Gaming. What is it good for?
In the wake of gg transforming into the alt-right, of Bannon moving from gold farming to fake news to a place in the White House and finally back to fake news in some shadow illuminati, of Brexit, the cheeto in chief, Cambridge Analytica, and Facebook, of Google employee scandals, Google government contract scandals, Google privacy scandals, and basically all of us continuing to sign over our lives to Google, of the academy embattled, of capitalist pig dogs winning, of growing inequality, of too-late-to-do-anything-about-it climate change… in the wake of everything… what is gaming good for?
Yet at every step, we’ve resisted. With Zoe Quinn, Anita Sarkeesian, Brianna Wu, Brenda Romero, Kara Stone, Adrienne Shaw, Shira Chess, Tanya DePass, Elizabeth LaPensée, Kishonna Gray, and many others (including some guys, too, I suppose), we’ve resisted. With Feminist Frequency, Crash Override, EarthGames, Games4Change, Games for Health, Filament, GLS, DML, and CLS, with Meaningful Play, CGSA, NASAGA, and many other official or semi-official organizations, we’ve resisted. We recognize that games are more than games. Fighting for their place and our place in them is a reflection of who we are and who we want to be… collectively.
Gaming is diverse. Gaming is the future. Gaming is speculative fiction. Gaming is imagination. Gaming is resistance, subversion, and persistence. Gaming makes us think about our human condition and our responsibilities and relationships to others… to each other.
Gaming. What is it good for?
For some but not all.
We are not all privy to a well-played game. (RIP Bernie DeKoven. We miss you.)
How can we fix that rather than throwing it all away?
This is your official CFP for the third issue of Esoteric Gaming, an online journal about shit crazy gaming practice and what makes gaming great.
A word of caution, though. This is not your typical academic journal. (Fuck academia! Fuck paywalls!) It’s not even in the same vein as the amazing Unwinnable and First Person Scholar. Esoteric Gaming is scrappier, less formal, and more focused on nuanced game play. Also, NOTHING about Esoteric Gaming means anything for your careers. There’s no line for your CV. There’s no respect from your tenure review committee. There’s no ranking systems and no journal impact. There’s nothing here.
Except… there’s everything.
We’re looking for short, informal pieces that are heavy on detailed description. (I suppose, you could perhaps call them “thick.”) We don’t need a ton of analysis, no methods sections, no lit reviews. Just good writing about intricate, nuanced play and how they collectively tell a story about human (and nonhuman) diversity and inclusion. This is your chance to escape the normal crap you have to deal with in traditional academic publishing. This is for grad students wanting to just talk about games and gaming away from the drudgery. This is for tenured profs… wanting to just talk about games and gaming away from the drudgery, too. Hell, this is also for people who aren’t academics and just want to engage in thoughtful writing!
That said, we’re also basically open to anything related to gaming practice. If you do have a longer article that you want to get published or if you have a thought piece that you want to air out, well shit, why not?
Your article will be lightly edited, given massive suggestions to find images, videos, or other media to include, as well as a healthy look at how we could take advantage of the POWER OF THE WEB™ to make it an ergodic article where appropriate.
Deadline for first drafts is loosely end of summer, like, around September 15. We’ll work with authors over the following months to have the issue come out by the winter holidays. Ideas for submissions (or even first drafts!) can be emailed, shared via a google doc, or submitted through the online web form. We can work with you on your idea before formal draft submission!
Also! If anyone is interested in helping edit or providing feedback to authors, please contact us! Esoteric Gamingwas originally meant to be an anarchist collective. That didn’t work, but we still like to pretend and can accommodate any willing participants.
¡Viva la revolución!
Mark Chen along with Nat Poor and Kristin Bezio
Co-editors, Esoteric Gaming