Special issue on Fictional Games and Fictional Game Studies


Eludamos Special Issue on Fictional Games and Game Studies

Guest editors: Stefano Gualeni, Riccardo Fassone & Dom Ford

Full paper submission deadline: October 15, 2024

Publication: June 2025



Fictional games are playful activities and ludic artefacts that were specifically created as part of fictional worlds (or that otherwise originated in fiction). As examples, think of the titular Hunger Games, or Holo-chess in the fictional universe of Star Wars. 

In their foundational academic work on games that exclusively exist as fictions, Stefano Gualeni and Riccardo Fassone emphasize that the purpose of fictional games is to trigger the imagination of the audience. These ‘games’ cannot actually be played, or - at least - were not originally meant as playable artefacts (Gualeni & Fassone 2022; Gualeni 2021). They are fictional elements whose main goal is aesthetic rather than ludic: their gameplay might aid characterization, add detail to the fictional world of which they are part, play an important part in the narrative, or simply function as comic relief. More simply put, a fictional videogame like Global Thermonuclear War – whose simplified wireframe graphics and ominous apocalyptic undertones are part of the fictional world of the film War Games (Badham 1983) – is the kind of cultural phenomenon we intend to analyze in this special issue, whereas the filmic representation of the actual game of basketball in Spike Lee’s He Got Game (1998) is not.

Concentrating on the uses and the cultural value of fictional games - as well as their relevance to the field of game studies - this special issue thus solicits contributions that are short and focused.

  • Short: we expect the submitted texts to not exceed 5000 words in length (not counting the bibliography), and
  • Focused: the editors encourage submissions that discuss a single case study of a fictional game (or a few related case studies) that the authors find particularly interesting to analyze and theorize about.

A successful submission leverages conceptual tools from fields such as literary theory, game studies, game design, and the philosophy of fiction, and engages with questions such as: what roles can imaginary games have in storytelling? Why do fiction authors outline rules and behaviors of games that the audience will never actually play? Can we apply tools and methods that are specific to game studies to better understand fictional games? What can fictional games teach us about games and play?


Important dates

Full paper submission deadline: October 15, 2024

Review results: January 2025

Revisions due: March 15, 2025

Final notification of acceptance/rejection: May 1, 2025

Publication: June 30, 2025 


Submission guidelines

Please make sure your manuscript corresponds to the journal’s formal requirements regarding length, citation style, and so on. Please keep in mind that this special issue solicits contributions that are up to 5000 words in length (not counting the bibliography).

For the full submission guidelines, see the official Eludamos guidelines for authors available at: https://www.eludamos.org/index.php/eludamos/information/authors

The Eludamos style-guide is available here: https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/aagitrpmd0ipqam9u7ycq/Eludamos-Style-Guide-2023.docx?dl=0&rlkey=g0rbegwlu4ol7bhcshihraj7c

When submitting your article, please clearly mark your contribution as belonging to the special issue by adding [SI: Fictional Games] to the title of your submission.

Please use the online submission system for all correspondence with the guest editors and editors: https://septentrio.uit.no/index.php/eludamos/submission/wizard


About Eludamos

Eludamos is a diamond open-access international, interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed journal dedicated to the academic study of computer games and play. We do not charge APCs or any other fees from authors.

The journal is indexed in Scopus and DOAJ. See a complete description of Eludamos and its objectives at https://eludamos.org/index.php/eludamos/about  


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