This Time it’s for all the Marbles. Towards Social Justice in Digital Gaming. Introduction to the Special Issue




Social Justice, Game Literacy, Critical Game Studies, Game Design, Digital Platforms, Transformation, Safe Space, Design Recommendations, Political Economy, gamevironments


The previous special issues of gamevironments, issues #13 (2020) and #11 (2019), explored the connections of games and (anti-)democratic ideals (Pfister, Winnerling and Zimmermann 2020) and nationalism and identity (Kienzl and Trattner 2019). This special issue aims to examine the ways in which games and gaming are connected to and potentially accelerate undemocratic and bigoted movements while simultaneously highlighting projects and perspectives from games and games research that learn from analyzing these issues and then use that knowledge to work towards social justice and against oppression. This introduction presents the logic of the special issue and suggests a path for reading the contributions, starting with those articles which trace the relationship between games and oppression and then moving to those that occupy this problem space and offer potential steps toward solutions. This special issue contains nine peer-reviewed articles as well as a game review, an interview with a designer of games for media literacy education, and two reports that offer practical guidelines for anti-oppressive, reflexive, and revolutionary game design. Each contribution is briefly summarized here.

Author Biography

Patrick Prax

Dr. Patrick Prax is an associate professor at the Department of Game Design at Uppsala University. Patrick has a Ph.D. in Media Studies from the Informatics and Media Department at Uppsala University. He wrote his dissertation on the co-creation of digital games as alternative media. He is interested in how players can change the games they are playing to reflect an alternative perspective to a hegemonic world view. He is working with theories for shared cultural production like co-creation, open innovation, and participatory media, and is currently developing critical game education around questions of climate change, critical media literacy, and anti-fascism. Outside of research and education, Patrick is an activist, a father, and a competitive player of Warhammer 40k.