Jesper Juul






Teaching & lecturing








The Ludologist



Curriculum Vitae Jesper Juul


Born in 1970 in Århus, Denmark.


Current occupation


Academic Experience

  • 1999-2000: External Lecturer, IT University of Copenhagen

  • 2000-2003: Ph.D., IT University of Copenhagen.

  • 2004-2007: Assistant professor, IT University of Copenhagen.

  • 2008: Evaluated as qualified for associate level professor in computer game design, IT University of Copenhagen.

  • 2008-July 2009: Lecturer, Comparative Media Studies, MIT

  • August 2009-July 2010: Visiting Assistant Arts Professor, New York University Game Center

  • August 2010-March 2011: Researcher at the Danish Design School, Copenhagen on a grant from the Danish Centre for Design Research.

  • September 2011-August 2013: Visiting Assistant Arts Professor, New York University Game Center.

  • September 2012-: Visiting Associate Professor at Comparative Media Studies/Writing, MIT.

  • September 2013-: Associate Professor at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts - The School of Design.

Academic publications



Book chapters

  • "Introduction to Game Time / Time to play". In Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Pat Harrigan (eds.): First Person, Cambridge: MIT Press 2004.

  • "Hvad spillet betyder" / "What the Game Means". In Ida Engholm and Lisbeth Klastrup (eds:): Digitale Verdener. Copenhagen: Gyldendal 2005.

  • "Games telling stories?" In Joost Raessens and Jeffrey Goldstein (eds.): Handbook of Computer Game Studies. MIT Press 2005.

  • "Tid til at Spille". In Carsten Jessen and Bo Kampmann Walther (eds.): Spillets Verden. Copenhagen: Danmarks Pædagogiske Universitets Forlag 2005.

  • "Without a Goal: On Open and Expressive Games". In Videogame/Player/Text, edited by Tanya Krzywinska and Barry Atkins. Manchester: Manchester University Press 2007.

  • "Variation over Time: The Transformation of Space in Single-Screen Action Games". In Friedrich von Borries, Steffen P. Walz, Ulrich Brinkmann, Matthias Böttger (eds): Space Time Play. Basel: Birkhäuser 2007.

  • "The Game, the Player, the World: Looking for a Heart of Gameness". In Winfred Kaminski and Martin Lorber (eds.): Clash of Realities 2008: Spielen in digitalen Welten. Munich: Kopäd 2008.

  • "Rules and Fiction". In Juan Antonia and Àlvarez Reyes: Try Again. Madrid: La Case Encendida 2008.

  • "The Magic Circle and the Puzzle Piece". In Stephan Günzel, Michael Liebe and Dieter Mersch (eds.): Conference Proceedings of the Philosophy of Computer Games 2008. Potsdam: Potsdam University Press 2008.

  • "Fear of Failing? The Many Meanings of Difficulty in Video Games". In Bernard Perron and Mark J. P. Wolf (eds.): The Video Game Theory Reader 2. New York, NY: Routledge 2009.

  • Mia Consalvo, John Sharp, Ulrika Bennerstedt, Jesper Juul: "Tweeting GDC" in Dikkers, Steinkuehler, Squire & Zimmerman (eds): Real Time Research: Improvisational Game Scholarship. Pittsburg, PA: ETC Press 2010.

  • Jesper Juul, Rasmus Keldorff: Depth in one Minute: A Conversation about Bejeweled Blitz. In Davidson, Drew (ed).: Well Played 2.0: Video Games, Value and Meaning. Pittsburg, PA: ETC Press 2010.

  • "After Game Graphics". Catalogue text for the Press Play exhibition, Permanenten, Bergen, Norway, 2010.

  • "Narrative" and "Defender" entries in Wolf, Mark J. P. (ed.) Encyclopedia of Video Games: The Culture, Technology, and Art of Gaming. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2012.

  • “Gameplay.” entry in Marie-Laure Ryan, Lori Emerson, and Benjamin J. Robertson (eds.) The Johns Hopkins Guide to Digital Media. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press 2014.

