Historical Games Network website launched

Red Dead Redemption 2 screenshot by Rockstar Games

The Historical Games Network has just launched an exciting new website! The Network is convened by Adam Chapman, Esther Wright, Iain Donald, and Nick Webber. Here’s the official blurb:

The Historical Games Network brings together academics, game makers and other cultural workers to explore the relationship between history and games of all kinds. We aim to engage a diversity of perspectives, to support – and offer a platform to – new voices in the field, and to speak to a broad audience, both professional and public.

You can find the Network at historicalgames.net and follow along on Twitter at @HistoryGamesNet.

Red Dead Redemption 2 screenshot by Rockstar Games

CfP: British Digital Games Research Association Conference 2021: Politics and Games

Videogames are intrinsically political texts, even when political messages are not explicitly presented, but there is still uncertainty on how game studies can take that into account. Within our field of research, since the earliest debates and publications, we have been interrogating interactive texts for their political messages, and aiming to establish a method for making sense of how videogames exist in the world. The early work of art historian Julian Stallabrass, for example, was already identifying in videogames a representation of economic systems, which inevitably reflects on the ‘real life’ economy in which the game has been produced and is played (Stallabrass, 1993; Giddings, 2018).

This year British DiGRA conference explores politics in games from various angles and approaches from design to analysis and from impact evaluations to philosophical issues. The focus is not just on games as designed artefacts but also includes, among other aspects, the production and circulation of games, forms of public discourse around games and how they are made. Submissions on all kinds of games from board games through LARPs to videogames are welcome.

The conference invites submissions in topics including, but not limited to:    

  • Civic engagement and activism
  • Digital misinformation proliferation
  • Loss of confidence in democracy
  • Fake News
  • Stretching of truth
  • Accountability
  • Parody and disinformation
  • Promoting engagement with voters
  • Knowledge and awareness of politics
  • Activism
  • Politics and art
  • Politics in online communities
  • Politics of videogame industry
  • Political uses of gamification

The conference is fully online using Zoom and consists of paper sessions of three hours spread over the course of three days and workshop sessions of four hours the day before.

Selected papers from the conference will be invited to a special issue of ToDiGRA journal to be published in 2022.

Full Call for Papers here

Paper submission guidelines

The papers will be selected for presentation based on extended abstracts of 500-1000 words (plus references). Abstracts should be delivered in PDF format. Please use 12 pt Times New Roman, double-spaced, for your text. Guidelines for submitting full papers and 10 minute prerecorded presentations will be provided with the notification of acceptance.

Our aim is that all participants can familiarise themselves with the papers in advance and the participants get access to all submitted full papers one week before the conference. The maximum length for a full paper is 5000 words (plus references). The prerecorded 10 minute seminar presentations should encourage discussion, instead of repeating the information presented in the papers. After the presentation the designated commentator and the audience will have 20 minutes to discuss the paper online. 

Workshop proposal submission guidelines

The workshops will be selected based on proposals of maximum 1000 words (plus references). The proposals should include a description of the workshop focus and format, technical and online venue requirements, maximum and minimum number of participants, and how the workshop participants are selected (e.g. drop-in session, position paper submission). 

Submissions and any questions regarding the conference should be sent to: bdigra21@lincoln.ac.uk.

Maximum of 15 papers and 2 workshop proposals will be accepted to the conference.

Important dates

Abstract and workshop proposal deadline: April 4, 2021

Notification of acceptance: April 12, 2021

Full Paper deadline: July 12, 2021

Conference dates: Workshops July 20, paper sessions July 21 – 23, 2021


British DiGRA 2020 Conference is organised by University of Lincoln in collaboration with University of Liverpool, Brunel University London, and British Digital Games Research Association (http://bdigra.org.uk/). The conference is hosted by University of Lincoln Games Research Network. More information at the conference web-site http://lncn.ac/bdigra21.

Play a free RPG for science!

