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Culture at Play: Avatars, Players, and Others

March 10-11, 2023 | Zoom

Call for Papers

Scholarly work on video games has often located a major part of the player experiences within the exploration of gameworlds. This was one of the main frameworks under which the last year’s conference, Culture at Play: Spaces - Colours - Stories, offered a platform for an interdisciplinary discussion of video games.

In this follow-up, Culture at Play: Avatars, Players, and Others, we aim to focus on the characters as interlocutors of these much-investigated environments by shifting the debate on the relationships between players and the characters they take the roles of, as well as those they encounter during play.

Characters in video games, especially those controlled by players, are commonly the main ways of interacting with games, and therefore an essential part of gameplay. Additionally, they can also function as a key element in a game’s story and help make a game more engaging, inclusive, and innovative. For this conference, we welcome contributions both as case studies analyzing characters and representations in individual games, and more theory-based works on character design, player-character interaction, and identification. The conference is open to students and researchers from various disciplines including cultural, literary, media, and game studies.

Please send a proposal (~300 words) and a brief biography to by December 1st, 2022.

You can download the full CfP as a PDF here.


About the conference

Culture at Play: Avatars, Players, and Others is an international conference organized by the English Department at the University of Freiburg, and a follow-up to last year’s Culture at Play: Spaces – Colours – Stories in Digital Games. The conference series aims to open up a space that allows for sophisticated, critical analyses of video games and the cultural field that has emerged around them using an interdisciplinary approach that includes cultural, literary, and media studies.

The conference will take place on March 10 - 11, 2023 via Zoom.

Organizing Committee: Kübra Aksay, Janna Kaiser, Florian Schäfer


Previous iterations

The conference proceedings of Culture at Play: Spaces – Colours – Stories in Digital Games were compiled by Sofia Guimarães, Dion Weidenhammer and Larissa Rell and published in Paidia - Zeitschrift für Computerspielforschung on April 27, 2022. You can access the proceedings (in German) here.