Congratulations to Hiranya Mukherjee from the DiGRA India team!

The DiGRA India team extends its heartiest congratulations to community member Hiranya Mukherjee on the publication of his article “‘Fear the Old Blood’: The Gothicism of Bloodborne” in the journal Games and Culture. Hiranya has been a member of our community ever since it was Games Studies India, almost all the way back to its inception. The news of this publication is a source of immense pride to all of us at DiGRA India and we wish Hiranya the best in his future endeavours.

Provided below is the abstract of the article –

Gothic studies and Game studies are beginning to be explored in connection with
each other to find various configurations of Gothic elements in the cybertext of
games. In this article, I explore various Gothic elements in Bloodborne. My methodology incorporates the analysis of the manifestation of Gothicism in the game through the interplay between the figure of the player character, mise-en-scène, and the presence of psychologically affective states pertaining to the experience of playing the game. The role and aspects of player participation, performativity, and in-game mechanics are also examined with respect to the particular function they serve in the realization of the Gothic experience. The presence of Gothic and Lovecraftian
tropes, symbolism, and elements of horror within the narrative are also explored.

Hiranya’s article can be found at https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/15554120231155325?fbclid=IwAR0IBytPMIGhqwqklv2XixB-QUZzYsJPbhjrSGAjP9YPGSs1ktYJDhEf0dg


DiGRA India Conference 2022

We are currently accepting abstracts for work-in-progress papers until 15th October, 2022.

We are happy to announce the return of the DiGRA India Conference for this year! This time the theme is:

Videogames, Science Fiction and India.

Call For Papers:

Following the recent spurt of activity around Indian Science Fiction or Speculative Fiction, a genre that was largely relegated to the fringes of intellectual discussion has now emerged in its own right in both philosophical and pedagogical terms. With what used to be confined to Indian vernacular languages now entering the domain of English, many interesting perspectives are being explored, especially in postcolonial and decolonial paradigms. Bodhisattva Chattopadhyay describes kalpavigyan, an Indian neologism for science fiction that seems to have a Sanskrit etymology but is indeed a very new cultural construct. Although, as Adrienne Shaw comments, there is no special word for gamers and gaming in Indian languages, videogames have also started enjoying unprecedented popularity in India in recent times. In many cases, there is also an overlap between the genres as scholars such as Pawel Frelik, David Mead and Neil Tringham have demonstrated. Very little, however, has been done in exploring the connections between science fiction and videogames in India and this year’s DiGRA India Conference wishes to address this gap in research.

We welcome abstracts on any aspect connecting science fiction and videogames (preferably but not necessarily related to Indian science fiction and videogames). Topics may include but not be restricted to the following:

-Science fiction and videogames in Indian culture

-Reading gender, sexuality, caste, and religion in science fiction and video games in India

-Strategy games and science fiction

-Representations of empire in science fiction

-Science fiction, videogames and the Anthropocene

-Horror, science fiction, and videogames

-Alternate history and videogames

-Imagined futures in videogames

We would love your paper submissions for the Conference. Please send us abstracts for less than 300 words (and five keywords that will help us determine the focus area) are to be sent to digraindiaconference@gmail.com by 20th September 2022. The proposed dates for the conference are 26th and 27th November.

Like the previous conference, this one will also be held online.

Talk by Afrah Shafiq on May 20 at 7 p.m. IST

Title: your game is a game if you say so

The title of this talk quotes point number two of a thirty five point manifesto on mindful game design by Claudia Molinari-Ivanović of independent game design studio We Are Müesli and has served as both a mantra and a clue to me over the past two years as I worked on my recently completed narrative “game” Nobody Knows For Certain. In this talk I would like to share some of my interactive work over the past few years to think through what it means to play outside of winning and losing, and how the game form lends itself to narratives and archives, offering a place for abstraction and exploration.

About Speaker: Afrah Shafiq is a multi/new media artist based out of Goa, India. Using the process of research as an artistic playground, Afrah intertwines archival findings, history, memory, folklore and fantasy to create a speculative world born of remix culture. Her work moves across various mediums drawing from the handmade language of traditional folk forms and connecting them to the digital language of the Internet and video games.

Her work has been included in the 2023 Dhaka Art Summit, 2nd Lahore, 4th Kochi- Muziris and the 8th Asian Art biennales besides other exhibitions in India and abroad.

Link to the talk: https://tinyurl.com/jk8eat9f

Talk by Zain Memon on 29 October, ‘Story, Mood & Progression – Telling stories through Tabletop games.’

