- Editor’s Note
Over the course of the past twenty-five years, digital gaming has become a dominant and ubiquitous form of recreation. Most children are drawn to video games at about the age of seven—and many might prefer a new Nintendo DS or Sony PS3 to a new bike or a dog. Instead of embarking on cycling adventures around their neighborhoods, they would rather go on adventures with Indiana Jones on their DS. Even “real” dogs aren’t necessary when you have stuffed animals that “come alive online in Webkinz World.” But digital gaming is not “just for kids.” A recent survey by the Pew Research Center (12/7/08) reports that four out of five young adults play games, and that over one-half of all American adults play video games.
In this issue, my co-editor, David Savat from The University of Western Australia, and I sought contributions that engage the various intersections of the idea and practice of digital gaming and critical theory. We thought that this topic would yield a rich set of theoretical interventions, and aimed to include work that engaged the politics and philosophy of gaming. We were not seeking the critical theory of any particular school or thinker, and the critical theories of Theodor W. Adorno, Marshall McLuhan, and Michel Foucault, and others can be found in the contributions. However, what stands out is the predominance of reference to the thought of Gilles Deleuze and Fèlix Guattari in these essays. Over half of the contributors engage significantly Deleuze and Guattari’s work in their gaming investigations (which might not be surprising to longtime readers of this journal who will recall that some time ago (1998) we ran an entire issue (6.1–2) dedicated to the work of Deleuze and Guattari). We’ll leave it up to you though to decide whether Deleuze and Guattari provide a particularly significant point of entry into theoretical considerations of gaming. [End Page 5]
Following this issue on Gaming and Theory, two issues are in preparation. The first is entitled Emotions (Vol. 18, Nos. 1–2 (2010)). Welcome are contributions that engage the role of the emotions in contemporary critical theory and practice. Are there particular emotions critics or theorists feel? Are criticism and sympathy mutually exclusive? What is the place of emotions in posthumanism? Are we returning to an aesthetics of feelings? Is this a new aesthetics? To what extent are feelings and sentiments back in the focus of critical theory? What does the exploration of emotional representation look like after the global turn in theory? What does it mean to feel for the other in the age of transnationalism? What is the place of emotion after the postmodern deconstruction of the sentimental subject? Submission deadline: closed.
The second issue is entitled Hunger (Vol. 19, No. 1 (2011)). Welcome are contributions that theoretically engage the referential and figural use of hunger. What is hunger? Is it a sign of our humanity or animality? Who is the paradigmatic subject of hunger? Is its meaning transhistorical and transcultural? Or is it imbued in ideology and thus irremediably discursive and historically contingent? Whose hunger is acknowledged and whose is ignored? Is hunger an ontological or ontic concern? Is it a metaphysical desire (the hunger for recognition) or a biological need (the hunger for food)? Is hunger a global problem to be eradicated, or a perpetual reminder of our embodiment and exposure to others? Can an inquiry into hunger ever be disentangled from biopolitics? Can we speak of both an aesthetics of hunger and a hunger for aesthetics? Is intellectual hunger a desire for disciplinarity, a taste for theory? Submission deadline: 31 December 2010.
I would like to thank the contributors to this issue for sharing their reflections on digital gaming and critical theory with us, and David Savat for his editorial work on this issue. Special thanks also to David Felts for his extraordinary assistance in the production of this issue; to Katie Moody for production support; to Brenna Killebrew for keeping the books straight; to Sandra Wood for administrative assistance; and to UHV, for providing financial support for our editorial office...