“Video Game Ecologies and American Studies” is the third conference organized by “Playing the Field,” a collaborative research initiative for the study of video games in American studies:

The conference aims at examining the environments that video games affect and are impacted by. It engages with the notion of ecology as a critical concept that not only allows to study the intermedial, social, and cultural relations that constitute video games and gaming culture. The term also suggests reflections on the impact of gaming and virtual worlds in mainstream media ecologies as well as video game conceptions of human, posthuman, and natural environments.

The theme of video game ecologies seeks to facilitate interdisciplinary conversations on the cultural, literary, political, social, and ecological discourses pertaining to the medium. As Megan Condis writes: “Each game utilizes different mechanics to describe and model the relationship between the player-character and his or her environment, resulting in a different argument about the type of world we inhabit—or the one we might inhabit in the future” (“Live in Your World, Play in Ours” 90). The conference serves as a platform to reflect on the structures, relations, and imaginations involved in these world building practices and the environments they participate in and create.

We invite proposals that investigate video game ecologies from various American studies perspectives.

Possible topics could include, but are not restricted to:

  • Environmental storytelling
  • Ecocriticism and video game studies
  • Video game conceptions and representations of the Anthropocene
  • Climate change, culture, and play
  • Video games and their ecological impact
  • Intermediality, transmediality, and media ecologies
  • Gameplay and player participation
  • Game production and player interaction (e.g., crowdfunding, player feedback, etc.)
  • Gaming communities and video game networks
  • Racialization and ethnicity in video game ecologies
  • Disability and ableism in gaming
  • Gender, gaming, and social networks
  • Queering video game ecologies

Please send a 300-word abstract (PDF format) and a short biographical note (max. 250 words) to by February 15, 2022.