Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Introduction to Digital Game Studies

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Institute of Digital Games

DESCRIPTION This study-unit introduces students to the field of digital game studies.

It provides an overview of the current state of critical and theoretical research in game studies, and takes into account the multidisciplinary character of game studies, drawing on methods and insights from the fields of media studies, philosophy, literary theory, psychology and sociology.

Topics covered during the course include the history of the digital game medium, approaches to game genres, narrative and semiotic approaches to games, game ontology, the experience of immersion and agency, and player cultures.

Study-Units Aims:

The core aims of the study-unit are as follows:
- Provide an overview of the history, form and contemporary relevance of digital games;
- Identify, evaluate and analyze the problematic dimensions of digital games.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- develop a knowledge of digital games from an academic perspective;
- critically evaluate key topics in digital game studies;
- understand digital games from a variety of perspectives – as formal media objects, as cultural texts, as narrative media, as social process.

2. Skills
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- analyze the formal, semiotic and narrative properties of a digital game;
- critically engage with digital games as media productions in the cultural landscape.

Main Text/s and any Supplementary Readings:

- Aarseth, Espen (2001). Computer Game Studies: Year One. Game Studies (1,1).
- Apperley, Thomas (2006). Genre and Game Studies. Simulation & Gaming (37,1).
- Bogost, Ian (2008). The Rhetoric of Video Games. In Salen, Katie (ed.), The Ecology of Games. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
- Calleja, Gordon (2011). In-Game: From Immersion to Incorporation. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. (Chapters 2 and 7).
- Eskelinen, Markku (2001). The Gaming Situation. Game Studies (1,1).
- Jørgensen, Kristine (2009). “I’m Overburdened!” An Empirical Study of the Player, the Avatar and the Gameworld. Proceedings of DiGRA Conference 2009.
- Juul, Jesper (2005). Half-Real: Video Games Between Real Rules and Fictional Worlds. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. (Chapter 2).
- Salen, Katie, and Zimmermann, Eric (2004). Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press (Chapters 5 and 11).
- Taylor, T.L., and Witkowski, Emma (2010). This is How We Play It: What a Mega-LAN Can Teach Us About Games. Proceedings of the Foundations of Digital Games Conference 2010.


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment SEM2 Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Daniel Vella

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2021/2. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.