Call for Papers: Video Games and Insightful Gameplay

Call for Papers – Video Games and Insightful Gameplay

Video games are increasingly used and discussed as a medium for creating and sharing meaning – be it as a form of learning [1], self-knowledge [2], persuasion in fields such as politics or advertising [3], or a way of mending a “broken reality” with a layer of meaning [4].

Gameplay has also been used for distributed problem solving in science, with ‘Foldit’ as a notorious example [5], public awareness of distressing psychological conditions such as depression [6]–[8], or for historical commemoration [9], among other goals.

We invite research articles and notes that explore the varied landscape of insightful gameplay, and we welcome texts from multiple disciplines, genres, and personal histories of gameplay.

Guest editor: Doris C. Rusch, DePaul UniversityExtended Deadline for manuscript submission: June 6th, 2015

Send manuscripts at:

Manuscript details: For this special issue there are no requirements concerning manuscript length or structure. We invite full articles, short papers, works in progress, essays, journals, and also fiction works and manuscripts in other genres that address the topic of insightful gameplay.

Some orienting questions include:

-          How can games stimulate players’ insights into the world around us, or how can they fail to do so?

-          How do players derive and formulate insights when playing? How do people make meaning from gameplay?

-          How can games occasion moral reflection and moral experiences [10], [11], or avoid it?

-          How can games encourage empathy [12] – or discourage it?

-          What is the role of various elements of a game (fictive worlds, mechanics, textual elements) and of the game paratext [13] (player forums, reviews, markets etc.) in shaping gameplay as meaningful experiences?

-          What is the diversity of meaning acquired by various people playing a game, or same persons in various instances of play? How do players relate to this multi-voicedness of gameplay?


[1]         J. P. Gee, What Video Games have to Teach Us about Learning and Literacy. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.

[2]         D. Rusch, “Mechanisms of the Soul: Tackling the Human Condition in Videogames,” Proc. from DiGRA, 2009.

[3]         I. Bogost, Persuasive Games. The MIT Press, 2010.

[4]        J. McGonigal, Reality is Broken. Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World. New York: The Penguin Press, 2011.

[5]         S. Cooper, A. Treuille, J. Barbero, Z. Popović, D. Baker, and D. Salesin, “Foldit.” [Online]. Available:

[6]        Z. Quinn, P. Lindsey, and I. Shankler, “Depression Quest,” 2013. [Online]. Available:

[7]         D. C. Rusch, T. I. Ing, and R. Eberhardt, “Elude.” Gambit.

[8]        D. C. Rusch and A. Rana, “For the records.” [Online]. Available:

[9]        Ubisoft, “Valiant Hearts. The Great War.” 2014.

[10]       M. Sicart, “Wicked Games: On the Design of Ethical Gameplay,” in DESIRE’10, 2010, pp. 101–111.

[11]        M. Sicart, The Ethics of Computer Games. Cambridge, MA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2009.

[12]       J. Belman and M. Flanagan, “Designing Games to Foster Empathy,” Cogn. Technol., vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 5–15, 2010.

[13]       M. Consalvo, Cheating. Gaining Advantage in Videogames. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2007.