The fact that new communication media have always produced new possibilities for cultural evaluation, analysis, and participation is particularly true of digital games. Gaming no longer only takes place as a “closed interactive experience” in front of TV screens or PC monitors at home (or at work), but also as broadcast on video-sharing and streaming platforms or as cultural events in exhibition centers and e-sport arenas. The development and popularization of new technologies, forms of expression and online services – from Let’s Play videos to live streams, from video essays to podcasts – has a considerable influence on the academic and journalistic as well as on the popular discourse about games.
Ian Bogost asks in his 2015 collection of essays: How to talk about Videogames? To further investigate and to expand upon this question is the pivotal point of this year’s Clash of Realities’ Game Studies Summit. We do not just want to ask which paratexts gaming cultures have produced, i.e., in which forms and formats and through which channels we talk (and write) about games. We also ask: How do paratexts influence the development of games? How is knowledge about games generated and shaped today and how do boundaries between (popular) criticism, journalism, and scholarship have started to blur? How do new forms of communicating about games affect the medium of the game itself? In short: How does the paratext change the text?