Call for Papers

As part of its 20th Anniversary festivities, Tampere University Game Research Lab invites scholars to an international seminar exploring the diverse connections between parties/partying and games/play.

Various age-old rituals, ceremonies and celebrations can be understood as play, or at least to include aspects of play. Today important life events like weddings or memorial services are organized in virtual game spaces, and many kinds of festivals, carnivals, and fiestas are routinely participated and followed via live streams. Less prestigiously, activities such as ‘pregaming’, house parties, and afterparties can also be understood as/through play – or as scaffoldings for playfulness.

Previous research shows how party games are among genres that have often been overlooked by game scholars (Coavoux, Boutet & Zabban 2017). It has also been argued that instead of conceptualizing party games as “systems” it might be helpful to rather consider them as “festive contexts” (Wilson 2011), and that playing these games requires a particular spirit of levity (Nguyen 2019). All in all, we encourage scholars to examine what sort of contexts parties set for playing, and how game studies approaches can be applied to parties and partying.

At the same time, parties have become an important game cultural platform for meeting, sharing, and learning. Events like game conventions and LAN parties can both force us update our ideas of player cultural formations and help us envision the future developments of game cultures (Taylor & Witkowski 2010). Prior research has also highlighted how game industry parties do not only serve as important recruitment grounds for game companies but also as key access points for game production studies scholars (Kerr 2021). If parties form such a crucial starting point for understanding the current-day industrial formations around games, how should we update our theoretical premises?

These are just some potential dimensions and questions related to myriad ways parties and games, partying and play come together. We also endorse creative and playful interpretations of the theme that explore the less obvious connections between games, play and festive arrangements. Is it already time to organize a party for the established field of game studies or should we abstain from premature celebrations?

The list of possible topics includes but is not limited to:

  • Playful aspects of festivals, feasts, carnivals, banquets, symposiums, house parties, birthdays, pub crawls, afterparties, book launches, seminar dinners, etc.
  • Party games (Spin the bottle, SingStar, Jackbox Games etc.)
  • In-game parties (in digital games, RPGs, board games etc.)
  • Mediated and remediated parties in virtual spaces
  • Industrial formations around games and parties
  • Historical developments between partying / playing / gaming
  • The pedagogic value of partying and party games
  • Methodological considerations connected to ‘game studies’ and ‘party studies’
  • Critical readings of amusements, and lighthearted and playful approaches to serious rituals

Party! is the 19th annual spring seminar organised by Tampere University Game Research Lab and part of the 20th anniversary celebrations of the research group. The seminar emphasises work-in-progress submissions, and we strongly encourage submitting late-breaking results, working papers, as well as submissions from graduate and PhD students. The purpose of the seminar is to have peer-to-peer discussions and thereby provide support in refining and improving research work in this area. The seminar is organised in collaboration with the Centre of Excellence in Game Culture Studies.

The papers to be presented will be chosen based on extended abstract review. Full papers are distributed prior to the event to all participants, in order to facilitate discussion. There will be two invited expert commentators to provide feedback on the papers.

The seminar is potentially looking into partnering with a publisher so that the best papers would be invited to be further developed into publication. In the past, we have collaborated with e.g. Analog Game Studies, Games and Culture, International Journal of Role-Playing, Simulation & Gaming, and ToDiGRA journals.

The seminar will be held at Tampere University, Finland, and the event is free of charge.

Submission guidelines

The papers will be selected for presentation based on extended abstracts of 500–1000 words (plus references). Abstracts should be delivered in PDF format. Full paper guidelines will be provided with the notification of acceptance.

Our aim is that all participants can familiarise themselves with the papers in advance. Therefore, the maximum length for a full paper is 5000 words (plus references). The seminar presentations should encourage discussion, instead of repeating the information presented in the papers. Every paper will be presented for 10 minutes and discussed for 20 minutes.

Submissions should be sent to gamestudiesseminar@gmail.com.

Seminar website: https://springseminar.org/

Important dates

  • Abstract deadline: 20 January 2023
  • Notification of acceptance: 10 February 2023
  • Full Paper deadline: 17 April 2023
  • Seminar dates: 4–5 May 2023

References

Coavoux, S., Boutet, M., & Zabban, V. (2017). What We Know About Games: A Scientometric Approach to Game Studies in the 2000s. Games and Culture, 12(6), 563–584.

Kerr, A. (2021). Before and After: Towards Inclusive Production Studies, Theories, and Methods. In Sotamaa O. & Švelch J. (Eds.), Game Production Studies (pp. 293-308). Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

Nguyen, C.T (2019). The Right Way to Play A Game. Game Studies, 19(1).

Taylor, T.L. & Witkowski, E. (2010). This Is How We Play It: What a Mega-LAN Can Teach Us about Games. In Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games (FDG ’10). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 195–202.

Wilson, D. (2011). Brutally Unfair Tactics Totally OK Now: On Self-Effacing Games and Unachievements. Game Studies, 11(1).