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Call for Proposals: “Hades” Special Issue for JSMG

Guest Editors: Christopher Hill (University of Birmingham), Demetrius Shahmehri (Columbia University), Silvia Mantilla-Wright (University of York), Stephanie Lind (Queen’s University).

This special issue focuses on the sound and music of Supergiant Games’ rogue-like dungeon crawler Hades. Winner of “Best Indie Game” and “Best Action Game” categories at the Game Awards 2020, Hades has emerged as one of the most critically acclaimed games of recent years and remains popular among roguelike and action fans and casual players alike.

Hades focuses on Zagreus, the son of Hades and prince of the underworld, as he attempts to escape his father’s realm and find his mother. As a rogue-like, Hades requires players to lead Zagreus to numerous, repeated deaths in trying to make their first successful escape. The game then rewards the player with narrative progression with each successful run as each death returns Zagreus to his father’s House of the Dead. This merging of disparate elements — the repetition of the dungeon crawl through the underworld and the slowly unfolding narrative surrounding Zagreus, the underworld’s denizens, and the Olympians — makes for an emotionally moving and fulfilling gameplay experience for players. The sound and music of the game similarly merge disparate stylistic elements, one of the reasons the game’s soundtrack has been intriguing to scholars in music.

In this context, this issue will showcase how the music and game sounds of Hades shape and contribute to the gameplay and player experience; act as a conduit to the narrative development of the game; and establish the game environment from a sonic perspective.

We especially welcome submissions on topics that address:

  • How the soundtrack sets up or subverts player expectations.
  • Theoretical and narratological analysis of the soundtrack and its relationship to the gameworld and story.
  • Relationship between game design, setting, or narrative and Hades’s cross-genre sound aesthetics.
  • Musical representation of identity (e.g., gender, sexuality, and/or race/ethnicity)
  • The influence of contemporary/popular music genres on the composition of the soundtrack.
  • Genre and genre-bending.
  • Representation (arguably re-presentation) of Greek myth and how this is achieved between game and soundtrack.
  • Comparative analysis between Hades’ soundtrack and other games in an Ancient Greek mythological setting.

The submission process will be two-part: interested participants are asked to submit a 500-word abstract summarizing their potential article. Successful applicants will be invited to submit a full article for consideration, which will be blind peer reviewed.

Abstracts should be sent as a Microsoft Word or PDF document and should be submitted by January 20th, 2023. Please submit abstracts or any questions about the application process by email to hadesspecialissue@gmail.com.  Contributors will be contacted by February 20th, 2023, and full paper submissions will be due June 1st, 2023.

JSMG Special Issue Call: Music in Non-Digital Games

Edited by Christoph Hust (Leipzig, Germany) and Martin Roth (Kyoto, Japan)

The planned issue focuses on music in non-digital games – board games, dice games, card games, pen-and-paper role-playing games – within a global perspective. Its aim is to give a first overview of a broad topic that largely has not been explored before. Proposals that deal with sources from the 20th and 21st century are especially welcome. The aim is to consider games as cultural artifacts that store information about how music is conceptualized in a certain historical and cultural environment. Among others, possible topics might include:

– games that include practical music making

– quiz games about music

– depiction of musical canon formation in games

– atmospheric background music for pen-and-paper role-playing games

– music as a plot device in P&P games

– depiction of individual musical genres in games

– games about the musical market

– music games as a means of product placement, marketing, and advertising

– depiction of cultural and/or gender stereotypes in music games

– games in the service of music pedagogics

– music games and TV

For further inspiration, a small collection of relevant games can be found via this link: https://katalog.hmt-leipzig.de/Search/Results?lookfor=spiel&type=Signatur

If you like to contribute to this issue, please send an abstract (English only) of no more than 300 words to christoph.hust@hmt-leipzig.de until October 31, 2022. Contributors will be contacted by December 31 at latest, and texts will be due on June 1, 2023. Texts intended for publication will go through a peer review after that, and the issue is planned to be published in 2024.

You can access JSMG’s style guide here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Y6rZa_EHq60T-fbzE3Nh5P7JSNSZNPj0fEULJTkO-Ok/edit?usp=sharing .

JSMG Special Issue Call: Videogame Music and Sound – Approaches from Latin America

Call for Contributions

Edited by: Karina Moritzen (Universidade Federal Fluminense / Universität Oldenburg), Ignacio Quiroz (National University of Litoral), Ariel Grez Valdenegro (LUDUM/University of Santiago de Chile).

This special issue intends to provide a meeting ground for the knowledge produced in Latin America on the topic of sound and music in video games. Latin America here will be understood in a broad sense that is not limited to its geographical area: it will also be regarded as a wide fertile space in which cultural objects, creative processes, currents of thought, aesthetics, epistemologies and methodologies are constructed through multiple perspectives.

Due to the uneven global videogames circulation (as most of the AAA games are created in the Global North and distributed globally), the studies that focus on the issue of sound and music in this media have mostly covered titles from the large games industry, and the theoretical production in this field has mostly been written from the Global North through eurocentric points of view. This had an impact on the theoretical direction that research has taken, and on the way in which questions have been proposed and dealt with. There are many epistemologies still missing from the conversation, as there are varied ways of comprehending the particularities that emerge around video game music given the cultural context in which it is perceived.

