Vol. 3 of Journal of Games, Self, & Society Examines How Games Transform Us

The newest volume of the Journal of Games, Self & Society, guest-edited by Claudia-Santi F. Fernandes and Grace Collins, examines how games fuel connection and transformation in teens, featuring insights on how play helps us understand ourselves.

By iThrive Games
January 6, 2022

BOSTONJanuary 6, 2022. The global COVID-19 pandemic marked a time of unprecedented social isolation. With it came an uncovering of new ways of doing and being, ones that met our social and emotional need for safe but hearty connection. Amid stay-at-home orders, games played an integral role in cultivating spaces for people to gather, connect, learn, collaborate, and wander. The newest volume of the Journal of Games, Self, & Society examines the ways play supports this level of connection in young people at a crucial time, highlighting the ways games accompany and ignite transformation in how we understand ourselves, others, and society.

Produced by iThrive Games Foundation, published through ETC Press, and guest-edited by Claudia-Santi F. Fernandes and Grace Collins, Volume 3 of the Journal for Games, Self, & Society features novel insights into gaming behaviors that emerged during the pandemic. Finja Walsdorff, Claudius Clüver, and Max Kanderske share a fascinating analysis of how 'tend-and-befriend' games like Animal Crossing: New Horizons, a game that soared in popularity in 2020, respond to human needs and behaviors in times of uncertainty and crisis. 

Vol. 3 of the Journal also features a valuable case study for designers looking to create games that highlight systems of harm and erasure, and invoke an empathy capable of disrupting it. In an in-depth retrospective on the design choices made while creating Resilience—a game that centers the stories and plight of refugees, Drexel University's Lily Lauben, Justin Roszko, Alex Gallegos, and Zach Perry share how they cultivated an understanding of refugees' lived experiences that are not their own to create a transformative gameplay experience.

In addition to these two articles, Volume 3 of the Journal of Games, Self, & Society features two book excerpts from some of the most recent scholarship on game-based learning. In an excerpt from Gaming SEL: Games as Transformational to Social and Emotional Learning, Matthew Farber Ed.D discusses the emotions evoked by play, and how educators can leverage them to support growth and connection. The introductory excerpt of Karen Schrier Ed.D's We the Gamers: How Games Teach Ethics and Civics included in this volume of the Journal explores how games supported humanity and connection amid social distancing, and how they encourage teen civic engagement and responsible decision-making.

The Journal ends with an announcement of the Games + Learning + Society (GLS) Conference's return in 2022 and a call for proposals from all who are interested in games and their contribution to cognitive/behavioral change, social movements, sustainability, and joy. 

The Journal's editor-in-chief, Susan Rivers, Ph.D., who is also the Executive Director and Chief Scientist at iThrive Games Foundation, says that she hopes the insights featured in this volume support the creation of compelling games and game-based learning experiences for teens that recruit emotions to supercharge learning.

"This volume of the Journal of Games, Self, & Society emerged during the COVID pandemic," she shares. "The scholarship and writing included reflects novel games and design approaches that reflect this moment and inspire new ways for connection, learning, and transformation." 


About the Journal
The Journal of Games, Self, & Society (JGSS) is a peer-reviewed journal created and edited by iThrive Games Foundation and published by ETC Press. The journal highlights work focused on how games, game design, and gameplay contribute to a deeper understanding of learning, health, and humanity. It was created to foster interdisciplinary research, conversation, and community around game studies and games-related scholarship. Scholars from all disciplines are encouraged to participate.

About iThrive Games
iThrive Games Foundation prepares teens to thrive by meeting them where they are and working in partnership towards a world where all have the voice, choice, and agency to reach their full potential. We use games and game design to equip teens with the social and emotional skills they need to be healthy and resilient, tools to support and protect their mental health and well-being, systems thinking they need to recognize inequity, and meaningful opportunities to imagine and design a better world.

Media Contact
Eghosa Asemota
Manager of Marketing, iThrive Games Foundation