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Studying Religion in Digital Gaming: A Critical Review of an Emerging Field

TitleStudying Religion in Digital Gaming: A Critical Review of an Emerging Field
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsGrieve, GP, Campbell, H
JournalHeidelberg Journal of Religions on the Internet
Keywordsdigital games, game studies, Implicit religion, Narrative, play, video games

This article provides an overview of the study of religion and gaming by outlining the dominant approaches, development and themes in this new interdisciplinary field of inquiry. It highlights dominant thematic and methodological approaches currently within the field of religion and digital games studies including the study of religiously-themed games, the role religion plays in mainstream games, and how gaming can be seen as a form of “implicit religion". This critical review is contextualized in relation to the studies presented in a forthcoming book, Playing with Religion in Digital Games, which maps key theoretical approaches and interpretive trends related to how different expressions of religion and religiosity are manifested in various gaming genres and narratives. We show that digital games are an important site of exploration into the intersection of religion and contemporary culture helping us understand what religion is, does, and means in a changing contemporary society.