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Special Collection

Postcolonial Perspectives in Game Studies

Collection launched: 31 Jan 2018
Since the first key publications in the nineties on videogames research in Humanities and Social Sciences contexts, the field of Game Studies has become an established platform for discussion and debate on how games contribute to our cultural, social and aesthetic experiences. Game Studies has, consequently, taken up debates on diversity and inclusion, time and again. Following the return of radical reactionary and conservative forces across the globe, the recent bigoted GamerGate controversy provoked incisive discussions on gender, and questions of race in games have also been at the forefront of such debates. Not much, however, has been said about the representation of colonialism, empire and neo-colonialism in videogames although some of the very earliest games have featured these issues, sometimes in problematic ways. As games perpetuate past and present global power structures in relation to inequalities in material wealth, exploitation of labor, and hegemonic articulations of history and the Other, it is necessary for game studies not only to bring these issues to light, but also critically to analyse the relationship between videogames and existing postcolonial power relationships. Analysing games as disparate as Age of Empires, Far Cry 2 and Assassin’s Creed: Freedom Cry reveal intrinsic questions about how the ludic relates to colonialism and how it informs the postcolonial experience.

This Special Collection brings questions of Postcolonialism to the forefront of game studies. An often underexplored and neglected area in the domain of studying both digital and analogue games, a critique of the (mis)representation of Orientalist attitudes, race, hybridity, notions of space and the fragmented postcolonial identities is urgently required. Articles were invited that provided critical analysis of colonial representations in games and challenge notions of colonial hegemonic power structures. In particular, the following aspects of postcolonialism and game studies were invited: analyses of games from the perspectives of colonialism, neocolonialism, postcolonialism and imperialism; discussions of the Other and alterity; the impact of decolonization on gaming; questions of hegemony; critiques of Orientalism in game production and design; postcolonial praxis; the function of global capitalism and economic factors on game production and reception; issues of self-representation, voice and agency; resistance and subalternity; the importance of indigenous culture to games; the ongoing role of Eurocentrism in game studies; religion(s), language(s) and nationalism(s); the significance of Thirdspace; and the relationship between game studies and the politics of knowledge.

Edited by Dr Souvik Mukherjee (Presidency University, Kolkata) and Emil Hammar (University of Tromsø, Norway).

Featured image by Colony of Gamers shared under a CC BY-NC license.