The Game Studies Crisis: What Are the Rules of Play?
Though no field or discipline’s historical vector presents itself as a strictly linear building of knowledge, the historical trajectory of Game Studies is problematic: certainly not linear, yet also not even multiplicious or rhizomatic. Instead, we are cyclical. Past debates often re-emerge, zombie-like, muttering the same arguments, often encased in binaries as endemic to our field as they are to the objects we study: unbridgeable disagreements on fundamental concepts; incompatible ontologies and epistemologies; incommensurability writ large. We view this as a chronic issue which has of late culminated in a crisis, exacerbated by changing institutional prerogatives championing multidisciplinary approaches and demands for “public impact”. This article takes a metaphysical approach, performing a meta-review to search for the root cause of our field’s cyclical nature. We identify and explore a key issue, namely our continuing status as pre-paradigmatic field, and ask questions designed to provoke ways forward, to provide more inflection points and fewer endless loops.