Special Issue "The Sacred & the Digital. Critical Depictions of Religions in Video Games"
A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 April 2018)
Although it is certainly not the largest section of the relatively new field of digital gaming research, the study of religion and video games has expanded quite considerably since 2010 at least. Through landmark publications such as Halos & Avatars (Detweiler, 2010), Godwired (Rachel Wagner, 2011), eGods (2013), Of Games and God (Bainbridge, 2013) and Playing with Religion in Digital Games (Campbell & Grieve, 2014), and through specialized academic journals like Online. Heidelberg Journal of Religions on the Internet (Heidelberg University) and Gamenvironments (Bremen University), ‘religious game studies’ has become a multidisciplinary field of research that has attracted experts from scholarly disciplines such as anthropology, sociology, psychology, philosophy, religious studies and theology.
This overview—which is anything but exhaustive—shows the richness of the scholarly research of religion and digital games, but at the same time illustrates that the discipline as such is only in its relative adolescence. The ludology-versus-narratology debate still lurks in the background, despite having been declared ‘over’. Game-immanent approaches compete with actor-centered alternatives. And both constitutive notions—‘religion’ and ‘digital game’—are notoriously difficult to define.
Nevertheless, religion as a theme is widely seen in modern digital games, both in smaller indie games as in triple-A publications, sometimes as a convenient part of a grand medieval décor, sometimes as a driving force behind the game narrative, sometimes taken from the real world, sometimes highly fantastic, sometimes depicted in a positive way but also heavily criticized. Countless examples can be given, like the deconstruction of the Christian narrative in the Assassin’s Creed series, the crypto-fascistic Abbey of the Everyman in the Dishonored series, the supremacist Church of Comstock in Bioshock Infinite, the ‘angelic/demonic’ mythology behind series like Darksiders, Diablo and Devil May cry, and the different religious sects in the Borderlands and Fallout series.
In the special issue of Religions, papers of experts in the field of religion and video games will be gathered under the theme ‘The Sacred & the Digital. Critical depictions of religions in video games’. We are searching for academic articles critically discussing the various ways in which ‘religion’ is used and commented upon (positively or negatively) in modern day digital games. Articles utilizing both an actor-centered (player agency) and a game-immanent perspective (game agency) are welcomed. Also articles concerning the intertextual relationships between the religious game text and real-life religious traditions, both institutionalized as well as ‘lived religion’, are much appreciated.
Dr. F.G. (Frank) Bosman
Manuscript Submission Information
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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.
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- religion studies
- game studies
- digital media