WAR/GAME: Assessing Relations between Politics, War, Games, and Play

UiT-Coordinated Research Group 2014-


Today, computer games constitute an important branch of the global entertainment industry. Since the inception of this technology in the early 1970s, development and consumption of games and gaming platforms have been in constant growth. Presently, 'AAA' computer games require a budget similar to major Hollywood films and often reach an even wider global audience. Children and young adults often spend more time playing games than reading books, watching television, or playing outside. Presently, a significant portion of young adults' social interaction happens in the interconnected arenas of online games. Given this apparent saliency of computer games in contemporary culture and society, continued research efforts into the aesthetics, design, and potential consequences of this form of entertainment appear necessary.

Among the most successful recent 'AAA' games are war-related titles that invite players to adopt the role of generals, soldiers, or other fighters, and guide player characters through the violent challenges posed by various virtual battlefields. Drawing on, and developing further, recent advances in game studies, media studies, cultural studies, and peace and conflict research, the WARGAME research group will focus on the aesthetics of war- and violence-themed narrative games and investigate if, and how, certain design choices and rhetoric devices are received and negotiated at an individual as well as at a group level. How do textual frames predispose player experiences? How do massively consumed computer games play into political and historical discourse? Do they, and if yes how do they, affect player attitudes, conceptualisations, and behavior? A practical component aims at designing a critical conflict-themed narrative game for education and training.

Group structure & subprojects:

The WARGAME research project is comprised of expert scholars based in Norway (UiT, UiB), the UK (LSBU, Newcastle), the Czech Republic (Charles University Prague), Sweden (Univ. of Gothenburg), and the Netherlands (VU Amsterdam). The group’s modulated scholarly profile makes it possible to quickly assemble viable interdisciplinary project groups that respond to the thematic and/or financial frames of particular calls for funding.

The WARGAME research group coordinates the following subprojects:

WAR/GAME: Assessing Relations between War, Games, and Cultural Memory

RCN FRIPRO project (2019-2022)

Project leader: Holger Pötzsch (UiT Tromsø)


UiT Tromsø (H. Pötzsch, S. Uzunoglu, E. Hammar, J. Bockwoldt)
Univ. of Bergen (K. Jørgensen)
London South Bank University (P. Hammond, S. Thomas)
Charles University in Prague (V. Sisler)
Univ. of Gothenburg (A. Chapman)

Proposal currently under review at RCN.

Memory, Militarism, and the Subject of Play

Arts and Humanities Research Council UK (2017-18)

Project leader: Phil Hammond (London South Bank University)

Project Homepage LSBU.

UiT Tromsø

Virtual Memories

EEA Norway Grant (2016)

Project leader: Vit Sisler (Charles University Prague)

Project homepage CUP.

Charles University in Prague
UiT Tromsø

PhD Project "Understanding the role of digital games in memory politics pertaining to conflicts with special emphasis on marginalized groups - Towards a practical and conceptual design framework"

(April 2015 - October 2019)

PhD Candidate: Emil Lundedal Hammar (UiT Tromsø)

Holger Pötzsch (UiT Tromsø)
Adam Chapman (Univ. of Gothenburg)

UiT Tromsø
J.W. Goethe University, Frankfurt

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