  • On Absent Carrot Sticks: The Level of Abstraction in Video Games”. In Ryan, Marie-Laure, and Jan-Noël Thon (eds): Storyworlds across Media: Toward a Media-Conscious Narratology. University of Nebraska Press, 2014.

  • "Avatar", with Rune Klevjer in Jensen, Klaus Bruhn (eds.): The International Encyclopedia of Communication Theory and Philosophy. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons 2016.

  • "Playing". In Lowood, Henry and Raiford Guins (eds.): Debugging Game History: A Critical Lexicon Cambridge, MA: MIT Press 2016.

Articles and peer-reviewed conference presentations

  • November 1998: Article in the literary magazine Kritik #135: "En kamp mellem spil og fortælling."

  • November 1998: Paper presentation at the Digital Arts and Culture conference in Bergen: "A clash between game and narrative".

  • May 1999: Article in the magazine Det ny reception: "Nettet, der aldrig var." ["The net that never was"].

  • August 2000: Paper presentation at the Digital Arts and Culture conference in Bergen: "What computer games can and can't do"

  • March 2001: Computer Games & Digital Textualities conference at the IT University of Copenhagen. Paper presentation, Play time, Event time, Themability.

  • April 2001: Paper presentation at the Digital Arts and Culture conference in Providence, Rhode Island: Game Time.

  • June 30th 2001: Paper presentation at the Game Cultures conference in Bristol: Gameplay: What are Games Really?

  • July 1st 2001: Article, Games Telling Stories? and review, The Repeatedly lost Art of Studying Games in Game Studies.

  • April 6th 2002: Paper presentation at the Playing with the future conference, Manchester: Protect your resource gathering units at all cost: Sketching a theory of gameplay.

  • June 8th 2002: Paper presentation at the Computer Games and Digital Cultures conference, Tampere, Finland: The open and the closed: Games of emergence and games of progression.

  • April 9th 2003: Column for the IGDA [international game developers association] website: Just what is it that makes Computer Games so Different, so Appealing?

  • May 30-31st 2003: Presentation at the Digital genres Conference Chicago: Transmedial Gaming: Exploring the affinity between computer and games.

  • November 4th-6th 2003: Keynote speaker at the DiGRA Level Up conference in Utrecht: The Game, the Player, the World: Looking for a Heart of Gameness.

  • February 2004: "Working with the Player's Repertoire". Imagina Conference, Monaco.

  • June 2005: "Half-Real: The Interplay between Game Rules and Game Fiction". DiGRA conference, Vancouver, Canada.

  • June 2005: "Playing Culture" presentation at Games, Learning, and Society conference, Madison, Wisconsin. (With Eric Zimmerman.)

  • December 2005: Panelist, "Gameplay: The Great Debate", Digital Arts and Culture Conference, IT University of Copenhagen.

  • "Swap Adjacent Gems to Make Sets of Three: A History of Matching Tile Games". Artifact journal. Volume 2, 2007. London: Routledge.

  • "A certain Level of Abstraction". Conference paper at the DiGRA conference, Tokyo Japan, September 2007.

  • Jesper Juul, Albert Dang & Kan Yang Li: "The Suicide Game". Poster at the DiGRA conference, Tokyo Japan, September 2007.

  • August 2016: Poster, with Jason Begy, "Good Feedback for bad Players? A preliminary Study of ‘juicy’ Interface feedback". 1st International Joint Conference of DiGRA and FDG, Dundee 2016.

  • "What is the Casual in Casual Games?" Conference paper at the [player] conference, IT University of Copenhagen, August 2008.

  • "The Value of Goals". Panelist at The [Player] Conference, IT University of Copenhagen, August 2008.

  • "Beyond Balancing: Using Five Elements of Failure Design to Enhance Player Experiences". Game Developers Conference, San Francisco, March 2009.

  • "Easy to Use and Incredibly Difficult: On the Mythical Border between Interface and Gameplay". Foundations of Digital Games, Florida, April 2009. With Marleigh Norton.

  • "The Bad Games Panel". Panel with Jason Begy and Matthew Weise at the DiGRA 2009 conference, Brunel University, September 2009.

