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.

Wide Screen Journal on Videogame Adaptation

The Wide Screen Journal has a special issue on Videogame Adaptation.

Table of Contents


“Introduction – Videogame Adaptation: Some Experiments in Method” – Kevin M. Flanagan
“Metaproceduralism: The Stanley Parable and the Legacies of Postmodern Metafiction” – Bradley J. Fest
“8-Bit Goes to the Movies” – Kyle Meikle
“Subjective and Affective Adaptations: Remediation and the Playstation 2 Videogame” – Cameron Kunzelman
“Visiting the Videogame Theme Park”- Bobby Schweizer
“Playing Los Angeles Itself: Versions of and from the Historical City in LA Noire and the ‘Semi-Documentary’ Noir” – Jedd Hakimi
“Gotham on the Ground: Transmedia Meets Topography in Environments of the Arkham Videogame Series” – Kalervo A. Sinervo
PS. As much as I support Open Journal Systems, there must be a way to cut down the number of clicks I need to make to get to the PDF. At least just take me directly to the PDF when I click PDF, rather than putting the PDF in a tiny frame?

New Paper on the Pay Once & Play Problem of Video Game History

Bacpayonceandplayk from the 2016 DiGRA/FDG conference in Dundee, here is the paper I gave on using design patterns to understand video game history: Sailing the Endless River of Games: The case for Historical Design Patterns.

The Pay Once & Play category was introduced in the Apple App Store in early 2015. Though video games were for a long time, at least from 1985 to 2015, mostly sold in boxes for upfront payment, this business model was not actually named as “Pay once & Play” until after the emergence of the free-to-play or freemium business model. Why not? Because it was obvious that all video games were sold in boxes, so why would you mention it when talking about video games, or video game history?

This is the topic of the paper: The problem isn’t just that games change, but that games change in ways we haven’t predicted. The major events in video game history concern things that had previously been taken for granted: MMOs like World of Warcraft moved the role of the player community to the forefront; casual games reconfigured the audience; mobile games reconfigured distribution and business models; independent games set up a new relation between developer and audience. Video game history continually forces us to reconsider what it is we are studying, when we study video games.

In the paper I then propose that we can redefine game design patterns to help us to talk about video game change. I return to matching tile games as an example of how to write history using design patterns.


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.