[Air-L] CfP journal gamevironments Special Issue "End Games: Apocalyptic Play"

Lisa Kienzl kienzl at uni-bremen.de
Thu Feb 25 07:15:15 PST 2021

Dear all,

we are excited to announce this Call for Papers for the upcoming Special 
Issue of the international peer-reviewed online journal GAMEVIRONMENTS 
on "End Games: Apocalyptic Play" edited by Rachel Wagner.






End Games: Apocalyptic Play

edited by Rachel Wagner


Deadline for 300-word abstracts 01. April 2021


Video games are, in a way, a natural vehicle for telling apocalyptic 
stories. Games are structured to involve an imminent end to life as we 
know it, and often involve a limited time frame in which to complete the 
game’s mission. They can involve a messianic savior figure, especially 
in the form of the first-person narrative shooter, in which the player 
takes on a role of saving the world through self-determined judgment and 
violence. They may involve otherworldly journeys or otherworldly figures 
that function as guides to a reality beyond the game itself. They may 
draw explicitly on biblical imagery, or they may approach fears about 
the world’s end through more secular means.

Apocalypticism has been around since before the formation of 
Christianity, showing up in ancient Jewish and Christian traditions in 
which the authors describe an imminent end to the world as we know it, 
and positing a coming violent judgment on those perceived to be the 
enemies of believers. Apocalypticism crops up throughout Christian 
history, most often as a means of coping with crisis, such as massive 
illness, social or political threats, and perceptions of powerlessness. 
One can consider apocalypticism as a genre of religious literature, as a 
political perspective, and as an approach to storytelling. 
Apocalypticism can be viewed literally by those who expect a 
transcendent deity to forcefully intervene in human affairs, or more 
symbolically, in the secular apocalypses that depict fictional crises 
like zombie uprisings, cataclysmic wars, or resource shortages leading 
to social unrest. Contemporary artists might consider the apocalyptic 
impact of natural crises like water pollution, polar melt, and climate 
change. Apocalyptic visions may be driven by human messianic urges, or 
they may depend upon an external force of redemption. They are almost 
always characterized by violence or destruction. And they seem an 
incredibly common focus for the creators of video games.

The analysis of video games with apocalyptic impact can take a number of 
different approaches. It may involve reference to the contemporary 
analysis of ancient apocalyptic literature. It may refer to biblical 
themes like those presented in Daniel or Revelation. It may draw on 
contemporary evangelical Christian dispensationalism, Islamic 
apocalypticism, or Jewish apocalypticism. And of course it may also be a 
form of contemporary secular apocalypticism, drawing on widespread fears 
about climate change, nuclear war, or social unrest.

The scope is broad. Submissions may focus on design-based or structural 
links to apocalypticism in video games, as in otherworldly journeys to 
fantastic spaces that evoke heaven or hell or some other realm. They may 
consider how games work, looking at the periodization of time as 
provoking a kind of apocalyptic experience. They may consider the 
function of rewards and punishments as an apocalyptic theme in gaming, 
or they may consider how games approach (or deny) hopes for an 
afterlife. They might ask what it means that players take on crucial 
roles for themselves with new agency as apocalyptic messiahs, 
god-figures, or agents of punishment.

Submissions might consist of readings of video games with 
/post/-apocalyptic themes (religious or secular), imagining what the 
world might look like /after /an apocalyptic event, and what it might 
mean to survive in the violent (or not-so-violent) aftermath of 
world-shifting events. Authors might also consider games that deal with 
actual contemporary apocalyptic fears, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, 
portraits of Donald Trump as a messiah, or the threat of global 
collapse. Considerations of games of any style are welcome: serious 
games, fictional games, religious games, and games intended for 
entertainment (but please query what other functions they may also 
serve). The hope is that all submissions will thoughtfully consider what 
happens when games introduce apocalyptic elements, what synergies and 
tensions are produced, and what the cultural impact of this relationship 
might be.

We live in a world awash in apocalyptic concerns.

  * How can we learn more about our world and ourselves by thinking
    about the apocalyptic games we play?
  * What is gained by looking for apocalyptic themes, structures,
    influences, or approaches in video games?
  * What role does violence play in accomplishing a game’s apocalyptic
    mission, and why might this matter?
  * Who wins and who loses, and why does a game or set of games present
    these dualistic perspectives?
  * What can we learn about ourselves as players or as people by looking
    at the games we make and play with apocalyptic purposes?



Submit a title and 300-word abstract to Rachel Wagner 
(rwagner at ithaca.edu <mailto:rwagner at ithaca.edu>) by 1. April 2021.

Possible formats for submission include:

a) regular academic articles

b) interviews

c) research reports

d) book reviews

e) game reviews

All articles submitted will be subject to double-blind peer-review.There 
is no article processing charge.

For more on submission formats and guidelines see:



For further information visit: https://www.gamevironments.uni-bremen.de/.


Title and abstract submission: 1. April 2021

Full text submission: 1. July 2021

Dr. Dr. Lisa Kienzl
managing editor gamevironments

wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin | postdoctoral researcher
Arbeitsgebiet Literaturen und Medien der Religionen | Literature and Media of Religions

Universität Bremen | University of Bremen
Institut für Religionswissenschaft und Religionspädagogik | Institute of Religious Studies and Religious Education
Sportturm (SpT)
Postfach 330 440
D-28359 Bremen

T. +49 (0)421 218 67912
https://www.gamevironments.uni-bremen.de/  <https://www.gamevironments.uni-bremen.de/>

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