Story, Mood & Progression – Telling stories through Tabletop games.

Gaming is the most powerful interactive medium at our disposal, with limitless potential for storytelling. Even as video games are telling increasingly ambitious tales, narrative remains woefully underutilized in board gaming.

As a storyteller across mediums, with deep experience in film, VR, and ludology, Zain is helping bridge this gap.

Tabletop stories do not unfold in traditional narrative beats. Rather, they are the emergent experience of meticulously designed behavioral systems and structures. By crafting the right mechanics and stacking them in a deliberate cadence, game designers can evoke powerful player experiences.

Large-scale stories can be translated into visceral emotional journeys that capture the highs of conquest and victory, the fragility of cooperation and ambition, the devastation of loss and defeat.

To effectively translate the stories, game designers must ask several questions: how do your gameplay loops affect the mood of your game? How do your milestones create a progression system that ramps up in challenge and satisfaction? How does player interaction create compelling choice and pressure?

And finally, how do all of these coalesce together to deliver the experiential insights that best tell your story?


Zain Memon

“I try hard to stay in my lane and focus on making my own stuff, but I have extreme professional jealousy over Zain’s game, it rules so much and I wish I made something that cool.” Max Temkin, Creator of ‘Cards against Humanity’

Zain Memon is a story-teller, media specialist, game designer and producer based in Goa. A pioneer of the media-tech industry in India, Zain introduced the country to virtual reality with ElseVR, India’s first VR journalism platform. 

In 2019, Zain created SHASN – the award winning political strategy board game, now played in over 70 countries. He also created its internationally acclaimed sequel, SHASN: AZADI, which was hailed as the “blueprint for semi-cooperative game design”. 

Zain is recognized as the leading Indian authority on game design and is actively driving the tabletop ecosystem in the region.

Having run the three largest ever media crowdfunding campaigns out of India, Zain is now leading the production for an entire slate of films, games, and episodic series at Memesys Studios. Zain was also the Executive Producer on Disney+Hotstar’s OK Computer, and the Creative Producer for An Insignificant Man (Feature Documentary). 

[Zoom Link :

Meeting ID: 883 9486 9317
Passcode: 793542

Talk by Malay Dhamelia, 17 September 2022 @ 7 p.m IST

Title: Designing fun: Viewing Gameplay as a Design Form

What exists when we remove fun from the games?

In this talk, I will take you through an experiment where we asked players of board games to modify one (only one) game rule to remove fun from the gameplay. The answer to the above question is fairly imaginable and simple–it becomes a set of tasks, but, the learnings from this experiment have wider implications.

We get insights on how should design research approach game analysis? How could we study gameplay experiences from a design research viewpoint? And lastly, how do we as players think when we play is explicated through the experiment. Excited to see you all and receive thoughts on this experiments.

Malay was awarded the DiGRA Solidarity Fund to attend the DiGRA Conference in Krakow in 2022

Gautam Sen Memorial Boardgame Museum (Kolkata, India) – inauguration

The Gautam Sen Memorial Boardgames Museum will be inaugurated in a simple ceremony on 18 September (Sunday) from 4 p.m to 5:30 p.m, in Kolkata, India. As the space of the museum is at present rather tiny, those interested in attending are requested to kindly register early so we can plan for numbers. The link for registration is here:
The programme for the afternoon is:
Gautam Sen and Boardgames: Some Memories [Dr. Amrita Sen, daughter of Mr. Gautam Sen]
A Digital Walkthrough of the Museum’s Exhibits.
The Oldest Boardgame in the World! Playing the Royal Game of Ur and Other Games in the Collection.
The Museum Tour and Boardgames Adda (with light refreshments)
After the inauguration, the museum will open to visits by prior appointments/ invitations, for the time being.

For more information, please visit Dr. Souvik Mukherjee’s website here.

Talk by Kavita Vemuri

Title: Design and Development of Games for Clinical Diagnosis/ Intervention, 10 September 2022, 19:00 IST

Abstract:  Applied or serious (a more common terminology) games are designed with a specific purpose – transfer of knowledge, skill development, behaviour change etc. The expected outcome is tested by either game play analysis or standard evaluations methods.  Games when used for medical or clinical purposes can be a support medium, or for assessment, diagnostics and intervention. In the case of supporting medium the game is an immersive world, and a motivational agent wherein attention & focus are key requirements. The major challenge lies in games for clinical diagnostics or as therapy/intervention. The balance between game mechanics, sensory interfaces, hardware  and data analysis requires a collaborative effort between clinical practitioners, patients, designers and companies. In this talk, I will present a few games designed to diagnose clinical eye/brain conditions and visuo-motor coordination. 

