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Call for Papers

Intent / Intentionality

The question of intent and intentionality has been the topic for literary theory and literary criticism for decades with multiple points of entry into the vast problematics, from phenomenology, genetic criticism, hermeneutics, narratology, to psychology and sociology. Various debates have introduced different approaches to intent and intentionality, from problematizations of intentional fallacy (Wimsatt, Beardsley 1946), tripartite structure of intentionality (Eco 1990), research on auctorial intent (Farell 2017) and textual intent of literary form (Mitchell 2008, Maynard 2009), to sociological approaches interested in utopian intentional communities (Metcalf 2004) – just to name a few entries in the vast library of works on the topic.

In game studies the questions of intent and intentionality have been explored as part of studies of players (Sutton-Smith 2001, Karhulahti 2015, Vahlo 2017) and developers (Aarseth 2005), and could be identified with both phenomenological (Leino 2010) and hermeneutic (Vella 2015) perspectives. There have also been numerous studies of managing affects and emotions as part of game design, which opens up discussions about intentionally controlling the unintentional. New materialist approaches to game studies (Janik 2022) also open up possibilities of interpreting games as resisting objects. The problems concerning transgressive play (Jorgensen & Karlsen 2017), dark play (Mortensen, Linderoth, Brown 2015) and critical play (Flanagan 2013) also call into question the different issues related to the types of intent and various strategies of play.

The possibilities of updating the existent corpus of works with reflection on game, developer and player intentionality seem vast and opened for further debates, also including different correspondences between literary theory and research on game studies and game development.

We invite 20 minute papers / presentations on the problems related to intent and intentionality in games and game studies.

List of Topics

  • Possible approaches might include, but are by no means limited, to topics like:
  • Theoretical models of authorial intent and related concepts of narrator, director, designer
  • Individual vs. collective authorship and the concept of the videogame auteur
  • Intended experience versus (self-)censorship and optional content (e.g. violence, sexuality, self-harm)
  • Intended experience and (extreme) difficulty in e.g. soulslikes and masocore
  • Intentionality and experientiality of multilinear ergodic texts
  • Over-interpretation and under-interpretation
  • Intent and definitions of (games as) art
  • Implications of intent in appropriative strategies and transgressive play

Submission guidelines:

Abstracts of at least 300 and no more than 700 words (excluding the bibliography), may be submitted via Easychair until January 1st 2023. Abstracts will undergo a double-blind review, so submissions must not contain any personal identity information (e.g. references to your own publications). Abstracts will NOT be considered for review if they contain such personal identity information.

Letters of acceptance or rejection may be expected in February 2023.

Please send your questions or comments to: