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Green Media Studies

Ecogames Book and Symposium 2021

The Symposium

Organizers: Prof. dr. Joost Raessens, Laura op de Beke MA, Prof. dr. Gerald Farca, Dr. Stefan Werning

On 12-13 October, we organized the Ecogames 2021 symposium in the Sweelinckzaal, Drift 21, in Utrecht; due to the ongoing Covid-related restrictions, the symposium was also live-streamed via StarLeaf.


The symposium is tied to our planned Ecogames anthology (see below), which is scheduled for publication at AUP in 2022, as all authors presented and discussed their chapters-in-progress. The symposium also coincided with the annual Pathways to Sustainability conference held in Utrecht on 14 October 2021.

The Program

Tuesday, 12th October

Time SpeakerTopic
10.00-11.00Coffee and reception
11.00-11.30Opening conference & Intro section: Stefan WerningCritical Metagaming
11.30-12.00Chloe Germaine Buckley and Paul WakePlay and the Environment –
Games Imagining the Future
12.00-12.30Stefan WerningRemediating Landscape Photography and Nature Documentary Filmmaking as Epistemic Eco-Practices in Digital Games
12.30-13.30LUNCH
13.30-14.00Kyle BohunickyEco-Lewdology: Examining the Ethics of Sexecology and Ecosexuality within Video Games
14.00-14.15Roundtable Critical Metagaming
14.15-14.30PAUSE
14.30-14.45 Intro section: Gerald FarcaFuture Worlds
14.45-15.15Lauren WoolbrightDark Ludology in Outer Wilds
15.15-15.45Gerald FarcaEcology and the Post-Apocalypse: Regenerative Play in the Metro series
15.45-16.00 PAUSE
16.00-16.30 Victor Navarro-Remesal and Mateo Terrasa-TorresStop and smell the (apocalyptic) roses: Hypoludicity, catalysis, and slowness in eco-dystopian AAA games
16.30-17.00 Pawel FrelikGreen (?) New Worlds: Ecology and Energy in Planetary Colonization Games
17.00-17.30PAUSE
17.30-18.00 Jordan YoungbloodBurying the Strange Strangers: Queer Dark Ecology and the Landscape of Kentucky Route Zero
18.00-18.30 Colin MilburnMutate or Die. Neo-Lamarckian Ecogames and the Responsibilities of Modulation
18.30-19.00 Rainforest Scully BlakerRe-Framing the Backlog: Radical Slowness and Patient Gaming
19:00 – lateDinner

Wednesday, 13th October

TimeSpeakerTopic
Time Name 
10.15-11.15Coffee and Reception
11.15-11.30Intro section: Laura op de BekeNonhuman Epistemologies
11.30-12.00 Kara StoneTransforming into the Environment: Imagining the Multi-Species Perspective
12.00-12.30Laura op de BekeNonhuman and Inhuman Temporalities in Petro-Capitalism
12.30-13.00Paolo RuffinoInhuman(e) Games and All-too-human anxieties
13.00-14.00LUNCH
14.00-14.30 Merlin Seller‘Hiding (in) the Tall Grass: Rethinking Background Assets in Videogame Plantscapes’
14.30-15.00Melissa BianchiA Field Guide to Monsters: Discursive Practices of Wildlife Watching in Video Games
15.00-15.15Roundtable: Nonhuman Epistemologies
15.15-15.45PAUSE 
15.45-16.00 Intro Section: Joost RaessensGames for change
16.00-16.30 Hajo BackeDifférance in Analyzing Ludic Ecologies: Minecraft and the Ecocriticism of Survival Games
16.30-17.00 Joost Vervoort, Carien Moossdorff and Kyle ThompsonGames and Sustainability Transformations
17.00-17.30PAUSE
17.30-18.00 Péter MakaiDo You Want to Set the World on Fire? TransmediatingClimate Science into Playful Agency in Earth System Games
18.00-18.30 Joost RaessensVR for Sustainability
18.30-19.00 Alenda Chang Change for Games
19:00 – lateDinner
 

The Book

With the climate crisis and its short-term repercussions becoming more and more ‘tangible,’ videogames are increasingly participating in the production, circulation, and questioning of environmental assumptions. Whether they are providing new spaces to practice alternative ways of living, or reproducing ecomodernist fantasies, videogames as well as player cultures are increasingly tuned in to the most pressing environmental concerns. The planned edited volume builds on the growing body of scholarship that explores this phenomenon and aims to situate it within the field of the environmental humanities and, more specifically, green media studies, moving beyond its initial focus on environmental cinema, documentaries, and television.


Our mission is to demonstrate the variety of ways in which environmental questions, hopes, and concerns surface in videogames and player cultures, the different roles they can play in fomenting ecological awareness and activism, as well as the ethical, political, and aesthetic pitfalls that continue to challenge such examples of ludic engagement. To cater to this diversity, as well as to the diversity in the range of approaches and viewpoints apparent in environmental videogame scholarship, the book will comprise four sections. We consider these four sections to cover the scope of the entire field, from human to nonhuman dimensions, questions of gaming and metagaming, to contemporary challenges and future imaginaries.