholarship
and/or pedagogy. Articles that lend to the theoretical and critical
scholarship of video game studies will be favored. The editors are less
interested in submissions that simply offer readings of particular games
in order to identify that a game might be ?read? as ecological.

Please send a proposal of 500-750 words and a contributor's bio by
November 1, 2004 to (preferably) e-mail or snail mail address below.
(Early inquiries and submissions are highly encouraged). Authors will be
notified of acceptance by December 1, 2004. Final drafts of articles will
be due: April 1, 2004.

For more information, please email the editors or see the longer CFP
online:,, or

Sidney Dobrin, Cathlena Martin, and Laurie Taylor
Department of English
University of Florida
PO Box 117310
Gainesville, Florida, 32611-7311

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Received on Thu Jun 17 2004 - 23:20:03 EDT