Kinephanos issue: It’s [not just] in the game

For your theoretical dissection.

Kinephanos special issue: “It’s [not just] in the game”: the promotional context of video games / le contexte promotionnel des jeux vidéo

Volume 7, Issue 1, November 2017 / Volume 7, numéro 1, novembre 2017
Edited by / Dirigé par Ed Vollans, Stephanie Janes, Carl Therrien & Dominic Arsenault

Introduction: “It’s [not Just] in the Game”: the Promotional Context of Video Games

Peer-reviewed articles / Articles avec comité de lecture

Exploring the Myth of the Representative Video Game Trailer
Independent Scholar

Now You’re Playing with Adverts: A Repertoire of Frames for the Historical Study of Game Culture through Marketing Discourse
Université de Montréal

Man’s Best Enemy: The Role of Advertising During Atari’s Launch in Brazil in 1983
Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul (PUCRS)

“The most Cinematic Game yet”
Bournemouth University

Marketing Authenticity: Rockstar Games and the Use of Cinema in Video Game Promotion
University of Warwick

Configurative Dynamics of Gender in Bioware’s Marketing for the Mass Effect Franchise
King’s College London

Pervasive Games Beyond the Promotional Tools: Approaches of Aesthetic Pervasiveness in Consumption of Experience
Federal Fluminense University

Not actual game play, but is it real life?: Live-action footage in digital game trailers and advertising as gamerspace
Walsh University

Quality of Video Game Trailers
Duquesne University

Game-playing, from Submission to Creation

I keep returning to this question: When we play a game, are we free –  or are we prisoners of the game rules?

Here is Playing, my contribution to Henry Lowood and Raiford Guins’ wonderful Debugging Game History collection.

In the piece I argue that there are four main conceptions of the act of game-playing, going from playing as submission to playing as creation.

1. Playing as submission, where the player is bound by the limits set forth by the game rules.

2. Playing as constrained freedom, where the game creates a space in which players acquire a certain amount of freedom and the opportunity to perform particular acts.

3. Playing as subversion, where the player works around both the designer’s intentions and the game object’s apparent limitations.

4. Playing as creation, where the game is ultimately irrelevant for (or at least secondary to) the actual playing.

Read the full text here:


ToDIGRA special issue, 1st DiGRA and FDG conference

For your theoretical consumption:

Special Issue, 1st Joint International Conference of DIGRA and FDG

Introduction PDF
Ashley Brown, Rafael Bidarra
No-one Plays Alone PDF
Chris Bateman
“Ruinensehnsucht”: Longing for Decay in Computer Games PDF
Mathias Fuchs
Creative Communities: Shaping Process through Performance and Play PDF
Lynn Parker, Dayna Galloway
Playful Fandom: Gaming, Media and the Ludic Dimensions of Textual Poaching PDF
Orion Mavridou
A Review of Social Features in Social Network Games PDF
Janne Paavilainen, Kati Alha, Hannu Korhonen
Focus, Sensitivity, Judgement, Action: Four Lenses for Designing Morally Engaging Games PDF
Malcolm Ryan, Dan Staines, Paul Formosa
Developing Ideation Cards for Mixed Reality Game Design PDF
Richard Wetzel, Tom Rodden, Steve Benford
Source Code and Formal Analysis: A Reading of Passage PDF
Ea Christina Willumsen

ISSN: 2328-9422

Well Played volume 6 number 3

For your theoretical delectation: Well Played: volume 6 number 3

Agency, Identity, Sex, Gender, and Pokémon Go
Allison Bannister

So Close You Can Feel Her
Prostitution, Proximity & Empathy in Grand Theft Auto 5
Elena Bertozzi, Amelia Bertozzi-Villa

Learning at the Farm
Developmental Psychology in Peekaboo Barn
Carly A. Kocurek, Jennifer L. Miller

Taking Over the World, Again?
Examining Procedural Remakes of Adventure Games
Anastasia Salter

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Game Studies Vol 17, Issue 1

For your theoretical delight, a new issue of Game Studies.

Game Studies: The International Journal of Computer Game Research has just published its latest issue (Volume 17, Issue 1, July 2017). All articles are available at



Watching People Is Not a Game: Interactive Online Corporeality, and Videogame Streams

by Sky LaRell Anderson

This article examines in order to reveal the design strategies it employs to direct awareness to the presence of players and viewers. Specifically, I describe the elements that direct attention toward humans, persons and personalities outside of games.


Glory to Arstotzka: Morality, Rationality, and the Iron Cage of Bureaucracy in Papers, Please

by Jason J. Morrissette

This article examines how ludic and thematic elements coalesce in Papers, Please to replicate the monotony of bureaucratic work, trapping players in Weber’s iron cage of bureaucracy. Moreover, by offering opportunities to deviate from administrative protocols, the game highlights the inherent tension between morality and bureaucratic rationality.


Abstracting Evidence: Documentary Process in the Service of Fictional Gameworlds

by Aaron Oldenburg

This paper looks at a strategy for creating content and gameplay using documentary processes such as interviews and on-location evidence collection for games that abstract that content with varying levels of fictionalization.