PhD students at the University of Glasgow have made a mobile game and are looking for more players. The game is called RPGLite and is available on iOS and Android. More information and links to the store pages are available at rpglite.github.io.


Download it, play against your friends, climb the leaderboard, earn medals, all that nonsense, whilst aiding a PhD student’s research. If you have any questions feel free to email w.kavanagh.1@research.gla.ac.uk.

Ludocapitalism: structure, culture, agents

A one-day symposium with international scholars discussing their research on the intersection of games and capitalism.

About this Event

A one-day symposium, hosted by Manchester Metropolitan University, on Friday morning, February 28, that brings together scholars from across the UK and Europe to present their current research on the topic of “ludocapitalism” and the relationship between structure, culture and the agents that move within it.

Inspired by the Alison Harvey and Seth Giddings’ 2018 special issue in Games and Culture on ludic economies, this symposium will be a place to see hear about cutting edge research into the ways in games and play are increasingly entangled with capitalism and how governments, corporations, and workers navigate this “playful” regime of accumulation.

This is the first of what we hope will be an ongoing series of events that look deeper into the ways digital technology is changing production, consumption, and society in general.

Confirmed speakers as follows:

  • Seth Giddings (University of Southampton)
  • Karen Gregory (University of Edinburgh)
  • Alison Harvey (University of Leicester)
  • Joshua Jarrett (Staffordshire University)
  • Matti Karhulahti (University of Jyvaskyla)
  • Maria O’Brian (Dublin City University)
  • Anna Ozimek (Tallinn University)
  • Paolo Ruffino (University of Liverpool)
  • Jamie Woodcock (Open University)
  • Oli Sotamaa (University of Tampere)

This event was organized by Dr. Tom Brock and Dr. Daniel Joseph in the department of Sociology, and funded by RCASS.

Link to Tickets here – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/ludocapitalism-structure-culture-agents-tickets-91823633961?ref=estw

We are sorry to announce that we will be cancelling this year’s DiGRA UK

Dear all,

We are sorry to announce that we will be cancelling this year’s DiGRA UK.

The organising team thought hard about this decision, but we simply did not receive enough submissions to make the conference viable. We suspect that this is due to a number of reasons, including the extremely high level of excellent conferences also available around this time (which we very much encourage you to attend and enjoy). Should we host this event again, we may consider a different time of year as a viable option.

If you have bought a ticket, we will be refunding these via EventBrite. Please contact Alan O’Dea at alan.odea@staffs.ac.uk with any queries.


With regret, the DiGRA UK team.


Esther MacCallum-Stewart. Chair, British DiGRA.

British DiGRA conference 2019 – call for hosts

Following last year’s highly successful British DiGRA conference, hosted by Staffordshire University, the Board are pleased to invite interested institutions to apply to host the 2019 conference, which is expected to run sometime between late-April and June 2019.

Applicants should download and complete this form, providing all the information indicated.

  • Applications should be submitted by 5pm on Friday 14th December.
  • As soon as possible following the closing date, the Board will select a host from the submitted applications.
  • Applications should be no longer than 3500 words, including the prescribed headings, and may include images (for example, maps or photographs of the proposed venue).
  • Applicants are encouraged to review the Inclusivity Policy.
  • Please submit your completed form to Matt at Matthew.Barr@glasgow.ac.uk by the closing date. Queries may be addressed to Esther (neveah@gmail.com) or Matt.

Tickets for British Digra 2018 now on Sale

With the call for papers closed and reviewing underway we’re pleased to announce that tickets are now on sale for British Digra 2018 at Staffordshire University, Stoke on Trent, ST4 2DE

Tickets are onsale via eventbrite here – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/british-digra-conference-2018-tickets-44834192276

Lunch will be included on both days and a social event is being organised on 14th of June

Further details of the programme are just being finalised and will be released shortly.

