Vivian Hsueh Hua Chen: A Video Game for Fostering Positive Intercultural Relationships

Guest PostsA video game for fostering positive intercultural relationships. Guest post by Vivian Hsueh Hua Chen.

On an overall level, playing the game resulted in significant attitude change towards outgroup members.

In a culturally and racially diverse world, it is important for people to be able to live together harmoniously. Being respectful of cultural differences and fostering a genuine curiosity to better understand how and why other people are different from ourselves is one way to bridge the gap between self and others. This was the underlying motivation to create the prosocial game, Icebreaker. Icebreaker is a short role-playing game where players take on the role of the protagonist, an ice gatekeeper whose family has been tasked with protecting the village from an annual disaster known as ‘The Freezing.’ The goal of the game is for players to discover the true cause for this annual occurrence and to stop the event for good. The game design is primarily driven by narrative design integrated with interactive play. Certain tasks in the game require the player to work together with a banished villager, whose race has been blamed for being the cause of the disaster.

Download the complete essay as a PDF.

Call for Book Chapters: Video Games in East Asia

Contributors are sought for an interdisciplinary book on video games in East Asia to be edited by Austin Lee and Alexis Pulos and published by Palgrave Macmillan for its East Asian Popular Culture Series. The series was launched in 2014 in order to meet an increased interest in the subject among scholars of various disciplines in recent years. East Asia refers to China, Hong Kong, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, and Taiwan. Reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of popular culture studies, the series will accept submissions from different social sciences and humanities disciplines that use a variety of methods.

Dedicated to video games in East Asia, this book examines the development and prominence of video games within historical, cultural, industrial, and global contexts. The editors are seeking contributions that cover a wide range of interdisciplinary work and that address topics such as:
–    Quantitative and qualitative approaches to industry, content, culture and players;
–    Studies examining eSports events, the politics of games, gamer culture and popular culture;
–    Studies examining the influence of political, economical and cultural factors on video game content, platforms (e.g., PC, console, mobile) and genres (e.g., RPG, FPS, strategy, sports);
–    Investigations of games, players, narratives, ludology or game environments;
–    Analysis of the ways technologies, celebrity status, and subculture (e.g., cosplay) impact both local and global perspective of gaming;
–    Historical analyses of game developments, cultural reactions, or significant moments;
–    Analyses of future trends and challenges for East Asian gaming culture and industry;
–    Research that explores the realities of power relations and oppression that stem from pervasive stereotypes of race, class, gender, sexual orientation or place within the context of East Asian games and players;
–    Ethnographic, rhetorical and other qualitative research on topics around video games.

Please submit a 500-word abstract, current contact information along with brief biography (or CV) as Word attachments to both Alexis Pulos and Austin Lee by February 15, 2015. Authors will be notified of the outcome of their submission within four weeks. The deadline for completed chapters (which should not exceed 9,000 words, inclusive of references) is May 31, 2015.

All submissions should be in MS Word format. The submission of images where appropriate, is also welcome.

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