Journal of Games Criticism Extending Play

For theory!

The Journal of Games Criticism is proud to announce the publication of its first special issue, edited by Aaron Trammell and Zack Lischer-Katz. Adapted from the Extending Play: The Sequel conference held at Rutgers University in 2015, this issue’s articles and interviews consider matters surrounding sequels and repetition in the world of video games and their study. The issue is available at and the full list of articles is listed below.

Considering the Sequel to Game Studies… by A. Trammell & Z. Lischer-Katz

The Extending Play conference at Rutgers University in 2015 underlined the importance of sequels and repetition to games and their study. Here the editors discuss these themes and introduce the interviews and articles that were adapted from the conference for this bonus issue.

The Replication of Ideology: An Interview with Adrienne Shaw and Marcus Boon by Melissa Aronczyk

Shaw and Boon examine the iterative and repeating forces of ideology that work within games as a culture industry and play as a cultural practice. They discuss the importance for scholars to take these visible and invisible forces of power into account within the study of games.

Liberating Play: An Interview with Anna Anthropy and Miguel Sicart by A. Gilbert

Anthropy and Sicart discuss the centrality of games within the discipline of game studies and consider how lessons learned from play studies might curb stagnation in the field.

Hanging in the Video Arcade by S. Tobin

This paper decenters play and the player in the arcade by exploring another subject I call hangers. It explores the genealogies of player control, engagement and the policing of play practices in the American video arcade in the 1980s.

Assessing Mass Effect 2 and Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Using Collaborative Criteria for Player Agency in Interactive Narratives by L. Joyce

This paper first establishes the criteria necessary to construct a digital interactive narrative game that contains both narrative agency and ludic agency before considering those criteria against two interactive narrative games: Mass Effect 2 and Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

Imperialism in the Worlds and Mechanics of First-Person Shooters by A. Patel

This paper focuses on two highly popular first-person shooter games, Far Cry 2 and Far Cry 3, and examines how elements of their game worlds and mechanics reinforce (and disrupt) imperialist narratives.

Ludic Spolia in Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth by E. McNeil

Using the art historical term spolia as a launching point, McNeil explores the reuse of gaming mechanics and visuals from Sid Meier’s Civilization V in Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth. She argues that this reuse was both practical and perhaps unintentionally subversive.

A Proceduralist View on Diversity in Games by G. Smith

Looking at diversity and inclusion through a proceduralist lens allows us to more deeply analyze current games, as well as prompt new questions and avenues for technical and design research.

JGC (ISSN: 2374-202X) is currently seeking submissions from game developers, designers, bloggers, journalists, and scholars for its Summer/Fall 2016 issue. This issue’s submission deadline is August 1, 2016 and will be published on October 8, 2016. We accept articles, book reviews, experimental game reviews, and letters to the editor for review. Our submission guidelines are available at

Analog Game Studies, volume 1

Analog game studies vol 1Your theoretical injection of the day: ETC Press has announced the first collected volume of Analog Game Studies, edited by Aaron Trammell, Evan Torner and Emma Leigh Waldron.


Reinventing Analog Game Studies: Introductory Manifesto

“Fun in a Different Way”: Rhythms of Engagement and Non-Immersive Play Agendas – Nick Mizer

Strategies for Publishing Transformative Board Games – Will Emigh

Misogyny and the Female Body in Dungeons & Dragons – Aaron Trammell

The Playing Card Platform – Nathan Altice

Orientalism and Abstraction in Eurogames – Will Robinson

From Where Do Dungeons Come? – Aaron Trammell

Larp-as-Performance-as-Research – Emma Leigh Waldron

Sex and Play-Doh: Exploring Women’s Sexuality Through Larp – Katherine Castiello Jones

O Jogo do Bicho: Pushing the Boundaries of Larp in Brazil – Luiz Falcão

A Nighttime Tale of Xiros – Adam Lazaroff

Visual Design as Metaphor: The Evolution of a Character Sheet – Jason Morningstar

Uncertainty in Analog Role-Playing Games – Evan Torner

Post-Larp Depression – Sarah Lynne Bowman and Evan Torner

Rules for Writing Rules: How Instructional Design Impacts Good Game Design – Ibrahim Yucel

Storium’s Analog Heritage – Lillian Cohen-Moore

Regarding Board Game Errata – Jan Švelch

The Curse of Writing Autobiographical Games – Lizzie Stark

Kinephanos journal: Exploring the Frontiers of Digital Gaming

For your theoretical perusal, a new issue of the Kinephanos journal:

Exploring the Frontiers of Digital Gaming: Traditional Games, Expressive Games, Pervasive Games

Special Issue, April 2016 / Numéro spécial, avril 2016
Edited by / Dirigé par Sébastien Genvo & Carl Therrien

Introduction: Exploring the Frontiers of Digital Gaming: 
Traditional Games, Expressive Games, Pervasive Games
Université de Lorraine & Université de Montréal
English | Français

Century of Play: 18th Century Precursors of Gamification
Leuphana Univesity

Football Manager: Mutual Shaping between Game, Sport, and Community
Université de Lorraine & CNRS

Welcome to the Dollhouse.
Constructing Bodies in Crytek’s Crysis and Mattel’s Kiddle Dolls.