A Facebook event for the conference is here too

An ECR’s Guide to British Digra

Here at British Digra we’re really keen to make our events a really welcoming new voices to Game studies – so we asked Dr. Ying-Ying Law of Staffordshire University, our hosts this year, about her experiences last year at our Salford event:

Ying-Ying’s Blog – British DiGRA

Conference season… a term that begins around this time of year, where most people are either busy writing papers, reviewing abstracts, or both… followed by the conferences itself, which usually happens over summer holiday. I have always been quite frightful when it comes to conferences – What shall I write about? What happens if I don’t get accepted? What happens if I do, then what? And finally, why am I doing this? So I’ve decided to write a blog post about my experience presenting at conferences, and I would also like to make a disclaimer, that I am a British DiGRA (BDiGRA) organiser this year, so I will be promoting the event itself (at the end) –  but please keep reading!


What shall I write?

This is a common question, as most academics may be writing on research they’re already working on, it could be an exploration of ideas, or it could even be something that has become very relevant in the world of games studies. Usually, what you submit is generally aligned with the theme of the conference. Does it match? If not, can you make it match? And will that draw out interesting ideas? For instance, this time last year I wrote an abstract piece to BDiGRA on female gamers and esports – I wanted to write a full paper, however, I was unsure how to expand my work – after presenting my work last year, I have taken away feedback to work on a full paper for BDiGRA this year. Therefore, it is important to highlight that it isn’t considered ‘shameful’ or ‘cheating’ to submit an abstract piece, instead it is encouraged to present your work you are interested in researching at conferences, and use it as a platform to explore ideas in a friendly environment and connect with the academic community.

What happens if I don’t get accepted?

If you have received an apology email that your abstract or paper has been rejected, it is important to not take it personally. This doesn’t mean your work was bad – as a conference organiser, there are only a certain number of days a conference is run, with so many slots and places available. For instance, DiGRA 2018 had over 300 submissions in the ‘general track’ this year. Hence, not everyone can be accepted and this is one of the reasons why we have a review process. Also, even if you don’t get accepted, the feedback from reviewers are insightful and useful for reflective purposes to improve your work and you can consider submitting to other conferences with a similar theme.

What happens if I get accepted, then what?

It’s wonderful news when you find out your abstract or paper has been accepted, but at the same time, it can also be a lot of work. From my own experience, I sometimes panic when I find out I’ve been accepted, because there’s a lot of things to organise; from checking your availability, booking accommodation and travel, not forgetting to register (early – for the early-bird fee), meet the deadline to make corrections, submit your presentation slides and practice, practice, practice!

Also, once you have received the full schedule of the conference, it’s also worth spending time looking at other key speakers/ speakers work to become familiar with their research and explore what gaps within the literature of game studies other academics are making their contribution towards – and if you have any questions about their work, conferences are a great opportunity for those questions to be answered.

Why am I doing this?

Finally, why am I doing this? Despite having previous experience presenting at a number of conferences, I’m not a great presenter – I regularly prepare a script to read (word from word) to my audience and hide behind my A4 sheets of paper.

As I previously mentioned, this time last year I submitted an abstract to BDiGRA, and I presented my work at a round table discussion (so, no PowerPoint slides – which meant no pieces of paper to hide behind) and I was told by Dr Esther MacCallum-Stewart to be my awesome self, and present my ideas – so I decided to do this without a script. To my surprise, I had a much better experience talking about my work to others in a more intimate setting (a round table of 10-15 people) – I felt relaxed and confident. I also felt glad that I wasn’t presenting a paper, as that required a PowerPoint presentation, but this time, I feel ready for it (fingers crossed my paper will be accepted).

So why do I still put myself in a situation where I often worry that my mind would go blank, others would think my ideas are irrelevant, and that it might be a ‘grilling’ process? Because it’s not like that, instead, it’s a place where you can be your awesome self and present your ideas in a friendly environment with like-minded individuals. It’s also an excellent opportunity for collaborative work with others too – so it’s always useful to have some business cards ready!

