CfP: The History of Games Conference 2018 (Kopenhagen)

2nd International Conference, Copenhagen 16/8-17/8 2018

“From the Colosseum to the Computer”

While the study of computer games history slowly gathers speed, there is much to be gained from drawing more historical threads together. Games did not suddenly appear with SpaceWar and Pong, they have a history as long as human culture itself, and it is would be parochial and unprofessional of any historian to study computer games in isolation from what came before. From this perspective, the advent of video games represents a form of continuity just as much as a moment of rupture; how, then, might we understand games in a broader, historical context?

We invite proposals on the history of games at large, including games from any historical period and geographical location. We particularly invite papers focussing on the analysis of games and game traditions, and how these gameworks and traditions span the so-called digital divide. The conference seeks original submissions from researchers interested in diverse areas of historical study including, but not limited to: social history, military history, cultural history, memory studies, sensory history, history of technology, history of play and games, history of computing, art history, material culture, historical archaeology, as well as historical preservation, library and information science, and museum studies.

Topics and themes for the papers can include, but are not limited to:

  • Board and card games and their historical contexts
  • Arcade machines and arcade culture
  • Play(er) cultures in history
  • Problems of period and genre classifications of games
  • Analysis of games that are no longer played
  • Historical analysis of minority representation in games
  • Cultural status and games
  • Games and industrialisation
  • The history of the games industry
  • Wargames and the representation of conflict
  • Local and regional game histories
  • Games and family life
  • Games as political discourse
  • Historical perspectives on education and games
  • Histories of gambling


Proposals should be minimum 700 and no longer than 1500 words in length (plus references) and submitted via Easychair [link TBA]. Deadline for submissions: May 14th. 2018 PST. Submissions on Easychair will open shortly

We also invite workshop proposals (1000-2000 words, including short bios of the proposers). These can be open calls for participation (max 12 participants each due to room size) administered by the proposer, or already filled, and will take place on the day preceding the conference (15th August). Acceptance depends on relevance, quality, and space. Please mail workshop proposals directly to Dr. Rune K. L. Nielsen by April 15th.

About the triple conference

In the middle week of August 2018, the IT University of Copenhagen and its Center For Computer Games Research will host three game studies conferences in semi-parallel: Philosophy of Computer Games (13th-15th), Games And Literary Theory (15th-17th) and History of Games (16th-17th). These three conferences, sponsored by the ERC through the AdG project MSG – Making Sense of Games and supported by ITU, will be colocated on the ITU campus, and will be free of charge (three for the price of none) for all presenters, including the triple conference dinner on Wednesday 15th, and open to the public. Coffee, tea and refreshments will be available in the breaks, and buffet lunches can be bought in the ITU canteen, for around 30 Danish kroner (around 5€/$6/£4, or 8/9/6 including a soda).

By bringing together these three conferences, we hope to strengthen the humanities game-studies community, build bridges between these three important venues, and explore the cultural, historical, aesthetic, existential and cognitive aspects of games and play.

These conferences are single-track and low-volume, so we expect that anyone who is accepted with a paper will show up in person. Skype-participation will thus not be permitted, since it, due to the limited number of slots, effectively blocks someone else from attending with a paper in person.

Eugen Pfister

Eugen Pfister leitet das SNF-Ambizione-Forschungsprojekt "Horror-Game-Politics" an der Hochschule der Künste Bern - HKB. Er forscht zu digitalen Spielen als historische Quellen (

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2 Antworten

  1. very nice to give life to the games. A good literature will be available at the end of the conference. Can we attend even if we present paper in one conference?Any funding possible to the paper presenter?

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