Call for Papers - Vol. 2 No. 2



Programmed to Love: Players and Virtual Lovers

Guest Editor: Renata Ntelia (School of Computer Science, University of Lincoln)

Games often offer their players strong emotional experiences. Love is a profound human experience that affects all aspects of our lives. Indeed, many games include love as part of their narrative and/or gameplay. Nevertheless, is this truly love? Unlike other media, in which the audience reads about or watches a love story unfold, in games players take on an active role on the execution of the love story.
This raises concerns as to the ability of games to simulate love. Can a player love a (virtual) character? If not, what does this mean for the capacity of games to afford love? If yes, how does this change our understanding of love? Game Studies has approached the concept of love from multiple perspectives: philosophical enquiries (Leino 2015, Dicken 2018), game design challenges (Grace 2020), feminist and queer analyses (Salter 2020, Youngblood 2015), and sociological studies (Burgess and Jones 2020, Bopp et al. 2019, Karhulahti and Välisalo 2021). Yet, despite the multitude and resonance of the existing scholarship, love in games remains an underexplored and fascinating topic that interests both game players and creators alike.

For this issue of IJGSI, we are accepting full papers that are related, not exclusively, with one or more of the following aspects:

  • Meaning of love in games
  • Love relationships between human players and NPCs
  • Representation and poetics of love in games
  • Queer and feminist approaches to game love
  • Close reading of games featuring love
  • Love as a mechanics and design challenge
  • History of love in games
  • Games as spaces for humans to fall in love
  • Roleplaying and love in games

We welcome submissions relating to any type of game: digital, online, VR, tabletop, board games, LARP, etc.

Full papers must be submitted electronically after registering on the platform, respecting the guidelines established in the Submissions section.

The submission deadline is the 1st of June 2024.


Works Cited
Bopp, J. A., Müller, L. J., Aeschbach, L. F., Opwis, K., & Mekler, E. D. (2019, October). Exploring emotional
attachment to game characters. In Proceedings of the Annual Symposium on Computer-Human
Interaction in Play (pp. 313-324).
Burgess, J., & Jones, C. (2020). I harbour strong feelings for Tali despite her being a fictional character”:
Investigating videogame players’ emotional attachments to non-player characters. Game Studies, 20(1).
Dicken, L. (2018). Do Androids Dream of Electric Consent?. In Digital Love (pp. 267-275). AK Peters/CRC
Grace, L. D. (2020). Love and electronic affection: A design primer. CRC Press.
Karhulahti, V. M., & Välisalo, T. (2021). Fictosexuality, fictoromance, and fictophilia: A qualitative study
of love and desire for fictional characters. Frontiers in Psychology, 11, 3693.
Leino, O. T. (2015). I know your type, you are a player: Suspended Fulfillment in Fallout: New Vegas.
Game Love: Essays on Play and Affection, 165-178.
Salter, A. (2020). Plundered Hearts: Infocom, Romance, and the History of Feminist Game Design.
Feminist Media Histories, 6(1), 66-92.
Youngblood, J. (2015). Climbing the heterosexual maze: Catherine and queering spatiality in gaming.
Rated m for mature: Sex and sexuality in video games, 240-252.