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

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

The Well-Played Game

“In The Well-Played Game, games guru Bernard De Koven explores the interaction of play and games, offering players—as well as game designers, educators, and scholars—a guide to how games work. De Koven’s classic treatise on how human beings play together, first published in 1978, investigates many issues newly resonant in the era of video and computer games, including social gameplay and player modification. The digital game industry, now moving beyond its emphasis on graphic techniques to focus on player interaction, has much to learn from The Well-Played Game.” – Publisher

Introduction to Game Analysis

“Game analysis allows us to understand games better, providing insight into the player-game relationship, the construction of the game, and its sociocultural relevance. As the field of game studies grows, videogame writing is evolving from the mere evaluation of gameplay, graphics, sound, and replayablity, to more reflective writing that manages to convey the complexity of a game and the way it is played in a cultural context.” – Publisher

Playing with Sustainability

“In this article, we analyze representative commercial video games in four categories: civilization simulations, post–apocalypse first–person shooters, multiplayer survivor horror games, and historical recreations. We examine the ways their game mechanics and game scenarios represent social, economic and environmental interdependencies. We contrast these representations with future scenarios of gradually increasing scarcity of resources, climate change, and other human–environment interactions which can be influenced by transitioning to sustainable practices.” – Shawna Kelly & Bonnie Nardi

The Dangerous Game

“Emma Vossen’s love of gaming started when she was a kid growing up in small-town Ontario. Now as a PhD candidate at the University of Waterloo Games Institute, she looks to gamer culture as a microcosm of how sexism is seeded and replicated within broader society, and she draws connections between gamer culture and the rise of the political extreme right. This is the latest in our Ideas from the Trenches series, exploring the exciting insights of PhD students across the country.” – CBC Ideas

Flow

“Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s famous investigations of ‘optimal experience’ have revealed that what makes an experience genuinely satisfying is a state of consciousness called flow. During flow, people typically experience deep enjoyment, creativity, and a total involvement with life.” – Publisher

Queer Game Studies 101

“To help promote a conscientious community of scholarship around Queer Game Studies, we offer this “101” — a handy introduction to the field as it stands in mid-2016. Whether you are embarking on Queer Game Studies research yourself, putting together a syllabus, or looking for a presenter or contributor to speak about queerness and games, we hope you’ll look into this outstanding work.” – Queer Game Studies 101

Syllabus: Gender & Sexuality in Video Games

“Feminism and queer representation have taken center stage in recent debates about the future of video games. However, gender, sexuality, and identity have long been important to how we experience games and to games themselves. In this course, students will learn about issues of gender and sexuality in video games, game communities, the games industry, and their own media-making practices…” – Syllabus