Edited Collection -- Victorians and Videogames

deadline for submissions: 
January 31, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Brooke Cameron (Queen's University) and Lin Young (Mount Royal University)

CFP: edited collection -- Victorians and Videogames

Dr. Lin Young (Mount Royal University) and Dr. Brooke Cameron (Queen’s University)  invite proposals for chapters that explore the connections between video games and 19th-Century themes, texts, or aesthetics.

Project Description:

The influence of 19th-Century literature on generations of videogames is long overdue for critical study. Victorians and Videogames will examine the ways in which game/interactive texts interact with 19th-Century genres, aesthetics, and literary themes as a means of engaging, critiquing, or challenging their original contexts. Chapters will be collected under three categories. The first will examine 19th-Century predecessors or precursors to the videogame – texts that anticipate systems of interactivity, user-generated narrative, play or virtual realities, and/or which may be read through the lens of ludology/narratology. The second will consider games that adapt 19th-Century texts or histories as a means of reworking or challenging their original themes and contexts. Finally, the edited collection will consider games that more broadly function as thematic pastiches or aesthetic engagements with 19th-Century genres or themes.

In essence, this collection will consider the ways in which embodied, user-driven storytelling can impact new and challenging engagements with the 19th Century in the contemporary world. We welcome submissions from many fields: this includes game studies, literature studies, new media, neo-Victorian studies, history, popular culture scholarship, etc.  

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Chapter(s) on 19thC predecessors or precursors to the videogame – texts on interactivity, games, virtual realities, etc.

  • Oral storytelling traditions and their relationships to game narration (or other elements of games).

  • Chapters that examine 19thC texts/games from a ludology or narratology critical perspective (or its debates).

  • Strategy games like Victoria or Sid Meier’s Civilization that evoke imageries of Empire, invasion, and colonization.

  • The use of gameplay, mechanics, and/or design to engage 19thC themes.

  • 19thC aesthetics, fashion, and visual design in games (Fable, Bloodborne, etc.)

  • Games set in, or inspired by, countries outside Britain in the 19th Century, such as Great Ace Attorney: Adventures (Capcom).

  • Disability and gaming culture in a 19thC context.

  • Queering the 19th Century in games.

  • Representations of BIPOC in 19th Century game settings.

  • Impacts of 19thC texts on specific games (ie, Treasure Island on Monkey Island).

  • Point-and-click mysteries and adventure tales (ie, Amnesia).

  • Fairy tale adaptations of tales published or first translated in the 19th Century.

  • Videogames involving contemporary characters investigating or unearthing 19thC histories.

  • Games that utilize genres invented or significantly popularized in the 19th Century (ie, vampire fiction, detective fiction, science fiction, the Gothic, ghost fiction) in historically-conscious or referential ways. 

  • Games that make significant allusions to 19thC stories, philosophies, or art in modern contexts or alternate universes.

  • Games that feature 19thC historical events (ie, Dread Hunger or Inua - A Story in Ice and Time as recreations of the lost Franklin expedition).

Proposals of 400-500 words should be submitted along with a 60-word author biography and one-page cv to both editors (brooke.cameron@queensu.ca & lyoung1@mtroyal.ca) by 31 January 2023.

We will notify applicants of results by 31 March 2023. Following acceptance, final papers should be approximately 6,000-7000 words long and will be due by 01 Sept 2023. Routledge has expressed interest in this collection.