An Enactive Account of the Autonomy of Videogame Gameplay

by Jukka Vahlo

In this paper, the phenomenon of videogame gameplay is analyzed from an enactive view of social cognition. It is asserted that videogame gameplay arises as an autonomous organization in the reciprocal dynamics between at least one social agent and a responsive game. This autonomy is argued as both original and irreducible to its constituents.

Game Studies Volume 16, Issue 2

For your theoretical gratification:

New Special Issue of Game Studies Journal 
Game Studies: The International Journal of Computer Game Research has just published its latest issue (Volume 16, Issue 2, December 2016). All articles are available at


by Holger Pötzsch, Philip Hammond
War and games are intrinsically connected. The present editorial maps the war/game nexus, locates the issue in academic discourse, and briefly introduces each contribution included in this special issue of Game Studies.


by Vít Šisler
This article investigates the possibilities and limitations of videogames in dealing with contentious issues from contemporary history; particularly the civilian perspective of war. It presents a serious game we developed, Czechoslovakia 38-“89: Assassination, and critically discusses the design challenges of adapting real people’s testimonies.


by Piotr Sterczewski
The article analyses the representations of civilian experience of war in three Polish games depicting the Warsaw Uprising, focusing on relations between discourses of Polish cultural memory and dominant game medium conventions.


by Adam Chapman
This article explores the relation of WWI popular collective memory to videogames and thus their nature as a form for historical representation. Providing an overview of WWI videogames, it suggests that their lack of engagement with WWI popular memory is partly shaped by the pressures that the videogame form and its perceived cultural role entail.


by Dom Ford
This article considers Civilization V through a postcolonial lens. It problematizes the homogenous historical narrative the game creates, and analyses the player’s relationship with that history, while questioning the use of the series in education.


by Kevin O’Neill, Bill Feenstra
Twelve Canadian university students played Medal of Honor: Frontline and were interviewed about how “realistic” they thought the game was. Our paper details the strategies players used to make this judgment, and attempts to explain why they thought of commercial videogames as less useful sources of knowledge about the past than any other media.


by Kristine Jørgensen
The article is a study of how focus-group participants describe their experiences with playing the third- person military shooter Spec Ops: The Line (Yager Entertainment, 2012), and identifies three techniques used by the game to create a positive sense of discomfort.


by Gareth Healey
This article focuses on the ways in which adolescent boys use sexualized language and bragging to construct their masculine identities when playing Call of Duty: Black Ops (Treyarch, 2010).


by Jaime Banks, John G. Cole
This multi-method study explores military and veteran gamers’ self-directed coping through video games and avatars. Results suggest coping practices are associated with more general motivations for play, avatars support identity-related coping, and fantasy and skill motivations are uniquely tied to coping for those with chronic mental/physical conditions.


by Lykke Guanio-Uluru
Drawing on Espen Aarseth’s discussions of cybertext and ludo-narratives, on rhetorical narrative theory and on Miguel Sicart’s conception of the ethics of computer games, this article analyzes the portrayal of war technology, the nature games and ethical responsibility in three popular fictions.


New issue of the G|A|M|E Journal, 5/2016

For your theoretical perusal.

G|A|M|E – n. 5/2016

vol. 1, 2016 – Journal (peer-reviewed): Games on Games. Game design as critical reflexive practice (edited by Giovanni Caruso, Riccardo Fassone, Gabriele Ferri, Stefano Gualeni, Mauro Salvador)

vol. 2, 2016 – Critical Notes (non peer-reviewed)

Game Studies vol 16, issue 1

New Issue of Game Studies Journal
Game Studies: The International Journal of Computer Game Research has just published its latest issue (Volume 16, Issue 1, October 2016). All articles are available at


by Espen Aarseth
There is an ongoing battle for the heart and soul of open-access publishing. And it is not going well.


by Karen Collins
This paper provides an “audio archaeology” of the penny arcades, exploring the uses of sound in the electro-mechanical era of games.
by Maria B. Garda, Paweł Grabarczyk
We argue that “indie game” is a distinct narrow notion within a wider concept of “independent game”. The latter can be explained as a disjunction of three types of independence (financial, creative and publishing) and it is associated, in a given historical period, with different contingent properties determined by the game culture of the era.
by Bjarke Liboriussen, Paul Martin
Game studies is undergoing a regional turn marked by an increase in research conducted in and focussed on areas outside of Western Europe and North America. The development of “regional game studies” will extend the field’s ability to engage with important global issues and enrich game studies with new perspectives and concepts.
by Daniel Reynolds
Describes a confluence of forces that shaped the development of the Nintendo Game Boy. Argues that the Game Boy exemplifies a relationship between technologists, media technology, and users. Encourages theorists to consider the bodily and other material constraints that inform the development of media platforms.
Book Reviews
by Veli-Matti Karhulahti
Works of Game: On the Aesthetics of Game and Art (2015) by John Sharp. Cambridge: MIT Press. ISBN: 9780262029070. 146 pp.