  • June 2010: "In search of Lost Time: on Game Goals and Failure Costs". Conference paper at the Foundations of Digital Games conference, Monterey, CA.

  • January 2012: Staffan Björk & Jesper Juul: "Zero-Player Games Or: What We Talk about When We Talk about Players". Conference paper presented at the The Philosophy of Computer Games Conference, Madrid.

  • June 2012: Panelist, You Put Your Right Foot In... with Erica Halverson, Thomas Malaby, Crystle Martin, David Simkins, Eric Zimmerman and Moses Wolfenstein. Games+Learning+Society Conference 8.0, Madison, Wisconsin.

  • April 2013: Presentation, No Fun: Failure as the true Subject of all Games at the Extending Play conference, Rutgers University.

  • June 2013: Workshop, Designing for Productive Failure with Cathy Tran, Blair Lehman and David Dockterman. Games+Learning+Society Conference 9.0, Madison, WI.

  • August 2013: Presentation, The Philosophical Problem of the Sore Loser: Video games as a Paradox of Failure. DiGRA conference, Atlanta, GA.

  • "High-tech Low-tech Authenticity: The Creation of Independent Style at the Independent Games Festival". In Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games, 2014.

  • April 2015: Speaker, "The Return of the Big Pixel: The changing Meaning of Graphics in Independent Video Games". What is an Image? conference, University of Copenhagen.

  • May 2015: "The Counterfactual Nostalgia of Indie Games". Presentation at the Nonlinear histories of independent games panel, DiGRA 2015 conference, Lüneburg.

  • May 2015: "A Mobile Army of Ontologies". Presentation at the Ludo-ontologies panel, DiGRA 2015 conference, Lüneburg.

  • January 2016: "The Hopelessly Compromised: Independent Games as a Movement against Mainstream AAA Video Games". Presentation at the Concerns about Video Games and the Video Games of Concern conference, IT University of Copenhagen.

  • August 2016: "Anti-inspiration in Independent Games". 1st International Joint Conference of DiGRA and FDG, Dundee 2016.

  • August 2016: Poster, with Jason Begy, "Good Feedback for bad Players? A preliminary Study of ‘juicy’ Interface feedback". 1st International Joint Conference of DiGRA and FDG, Dundee 2016.

  • August 2016: Panelist,“Speaking intelligently?” What do we understand about narratives in video games (and what not)? panel, 1st International Joint Conference of DiGRA and FDG, Dundee 2016.

  • August 2016: Sailing the Endless River of Games: The case for Historical Design Patterns. 1st International Joint Conference of DiGRA and FDG, Dundee 2016.

Keynotes and selected invited talks

  • November 26-28th 2001: Invited speaker at NIK2001 in Tromsø, the annual meeting of the Norwegian association of computer science researchers. Talk title: Fun in theory.

  • February 3rd 2002: Invited talk at Mediamatic's Interactive Vertellers [interactive narrators] workshop in Amsterdam. Talk title: The art of letting go.

  • August 27th 2002: Panelist at the Game Developer's Conference Europe academic day.

  • August 28th 2002: Presentation at Game Developer's Conference Europe, London: Making sense of gameplay and emergence.

  • March 20th 2003: Panelist at the Fate of Creativity in the Videogame Industry colloquium, Comparative Media Studies, MIT. (With Ken Levine, Irrational Games and Brian Sullivan, Iron Lore.)

  • April 9th 2003: Presentation for the Scholar Technology Group a Brown University: About the game.

  • April 23rd 2003: Invited talk at the Liquid Narrative Group, NCSU, Raleigh, North Carolina.

  • November 4th-6th 2003: Keynote speaker at the DiGRA Level Up conference in Utrecht: The Game, the Player, the World: Looking for a Heart of Gameness.

  • February 2004: Converging Media, Oslo, Norway.

  • October 2004: Speaker, Steirische Herbst, Graz, Austria.

  • June 2005 : Games, Learning and Society conference, Wisconsin, Madison: "Playing Culture". With Eric Zimmerman.