Dr Kavita Vemuri is Assistant Professor at IIIT Hyderabad. Her research encompasses cognitive neuroscience of empathy, game design and engineering, innovation and entrepreneurship, fiber optic and liquid crystal devices for optical communications and sensors, control systems.

Please note that the zoom link will be shared here and on our social media shortly before the talk.

Press Start special issue on videogames and India

Hi Everyone! Press Start is pleased to announce an upcoming special issue and to invite submissions relating to video games and India. The issue will be guest edited by Zahra Rizvi and Souvik Kar. You can find more information on our website!


Talk by Usva Friman on June 20 at 7 p.m. IST (Postponed)

Title: Finnish women players’ gaming and game cultural agency

In Finland, 64.2% of women play digital entertainment games, and 43% play them actively, at least once a month. For their doctoral dissertation (University of Turku, 2022), Usva Friman collected interview and online questionnaire material from Finnish adult women who play digital games. The women participating in the study were playing actively on different platforms and a great variety of game genres. They also actively participated in game culture in other ways: following game media, participating in gaming events, and watching esports. However, despite their active gaming and game cultural participation, these women were continuously rejected from game culture because of their gender and did not usually identify with the idea of ‘a gamer’. In this talk, she will discuss women’s contradictory position in game culture – as active participants and rejects – by examining Finnish women players’ gaming practices and the gendered limits of their game cultural agency.

Call for Papers: Special Issue of CyberOrient on Postcolonialism, Orientalism, and Video Games

CFP: Postcolonialism, Orientalism, and Videogames

CyberOrient: Journal of the Virtual Middle East and Islamic World

Editor-in-Chief: Daniel M. Varisco

Guest Editors: Souvik Mukherjee and Zahra Rizvi

Submission Deadline: November 30, 2022 (Full Papers)


Video games have literally become a game-changing medium in global culture since the 1970s and yet the representation of gaming cultures still remains the preserve of the Global North. Although there are very few representations of Asia in games (see Hjorth and Chan 2009, Patterson 2020), South Asia is particularly notable in its absence in games studies’ discourses and the larger allied scholarship on digital culture. In video games, when South Asia is at all represented, it is mainly through the lenses of colonialism and orientalism, thereby often resorting to stereotypes or ‘cybertypes’ (Nakamura 2002) and also eliding the vast diversity of the region. This special issue of CyberOrient follows in the path of earlier research based on the very recent concept of ‘regional games studies’ (Liboriussen and Martin 2016; Phillip Penix-Tadsen 2019), bringing some of the major and critical issues in the gaming cultures of what is arguably one of the most diverse and populated parts of the globe. In doing so, it also plugs into the assemblage of the South-South discourse and the global challenges to colonialism and orientalism in understanding narrative cultures, play-cultures and code.  

In the light of the above-mentioned interventions in games research, we welcome submissions on the following topics as well any other related topic connecting South Asia and games:

  • Orientalism in and as videogames
  • Oriental pleasures of play
  • Play as Empire, Playing against the Empire
  • Postcolonialism and videogames
  • Imperial utopia/dystopia in games
  • Navigating South Asia through gameworlds
  • Debates around caricature vs representation
  • Gamers, gaming cultures and fandoms in South Asia
  • Mobile/indie games in South Asia

We welcome submissions from across disciplines and methodological approaches that are empirically and theoretically grounded.

About CyberOrient

CyberOrient (cyberorient.net) is a semi-annual interdisciplinary journal published by the American Anthropological Association, the Faculty of Arts of Charles University, and the Centre for Advanced Middle Eastern Studies and the Centre for Theology and Religious Studies of Lund University. CyberOrient presents original, peer-reviewed articles, comments and books reviews on the online representation of any aspect of Middle Eastern cultures, Islam, the imagined “Orient” and the use and impact of the internet and new media in the Middle East and Islamic countries.


Please email your articles directly to Zahra Rizvi (rs.zrizvisasuke@jmi.ac.in), Souvik Mukherjee (souvik@cssscal.org) and Vit Sisler (vit.sisler@ff.cuni.cz). 

** Articles should be between 6,000 and 8,000 words (including references), and follow the current edition of the Chicago Manual of Style. Upon acceptance, articles will be published online with free access in 2023.

Image credit: Dhruv Jani / Studio Oleomingus