CFP: Analog Game Studies – Economics/Industry, Affect/Bodies, and Open Call (due Dec. 15)

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Analog Game Studies (analoggamestudies.org) is an online academic journal committed to increasing the visibility of analog games within the broader field of game studies by providing a periodically published platform for the critical analysis, discussion of design, and documentation of analog games. For more detail on what we do, see “Reinventing Analog Game Studies.” We are currently seeking submissions for three forthcoming issues in 2016 on the following themes. (Articles published online will likely appear in a yearly print anthology as well.)

Economics and Industry of Analog Games
Analog games emerge from specific institutions and forms of economic exchange. Board game designers have “made it” when they license their product to Days of Wonder or Fantasy Flight and are distributed by Alliance. Debates rage about whether Hearthstone has taken Magic: The Gathering‘s market share. Indie press role-playing games are marketed on Kickstarter after they have been assembled via InDesign, Photoshop and Scrivener. But such economic logics also come with their political dimensions: Alliance, Wizards of the Coast, and Kickstarter all have their own business models, each of which expresses a distinct view on the workings of the world and each of which proscribes certain content as “unprofitable.” Politically radical games often emerge from grassroots scenes and alternate economic models. Golden Cobra freeform games – dealing with topics from school shooters to rock gardens – offer up all contest submissions as free PDFs on their website. The open-source d20 system introduced a diverse array of role-playing games, including many that challenged industry standards of representation. For this issue, we seek articles that take a critical look at the raw financial and production dimensions of the analog games industry. How do business models and institutional frameworks impact the shape and content of the games we play? What constitutes a “publisher” anyway? What is the lifecycle of an analog game product?

Affective Games and Bodies at Play
How do games make us feel? What are the affective resonances of winning, losing, and cheating? How does the fun/serious dichotomy become established? How might we reclaim the body in game studies? When we play, we play with others. We activate practices and technologies in order to engage with objects, ideas, and bodies. To play is to be situated within complex networks of relationality as we play in, with, and outside of games. Games, therefore, are never neutral. Games make us feel things and feelings are political. If we examine games for their affective dimensions, what implications are to be found with regard to power, as our playful actions set off ripples of intensity across networks of relation? Although research and speculation exist on the emotionality of video games, the sociality of online networks, and the psychology of the military-entertainment industry, how might these findings be further elucidated, complicated, debunked, or otherwise put into variation through an analysis of analog games? This issue aims to address how theories of play might contribute to conversations in affect studies, and how training our attention to the scale of emotion and sensation may complicate conversations in game studies.

OPEN CALL
In addition to the themes above, AGS is also extending an open call for submissions on any other topics relevant to analog game studies. We also welcome submissions for book or game reviews, or interviews (please see this and this for examples of the style we aim for).

AGS is an academic journal with an open-yet-curatorial editorial process. Submissions from students, independent scholars, and industry professionals are welcome, and accepted contributors will work closely with an AGS editor in an intensive, personalized, and collaborative editorial process throughout the weeks leading up to publication.

Full manuscripts (2000-4000 words) are preferred, but shorter abstracts or proposals will also be considered. Alternative formats—such as games, videos, and podcasts—are also welcome. Please email submissions to analoggamestudiesjournal@gmail.com no later than Tuesday, December 15th, 2015.