  • December 2005: Presentation "Without a goal" at Serious Games Summit, Lyon.

  • March 2006: Keynote speaker at Serious Games Summit, Game Developer's Conference, San José.

  • March 2006: "A Game in the Hands of a Player". From Gamers to Gaming, Göteborg, Sweden.

  • October 2006: Invited talk at Georgia Tech.

  • November 2006: Invited talk at Penn. "The problem with Goals: New ways of motivating players".

  • November 2006: Invited talk at Comparative Media Studies, MIT, Boston.

  • November 2006: Online panel arranged by Manifesto Games: "Games As Art" with Henry Jenkins, Santiago Siri, and Eric Zimmerman.

  • January 2007: Invited talk at NYC Game Salon. New School, New York City: "Actually: What a game means".

  • February 2007: Invited talk at ENJMIN, France.

  • March 2007: Panelist at the MetaGame panel, Game Developers Conference, San Francisco.

  • April 2007: Invited speaker at Theory of the Novel for the 21st Century workshop, Stanford University.

  • March 2008: Keynote speaker, Clash of Realities conference, Cologne. Talk title: Video Games: The most Emotional of all Media.

  • March 2008: Invited talk at Georgia Institute of Technology. Talk title: Hardcore Players of Casual Games.

  • March 2008: Invited talk at Indiana University Bloomington. Talk title: Games for making friends and enemies: A small theory of games in social contexts.

  • April 2008: Invited talk at Teacher's College, Columbia University. Talk title: What makes Casual Games so Appealing, so Attractive?

  • May 2008: Keynote speaker, Philosophy of Computer Games Conference, Potsdam. Talk title: Who made the Magic Circle? Seeking the Solvable part of the Game-Player Problem.

  • November 2008: Invited talk at University at Buffalo. Talk title: Why Study Video Games?
    Why Play Video Games?

  • November 2008: Invited talk at Quinnipiac University. Talk title: Fun in Theory
    On the Importance of Studying Video Games

  • January 2009: Invited talk at Dartmouth College. Talk title: The Meaning of Video Games
    -On Today's Debates in Video Game Studies

  • March 2009: Invited talk at Floating Points 6, Emerson College. Talk title:

    The Rise of Small Games.

  • November 2009: Invited talk at Johannes Gutenberg-Universität, Mainz

  • February 2010: Speaker at the Art History of Games conference, Atlanta, Georgia.

  • August 2010: Keynote speaker, Nordic DiGRA conference, Stockholm.

  • May 2011: Speaker at the Unfortunate Game Events seminar, Danish Design School, Copenhagen. Talk title: Video Games, the Art of Failure.

  • June 30-July 2nd 2011: Invited speaker, Storyworlds Across Media conference, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität, Mainz. Talk title: The Paradox of Interactive Tragedy: Can a Video Game have an Unhappy Ending?

  • November 2011: Keynote speaker, SBGames 2011 conference, Salvador, Brazil. Talk title: No Fun: Failure as the True Subject of All Games.

  • March 2012: Panelist at Game Developers Conference, San Francisco on Teaching Game History. Talk title: No Game Natives

  • March 2012: Panelist at Game Developers Conference, San Francisco Game Educator's Rant. Talk title: Against the Tyranny of Pixelated Platformers.

  • May 2012: Panelist at ROLFCon III, Cambridge, MA on WHY THE %&*# IS THIS SO %&#ING IMPOSSIBLE??. Talk title: Confessions of a Sore Loser

  • October 2012: Invited speaker at the World Knowledge Forum, Seoul, Korea. Talk title: Video Games and the Art of Failure - On the Dangers of Game Design in Education, Business, and Policy.

  • Feburary 2013: Speaker at Indiecade East, You don't seem happy! Video Games and the Philosophical Problem of being a sore Loser.

  • September 2013: Keynote speaker, Future and Reality of Gaming conference, Vienna.

  • October 2013: Panel, "The Arts of Failure", with Judith Halberstam. Queer games Conference, University of California, Berkeley.

