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Games as Ecomedia CFP for ASLE 2015

2014 November 21
tags: , ,
by Alenda Chang

The deadline for proposals is fast approaching, but I’m still hoping to assemble a fun and thought-provoking games panel at next year’s ASLE in Idaho. All approaches are welcome!

Of Dungeon Crawls and Chthonic Uprisings: Unearthing the Ecological Subtexts of Games

In Last Child in the Woods (2005), Richard Louv argues that “Nature—the sublime, the harsh, and the beautiful—offers something that the street or gated community or computer game cannot.” Yet in the last case, at least, history and media scholarship offer contrary views. Henry Jenkins has celebrated games’ capacity for spatially oriented “environmental storytelling,” while game history is studded with obvious and not-so-obvious examples of environmental gameplay, from Colossal Cave Adventure and SimEarth: The Living Planet to recent, open-world games like MineCraft and Dwarf Fortress. This panel invites diverse ecocritical perspectives on computer/video games and related virtual worlds, and in keeping with the conference’s “underground” theme, potential topics could include the following:

  • Games and place (local/regional games, mapping and topography)
  • The logic of the dungeon crawl/clear
  • Permadeath games, apocalypse, and “dark ecology”
  • Games’ extraction and resource-management mechanics
  • Games/gamers as subcultural versus mainstream (e.g. Gamergate and cultures of online anonymity)
  • Ethical/environmental issues with sourcing for game hardware and industry labor practices
  • Genre case studies, e.g. of farm/gardening games, zombie or contagion narratives, etc.
  • Alternate-reality games and their “rabbit holes”
  • Games and animal studies
  • Game cheating and failure

Possible games: Minecraft, Diablo, Colossal Cave Adventure, Dwarf Fortress, Metroid, Dig Dug, Fallen London, Bioshock, Shelter, Dragon Age, Waking Mars, Limbo, etc.

Please send abstracts of approximately 250-300 words and brief bios to Alenda Chang at by December 1.

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