Playing with Mother Nature


I wonder what happened to this...  Call for Papers: Playing with Mother Nature: Video Games, Space, and Ecology Editors Sidney I. Dobrin, Cathlena Martin, and Laurie Taylor seek proposals for a new collection of original articles that address the useand place of space and ecology in video games. This collection willexamine video games in terms of the spaces they create and use, the metaphors of space on which they rely, and the ecologies that they createwithin those spaces. This collection will address the significantintersections in terms of how and why video games construct space and ecology as they do, and in terms of how those constructions shapeconceptions of both space and ecology. The editors seek proposals for innovative papers that explore theintersections between ecocriticism, theories of spatiality, and videogames. Ecocriticism of video games straddles studying ecology as the Earth (or alternate world setting), nature, and land, while adding physical representation and experimentation through video game spaces and other technological spaces. These video games spaces create their own spatial practice through their representation and through the players' lived interaction with the gaming environments as constructed worlds.Video game spatial analysis comprises the created representation of space in the games, the players' experiences with those spaces, and the nuances by which those spaces are constructed and conveyed, including theirportrayal of cultural norms for space and spatiality. In addition, the editors are looking for several papers that specifically address children's culture and education in terms of video games, space, andecology.

Editors seek contributions which explore and initiate conversations using the triple lens of ecology, space, and video games about areas that may, but will not necessarily, pertain to:

  • Role of imaginary space in video games
  • Implications of Soja's Thirdspace and other spatial theories on videogames
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) and artificial life (AL) and the creationof artificial ecologies
  • Games specifically designed for education about ecological concerns,places, or uses (Oregon Trail, free online games)
  • Over-all ecological educational/conceptual effect of video games
  • Environment in video games and how it is constructed spatially andrhetorically
  • Relationship of the players to the game worlds arenas, landscapes,cities, and worlds
  • Rhetorical effect of nostalgic and romantic representations of nature
  • How video games effect eco literacies
  • Rhetorical effect of architecture and the creation of game spaces
  • Function of utopian and dystopian World Constructions
  • Creation of communities within artificial lands (often in MMORPGs, likeEverquest homes and communities)
  • Ecologies of play: evolutionary change and progression (powerups andenemy progression in relation to evolutionary models); cycle of life anddeath and the disruption of that cycle with re-play
  • Game creatures / anthropomorphism; cyborgs / cloning
  • Relationship of science and nature (control in games like Zoo Tycoon,science as a perversion of nature sci-fi games)
  • Analysis of ecolological tropes: mastery or control of nature (SIMCITYand the natural disasters as the opponent; land as something to becontrolled and colonized in Civilization)
  • Cultural construction of nature (prevalence of post apocalyptic worldsin Japanese games like Final Fantasy)
  • Virtual zoos viewing and capturing 'nature' (photographs of alien creatures in Beyond Good and Evil, capturing creatures in Pokemon)
  • Intersections of eco-theories and visual rhetoric as portrayed in video games
  • Historical representations of physical spaces and its relationship to the cultural definitions of those spaces (Battlefield 1942, Medal ofHonor)

All articles should pertain specifically to game studies scholarship and/or pedagogy. Articles that lend to the theoretical and criticalscholarship of video game studies will be favored. The editors are lessinterested in submissions that simply offer readings of particular games in order to identify that a game might be 'read' as ecological.

Please send a proposal of 500-750 words and a contributor's bio by November 1, 2004 to (preferably) e-mail or snail mail address below.(Early inquiries and submissions are highly encouraged). Authors will benotified of acceptance by December 1, 2004. Final drafts of articles will be due: April 1, 2004.

For more information, please email the editors or see the longer CFP online: http://www.nwe.ufl.edu/~ltaylor/ecology.html

Sdobrin@english.ufl.edu, Cmartin@english.ufl.edu, or Ltaylor@english.ufl.edu

Sidney Dobrin, Cathlena Martin, and Laurie Taylor Department of English University of Florida PO Box 117310 Gainesville, Florida, 32611-7311