Call for Papers: 'Time, Play and Games'

deadline for submissions: 
May 15, 2024
full name / name of organization: 
Journal of Gaming & Virtual Worlds
contact email: 

Call for Papers: Journal of Gaming & Virtual Worlds


Special Issue: ‘Time, Play and Games’

Guest Edited by Federico Alvarez Igarzábal and Chris Hanson (

Deadline for Submissions: 15 May 2024

View the full call here>>

Time is a fundamental aspect of our lived experience. Everything we do is to some extent informed by past experiences, guided by our present state of mind, and geared towards achieving a particular state of affairs in the future – however close or far ahead it may be. If we enjoy a certain situation, time seems to accelerate. The opposite is true of boring moments, which seem to last longer than the clock indicates. And we structure our lives by segmenting the continuous flow of time in units of different magnitudes (hours, days, months), of which we keep track with technologies like watches and calendars.

All of this is true as well of play and games. Without time, there is no play. Yet time in video games can behave differently to real, physical time. We can fast-forward it, pause it and reset it to undo the consequences of bad decisions with a few button presses. Time in games can be discrete (turn-based) instead of continuous, and events in their narratives often wait for the players to arrive to a certain point in space to occur. Game temporality is also not homogeneous and may be experienced differently by individual players, or even by the same player in disparate circumstances. Our encounters with games are always informed by our previous experiences with other games and modes of play. Our memories shape our present moment, helping to guide our play experience from developing successful strategies to shaping our expectations for particular game genres. We also must make time to play, carving out temporal windows in our daily lives to engage with games, be they persistent online worlds, games which reward daily gameplay, and idle or casual games, among others. Linear media present their own temporal particularities, like sudden jumps in time. But they have arguably also been increasingly influenced by the temporality of video games, with recent years seeing more frequent releases of films and series with Groundhog-Day-like time loops, temporal reversals, time travel, circular narratives and branching timelines such as multiverses remediating game temporality into other forms.

We invite scholars to contribute papers to a Special Issue of the Journal of Gaming & Virtual Worlds on the theme of ‘Time, Play and Games’. We welcome essays on wide range of approaches to the consideration of time in both digital and analogue games, including but not limited to:

·       Time loops, repetition and circular structures

·       Multiverse, timelines and time travel

·       Gender and time

·       Time as tripartite structure: past, present, future

·       Memory and genre (e.g. generic expectations for an FPS)

·       Queer temporalities

·       Remediation and cross-pollination between films/television, comic books and other forms

·       Differing time windows in games including present-based play vs. future-oriented strategies

·       Disability and time

·       Differing modes of time perception

·       Tabletop/analogue RPGs long-running campaigns

·       Legacy board games and games changing over time

·       ‘Seasons’ and refreshed content in AAA titles

·       Spatiotemporality and relationships between space and time

·   Representations of the past in ‘historical’ games such as Total War: Rome

·       Interacting with history for educational purposes such as in Assassin Creed’s ‘Discovery Tour’ mode

·       Ruins in games and implied histories as part of world-building

·       Timelines in game franchises (e.g. The Legend of Zelda)

·       Time manipulation in games such as slow motion, reversing, fast forwarding (e.g. SimCity)

·       Time compression and dilation

·       Present tense of interaction vs. past tense of narration

·       Game preservation and the archive

·       Esports and livestreaming

·       Slow play

·       Speedrunning

·       Work time vs. play time.

Proposals should include a 300–500 word abstract and a title and be sent to by 15 May 2024. Accepted submissions will be asked to submit full 5000–6000 word articles by 15 September 2024. No payment from the authors will be required.