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Spaces and Scapes: The Geographies of Games

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups:
Organizers: Clancy Wilmott, Craig Dalton, Emma Fraser
Chairs: James Thatcher


Digital and analogue games engage implicitly with space, place, and landscape – whether through representation, the structuring of territory, or the abstract production of space through narrative and play (Gray. et. al., 2018; Fraser, 2015). At the intersection of spatial theory, media geographies, creative geographies, and digital geographies, games in their myriad forms present worlds and environments that are entangled with geographical imaginations, politics, and ideologies. However, geography as a discipline is only recently grappling with the significance of games to conceptualisations of space and technology (eg. Ash and Gallacher, 2011); likewise, the discipline of game studies has only engaged in a limited fashion with the geographical nature of games (eg. Calleja, 2011).

The role of places and landscapes in games demands critical consideration of the underlying relations, fictions, and imagined worlds that constitute games, and the identities, experiences and ways of knowing entangled in play. This session invites presentations that grapple with the complexity of space in digital games (video, mobile, AR, VR) and analogue games (board games, card games, roleplaying games), reflecting on legacies of mapping and territorialisation, and representations of space and place as they appear on tabletops, screens, cards, and across popular culture. We welcome presentations that explore and interrogate what we create and what we encounter as we make our way through the spaces of games, and the social and cultural structuring of space, place and landscape through gaming media and technology.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Walter Brediger*, University of Nevada, Reno, Affinity Spaces and Adult Spaces of Play: The Intersection of Play, Identities, and Community at Board Game Bars 15 12:00 AM
Presenter James Ash*, Newcastle University, The Geographies of Gambling style systems in Digital Games 15 12:00 AM
Presenter Madison Marquer*, University of Wyoming, Online vs. Offline: Polarized Representations of Social Difference in DotA 2 15 12:00 AM
Presenter James Thatcher*, University of Washington Tacoma, David O'Sullivan, Victoria University of Wellington, The production and exploitation of space in board games 15 12:00 AM
Presenter Emma Fraser*, Lancaster University, On the production of space and place in digital video games: Encountering real and imagined geographies 15 12:00 AM

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