  • March 2014: Speaker, Game Studies on the Edge conference, Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, Japan.

  • October 2015: Invited keynote speaker, Gamez & Rules conference, Zurich University of the Arts, Zürich. Talk title: "The Art of Failure in Games".

  • October 2015: Invited speaker at Northeastern University, Boston. Talk title: "New Sincerity with Old Visuals: The Search for Authenticity in Independent Video Games".

  • October 2016: Invited keynote speaker, Extending Play Conference, Rutgers University. Talk: "The Future of Play (Studies).


  • Autumn 1995: A series of workshops in the new children's house at the Louisiana Art Museum, Copenhagen. (With Jonas Iversen, MouseHouse).

  • 1996: Teaches Java and JavaScript programming at NetJob, Aarhus, Denmark.

  • Spring 1999: Develops and teaches the course Digital Aesthetics at the IT University of Copenhagen..

  • Fall 2001: Developed and taught the course Computer Games at the IT University of Copenhagen. (Covering theory and practice.)

  • Fall 2002: Developed and taught the course on Designing an online computer game at the IT University of Copenhagen. (With Susana Tosca).

  • 2004-2006: Developed and taught the course Computer Game Design at the IT University of Copenhagen.

  • April 2006: 3-day workshop on game design and theory, IO Interactive.

  • Spring 2007: Co-taught the course Game Development at the IT University of Copenhagen.

  • Spring 2008: Co-taught the course Game Design at Comparative Media Studies, MIT.

  • Spring 2009: Developed and taught the course Casual Games and Casual Players at Comparative Media Studies, MIT.

  • Fall 2009-2013: Developed and taught the courses Introduction to Video Games, Game Studies and Advanced Game Studies at the New York University Game Center, NYU.

  • Fall 2010-2013: Co-developed and co-taught the video game history course Games 101 at the New York University Game Center, NYU.

  • Fall 2013- : Developing and teaching BA in Game Design, Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts - School of Design, Copenhagen.

Professional experience (non-academic)

  • June 1995-: Company, Soup Games.

  • 1992-1993: Develops the fractal program Lyapunovia for the Commodore Amiga. (

  • April 1994-August 1995: Work at the multimedia company MouseHouse.

  • August 1996: Project manager, concept developer and programmer on the children's game "Kampen om Kagen" ["The battle for the cake"] for MouseHouse and the Silkeborg public library.

  • January-March 1997: Programs the Macintosh version of the triple CD-ROM game "Blackout" at Deadline Media.

  • April 1997: Develops the game "Puls in Space" for Netwave. (

  • June 1997 - August 1998: Works with Brennan Young, Xavier Pianet, and Mads Rydahl under the name "The Planet".

  • July 1997: Develops the game "Slimebusters" for Egmont Online.

  • September 1997: Develops the graphical chat system "Højhuset" for Netwave. (

  • Marts 1998: Develops the game "Euro-Space" for JuniBevægelsen. (

  • December 1998-January 1999: Develops the game "PingPong" for TV2 Interactive.

  • January 1999: Text chat for the music site and Scandinavian Online.

  • July-September 1999: Develops the game Flag Rally for Tele Danmark Internet. (With Rasmus Keldorff.)

  • November-December 1999: Develops a game engine for a series of promotional games for Lego in collaboration with Cite.

  • September 2000: Finished the graphical chat Højhuset 2 for Netstationen/Scandinavia Online.

  • January 2001: Develops the game Detonator for TV2 Interactive (with Rasmus Keldorff.)

  • 2007: Develops the casual game High Seas for GameTrust.

  • 2007: Sheep! Audience prize, 2nd Nordic Game Jam.

  • 2010: 4:32 "Most innovative game", Global Game at Jam New York University.

Visiting scholar appointments

  • February-July 2003: Comparative Media Studies, MIT, Boston.

  • August-December 2006: Parsons New School of Design, New York City.

Reviewing and Judging

  • Editorial board member, Game Studies journal 2001-

  • Editorial board member, Games & Culture Journal 2007-

  • Advisory board member, Journal of the Philosophy of Games.