Therefore, the present issue intends to articulate a collective effort to gather research around the topic that reflects the plurality of thought that exists in Latin America, displaying an anti-essentializing portrayal of a continent that subsumes so many different experiences with media. The aim is to generate a space for discussion that addresses games, materiality, trajectories and social implications of video game music and sound in a weave that faithfully represents the particularities of Latin America, its games, its authors and its multiple realities. Additionally, the edition hopes to highlight and stimulate this academic circuit, exposing the work developed here to an international audience.

We welcome submission on topics such as:

  • Case studies involving video games of Latin American origin, and their music, sounds and artistic production in general;
  • Satellite studies on sound sources of Latin American origin;
  • Problems of Latin American sound representation in the global industry;
  • Theoretical frameworks and analytical synergies from Latin American authors;
  • Effects of local modding/piracy in the listening experience;
  • Issues located in the overlap of a global industry and Latin America;
  • Social effects of video game music influence in Latin America;
  • In-game music scenes focusing on Latin American audiences and music genres;
  • Music scenes in Latin America anchored out of the game influenced by video game music.

Submissions should be 6000–7000 words, in English, and should follow the journal’s style guide available here.

Articles should be emailed to latjsmgissue@gmail.com by December 31, 2022. Authors should avoid clear identification of their name and affiliation throughout the text, and should remove all metadata from submission files. For additional information, please contact the issue’s Guest Editors directly at latjsmgissue@gmail.com. We welcome all questions from prospective contributors.

Announcement: New JSMG Editors-in-Chief

Our editorial team for JSMG has now completed work on the last issues of Volume 3, and with that, we reach the end of a critical milestone in the journal’s history. Under the leadership of Professor Stephen Baysted, the journal has been well established as a high-quality publication with diverse authorship and growing readership. At our recent annual editorial board meeting, we were pleased to review data pointing to strong growth in downloads and views. Launching journals has never been easy, and especially in relatively small research domains. With Stephen’s guidance, a lot of hard work from the editorial team and our partners at the University of California Press, and the support of the whole editorial board, JSMG has established a strong foundation. The journal was nominated for a G.A.N.G award last year, is highly regarded as a successful new launch publication in the broader research community, and has also recently been approved for indexing by SCOPUS – an endorsement of its quality and vitality. Stephen is now stepping down as Editor-in-Chief, although he will remain on the Editorial Board to continue to guide the journal, with a particular focus on continuing to develop the journal’s connections with industry professionals. We are tremendously grateful to him for the important role he has played in launching JSMG and establishing such a diverse and quality research publication.

We are delighted to announce that Dr Elizabeth Medina-Gray and Dr Timothy Summers will succeed Stephen as co-Editors-in-Chief for JSMG effective for Volume 4. Elizabeth and Tim have been critical to the journal’s success, and the supportive work they do with authors has been especially welcome and valued. We will continue to promote diversity and inclusion, and seek to further improve access to the journal as it continues to grow its impact.

To further these goals, we are also pleased to announce that we are seeking an addition to the editorial team, joining Elizabeth, Tim, and Dr Jennifer Smith, our Reviews Editor. We are now recruiting a new Development Editor to help increase the journal’s engagement with new topics, disciplines and audiences. This is a senior position, and an exciting opportunity to significantly shape the direction of the journal and inform the work of SSSMG on a wide-ranging and strategic level. Further particulars are available in the job advert here (please feel free to circulate.)

SSSMG Executive Committee Appointments & Journal Announcement

We are delighted to announce that the SSSMG Board has formally appointed its Executive Committee. The Committee has been very busy over the past few months on a new project that is at the heart of the Society’s mission, and we are therefore pleased to finally share with the community that the SSSMG intends to launch a new journal entitled the Journal of Sound & Music in Games (JSMG).

JSMG will be an academic peer-reviewed journal presenting high-quality research on video game music and sound. The journal will not seal game audio into a scholarly suburb, but will instead be an outward-looking publication that seeks to engage game audio practitioners and researchers from a range of disciplines, including anthropology, computer science, media studies, psychology and sociology, as well as musicology. After consultation with leading academics in the field over the past several years, SSSMG believe that there is demand for such a journal, and such a publication is necessary for the evolution of research.

After completing a rigorous selection process, we are especially excited to announce that Professor Stephen Baysted has been appointed as the inaugural Editor-in-chief of JSMG. Professor Baysted will work closely with Dr Elizabeth Medina-Gray and Dr Timothy Summers who have accepted roles as Associate Editors, and this team will be supported by the Editorial Board, who simultaneously comprise the SSSMG Board.

We’re thrilled to have such a strong editorial team in place to launch JSMG, and look forward to sharing more information on our plans as things progress.

SSSMG Executive Committee

Michael L. Austin, Secretary
Stephen Baysted, Editor-in-chief
Karen M. Cook
Melanie Fritsch, Communications Officer
William Gibbons
Elizabeth Medina-Gray, Associate Editor
Timothy Summers, Associate Editor
Mark Sweeney, Director

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