Call for papers

International Conference
From « Traditional » Games to Digital Games

26, 27 & 28 November 2014

IUT Nancy Charlemagne, 2 TER BD Charlemagne, 54000 Nancy, FranceUniversité de Lorraine, CREM (Centre for Research on mediation)


Since the early 2000’s, the importance of studying digital games has increased to take a significant place in the academic literature dedicated to entertaining phenomena, to such a point that many articles offering to make an inventory of current “game studies” primarily focus on work related to games on this media (Rueff, 2008, Zabban, 2012). In fact, if current digital games are the topic of many conferences, books and magazines, discussions on non-digital games seem less present, even though they constantly develop. Yet, for more than a century, researchers from multiple disciplines have occasionally contributed to the understanding of these more “classical” games. In the field of Mathematics and Economy, for instance, this work brought forth the famous game theory (von Neumann & Morgenstern, 1944, Nash, 1951). Mention can also be made of anthropological and sociological discussions led by Johan Huizinga and Roger Caillois, which are still references. Similarly, since the 80’s, role playing games (Caira, 2007, Bowman, 2010), wargames (von Hilgers, 2008 Sabin, 2012) and board games (Schädler, 2007, Hinebaugh, 2009) gave rise to frequent publications.

In this context, we cannot ignore the fact that work aimed at conceiving and studying digital games is also regularly referred to as reflections on (non-digital) “traditional” games, whether to build their theoretical framework (Frasca, 2001; Salen&Zimmerman, 2004), or to conduct comparative and contrastive studies (Trémel, 2001). According to us, this kind of mutual lighting encourages researchers to examine the peculiarities and complementarities of the two areas, as well as the theoretical interest of connecting or of confronting them. Therefore, in order to analyse the relations established between “traditional” games and digital games, this call is divided into five themes that give a broad overview of the different kinds of possible links. All types of research, fundamental or applied, as well as disciplinary approaches are welcome. They can be part of one of the five themes listed below (non-exclusive).

1. Adapting games: complementarities and structural or thematic differences

Since the first computers were introduced, traditional games have consistently been adapted (scrabble, chess, card games, pinball machines, etc.), it is not uncommon today to see reverse adaptation (Angry Birds, Doom, World of Warcraft, etc.). In a way or another, these adaptations bring forth the issue of processes shaping the rules, but also the issue of fictional universes in order to take into account the specificities of the support. We will consider in particular:

similarities or dissimilarities of entertaining mechanisms of interactions through an adaptation,

shaping of temporal aspects of the game (time, time management, representation of time , etc.)

management of spatial aspects (space representation, playground)

different types of universes games make reference to, as well as the singularity of their formatting depending on the support,

narrative mechanisms implemented

changes to accompanying sounds or music in the games


2. Paratexts and paraliterature in games

In the digital game, just like in the traditional game, the paratext occupies a central place in the (aesthetic, cognitive) apprehension of the object. The notion of paratext should be understood in the broad sense, covering for example, arcade cabinets, box illustrations for video games, but also manuals and rule books, publications (amateur or professional), or even novels derived from entertaining universes. What is the result of connecting video games’ paratext to more traditional games? We shall therefore particularly focus on the following:

games as a literary subcategory (rule book of a game, novels from a game, strategic analysis book of a game and its gameplay, etc. . )

analysis of specialized press (magazines and newspapers targeting a certain category of games)

objects with a speech on the game (game boxes, rules and game support, goodies, websites, forums, etc. )

promotional communication of games




3. Values ​​and rhetoric of games

From traditional to digital games (or vice versa), what are the continuities and changes made ​​in terms of rhetoric and values? If the notion of procedural rhetoric is common in the analysis of the transmission of a speech about the world through the video game, is it transposable as such for non-digital games? These questions encourage exploring the similarities and differences of digital and traditional games on:

analysis of the speech developed by game

rhetoric of pictures embedded in games

evolution of values ​​proposed by games over time

study of worldviews conveyed by games

analysis of the existing relationships between sports and e- sports,



4. Design logic, play logic, public

It relates to the organization of the game development and its public (those ones that are mentioned, or imagined, during the design phase, those who practice, etc). What are the features and the similarities between the design and the acceptance of traditional games and digital games? What are the radical changes in the process of designing a digital game vs another kind of game? Is their public apprehended the same way? Are these two broad categories of games received in an equivalent manner? How do their specific editorial and commercial constraints structure their content? Proposals on these topics will explore the connections and the differences that define traditional games as well as digital games regarding:

the design process

reception and appropriation approaches

game categories and sociocultural categories of players

editorial and commercial constraints


5. Application and game diversions

With respect to traditional as well as in digital games, entertaining events have always been implemented in multiple sectors. But is the feature creep of a digital game more efficient than the misappropriation of a traditional game? In the context of a serious application, when should a traditional game be implemented in digital format or vice versa? In either case of adaptation, what are the benefits or the drawbacks to consider? Proposals on this theme should aim at determining contributions, failures, successes in the transition from traditional games to digital games, when we use it for another function than leisure. We can focus on:

support to acquisition of knowledge and strategic decision making

creation and innovation

support to mediation and remediation

support to communication and promotion

education and training




Keynote speaker: Espen AARSETH, Principal Researcher, Center for Computer Games Research (IT University, Copenhagen).

