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About the Journal
This is the home of the Japanese Journal of Analog Role-Playing Game Studies (JARPS; ISSN: 2434-9682), a bilingual academic journal about table-top role-playing games and live-action role-plays in and from Japan but in a global context.
[Full release, including translations and PDF versions with DOIs, will follow after the symposium on November 11]
Hybrid forms, such as the fusion of text and game, are familiar to contemporary readers and players. Tricks with words are done since the most distant poetic productions, and the oldest ergodic texts bring different ways of reading and interpreting their message depending on how the reader engages with them. However, from the 20th century onwards, books, comics, films, and various games, even sporadically, bring the consumer something different from most sequential narratives. The height of these productions – which usually start as isolated experiments – occurred in the 1970s, with the popularity of series like Choose Your Own Adventure. The gamebook boom provided by the Fighting Fantasy series followed in the 1980s. These “different” book collections and many others aimed at younger readers achieving relative success by following and improving on the pioneering formula. Still, they have experienced their decline to the popularization of the internet and when video games developed an ever better graphic quality and gameplay.
However, with the nostalgia for the customs and products of the 20th century and the possibility of media coexisting among so many others without necessarily prizing the elimination of competitors from the entertainment market, we can observe the return of this type of book in the first decades of the 21st century. Within these books, the reader makes the decisions for the protagonist, interfering directly in the course of the narrative and knowing the consequences of their choices that may or may not bring them closer to a happy ending.
The 2023 JARPS special issue considers these text-game-hybrids from various perspectives, asking what triggered a new interest in such games, or what motivates new readers to engage with these media. The papers included in this issue concern the materiality of gamebooks, their potential to restructure academic writing, and how they fit into a larger matrix of analog role-playing games.
Cover © Jéssica Beatriz Tosta