10th Clash of Realities
Call for Papers / Participation

The Games Studies Summit, the Media Education Summit as well as the Young Academics Workshop of this year’s research conference invite fellow academics to participate.

Games Studies Summit: Paratextualizing Games

The fact that new communication media have always produced new possibilities for cultural evaluation, analysis, and participation is particularly true of digital games. Gaming no longer only takes place as a “closed interactive experience” in front of TV screens or PC monitors at home (or at work), but also as broadcast on video-sharing and streaming platforms or as cultural events in exhibition centers and e-sport arenas. The development and popularization of new technologies, forms of expression and online services – from Let’s Play videos to live streams, from video essays to podcasts – has a considerable influence on the academic and journalistic as well as on the popular discourse about games.

Ian Bogost asks in his 2015 collection of essays: How to talk about Videogames? To further investigate and to expand upon this question is the pivotal point of this year’s Clash of Realities’ Game Studies Summit. We do not just want to ask which paratexts gaming cultures have produced, i.e., in which forms and formats and through which channels we talk (and write) about games. We also ask: How do paratexts influence the development of games? How is knowledge about games generated and shaped today and how do boundaries between (popular) criticism, journalism, and scholarship have started to blur? How do new forms of communicating about games affect the medium of the game itself? In short: How does the paratext change the text?

The Game Studies Summit is hosted by the Cologne Game Lab and the Institute for Media Culture and Theatre (University of Cologne). It will take place on November 20, 2019.

Call for Papers: [PDF]

Deadline for submissions: June 30, 2019

Please send abstracts (no longer than 300 words) along with a short bibliography/ludography to hcs@colognegamelab.de

Notifications of acceptance/rejection will be sent by the end of August. In special cases, we will be able to cover for travel and accommodation costs.

Media Education Summit: Digital Games and Children

Children learn about the world they live in through play. As the world around them evolves over time, so do the games they play. Today, children grow up in a world where digital media are an engaging and natural part of their environment. Children acquire terms and techniques such as “googling”, “downloading” and “streaming” at an early age, and the nature of the digital games they choose evolves rapidly. They play these games in and out of school, alone or with others, online or offline, on the computer, console, tablet or smartphone

Massive and ongoing transformations in children’s media usage continue to change the way children first come into contact with digital games, the age at which they start playing such games, how they develop and consolidate game-related interests, what digital gaming practices they acquire, and how they navigate and choose games amidst the many available options. Given these rapid changes, developing a detailed understanding of how children engage with digital games, the developmental context of digital game play, and their role for learning is an important academic and societal task.

What do digital games have to offer to children? Which playful environments are conducive to learning? How can children creatively and collaboratively shape the games they play? Can digital games promote computational thinking, 21st century skills and media literacy? How do digital games affect social learning and peer relationships? What are the challenges that children face in adjusting to, learning about, and growing up within a digital environment? What do children need in terms of support, guidance and rules, values and role models? And how should digital games and gaming environments be designed so that all children can participate and benefit?

We kindly invite researchers and educators to contribute their empirical and conceptual work on the theme of ‘Digital Games and Children’ and to submit a proposal for a presentation or workshop.

The ‘Digital Games and Children’ Summit is hosted by the Institute of Media Research and Media Education of the TH Köln – University of Applied Sciences and Electronic Arts Germany. It will take place on November 20, 2019.

Call for Participation: [PDF]

Deadline for submissions: June 30, 2019

Please submit your contribution twofold: once with points 1 to 6 (see below) and once only with 4 to 6. (Your submissions will be evaluated anonymously)

Please send both files (Word, RTF, ODT or Notepad) attached to an E-Mail with the subject line “Submission for Clash of Realities 2019” to spielraum@th-koeln.de.

You will receive a reply by July 31, 2019

If you have any questions or comments regarding the call for participation, please contact +49 221 8275 3018 or spielraum@th-koeln.de.

Submissions should contain:

  1. Name of the author(s)
  2. Contact E-Mail of the author(s)
  3. Title of your contribution
  4. Abstract of your contribution (500 words maximum)
  5. Up to five keywords
  6. For the conference program, a summary of your contribution (130 words max) and author bio(s) (250 words max)

The Institute for Media Research and Media Education (IMM) conducts research on media and society, education, and learning and develops models and concepts for media education in theory and practice. ‘Spielraum’ at the Institute of Media Research and Media Education of the TH Köln aims to connect and cooperate with researchers, educators and practicioners in the fields of digital games and gaming culture


Young Academics Workshop – Play, Games, Mental Health

This year, the Young Academics Workshop will explore the connection between mental health and the act of play, whether it is free or structured by rules. We want to discuss claims that play and games, or a lack thereof, can have a significant impact on our psychological well-being; the potential of play to treat psychopathologies; and the numerous technical and artistic ways in which play can represent or reflect a spectrum of psychological states, among other topics.

Video games tend to be a matter of social concern, especially among parents and educators who often pose questions like: Are kids gaming too much? How much is too much? What consequences can excessive gaming have on an individual’s development? Current claims about video game addiction and related disorders notwithstanding, research on the effects of video games on mental health is still inconclusive. Despite this persisting gap in our knowledge, the medium is often blamed for making players antisocial, addicted, or depressed. At the same time, arguments for the possible benefits of gaming are put forward with lesser frequency. This might come as a surprise when we consider that many contemporary titles deal directly with mental health issues, such as depression (Depression Quest), grief (That Dragon, Cancer), and psychosis (Hellblade Senua’s Sacrifice).

The Young Academics Workshop’s aim in 2019 is to discuss mental health and play from a wide range of perspectives. Since video games are not an isolated phenomenon, the workshop will frame the issue broadly—including free play, and both analog and digitalgames—while paying attention to the ways in which these activities, or an absence thereof, might impact mental health.

We are happy to announce that Isabela Granic – Professor and Chair of the Developmental Psychopathology department at Radboud University (the Netherlands) and director of the GEMH (Games for Emotion and Mental Health) Lab – will be joining this year’s workshop. Granic’s groundbreaking work integrates psychological research with game design to create games to treat and study psychopathologies such as depression and anxiety. With her unique expertise, Granic will accompany us in a day of stimulating discussion and close the workshop with a talk.

Possible submission topics might include, but are not limited to:

  • The impact of play in child and adolescent development
  • Video games and addiction
  • Gamification of mental health treatments
  • Digital and analog games as therapy
  • Representations of mental disorders in games and play
  • Game design as a way to cope with mental or emotional strain

We welcome contributions from scholars from all academic fields and disciplines (psychology, media studies, art history, philosophy, neuroscience, play and game studies, etc.) and from game developers and game development students (future game artists, game designers, game programmers, and all other students learning to make games). As this is a Young Academics Workshop, we invite all those who have recently entered the academic world, including Bachelor, Master, and PhD students, as well as Postdocs

Applicants should focus on the relationship between play, games, and mental health from the unique perspective of their home discipline.

Participants will hold 15-minute presentations followed by 15 minutes of discussion.

Applicants should submit abstracts (no longer than 300 words) along with a bibliography/ludography to youngacademics@clashofrealities.com

All submissions will be assessed by a peer-review committee.


Call for Papers: [PDF]

Deadline for submissions: July 30, 2019

Notification of acceptance/rejection: September 7, 2019

Young Academics Workshop: November 19, 2019

Clash of Realities Conference: November 19-21, 2019