We are happy to announce Espen Aarseth as keynote speaker during the conference. Espen Aarseth is an international reference in the field of game studies. He is co-founder and chief editor of the journal; the first international journal devoted entirely to digital games. He is also author of Cybertext: Perspectives on ergodic literature (Johns Hopkins UP, 1997), he was a pioneer in analysis of digital literature and the comparative approach between video games and other forms of expression.



Selection Process

The conference will be held on Nancy on 26, 27 & 28 November 2014, in Nancy.

Proposals are expected by 15 April 2014. They must be sent in the form of an abstract of 800 – 1000 words (excluding bibliography), specifying the conceptual framework, methodology and the field of study. Each proposal shall also indicate the last name, the first name, the status and the institution the author is affiliated to.


Proposals should be sent to: and


Proposals will be anonymously assessed by the scientific committee (notification of acceptance June 2014).

The selected authors will have the possibility to submit their full-text that will be “double blind” assessed for publication. A publication as a special issue of, online journal, will follow after the conference for the proposals in english. For the proposals in French, a publication as a special issue of, online journal, will follow after the conference.

Conference languages ​​are French and English.





Bowman, Sarah Lynne (2010), The Functions of Role-Playing Games: How Participants Create Community, Solve Problems and Explore Identity, McFarland & Company, London, 208 p.

Caïra, Olivier (2007), Jeux de rôle : Les forges de la fiction, CNRS Editions, Paris, 312 p.

Frasca, Gonzalo (2001), Videogames of the oppressed : videogames as a mean for critical thinking and debate, Master Thesis, Georgia Institute of technology.

Hinebaugh, Jeffrey (2009) A board game education, Rowman & Littlefield Publishing group, Lanham, 223 p.

Morgenstern, Oskar & Von Neumann, John (1944) Theory of Games and Economic Behavior, Princeton University Press, 1944, Princeton, 641 p.

Nash, John (1951) « Non-cooperative games », Annals of Mathematics, vol. 54, p. 286–295.

Rueff, Julien (2008), « Où en sont les « game studies » ? », Réseaux 5/2008 (n° 151), p. 139-166.

Sabin, Philip (2012) Simulating war: studying conflict through simulation games, Continuum International Publishing Group, London, 363 p.

Salen, Katie & Zimmerman, Eric (2003), Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals, MIT Press, Cambridge, 688 p.

Schädler Ulrich (2007), Jeux de l’humanité : 5000 ans d’histoire culturelle des jeux de société, Slatkine, Genève, 222 p.

Trémel, Laurent (2001), Jeux de rôles, jeux vidéo, multimédia, les faiseurs de mondes, Paris, Presses universitaires de France.

Von Hilgers, Philipp (2008), War games: a history of war on paper, MIT Press, Cambridge, 220 p.

Zabban, Vinciane (2012), « Retour sur les game studies. Comprendre et dépasser les approches formelles et culturelles du jeu vidéo », Réseaux 3/2012 (n° 173-174), p. 137-176.


Organizing Committee


David Buchheit (Université de Lorraine, CREM laboratory),

Delphine Buzy (Université de Lorraine, CREM laboratory),

Victor Cayres (Federal University of Bahia),

Laurent DI Filippo (Université de Lorraine, CREM laboratory),

Sébastien Genvo (Université de Lorraine, CREM laboratory),

Stéphane Goria (Université de Lorraine, CREM laboratory),

Catherine Kellner (Université de Lorraine, CREM laboratory),

Josette LINDER (Université de Lorraine, CREM laboratory),

Alain MULLER (Université de Lorraine, CREM laboratory),

Emmanuelle SIMON (Université de Lorraine, CREM laboratory),

Pauline Thévenot (Université de Lorraine, CREM laboratory),

Vincent Thomas (Université de Lorraine, LORIA laboratory).


Scientific committee

Espen AARSETH, Principal researcher, IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark,

Lynn ALVES, Professor, State university of Bahia, Brasil,

Alexis BLANCHET, Professor, University of Paris III, France,

Vincent BERRY, Professor, University of Paris XIII, France,

Gilles BROUGERE, Professor, University of Paris XIII, France,

Sébastien GENVO, Professor, Université de Lorraine, France,

Bertrand GERVAIS, Professor, Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada,

Stéphane GORIA, Professor, Université de Lorraine, France,

Catherine KELLNER, Professor, Université de Lorraine, France,

Pascaline LORENTZ, postdoctoral fellow, Masaryk University, Czech Republic,

Franz MÄYRA, Professor, University of Tampere, Finland,

Luís Carlos PETRY, Professor, Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo, Brasil,

Patrick SHMOLL, Researcher, CNRS (National Center for Scientific Research), France,

Brigitte SIMONNOT, Professor, Université de Lorraine, France,

Olli SOTAMAA, Researcher, University of Tampere, Finland,

Catarina SANT’ANNA, Professor, State university of Bahia, Brasil.