Current Call for Papers



Given the restrictions associated with the COVID19 epidemic, the Replaying Japan 2020 conference will finally have to be held in an online format. The organizing committee is therefore currently defining a procedure for organizing an online conference that will offer all the contributions expected from this type of event, both scientifically and socially.

The medium and format of the conference will soon be specified in a later announcement. However, the following information may already be announced:

  • As the participants of Replaying Japan come from very distant time zones, the times when we will all be able to meet together live will be limited to three hours a day (i.e., from 14:00 to 17:00 – Belgian time). For this reason, we are going to slightly extend the duration of the conference: it will take place from 10 to 13 August (and no longer from 10 to 12 only).
  • Moreover, we will opt for a system where presentations will be made available in advance to all participants on a platform that will allow them not only to consult them, but also to open asynchronous discussions through forums. Participants and members of the public will be asked to consult the papers in advance and the time of the conference will be dedicated to live discussions and the broadcast of the keynote presentations.
  • Social activities will be organized in parallel to the conference to provide informal meeting moments between participants and members of the public.

We are aware that this is an important organizational change in comparison to how scientific gatherings usually take place, but we sincerely believe that the current situation can be an opportunity to develop and test innovative models of scientific exchange that will be as fruitful as the old ones, in their own way. We therefore hope that you will be willing to join in this collective experimentation!

Hoping this message finds you healthy and safe,

The organizing committee

Susana Tosca

Susana Tosca is Associate Professor at the Department of Communication and Humanities at Roskilde University, Denmark. For the last 20 years, she has researched and published widely on the areas of digital culture, storytelling, computer games and transmediality. She is a co-founder of the journal Gamestudies and author of the books Literatura Digital (UNEX, 2003), Transmedial Worlds in Everyday Life (Routledge, 2019) and Understanding Videogames (Routledge 2008, 2012, 2015 and 2019), just released in its 4th edition.

Mediating the Promised Gameland

This lecture will take you on a trip to Japan as the promised gameland, a place of pilgrimage for gamers from all around the world, as seen through the lens of travel videoguides made by amateur commentators. The guides are paratexts that mediate game culture and breed spectacular expectations, promising to transform their audience from outsiders into insiders and assist them in their travels, be their real or imaginary. The lecture will be articulated around Tosca´s theoretical framework of transmedial experience and desire, to map how the immaterial pleasures of gaming get materialized into places, objects, bodies and events to be experienced and consumed. Besides building upon previous work in the field of game studies and Japanese popular culture, Tosca will draw on literature from audience and tourism studies, with concepts such as spectacle, ritual, or pilgrimage. Her methods include the analysis of a YouTube video corpus in English, Spanish, French and Danish and its commentary, autoethnographic material from her own fieldwork in Japan, as well as a series of short interviews with non-Japanese game visitors and would-be visitors.

Florent Gorges

Florent Gorges is the President of Omake Books Editions (France) and the co-founder of Pix’n Love Editions; he is a specialist in the history of Nintendo as well as a TV presenter, a translator and interpreter, a biographer of game developers and an author of documentaries about Japanese games

The first steps of Japanese esport

Competition has always been at the heart of gameplay in most video games. It is therefore hardly surprising that the first players sought to foster competition by organizing tournaments, meetings, and initiatives that today are considered as “first steps” in the history of esport. This paper will focus on these first attempts at “contests” and on the beginnings of esport in the early days of Japanese video games.



Replaying Japan 2020: The 8th International Japan Game Studies Conference

Conference theme: “Ludolympics 2020” Date: August 10-12, 2020 Location: University of Liège (7 Place du 20-Août, 4000 Liège, Belgium) Proposals in Japanese are most welcome! 日本語での発表要旨も受け付けます。

Call for Papers

Since 2012, the Replaying Japan conference has hosted researchers from various fields conducting research on Japanese game culture. The eighth conference is being organized by the Liège Game Lab (a research group specialized in the study of video games as a cultural objects in French-speaking Belgium) in collaboration with the Ritsumeikan Center for Game Studies, the University of Alberta, the University of Delaware, Bath Spa University, Seijoh University and DiGRA Japan.