Finally, for those who are interested to submit to BDiGRA this year, we welcome submissions to our super friendly conference, including first time submissions and postgraduate research submissions. Also, we offer a mentorship scheme for those who seek guidance with their submissions, as well as offering mentors an opportunity to provide guidance to mentees – for more information about our mentorship scheme, please email: britishdigra@gmail.com  


Thank you for your time reading my blog post! And I hope to see you at British DiGRA 2018!

Dr Ying-Ying Law

DiGRA 2018 – The Game is the Message – CFP

The Game is the Message


July 25-28, 2018

Campus Luigi Einaudi, Università di Torino, Turin, Italy

Lungo Dora Siena, 100 A, 10153 Turin, Italy

Conference chairs: Riccardo Fassone and Matteo Bittanti

Games have long since moved out of the toy drawer, but our understanding of them can still benefit from seeing them in a wider context of mediated meaning-making. DiGRA 2018 follows Marshall McLuhan, and sees games as extensions of ourselves. They recalibrate our senses and redefine our social relationships. The environments they create are more conspicuous than their content. They are revealing, both of our own desires and of the society within which we live. Their message is their effect. Games change us.

To explore this change, we invite scholars, artists and industry to engage in discussions over the following tracks:

– Platforms

Game platforms invite new textualities, new technologies and new networks of power relations. Game structures, their integration with and use of the technology, as well as the affordances and restrictions offered by the platforms on which they live, influence our experience of them.

– Users

Games invite new relations between their users, and players strive for and achieve new modes of perception. This reconfigures our attention, and establishes new patterns and forms of engagement.

– Meaning-making

The connection between a game and its content is often interchangeable – a game is clearly recognizable even if the surface fiction is changed. But games still produce meanings and convey messages. We ask, what are the modes of signification and the aesthetic devices used in games? In this context we particularly invite authors to look at games that claim to be about serious topics or deal with political and social issues.

– Meta-play

The playing of the game has become content, and we invite authors to explore spectatorship, streaming, allied practices and hybrid media surrounding play and the players. How can we describe and examine the complex interweaving of practices found in these environments?

– Context

Games are subject to material, economic and cultural constraints. This track invites reflection on how these contingencies as well as production tools, industry and business demands and player interventions contribute to the process of signification.

– Poetics

Games are created within constraints, affordances, rules and permissions which give us a frame in which games generate meaning. Games have voice, a language, and they do speak. This is the poetics of games, and we invite our fellows to explore and uncover it.

– General

Games tend to break out of the formats given them, and so for this track we invite the outstanding abstracts, papers and panels on alternative topics to the pre-determined tracks.

We invite full papers, 5000 – 7000 words plus references using the DiGRA 2018 submission template (http://www.digra.org/?attachment_id=148233), extended abstracts (from 500 words, maximum 1000, excluding references), and panel submissions (1000 words excluding references, with a 100 word biography of each participant). Full papers will be subject to a double-blind peer review. Extended abstracts will be blinded and peer reviewed by committees organised by the track chairs. Panels will be reviewed by the track chairs and the program chairs. General inquiries should be addressed to Riccardo Fassone – riccardo.fassone AT unito.it. Artist contributions, industry contributions, performances or non-standard presentations should be addressed to Matteo Bittanti  – matteo.bittanti AT iulm.it .

Submission will be opened December 1st, 2017, and the final deadline for submission is January 31st 2018. The URL for submissions is https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=digra2018 .

Program chairs are

Martin Gibbs, martin.gibbs AT unimelb.edu.au, University of Melbourne, Australia

Torill Elvira Mortensen, toel AT itu.dk, IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Important dates:

  • Submission opens: December 1st, 2017
  • Final submission deadline: January 31st, 2018
  • Results from reviews: March 1st, 2018
  • Early registration deadline: March 15th, 2018
  • Reviewed and rewritten full papers final deadline: April 15th, 2018