September 30, 2005

CFP: Grand Theft Auto Essay Collection

by Nick Montfort · , 2:17 pm

A Strategy Guide for Studying the Grand Theft Auto Series: An Edited Collection of Essays

Abstract Submission Deadline: October 15, 2005

The present call for papers is for chapter length essays (5,000-7,500 words) that address one or more games in the Grand Theft Auto series…

The Grand Theft Auto series of digital games is one of the most popular, innovative, and provocative game series to date — and rightly so. The games feature voice acting from stars such as Dennis Hopper and Burt Reynolds, and the soundtracks are provided by artists like Rick James, 2Pac, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Willie Nelson. Beyond this, gamers have been continually impressed with the freedom to explore and exploit the game environments, which have grown exponentially in size and complexity. At the same time, games in this series have also presented gamers with options for gameplay that range from misdemeanor illegal acts to psychopathic criminal behavior.

For this reason, popular media outlets, parents, and politicians have criticized the potential gameplay that Grand Theft Auto games offer. (Of course, very few criticisms acknowledge the freedom of the gamer to abstain from criminal or violent behavior. Nor do detractors mention that the games in this series are sometimes insanely funny satires of American culture.)

The present call for papers is for chapter length essays (5,000-7,500 words) that address one or more games in the Grand Theft Auto series, including: Grand Theft Auto, Grand Theft Auto 2 Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Grand Theft Auto Advance, and Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories.

Prospective contributors should e-mail a brief abstract or complete essay to by October 15, 2005. At the top of the abstract please include the title of the essay, your name (and the name of any co-authors), school or work affiliation, mailing address, and e-mail address. Contributors will be accepted on a rolling basis and receive a detailed e-mail with more information as soon as a decision is made. Materials received after October 15 may not receive full consideration.

International perspectives and essays on the following subjects are particularly encouraged: the appeal of Grand Theft Auto games; the ways in which gamers engage or do not engage the controversial content; the intersection between games in the series and other popular media texts; the connection between the cities and time periods depicted and history/nostalgia; the culture of the game world; the impact of the series on game design, game culture, and society.

A large commercial publisher has approved this project. A contract will likely be issued after I have secured abstracts from all contributors.

Nathan Garrelts, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of English
Saginaw Valley State University

4 Responses to “CFP: Grand Theft Auto Essay Collection”

  1. josh g. Says:

    Interesting. I wonder if they’d accept an article on how Rockstar is eroding the industry’s credibility?

  2. Nathan Garrelts Says:

    As long as the essay focuses on GTA I will consider it. In all honesty, I am trying to
    put togethor a well rounded collection that will be useful for digital game scholars
    and the growing number of people teaching digital games. I have some great proposals
    so far.

  3. laurie taylor Says:

    An article on Rockstar’s problematic rise as a major Mature title would be a very interesting one to read. I’d be particularly interested to see if or how Rockstar’s portrayal of women affects women, or potential women, gamers. Granted GTA treats everyone poorly, but to those less versed in gaming (which often means women as my students keep reminding me), I wonder how this is received. For those less familiar with games, it would also be interesting to see how many people in the general populace now know what a mod is–or who are still clueless–because of hot coffee.

  4. Nathan Garrelts Says:

    Got it covered–in a round about way.

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