DiGRA India Conference 2023 (online): Love and Games

deadline for submissions: 
November 15, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
DiGRA India

Love in/and/for Games

Loving a game can lead to formation of gaming communities, and game communities can later become sites where love can be found and at times love for games can be lost. One can also sit back and play to complete a love story as a side quest of a game. One could also declare one’s love for games by establishing an academic discipline. Each case is a specific and possibly conflicting manifestation/articulation of love for/in/and games. While it is easy to reach a consensus that we all love games, the question ‘why do we love games?’ is politically charged and a heavily contested one. Sara Ahmed has argued that even ‘hate groups’ operate in the name of love, as we saw in the online harassment campaign known as Gamergate, where hatred, toxicity and violence were packaged as “love for games”. However, the women at the receiving end were subjected to violence, harassment and hatred not because they hated games but because their love for games did not coincide with attitudes of white male right-wing gamers. Often when we think of love and games, it seems that the conflict is not between game haters and game lovers, rather it is always between various constructed variations of the umbrella phrase love for games. In all this the game hater appears as a straw(o)man figure, who is almost like a phantom friend to gamers, designers, scholars, who they regularly speak of and talk to, who however, does not exist or perhaps is extremely difficult to find or maybe hides in plain sight. Perhaps, the answer to the question ‘why do we love games?’ involves a necessary speculation on how we love games and what languages, modes and mediums do we invoke to express our love for games.

Love, games and play has been a topic of interest for game studies for quite some time. In 2008 Jessica Enevold proposed a categorization model for Game-Love, in 2012 Jane Pinckard edited a special issue for the journal Well Played on the subject of romance in games, ‘Game Love: Essays on Play and Affection’ was published in 2014, in 2016 another volume ‘Digital Love: Romance and Sexuality in Games’ edited by Heidi McDonald was published. The current one day mini-conference is an effort in the same direction, in that, it wants to understand the ways in which games operate as a source of our feelings and how we are shaped by games. The challenge is to move beyond default expressions such as I love games because they are fun or I love games because they make me happy or I love games because they teach X (valid as these statements are)and question what is this fun/happiness/pedagogy that makes one a lover of games. 

We welcome abstracts, artistic musings, loveletters, testimonials and posters in line with the conference theme. Topics may include but not be restricted to the following: 

  • Love, addiction, and games
  • Devotion, love and games
  • Love, poetics and gameplay
  • Queering play and politics of love 
  • Algorithmic intimacy
  • Love, games, and fandom
  • Toxicity and obsession for games
  • Game studies and ludophilia
  • Posthuman love and games
  • Game-mechanics of love
  • Love for retro games
  • Consumerism and game-love
  • Ethics of care and love in digital games
  • Play as love

Important Dates:

Submission of Abstracts: 15th November, 2023

Intimation of Accepted Abstracts: 23rd November, 2023

Submission of Full-Length papers: 7th December, 2023

Date of the Conference: 9th December, 2023

Guidelines for Abstract and Paper Submission:

We invite abstracts of less than 300 words (and five keywords that will help us determine the focus area) along with a short bio-note of 100 words to be sent via email to digraindiaconference@gmail.com by 15th November, 2023. Full-length papers of accepted abstracts, of 4500-6000 words, in citation style MLA 9th Edition, should reach the same on or before 7th December, 2023.

In accordance with our theme, we have also curated a list of provocations (see https://digraindia.com/2023/10/20/digra-india-conference-2023/) to act as springboards for engaging with the area of interest. These provocations are to aid you in your creative processes. They do not restrict our preferred objects of study.