#Gamergate Building a DiGRA Alternative, Part 2

2613913-doktor_sleepless_m__001_000aHad some useful and interesting feedback from people, so let’s lay down some slightly more concrete proposals and begin to prepare to make this ‘a thing’.

It has been made pretty clear to me from a bunch of people that they’re unwilling to cede the ground of coming up with a new term other than ludology/game studies and that they would rather see the term being somewhat reclaimed away from crit/lit theory.

So, OK, what the hell, why not 🙂

First a reiteration…


  1. Preserving and communicating practical game-maker experience and examining it.
  2. Providing objective, scientific, academic, statistical and experiential insight into aspects of game design and experience.
  3. Providing an alternative to the current ludology/game studies paradigm of literary/critical theory fixed intently on practical and useful analysis, study, information and investigation.
  4. To foster a practical and pragmatic space for the exchange of useful and confirmed information for game design.

Speaking for myself, I just want to get this started and then step back. It’s my hope that groups like League for Gamers, and various websites, may take on, store, present and replicate what’s produced and that it can eventually become a respectable source of useful information for developers, academics and interested consumers.

I recognise that I don’t have the academic chops to make this into a respected enterprise, but hopefully do have enough ‘oomph’ to get it going. My intention will be to hand off to someone else in the future.

This will also have to break free of Gamergate, but GG has provided the impetus and illustrated the need.

Base Principles

The journal needs to be established on some principles to ensure that it doesn’t easily fall into the same problems as other outlets have. We don’t want it to be an ivory tower, an echo chamber or a positive feedback loop. We also want to make the contents as accessible as possible and as supportive as possible.

As such I think principles of openness would need to be core.

  • Open source.
  • Open to commentary and engagement.
  • Open processes.

All, at least, so much as is practically possible anyway.

The most important principle is that it should be fixed upon providing practical, useful information and insight, applicable to creating games. Better games. Videogames, tabletop games, LARP games, card games and more.

The Process

So here’s how I envision things working.

  1. Day 1: The editor puts out a call for submissions on a selected topic.
  2. Submissions are accepted relating to that topic (or rebutting on previous articles), either from developers/designers speaking from experience (confirmed commercial release) or academics with appropriate qualifications (this being more to do with the process and discipline than specifics).
  3. Submissions are subjected to basic scrutiny (Is it well written? Do citations lead anywhere? Does it pass the smell test? Does the author qualify?)
  4. Day 30: The selected articles are consolidated in a relatively easily transferable format (RTF?) by the editor and put out publicly wherever it can be – the personal outlets of contributors to start with.
  5. The material is then open for review, correction and challenge – openly, by anyone and this feedback is discussed and any necessary corrections have the opportunity to be made over the following month.
  6. Day 60: With corrections and changes made the journal proper is ‘published’, in much the same way as at day 30, but in a finalised and corrected form to be archived and kept.

Feedback has been incredibly useful so far, so let me know what you think. I realise much of this is unconventional, but I think that’s part of the point. The way things are being done isn’t working.

Also, what about Popular Ludology or Practical Ludology as a title?

7 responses to “#Gamergate Building a DiGRA Alternative, Part 2

  1. Shouldn’t the papers be reviewed blindly as to ensure no biases? If you want to compete and thrive in any academic field, you’re going to at least need to do double-blind reviews that look beyond simple copy-editing and name-checking.

    Also, you might be focusing too much on anecdotal research when you’re giving a pass to people who’ve only shipped a game commercially. It’s better to leave out any identifiers, so you can judge work based off their evidence and arguments rather than the people themselves.

    • It’s not going to be practical to do so at the beginning stages at least, and openness would also seem to be of greater value, hence the two-stage publication process.

      Allowing game-makers to publish is more a secondary role as a means to publish experience and voices informed by practical experience. A big problem with DiGRA etc is the domination by people who don’t get their hands dirty in any meaningful way.

      • If, once I hand it off, people want to change the process they’re welcome to, but it would still seem antithetical to the point to me.

    • “In “double-blind” review, which is more common in the humanities…”

      We’re not taking a humanities approach. The review process will be public, as covered in the proposal.

      Repeat experimentation etc will be down to people to conduct and publish themselves.

      I think the, truly, open process accomplishes as much, or more, than concealing the author and reviewer from each other and given the open review process concealing the reviewers will not be possible in any case.

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