Game Studies 101

Game Studies 101 (GS101) is on online archive of games, criticism, and scholarship. Its goal is to open up the study of games across disciplines, campuses, and organizations by making accessible various foundational works in game studies, criticism, and design.

Values at Play in Digital Games

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“In this book, Mary Flanagan and Helen Nissenbaum present Values at Play, a theoretical and practical framework for identifying socially recognized moral and political values in digital games. Values at Play can also serve as a guide to designers who seek to implement values in the conception and design of their games.” – Publisher

Gaming’s favorite villain is mental illness, and this needs to stop

“Representation is the key to kickstarting discussion, and video games have taken a woefully one-dimensional approach in the mental health conversation. While there’s no shortage of mental health-related content in today’s games, it falls into one of two specific camps, neither of which confront the complex and nuanced issues with the empathy and consideration they deserve.” – Patrick Lindsey

Gaming Under Socialism

“…the question of what gaming would look like in a socialist world has haunted me for days. Not only because I’m a leftist and I care about games, but because of how it relates to many crucial issues of 21st century radicalism…” – Paolo Pedercini

A Theory of Fun

“A Theory of Fun for Game Design is not your typical how-to book. It features a novel way of teaching interactive designers how to create and improve their designs to incorporate the highest degree of fun. As the book shows, designing for fun is all about making interactive products like games highly entertaining, engaging, and addictive. The book’s unique approach of providing a highly visual storyboard approach combined with a narrative on the art and practice of designing for fun is sure to be a hit with game and interactive designers.” – Publisher

Challenges for Game Designers

“Welcome to a book written to challenge you, improve your brainstorming abilities, and sharpen your game design skills! Challenges for Game Designers: Non-Digital Exercises for Video Game Designers is filled with enjoyable, interesting, and challenging exercises to help you become a better video game designer, whether you are a professional or aspire to be.” – Publisher

Syllabus: VR Storytelling

“This production-oriented course teaches students in communications fields how to tell stories interactively using 360-degree video and computer-generated scenes that subjects experience through leading virtual reality headsets. The target platforms for this course are the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Google Cardboard phone-based viewers.” – Syllabus

Literary Gaming

“In this book, Astrid Ensslin examines literary videogames—hybrid digital artifacts that have elements of both games and literature, combining the ludic and the literary. These works can be considered verbal art in the broadest sense (in that language plays a significant part in their aesthetic appeal); they draw on game mechanics; and they are digital-born, dependent on a digital medium (unlike, for example, conventional books read on e-readers).” – Publisher

Syllabus: Fundamentals of Game Design

“GAM 226 provides students with a practical foundation in game design with a focus on concept development, design decomposition, and prototyping. Using game design theory, analysis, physical prototyping, playtesting, and iteration students learn how to translate game ideas,
themes, and metaphors into gameplay and player experiences. Students will further be exposed to the basics of effective game idea communication.” – Syllabus [PDF]

Syllabi: Teaching with & about Games

“Courses cover game development and design, but also treat games as a topic in fields such as computer science, history, media studies, and rhetoric. In other words, video games are not just an economic force (they make lots of money and so we should teach students to make them) nor are they only a psychological force (games teach people violence and so we need to study policy to limit them); they are also a cultural and creative force, and courses are cropping up that attend to games in this particular framework…This special issue of the Syllabus Journal, then, offers a multi-disciplinary approach to video game studies.” – Issue Overview

Syllabus: Introduction to Video Game Studies

“This course provides an introduction to the critical study of the fastest-growing yet least understood aspect of mass digital culture: video games. We will survey the history of video game forms, pairing specific games with readings drawing from a variety of theoretical perspectives. ” – Syllabus