[UPDATE] Video Games as Films/ TV and Vice Versa (essay abstracts due 15 January 2011)

full name / name of organization: 
Joseph Michael Sommers and Gretchen Papazian/CMU

CFP: Video Games as Films and TV and Vice Versa: Media Translation, Narrative Adaptation, and Multiple Instantiations

Call for submissions to an edited collection requested by publisher (UPDATED and reposted to account for the holidays)

With Disney recently releasing their heavily-anticipated feature film, TRON: Legacy, nearly thirty years after the original, and with film critics like Roger Ebert recently going on record to indicate that video games are "inherently inferior to film and literature" and that "video games by their nature require player choices, which is the opposite of the strategy of serious film and literature, which requires authorial control," it seems the time is right for a collection that investigates the relationship between video games and other forms of media be they television, film, print etc. While many think about video games such as Pong, Pac-Man and Super Mario Bros. as the genesis point of cross-platform/ cross-media video game technology, video games have a rich history going as far back as the 1950s with Tic-Tac-Toe and Spacewar! It isn't a far stretch of the imagination to see how early games such as those influenced movies like War Games (1983) and Star Wars (1977).

And while early games such as those have a tenuous history of translation to film and television, other games make far clearer connections. Children's games such as Dragon's Lair, Pokémon, Final Fantasy, Kirby's Dream Land, etc. found new and different lives in mediums ranging from film and television to novels, graphic novels, and toy playsets. Still other games, particularly those created for a more mature audience (such as the Metal Gear series, Halo, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Dead Space, Heavy Rain, Silent Hill et al), feature cinematics that outdistance the game itself and have been translated or are being translated to into films and television treatments. And, with a considerable number of movies and television programs looking at video games as a larger conceit (TRON, Captain N: The Game Master, The Wizard, The Last Starfighter, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, etc.), a greater connection seems to exist between the culture of video games and the players themselves than has been critically-examined.

This volume will investigate the interconnectivity between video games and other forms of media broadly speaking. Proposals are welcomed for critical essays that approach the subject from any of a variety of methodological/ theoretical perspectives such as: aesthetic or textual, historical, philosophical, cultural, psychoanalytic, semiotic, post-structural, post-colonial, gendered, etc.

Essays might include (but are by no means limited to) the following topics:

-discussions of a specific video game and the hows and whys of the various media forms (textual, image-oriented) it uses

-discussions of a specific storyline or narrative and the hows and why of the various media (video game, film, television) its story appears in

-exploration of the modalities of contemporary consciousness that seem to be constructed or become manifest through the telling and retelling of a particular story in different media

-exploration of the modalities of personal or community identity that seem to be constructed or become manifest through the telling and retelling of a particular story in different media

-history or evolution of filmic conventions in video games

-transmutation of a particular narrative franchise over time, medium, and (intended) audience

-the construction of virtual or online communities/ nations built through interactive gaming and their (fanboy) reactions to filmic treatments

-articulations of the relationship between storytelling modes of video games, film, television, sequential art forms, and/or the "traditional" novel

-the "artistic" qualities and aspirations of videos games/ video game movies to which Ebert deems impossible

Abstracts of approximately 250-500 words (with author's affiliation and brief biography) are due 15 January 2011 with first drafts of essays running 4-5000 words due 15 June 2011. Please send any inquiries and proposals to Gretchen Papazian and Joseph Michael Sommers at sommerspapazian@gmail.com