War Games: Memory, Militarism, and the Subject of Play

This network focuses on the relationships between videogames, militarism and war, cultural memory and history. It aims to develop new critical understandings of these relationships and the ways that game narratives address players.

The relationship between military-themed videogames and real-world conflict is receiving increasing attention in the disciplines of politics and international relations as well as in games studies and related fields. Yet the ways in that videogames – from mainstream commercial titles to alternative ‘critical’ games – can and do deal with past wars, how they relate to contemporary militarism, and how they engage, empower (or disempower) players, remain poorly understood.

The network brings together scholars from games studies, media & cultural studies, psychology, sociology and international relations, as well as academic-practitioners with games-industry expertise, to focus on three relatively neglected but crucial issues:

1) the role of videogames in the formation and negotiation of collective and cultural memory of past wars;

2) the ways that games position the player in relation to history, war and militarism; and

3) the extent to which critical, anti-war/peace games offer an alternative or challenge to mainstream commercial titles and their cultural and political implications.

For more info contact Prof Phil Hammond on phil.hammond@lsbu.ac.uk