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Digital Games at the Forefront of Change - On the Meaningfulness of Games and Game Studies

  • 09.11.2023
  • 10.11.2023
  • Madrid (Spain)

Call for papers for the ECREA Digital Games Research Section symposium

Complutense University of Madrid, Spain

9-10 November 2023

Recently, it was argued that digital games play such an important role in an increasingly convergent media culture that “the future of media studies is game studies” (Chess & Consalvo, 2022).

Indeed, games generate more revenue than books and movies and they are more and more recognized as a cultural property that should be preserved. Some games undoubtedly have a high artistic value and can be considered a form of meaningful entertainment that is thought- provoking and provides new insights (Oliver et al., 2016). In fact, research has shown that digital games can have meaningful effects in many different areas of society. For example, it has been shown that meaningful social relationships can develop in the context of online games. Further, games can have positive effects on mental health and are considered useful tools in therapeutic contexts. The learning potentials of games have been examined extensively and the application of games for persuasion and information (newsgames) is becoming growingly important. On the downside, games take such an important role in the lives of some players that usage behaviours can become excessive and problematic. There are also debates on the question as to whether some gaming communities are toxic and serve as breeding grounds for sexist or extremist attitudes, representing a severe risk for society.

The symposium will focus on the many different facets of the meaningfulness of digital games. Further, we would like to stimulate a dialogue on what constitutes meaningfulness in the context of gaming and what relevance the field of games studies will have in the future.

Contributions may focus on the meaningfulness of games in all areas of society and we are open to contributions from all disciplines. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

●  The use of games in therapies and rehabilitation

●  Games for education and learning (serious games, game-based learning)

●  Games’ impact on mental health and well-being

●  Pathological and excessive forms of game use (gaming disorder)

●  Games as a form of meaningful (eudaimonic) entertainment

●  Social benefits of online gaming

●  Toxicity and extremism in gaming cultures

●  The use of games for information and persuasion

●  Games as art and cultural heritage; representation of cultural heritage in games

●  The application of games in museums and exhibitions

●  The design and production of meaningful games

●  Theoretical perspectives on what constitutes meaningfulness in gaming contexts

●  Discussions on the meaningfulness and the future of game studies as a research field

Although we would like to particularly encourage contributions that focus on the conference theme Meaningfulness of Games and Game Studies, we additionally welcome submissions on any other aspect of game studies or the intersection of game studies with the broader field of communication and media science. We welcome theoretical contributions, literature reviews, work-in-progress submissions, as well as qualitative and quantitative empirical studies. The submission of panel proposals consisting of 4 presentations is also possible.

There are plans to produce a journal theme issue based on selected presentations. We will provide detailed information on this project to all accepted presenters at a later date.

PhD panel

The conference will feature a PhD panel for young scholars to give them the opportunity to present their (PhD-) projects and receive feedback from experienced researchers. Presentations of projects at any stage and on any topic related to game studies are welcome. The PhD panel will be moderated by the sections’ YECREA representative.

Application process

Abstracts should be max. 300 words + bibliography. To apply for the PhD panel, add “PhD panel:'' to the title of your submission.

Panel proposals should include 1) a 300-word rationale for the panel, 2) a 150-word abstract describing each participant's contribution.

Submission should be made through the online form available here:

The submission deadline is 30th April 2023. Decisions on the proposals will be made by the end of May 2023.

The conference will be held at theFaculty of Information Sciences, Complutense University of Madrid, Spain. The conference fee is 70 Euros (50 Euros for PhD students) and will include catering for lunch and coffee breaks.Each participant should cover their travel and accommodation costs.

For further information

Felix Reer Westfälische Wilhelms- University of Münster Chair of the Digital Games Research Section

Teresa de la Hera Erasmus University Rotterdam Vice-Chair of the Digital Games Research Section

Salvador Gómez-García Complutense University of Madrid Vice-Chair of the Digital Games Research Section

Moritz Schweiger University of Augsburg YECREA Representative of the Digital Games Research Section



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