Parameters of Play

Parameters of Play

Parameters of Play brings together an interdisciplinary cohort of graduate students and faculty members from Film and Media Studies, Theater and Performance Studies, East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies, English, and other fields to consider the videogame as an object of study in the midst of a booming industry and an expanding scholarly literature.

Game Studies has seen remarkable growth over the last decade with increasingly interdisciplinary bridges between this new medium, fan studies, representational politics, and critical theory scholarship. The field has typically grown along two axes. First, the formalistic theorization of games has moved from treating games as texts or (computational) processes to platforms. Second, more anthropologically-informed socio-cultural studies of player activities have illuminated new types of networked sociality, in both massively multiplayer online games and the rise of eSports. In this vein, recent approaches to game studies focus on user contributions to the gaming experience and the game itself, including gamer and non-gamer communities built around streaming of gameplay, metagaming, collective hacking and cheating practices, and in-game social and political performances. As this brief overview illustrates, the massive proliferation of game forms and social formations across the globe requires increasingly flexible approaches to these media. Given late capitalism’s ability to interlink local practices with transnational and global flows of information, commodities, and people, understanding the scales of gaming also seems imperative. With the vast range of potential research that games now invite, we believe that analysis requires “thinking between” differing geographical areas, theories, and disciplinary skill-sets.

Our goal is to approach these series of problematics through interdisciplinary discussions that grapple with these larger issues. We approach games not as distinct texts, but rather as a series of relations: between game-texts and other mediums, between texts and players, between players and industrial actors, and so on. The means and textures of these relations, as well as the socio-cultural or political possibilities they enable and disable, are our points of departure. Our intent is not to produce a single answer or method, but rather to explore new methodological potentials in interdisciplinary conversation. We include perspectives from critical code studies, affect studies, posthumanism, environmental media and storytelling, queer studies, and regional and global studies. Together, we hope to open novel perspectives on the object(s) of our study, as well as find new intersections with other phenomena.

Alenda Chang, Film and Media Studies

Jeremy Douglass, English

Keita Moore, East Asian Languages & Cultural Studies

Ahmed Asi, Theater and Dance

Mary Michael, Film and Media Studies