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CFP: Re-framing video games in the light of cinema

Games as Art, Media, Entertainment (a.k.a. GAME), The Italian Journal of Game Studies has just launched a call for paper for their 4th issue, entitled “Re-framing Video Games in the Light of Cinema”.

The aim of this issue will be to revise and reflect on the question of the relation between cinema and video games. This seems like a really interesting subject, and I can’t wait to read this issue once it gets published. In the meantime, if you would like to submit an article, the extended version of the call for paper is copied below. Due note that the deadline for abstracts is May 3rd.

For more information : www.gamejournal.it

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With its 4th issue G.A.M.E. wants to investigate the complex relations between video games and cinema, revising and reflecting on a topic controversially debated over the past 10 years. The relationship between these two media is layered and they are interconnected in their practices as much as in their theories. Not only are cinema and video games linked by their audiovisual nature, but they are also connected by similar production paradigms. Not only does the cross-circulation of storylines, characters and brands play a primary role in the rise of convergence culture, but also, on a production level, they are grounded in common artistic and technical competences to the point of developing similar industrial systems.

During the past two decades, cinema became the key to access video games as cultural, artistic and social phenomenon. Consequently, scholars and researchers in Games Studies developed a strong awareness of the problems intrinsic to this comparative approach, leading to its problematisation within academic contexts. Torn between the need to develop an independent field of studies and the clear intermedial vocation of the discipline, Game Studies developed a suspicion towards this relationship, often debated at the margins of one or the other field. With its new issue, G.A.M.E. wants to offer a renewed reflection on the “interaction” between video games and films.

Firstly, Game Studies call for an updated reflection on what Wolf and Perron call (referencing Francesco Casetti’s work on film theory) the “methodological theory”. After half a century, Film Studies developed a constellation of “theories” that cover the ontological and phenomenological nature of the medium, its practices, its representative strategies, its history and historiographical value, and the politics connected to it, finally leading to question its methodological premises. At the same time video game theory lacks a conceptual history of the medium capable of abstracting the specificity of case studies in order to account for a larger diachronic perspective. Can the cinematic theoretical corpus offer a contribution to the development of Game Studies? If so, what are the possible interceptions between these fields? What more can we learn about video games through the lenses of Film Studies?

On a second level, we want to investigate the characteristics of these two media, their similarities and differences in terms of aesthetics, practices and production. The majority of the studies on this topic assume the narrative quality of the cinematic medium, focusing on the narrative continuity between these media: genres, tropes and iconography. Nevertheless, this assumption is debatable and in need of renegotiation. If, on the one hand, it is true that the cinematic character of video games is mostly codified through its narrative and spectacular acceptations, on the other hand it is possible to rethink the interplay between these two media in different ways. For example, by positioning video games within the larger history of spectacular media and attractions to which also cinema belongs, it is then possible to frame this medium within the tradition that connects shadow play theatre to the magic lantern and, subsequently, to early cinema and devices for amplified vision (widescreen, stereoscopy). Moreover, the rise of the indie market, the proliferation of tools and commercialised engines, allowed the emergence of experimental work that challenges the mainstream identification with narrative models, opening new horizons of research. Titles such as Garry’s Mod provide points of intersection with avant-gardes, problematizing the acquired definition of the medium, its strategies and internal structure.

Finally, with its 4th issue G.A.M.E. intends to discuss the place of video games in cinema. Video games’ cinematic incarnations have often been overlooked, mostly referenced with regards to their aesthetic and iconographic influence. Nevertheless, more than 20 years after the release of Tron (1982), video games still influence cinema on iconographic, thematic and linguistic levels. What role do video games “play” in cinema? Are video games contributing to the development of a new cinematic aesthetics? Is this process connected to the commercialisation of new technologies? What are the reasons behind unsuccessful cinematic adaptations of video games? Video games provide source material for TV shows and web series, becoming protagonists of transmedial serialisation. At the same time, they are made cinematic subject of both nostalgic (Wreck-It Ralph, 2012) and apocalyptic (Gamer, 2009) discourses. For these reasons, G.A.M.E. wants to ask, once more, what is cinematic in video games and what is ludic at the cinema.

Keywords cinema; video games; remediation; film; cinematic video game; interactive cinema; intermediality; audiovisual language;

Abstract deadline: 3rd May Notification of acceptance: 12th May

All accepted authors will be expected to submit a full paper by the 3rd of August. We expect to release this special issue in Autumn 2014.

Proposals and questions to: gameitalianjournal@gmail.com

#CFP #GAME #videogames

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