This year’s conference theme will be “Ludolympics 2020”. Particular attention will therefore be paid to the relationship between games and sport in Japan, to the Japanese esport scene and its cultural specificities (see Goto-Jones, 2016; Harper, 2014) and to competitive video game practices (Taylor, 2012 ; Hamari & Sjöblom, 2017 ; Witkowski, 2012 ; Besombes, 2016), but also, more generally, to the notion of video game performance and to the mediatization or spectacularization of this performance.

Through the prism of this theme, fundamental aspects of games and play will be questioned: the physicality of the playing practices, the place of competition in Japanese game culture, the role of rules and conventions in games and play (Salen and Zimmerman, 2004), as well as the possibilities of bypassing these rules (through cheating, for instance; Consalvo, 2009) or the spaces of appropriation that they allow (visible in the amateur practices, fan creations or doujin circles, among others).

Furthermore, esports are a common and robust entry point into the study of Japanese video games, their surrounding industry, their history, structuring, cultural variants (through the multiplicity of competitive game scenes, for example), and their surrounding economy. Competitive gaming has been an important vector for players’ professionalization and has led to the emergence of new figures in game culture: pro-players, commentators, streamers, video makers, speedrunners, specialized journalists, etc.

Beyond video game practices in the strict sense, the conference will thus focus on the different forms of mediatization of these practices inside and outside Japan. How are game performances commented, represented, transformed into spectacles? What media formats and discourses are being invented to promote them? What “paraludic” cultural practices are developing around these scenes and communities?

Lastly, the inclusion of (competitive) play in society and the many societal issues it raises must be questioned: the issue of the (in)accessibility of games (especially in the competitive field), the minority representation in this domain or the political tensions it harbors are topics that also deserve further attention.

Proposals that address these different issues are thus welcome, but these should not be understood in a restrictive sense. This conference focuses broadly on Japanese game culture, education, and industry. It aims to bring together a wide range of researchers and creators from many different countries to present and exchange their work. We therefore also invite papers on other topics relating to games, game culture, video games and education, and the Japanese game industry from the perspectives of humanities, social sciences, business, or education. We encourage poster/demonstration proposals of games or interactive projects related to these themes.


Submission Guidelines

Abstracts must be submitted through the platform EasyChair, following this link: <>The deadline for Replaying Japan 2020 has been postponed to March 13th! 
Notification of Acceptance: April, 2020 All papers must be original. The following paper categories are welcome:
  • Full papers, posters/demos and short papers: please send anonymized abstracts (pdf) of no more than 500 words in English or Japanese
  • Panels: panel proposals should have a maximum length of 1500 words, including a description of each presentation and a short biography of each participant; they can be submitted in English or Japanese
Figures, tables and references do not count toward the word limit. Proposals in Japanese are most welcome! 日本語の発表要旨はrcgs[a]にご送付ください。詳しくはRCGSのウェブサイトをご覧ください。  

Contact Information

Fanny Barnabé <> @LiegeGameLab #replayingjapan  

Works cited

Besombes N. (2016), Sport électronique, agressivité motrice et sociabilités, Doctoral thesis in Sports Sciences, Sorbonne Paris-Cité-University, France
Consalvo M. (2009), Cheating. Gaining Advantage in Videogames, Cambridge, MIT Press Goto-Jones C. (2016), The Virtual Ninja Manifesto: Fighting Games, Martial Arts, and Gamic Orientalism, Lanham, Rowman & Littlefield
Hamari J. and Sjöblom M. (2017), “What is eSports and why do people watch it?”, Internet research, vol. 27, n° 2, pp. 211-232
Harper T. (2014), The Culture of Digital Fighting Games: Performance and Practice, New York, Routledge
Salen K. and Zimmerman E. (2004), Rules of Play. Game Design Fundamentals, Cambridge, MIT Press
Taylor T.L. (2012), Raising the Stakes: E-Sports and the Professionalization of Computer Gaming. Cambridge, The MIT Press
Witkowski E. (2012), “On the Digital Playing Field How We ‘Do Sport’ with Networked Computer Games”, Games and Culture, vol. 7, n° 5, pp. 349-374