VGA Reader Call for Papers—Issue 2: SURVIVAL STRATEGY
“IT’S DANGEROUS TO GO ALONE! TAKE THIS.” – Old Man, The Legend of Zelda
In an era of ecological, social, and political crisis, when contemporary media inundates us daily with apocalyptic scenarios, video games can act as a valuable means of psychological escape. However, video games— as unique, participatory works of art— can also model both individual and collaborative means of survival through the experience of play. Video games offer opportunities to navigate both historical and fictional conflicts, traverse landscapes devastated by climate change or nuclear holocaust, and manage the limited resources of individuals, or even whole civilizations, on earth and beyond. They offer players a dizzying array of dystopian scenarios in which to build and invent, cooperate to achieve shared goals, or sometimes merely learn how to survive another day. Video games focus attention, hone visuospatial skills, and shape cognitive control and physical reflexes. How do video games, through these unique methods, participate in the larger context of radical, activist artworks that challenge destructive norms and structures of power? How can we harness the skills we develop through play— or “game the system”— to imagine our best possible future(s) in trying times?
The VGA Reader (VGAR) is accepting submissions that critically analyze video game art as a means of survival. Though “survival strategy” exists as a defined gaming genre, all video games can be considered as methods of human conditioning, coping, and creating.
Possible topics include but are not limited to:
● How video game artworks development, design, and play are uniquely situated to explore personal, social, or ecological crises.
● How video games participate in larger activist and radical art communities/collectives.
● How video game art prototypes collaborative approaches to survival.
● How video games explore the long-term implications of human activity in relation to ecological crisis.
● How the history of games engages with dystopias and utopias themes of the past and present.
● How video games provide methods of constructive and collaborative play.
● How we might develop a critical discourse of “casual” games through psychological and physiological conditioning.
● How might we investigate the relationship between survivalist subcultures and resource management games.
● How video games can work as systems for mediating or mollifying conflict.
● How the economies and cultures of world simulators and Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs) can be viewed as models of real-world growth or collapse.
● How video games create, reflect, or critique current apocalyptic real world tragedies, crises, and political upheaval, as well as the media narratives that surround them.
Deadline for Submissions is February 28th, 2018
All submissions and questions should be sent to: tfunk (at) vgagallery (dot) org.
The VGA Reader is a scholarly electronic and print journal. It is blind peer-reviewed, invitational, and open to submissions in the form of theoretical papers, interviews, practitioner statements, and reviews on video games and video game-related events. The journal is published annually as a singular summer edition. The electronic and print versions differ in format but are similar in content.
There are four types of articles the VGA Reader publishes. Each have a distinct focus and designated word count:
1) Essays – 2,500 to 5,000 words
The VGA Reader welcomes essays pertaining to any investigation of video games, be they historical, theoretical, instructional (dealing with the hardware or software involved in creating games), or experimental in nature (manifestos, essays proposing new kinds of games, equipment, or approach to gaming in general, etc.). We welcome writers of all kinds, be they practitioners (game designers, writers, etc.), academics, or enthusiastic gamers with novel ideas and information to share. Manuscripts must be under the 5,000-word count limit (including references and figure captions) before it will be considered for review. Because of the length of these essays, they must be accompanied by a 100-word abstract.
2) Practitioner (Artist/Designer/Writer) Statements – fewer than 2,000 words
The VGA Reader welcomes practitioner statements, constituting articles detailing the video game-related work of the author, be it a video game, video game-themed artwork/performance, multimedia work/event, etc. These essays can take the form of longer artist statements about conceptual and narrative-driven concerns, but we also encourage details regarding issues of game play, troubleshooting during production, user testing, and anecdotes about the creative production process.
3) Reviews of video game-related events (gallery shows, multimedia events, etc.) – fewer than 2,000 words
The VGA Reader welcomes reviews, selected by the VGA Reader’s Editor and Editorial staff. This section of the journal offers opportunities for authors to report on a variety of video game-related events in brief, exploratory essays detailing the experience. These essays must be accompanied by media (images, video) of the event as illustration, provided by the author.
4) The VGA Reader will also publish selected interviews; however, these submissions will be by invitation only.
FORMATTING FOR SUBMISSION:
All submissions must be formatted as follows:
-In Microsoft Word .doc or .docx
-Font: Times New Roman
-Alignment and Spacing: Horizontal, Left aligned, Single space
-Endnotes: Do not use automatic formatting. Place any endnotes after the main text of your essay but before your Reference/Bibliography list. Place the endnote number reference in parentheses in the left margin, using the same number as in the text of the paper. All references/citations are written in the format of the Chicago Manual of Style. For more information, see: http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/home.html.
-Media (images, video, and/or sound files) should be submitted as attachments via email. DO NOT embed images onto your Word doc. After acceptance, the editor will send copyright permissions documents.
Submissions should contain the following information, in this particular order:
1. Essay title
2. Author’s name
3. Author’s affiliation/academic position/affiliation/ etc.: (e.g.: Collective/company name, independent designer/artist, researcher / Assistant Professor / Professor)
4. The body of the essay
5. References (in Chicago Manual of Style format)
6. Author’s Bio – 50-word count. Email and/or www. can be included at the end of the bio.
SUBMISSION FOR ACCESSIBILITY:
Keeping articles accessible to a large, but interested audience is a primary goal of the VGA Reader. While general “good-writing” practices demand attention in your use of language, style, and organization, writing video game scholarship and practitioner statements should also avoid too-specific jargon, acronyms, and other specialized language, unless defined specifically in the article. Include subheadings and bullet points along with section introductions when necessary for organization purposes.
Paying attention to these tenets will ensure a fair critique of the work, and will greatly improve your chances of publication.
Published through the Video Game Art Gallery, the Video Game Art Reader is a peer-reviewed journal for video game audiences and video game practitioners interested in the history, theory, and criticism of video games, explored through the lens of art history and visual culture. Its primary aim is to facilitate exploration and conversation of video game art, documenting and disseminating discourse about the far-reaching influence of video games on history, society, and culture.