Pandemics and games essay jam

Following our bitsy essay jam, we’re announcing another jam event, this time for micro-essays, brought to you in partnership with the Center for Science and the Imagination at Arizona State University!

The global cataclysm of COVID-19, and the quarantines and social distancing that have accompanied the still-unfolding pandemic, has brought enormous changes to the games industry, the ways we play video games alone and together, and the meaning and content of games old and new.

In the pandemics and games essay jam, we invite you to contribute to a book of micro-length essays, 500-800 words, that explore these themes and others:

  • How the COVID-19 pandemic has shaped and transformed our relationships and encounters with video games
  • How it has catalyzed changes in the games industry, from design and labor issues to marketing and corporate structure
  • How pandemics and other transmissible diseases are represented in games yesterday and today
  • How game worlds, especially in social and live games, have been affected by pandemics, whether rooted in game narratives or through “viral” trends in player behavior
  • How the trauma of COVID-19 has retroactively changed the legacy of older titles

On January 4-10, 2021, join us on PubPub, an open-source community publishing platform, to share your micro-length essay. During that week we’ll have chats in the Critical Distance Discord server to share ideas, moral support and advice about the writing process.

Your contribution should fit into one of these four categories:

  1. COVID-19 and the social lives of video games
  2. The pandemic and the games industry in transition
  3. Pandemics, diseases, and virality in game worlds
  4. Revisiting past games in the shadow of COVID-19
Join us on Discord Join us on Pubpub

Submissions will be published and archived on PubPub, and later distributed as a free ebook. This makes the collection suitable for sharing with family, friends, and collaborators; listing on CVs and resumes; and bragging about on social media. We’ll be using a Creative Commons license that allows you to do whatever you like with your work (republish it on your blog, project it onto the walls of your house, turn it into a song, etc.) but prevents others from selling it or modifying it.

This project is presented by Critical Distance and the Center for Science and the Imagination at Arizona State University.