  • Webby Awards judge 2004-

  • Values at Play advisory board member 2008-2012.

  • Digital Arts and Culture conference, Brown University, 2001.

  • Computer Games and Digital Culture conference, Tampere University, 2002.

  • Digital Arts and Culture conference, Melbourne, 2003.

  • Imagina conference, Monaco, 2005.

  • Digital Arts and Culture conference, Perth, 2007.

  • Mobile Media conference. University of Sydney, 2007.

  • Head of game design reviewing, DiGRA conference, Tokyo 2007.

  • Head of game design reviewing, DiGRA conference, London 2009.

  • Journal of Design History

  • MIT Press

  • Morgan Kaufman

  • Norsk Medietidsskrift

  • Information Communication & Society

  • Instructional Science

  • IADIS Gaming 2008

  • American Journal of Play

  • ICEC 2009

  • FaVE 2009

  • International Journal of Learning and Media

Conference organisation

  • Co-organizer, Computer Games and Digital Textualities conference, IT University of Copenhagen 2001.

  • January 24th 2003: Organizer of the computer game seminar Spillere og Spillerpositioner [Players and player positions] at the IT University of Copenhagen.

  • Co-organizer, first Nordic Game Jam, Copenhagen 2006.

  • Advisory board member, DAC conference, Perth 2007.

  • Advisory board member, DiGRA conference, Tokyo 2007.

  • Co-organizer, Global Game Jam at New York University, January 2010.

  • Organizer, Unfortunate Game Events seminar, Danish Design School, Copenhagen, May 2011.


  • November 1996: Winner, Danish Java Cup programming competition (arranged by Sun Microsystems)

  • February 4th 2004: Winner, young researcher award, Imagina 2004, Monaco.

  • 2004-2007: Co-editor, Game Studies journal.

  • October 2006: Half-Real listed as one of "50 Books For Everyone In the Game Industry".

  • December 2006: Half-Real finalist for book of the year in Game Developer Magazine's Frontline Awards.

  • 2003- video game research blog, The Ludologist.

  • February 2007: Winner, audience award at the Nordic Game Jam 2007, Copenhagen, Denmark.

  • February 2010: Winner, audience award for most innovative game at Global Game Jam, New York University.

  • April 2010: A Casual Revolution named as "one of the Five Essential Books on Video Games" by the New Yorker Magazine.
  • 2010-: Co-editor with Geoffrey Long and William Uricchio, Playful Thinking book series, MIT Press.
  • 2015: Edge Magazine names Half-Real and The Art of Failure as two of the must-read books on video games.
  • August 2016: Selected as Distinguished Scholar for the Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA).
  • February 2017: Selected as fellow for the Higher Education Video Game Alliance.

Art projects

  • Summer 1994: The installation "Gaston" for Electronic Café. (With Charlie Gaugler.)

  • April 1995: The art installation "Receptionsmaskinen" for the Danish minister of culture's conference on information technology, the international film school in Ebeltoft. (With Mads Rydahl.)

  • June 1995-May 1996: The art installation "Men vi forstår jo hinanden" ["we do understand each other"] as part of the TIEA at MouseHouse, Vestergade, Copenhagen. (With Mads Rydahl.)

  • April 1996: Creates the spoof web page "Your own virtual hamster". ( (with Brennan Young).

  • September-November 1996: Develops the computer part of Lars von Trier's exhibition "Verdensuret" ["World clock"], Kunstforeningen, Copenhagen.

  • February 1997: Exhibits the poetic art installation "Ord & Stol" ["Word and chair"] at gallery Eat Me, Sortedams Dossering, Copenhagen. '

  • April 1998: Exhibits the graphical and musical installation "Loop in A Minor" at the Art Crash conference, Århus.

  • August 31st 1998: Exhibits "Loop in A Minor" at the opening of Malmö Högskola.

  • June 2013: Erasure-based poetry generator, The Deletionist, with Nick Montfort and Amaranth Borsuk.
  • July 2016: 4:32 game exhibited at the Electronic Literature Conference, Porto, Portugal.