Second International Conference on Games and Narrative

Isolation and Return: The Making of Narrative Worlds 

Friday, July 7th, 2022, to Wednesday, July 13th, 2022

***Deadline has been extended until March 15, 2022***

After the success of the initial International Conference on Games and Narrative (ICGaN), we’re ready to do it again, and do it again virtually. In the interests of an accessible conference, the battle against COVID-19, and reduction of our environmental footprint, the second ICGaN will be hosted entirely online.

Our 2022 conference will again focus on the many ways in which videogames employ, exploit, and develop narrative. This year we place emphasis on the narrative worlds that games create, as this is one of their most distinctive contributions, and on how games play with themes of isolation and return (just as we are, hopefully, returning after a period of isolation). The 2022 conference will also be split into two sections.

Section one will be keynotes and presentations, while section two is devoted to a Narrative Jam (based on the concept of Game Jams). Conference-goers will have the opportunity to learn the basics of narrative and game design tools such as Twine and Ink, design their own games with the help of experienced designers over a two-day game creation working session.

The conference will provide an opportunity to examine the intersection between videogames and narrative through a variety of formats: 

  • Online lectures,
  • Speaker panels,
  • Video essays,
  • Workshops, and
  • Live streaming gameplay with commentary and discussion.

We invite proposals for speaker panels devoted to a particular topic and individual papers. Proposals may address any question concerning the intersection between videogames and narrative, in line with our theme. 

General and key-topic areas for submissions may include:

  • Narrative Structure in Video Games: problems associated with the narrative analysis of videogames, including time, space, perspective, focalization, and character.  Papers and panels may focus on the analysis of a particular game or on a general problem in narrative theory.

  • Narrative Co-creation in Games: issues around the relationship between designer, text, and player in game studies. This could include discussions of agency, fandom, performativity, representation, or identity.

  • Narratives and Social Difference: questions of how narrative forms reflect and shape social differences and divisions, including gender difference, forms of sexuality, racialized differences, ethnic and national identities, and class distinctions.

  • Gameplay and Narrative: reflections on the interplay between the ludic and the narrative, including close readings of specific examples where mechanics and narrative collide.

  • Game Worlds: analysis of the elements of worldbuilding, including environmental approaches to narrative or more general discussions of “place” in games.

  • Technology, Presence, and Immersion: topics on the relationship between technology and narrative, including examinations of Augmented Reality/X-Reality/Virtual Reality and Video Game Narratives, but also including the general technological ecology of games and narrative.

Proposals for Individual Papers and Video Essays

  • Provide a 250-word abstract outlining your paper, specifying whether it will take the form of a paper/presentation or video essay (Papers and Video Essays will be 15-20 minutes in length).
  • Do not include the author’s name anywhere on the abstract (but do give the paper a title).
  • Provide a short author’s statement, separate from the paper proposal, of 100-150 words with your name, institutional affiliation (if any) and a description of your research, publications, and presentations.
  • Submit the abstracts and the author’s statement in Microsoft Word or PDF format.

Proposals for Panels

Panels will consist of 3-4 related papers. For panel submissions:

  • Provide a 500-word description of the panel, setting out its goals and themes, as well as titles and abstracts (150-250 words each) for each panelist’s contribution.
  • Do not include names of the organizer or contributors to the panel in the description and paper abstracts (but do make sure the panel and the individual papers have titles).
  • Include, as a separate document, author statements of 100-150 words each for every participant (organizer and contributors) with name, institutional affiliation (if any) and a description of relevant research, publications, and presentations.
  • Submit the abstracts and the author’s statement in Microsoft Word or PDF format. 

Proposals for Panel CfPs

  • People wishing to put together a panel may issue a Call for Papers that will be posted on the conference website.
  • CfPs should be no more than 500 words and should include the name and email address of the organizer.
  • Please send your CfP to the icgan.submissions@uwaterloo.ca, with the Subject Line: ‘CfP’.

Proposals for Gameplay & Roundtable Sessions 

Sessions will consist of a livestreamed demonstration of gameplay, followed by a roundtable discussion of the game in question. For proposal submissions:

  • Provide a brief description of the game that will be played during the gameplay session. Games can be single or multiplayer, of any genre or form;
  • Provide a 250-word outline of the proposed avenues of discussion for the post-play roundtable. This may include the academic perspectives that your participants will bring to the discussion, the aspects of gameplay and/or narrative that you will explore, or an explanation of the proposed game's potential as an object of study;
  • Do not include names of the organizer or roundtable participants in the proposal;
  • Include, as a separate document, participant statements of 100-150 words each for every roundtable participant (organizer, player(s), and discussants) with their name, institutional affiliation (if any) and a description of relevant research, publications, presentations, or industry experience.

Narrative (Game Design) Jam

On the evening of Friday, July 8th to Sunday, July 10th we will be hosting a Narrative (Game Design) Jam. The first evening will be a tutorial session demonstrating the basic format and function of one or two popular narrative design tools (for games). Then participants will create their own games over Saturday and Sunday morning, ending with a conference showcase of the work Sunday afternoon. Participants can create teams or work on their own; the conference organizers will facilitate the formation of teams if needed. If you wish to participate, there is no separate registration.

We will update our website with details as the format is further developed.

If you are a narrative designer, or are strongly familiar with Twine or Ink, and would like to help run a workshop or tutorial in either format, please indicate so as part of your registration.

Deadline has been extended until March 15, 2022

All submissions should be sent to: icgan.submissions@uwaterloo.ca

Decisions on papers, panels and workshops will be communicated in mid-to-late April.

Access the pdf for call for papers here.

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