CFP: 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

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 ecology.

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 games
    * 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
    * 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 games
    * Historical representations of physical spaces and its relationship
to the cultural definitions of those spaces (Battlefield 1942, Medal of

Some of the following questions may help in orienting essays, but they
should not be limited by these questions:

    * What role does the physical setting play in the plot of the video
game is it interactive, is the space helpful, is the space important in
terms of game play or game narrative, or is it just a blank space on which
the game is played?
    * How is nature represented in video games or a particular video game?
    * For the symbolic construction of species, how do games define human
and nonhuman?
    * Are the values expressed in the video game consistent with
ecologiocal wisdom?
    * Do different genres treat nature in different ways that are
consistent within those genres? Are there stereotypes within games that
relate to nature?
    * How are the nature and technology represented narratively and
spatially in video games - what are the implications of this?

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, 2005.,, 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 Tue Oct 19 2004 - 23:58:28 EDT