Call for Abstracts 2022

Freedom | Oppression | Games & Play

The 16th Vienna Games Conference “FROG – Future and Reality of Gaming 2022” welcomes submissions that address the relation of “Freedom | Oppression | Games & Play” and invites game scholars, creators, educators, and other professionals from around the globe to discuss this complex relationship. Furthermore, we welcome submissions to the planned anthology “Freedom | Oppression | Games & Play”.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to: 

  • The Game Design Dimension: 
    As game designers, we limit our players’ scope of action to guide them towards a specific behavior. Are we aware of the power we have over players, and at which point does this benevolent oppression turn into something more sinister? Are there other ways to make games, and what are the challenges of both? And what are the oppressions and limitations that game creators themselves are subject to from a technical, social or cultural perspective?
  • The Dimension of the Play Experience:
    In play, we strive for specific kinds of freedoms by voluntarily submitting to the regime of a game’s rules. Is this oppression a trade-off for the freedoms of play, or is it a positive aspect of the experience? And what is the difference between the oppressions of games and those of real life? Can an experience of the limited freedoms of play help us deal with oppressions in real life, or does it even make us numb to the apparent inevitability of outside restraints?
  • The Social Dimension:
    When forming a community of players, of game creators, or as people otherwise concerned with games & play, we are never entirely free, but subject to often hidden oppressive mechanisms, hierarchies and power plays. Who is oppressed in the gaming culture and the industry, and what forms does this oppression take? Who are the oppressors, and can play itself help to achieve greater freedom in these domains? Are games & play enablers of oppressive environments, hate speech, exclusion, or is there still hope that they can be an antidote?
  • The Pedagogical Dimension: 
    Immanuel Kant’s pedagogical paradox – how to cultivate freedom in light of restraints – presents itself anew when games & play are used in pedagogical contexts. How does the use of game-based learning strategies (in the stricter or in the broader sense) benefit efforts to guide young (or old) people towards personal and social freedom, autonomy, democracy and emancipation in youth work, social pedagogy, or in school? And how great is the risk that playful or gamified approaches conceal oppressive, manipulative, or abusive tendencies to which educative relationships are never completely immune?
  • The Dimension of Representation:  
    Games as a medium seem especially suited to examine the complex relation between freedom and oppression. Do they use this medium-specific advantage, and if so, how? How is oppression represented in games, and how does player agency add to this representation? Are there games that make us think differently about our real-life freedoms, or make us more aware of oppressive mechanisms? And how can we fine-tune our analytical tools to fully grasp such representations?
  • The Dimension of Politics & Society:  
    Just as games can be used as expressive, critical, or propaganda media, play can serve as a guiding ideal for discursive exploration, subversive resistance, or opportunistic obedience. How do games & play relate to oppression and freedom in the real-world? Are there examples of game projects or playful interventions that support greater freedom in real-life struggles? Are there current examples showcasing how games or play can be used to legitimize, naturalize, or achieve oppression in the real world? How effective are these strategies, and what is the potential of play & games as catalysts for either freedom or oppression?
  • The Dimension of Emergent Technologies:  
    How do algorithms, artificial intelligence, or any other emergent technology affect the naturalization and increase of oppressive logics in games and, by extension, in real life? Can such technologies even help to reveal oppressive mechanisms and achieve a greater amount of freedom? Do these technologies change how we think of the relation between freedom and oppression in the first place, and in what way?

FROG – Future and Reality of Gaming 2022 
16th Vienna Games Conference 
25 – 27 November 2022
The conference will be held in a hybrid format, allowing participation remotely or on-site at the following location:
University for Continuing Education Krems
Dr.-Karl-Dorrek-Straße 30, 3500 Krems an der Donau, Austria

Contributions to FROG 2022 can be submitted in the following formats: 

  • Option 1: talk (20 min presentation + 10 minutes Q&A) 
  • Option 2: poster presentation (5 min presentation, accompanying one slide on screen) 
  • Option 3: Practical Workshop (30 – 60 minutes)

Submission Submission Deadline: 9 October 2022 (submission closed)

Submission includes: 

  • title of your presentation 
  • short abstract (200 – 350 words) 
  • short bio (max 100 words) and photo of the author 

Please indicate in the form if you are interested in writing an article for the planned anthology “Freedom | Oppression | Games & Play”.

Conference language: English

There are no attendance fees both for speakers and participants.

We are looking forward to your submission!