Université de Montréal / Universiteit van Amsterdam

Replaying the Lost Battles:
the Experience of Failure in Polish History-Themed Board Games

Jagiellonian University in Kraków

Defining and Designing Expressive Games: The Case of Keys of a Gamespace
Université de Lorraine

Differentiating Serious, Persuasive, and Expressive Games
Université du Québec à Montréal

Bridging The Gap Between Game Designers and Cultural Institutions: A Typology to Analyse and Classify Cultural Pervasive Games
Université de Franche-Comté

World of Warcraft Dramaturgical Approach: A Drama that Plays with its own Limits
CAPES Foundation, Ministry of Education of Brazil / Federal University of Bahia

American Journal of Play 8.2

Here is American Journal of Play Volume 8, Number 2Winter 2016.

Though technically about the titular play, this journal is becoming increasingly intertwined with game studies.


ToDIGRA Journal vol 2, No 2 out

For your theoretical pleasure, here is ToDIGRA (Transactions of the Digital Games Research Association) Vol 2, No 2.


Loading journal 9/14: Game Studies In Media Res

For your very real, theoretical pleasure:

Special Issue: Game Studies In Media Res

A Special Issue of Loading brought to you by University of Waterloo guest editors, Gerald Voorhees, Michael Hancock and Steve Wilcox.

Table of Contents


Editorial — Game Studies In Media Res: Beginning From The Middle-State PDF
Michael Hancock, Steve Wilcox
Editorial introduction to this special guest-edited issue of Loading.


The Tyranny of Realism: Historical accuracy and politics of representation in Assassin’s Creed III PDF
Adrienne Shaw
Like other games in its series, Assassin’s Creed III (AC3) is heavily invested in a wellresearched, nuanced representation of historical…
Disability, Neurological Diversity, and Inclusive Play: An Examination of the Social and Political Aspects of the Relationship between Disability and Games PDF
Sarah Gibbons
This article explores existing connections between disability studies and game studies, and suggests how the two fields might greater inform each…
Renegade Sex: Compulsory Sexuality and Charmed Magic Circles in the Mass Effect series PDF
Meghan Blythe Adams
This article examines portrayals of sexuality in video games, particularly in terms of the increasing inclusion of queer and non-normative…
Cyborg Games: Videogame Blasphemy and Disorientation PDF
Elise Vist
This paper describes the genre of “cyborg games,” using examples of independent videogames (such as Gone Home) to illustrate the genre, as well…
Going Beyond the Game: Development of Gamer Identities Within Societal Discourse and Virtual Spaces PDF
Jan Grooten, Rachel Kowert
What is a ‘gamer’? And what does it mean to be a gamer today? This paper will address these questions through a theoretical discussion of the…
The Game FAVR: A Framework for the Analysis of Visual Representation in Video Games PDF
Dominic Arsenault, Pierre-Marc Côté, Audrey Larochelle
This paper lays out a unified framework of the ergodic animage, the rule-based and interactiondriven part of visual representation in video games….

New issue of Analog Game Studies

For your analog interests, here is Volume II, Issue VII of Analog Game studies.

Manipulating Environments in American Freeform – Jason Cox

Playing With Portals: Rethinking Urban Play With Ingress – Kyle Moore

The Eurogame of Heterotopia – Devin Wilson

The First Nations of Catan: Practices in Critical Modification – Greg Loring-Albright

In this final issue of the year, we are exploring material components of analog gameplay. The materiality of games is important to consider as it lends insight into the ways that games can be located within the clear parameters of space and time—often despite the best efforts of players and designers to otherwise construe them as timeless or nostalgic media. Additionally, materialities help to remind us of the limitations of play. Our bodies must navigate black-box theater rooms and city spaces, as manipulate pawns, chits, meeples, cards and other trappings of board games. These deliberate, sometimes awkward, yet often tacit negotiations help to remind us of the always-present stakes of materiality.

Jason Cox’s essay “Manipulating Environments in American Freeform” offers a starting point for those curious about the ways in which emerging practices of larp design offer more to players than just narrative—they tell stories about spaces as well, and attend to how environments affect our bodies. This is also what is at stake in Kyle Moore’s essay, “Playing With Portals: Rethinking Urban Play with Ingress,” a theoretical sketch of the ways that the game, formerly a Google product, compels players to experience urban space in new and often challenging ways. Finally, the last two essays in this issue, Devin Wilson’s “The Eurogame as Heterotopia,” and Greg Loring-Albright’s “The First Nations of Catan: Practices in Critical Modification”—both in dialogue with last year’s AGS essay by Will Robinson—take up critiques of the abstracted representations characteristic of Eurogames. Wilson’s piece argues for a new and less oppositional reading of abstract game materials, positioning them as a space of polysemic and potentially revolutionary interpretation. In contrast, Loring-Albright moves forward from the problematic of abstraction established by Robinson by offering a new critical ruleset for Catan that accounts for the erasure of indigenous peoples in the game’s narrative. And, in the spirit of materiality: we’ve included the rules as a bonus to our readers.

Thank you, readers, for an excellent year, and keep an eye out in the coming months for more exciting content!

-The Editors
November 9, 2015