Well Played Journal Special Issue CfP: Ethics
Edited by José P. Zagal
In this special issue we would like to explore a third sense of well played from the perspective of ethics and videogames and what it means to “play well”, or for a game to have been “well played.” For instance, are successful cheaters to be celebrated because they have subverted a game so skillfully that their opponents never became aware of the deception? Is this well played? Is it to play well to strive to win at all costs in the context of competitive games? In the context of sports, we often speak of sportsmanship – the consideration for one’s opponents and respect for the rules of a game. How do ideas of sportsmanship relate to “playing well”? How do these notions also apply to esports and competitive videogame play? And then, how do we consider those games that are not competitive or framed in the language of domination or completion. Can you play well casually? Also, what does this sense of well played say about the player and their values and who they are, or aspire to be, as people. How do, and should, these values reflect in the kinds of games they choose to play and how they go about playing them? Is it to play well when ones’ personal values are aligned with those that may be encoded in, or expressed by a game? Do the games we choose to “play well” reflect on our character and integrity in any meaningful way? Are you a bad person for playing ultra-violent videogames well? Should you be celebrated for your skills and abilities to lie and deceive your opponents in a game of Poker despite the fact that we find lying reprehensible outside of a game? Is it virtuous to play well in these contexts? Do we demonstrate virtue by always striving to play well?
We are looking for submissions of analyses and studies of games that take this ethical perspective of well played into account. We would also like to encourage designers and developers of games to submit post-mortems on the ethics of their own work, as well as ethics breakdowns of their design philosophy and lessons learned in their practice.
ETC Press is accepting submissions for this special issue of the Well Played journal.
All submissions are due 31 January, 2022
All submissions and questions should be sent to:
well-played (at) lists (dot) andrew (dot) cmu (dot) edu
The Well Played Journal is a forum for in-depth close readings of video games that parse out the various meanings to be found in the experience of playing a game. It is a reviewed journal open to submissions that will be released on a regular basis.
Contributors are encouraged to analyze sequences in a game in detail in order to illustrate and interpret how the various components of a game can come together to create a fulfilling playing experience unique to this medium. Through contributors, the journal will provide a variety of perspectives on the value of games.
The goal of the journal is to continue developing and defining a literacy of games as well as a sense of their value as an experience. Video games are a complex medium that merits careful interpretation and insightful analysis. By inviting contributors to look closely at video games and the experience of playing them, we hope to expand the discussion, and show how games are well played in a variety of ways.
The ETC Press is an academic and open-source publishing imprint that distributes its work in print, electronic and digital form. Inviting readers to contribute to and create versions of each publication, ETC Press fosters a community of collaborative authorship and dialogue across media. ETC Press represents an experiment and an evolution in publishing, bridging virtual and physical media to redefine the future of publication.
ISSN 2164-344X (Print)
ISSN 2164-3458 (Online)