Teaching with Games: Educational Gaming in Religion, Philosophy and Ethics

This special issue invites contributions that address the history and future of educational gaming, with particular attention to the fields of religious studies, theology, philosophy and ethics. While the representation and influence of religion in mainstream games has been studied extensively, we argue that much less attention has been paid to games developed specifically for the purpose of exploring religious, ethical and philosophical perspectives. This issue challenges that oversight, calling for fresh attention to the ways in which games and gaming have been adopted for didactic purposes within religious communities, ethical campaign groups, academic contexts and beyond. We invite discussion of any and all kinds of games, including videogames, boardgames and other game formats.

Since the 1980s, more than 1500 videogames have been created by and for religious communities, as demonstrated by the extraordinary archive produced by Vivian Gonzalez (http://www.religiousgames.org/). Videogames and playful virtual environments have also been produced by academic teams for educational purposes, from elaborate religious environments constructed in Second Life to new virtual reality settings that locate the user within religious and ethical situations. One pioneering example is The Durga Puja Mystery, an educational game created by Xenia Zeiler and Flying Robot Studios in 2020. Other games take a more questioning approach to religion and ethics, forcing players to reckon with the consequences of religious hypocrisy and spiritual abuse, or challenging players to wrestle with moral conundrums that threaten to compromise their values and commitments. What unites these games, and gives a shared focus to this special issue, is their intention to guide the player through a process of change and formation.

This special issue invites contributions in a wide range of formats. Peer-reviewed journal articles are welcomed, but we will also consider research reports, game reviews, interviews with game developers, reports from the classroom and reports on games currently under development. Potential authors are encouraged to contact the editor to discuss ideas for theme and format.

Interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary projects are welcome, including research informed by religious studies, philosophy and other humanities disciplines. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • studies of games from all religious, spiritual or ethical traditions
  • games inspired by sacred texts and stories
  • games that promote social justice or social change
  • philosophical analysis of the ethics of educational/formational games
  • studies of discourses around gaming in religious or educational
  • evaluation of the impact of educational games in religious or
    ethical settings
  • new trends and developments in educational or formative gaming
  • educational uses of innovative gaming technologies, including
    virtual reality
  • case studies of innovative educational games
  • reports on the use of games in the classroom

Submission details

Journal articles should be 5-8000 words in length and will be subject to double-blind peer review. Reviews, interviews and other formats will be reviewed by the special issue editor. Submission guidelines can be found here and the journal style guide can be found here: https://www.gamevironments.uni-bremen.de/submission-guideline/.

There is no article processing charge.

Authors are encouraged to use images but will be required to request permission from copyright-holders when needed.


For all contributions, please submit a title, a 300-word abstract and a 100-word biographical statement about each author. Send this to guest editor Tim Hutchings ((tim.hutchings /at/ nottingham.ac.uk)) by 30 June 2022.

Abstract submission: 30 June 2022

Notification of acceptance of abstracts: 15 July 2022

Full text submission of all contributions: 15 December 2022