Category Archives: readings

Games Studies 14/02 is out

For your theoretical pleasure, Game Studies 14/02.

Ability, Disability and Dead Space
by Diane Carr
How does the horror game Dead Space use the idea of disability? How are able bodies represented in the game? What is the relationship between disability as threat, and the various sensations and pleasures offered by the game? In this essay these questions are explored using textual analysis.

“Take That, Bitches!” Refiguring Lara Croft in Feminist Game Narratives
by Esther MacCallum-Stewart
Tomb Raider’s 2013 reboot enabled a re-consideration of Lara Croft and the gender politics of representing her. This paper re-evaluates Tomb Raider ten years after Game Studies first addressed it.

Battle on the Metric Front: Dispatches from Call of Duty’s Update War
by David Murphy
This article analyzes the controversy over a software update applied to Call of Duty: Black Ops II (Treyarch, 2013) using assemblage theory (Deleuze & Guattari, 1987). By combining information posted by players with a critical investigation of reward systems, the conflict is contextualized within a neoliberal climate of player/industry mistrust.

A Too-Coherent World: Game Studies and the Myth of “Narrative” Media
by Edward Wesp
This article revisits Jesper’ Juul’s oft-cited argument about video games’ “incoherent” fictional worlds to argue for a more open relationship between the study of video games and other media, based on the recognition that all media have complex relationships with the narratives and fictions they convey.

Book Reviews

De Koven’s “The Well-Played Game”by Gonzalo Frasca
The Well-Played Game. A Player’s Philosophy (2013) by Bernard De Koven. Cambridge. Mass.: MIT Press. ISBN: 9780262019170. 176 pp.
Review of Karlsen’s A World of Excesses: On-line Games and Excessive Playingby Joyce Goggin
A World of Excesses. Online Games and Excessive Playing (2013) by Faltin Karlsen. Farnham, UK: Ashgate. ISBN-13: 978-1409427636. 178 pp.[more]

New issue of Eludamos: Vol 8, No 1

New issue of Eludamos: Vol 8, No 1, special issue on Digital Seriality.

ToDiGRA, vol 3, issue 1 on “Physical and Digital in Games and Play”.

This is a special issue on “Physical and Digital in Games and Play”. The issue editors are Frans Mäyrä, Katriina Heljakka, and Anu Seisto.  A big thanks to the issue editors and all authors for your work!


  • Frans Mäyrä, Katriina Heljakka, Anu Seisto: Editors’ Introduction to the Special Issue
  • Stephanie de Smale: Building Material: Exploring Playfulness of 3D Printers
  • Paul Coulton, Dan Burnett, Adrian Gradinar, David Gullick, Emma Murphy:  Game Design in an Internet of Things
  • Mark Lochrie: From the board to the streets: a case study of Local Property Trader
  • Frederika A Eilers: SimCity and the Creative Class: Place, Urban Planning and the Pursuit of Happiness
  • Inger Ekman: “That’s not a secure area”– physical-digital sound links in commercial locative games
  • Karl Bergström, Staffan Björk: The Case for Computer-Augmented Games
  • Marcus Carter: The Roll of the Dice in Warhammer 40,000
Transactions of the Digital Games Research Association (ToDIGRA) is a quarterly, international, open access, refereed, multidisciplinary journal dedicated to research on and practice in all aspects of games. ToDIGRA is published in print as well as electronically. ToDIGRA does not currently accept unsolicited submissions. Submissions must be directed towards a specific call for paper and conform to the specific focus of that call.

Game Studies 14/01 is out

Game Studies: The International Journal of Computer Game Research has just published its latest issue (Volume 14, Issue 1, July 2014).


Game Definitions: A Wittgensteinian Approach

by Jonne Arjoranta

This article looks at how games have been constantly redefined in game studies without reaching an agreement. It is argued that such an agreement is not necessary, and a Wittgensteinian approach to game definitions is preferable. This approach sees the cycle of redefinition as a hermeneutic circle that advances the understanding of games.

The Heuristic Circle of Real-Time Strategy Process: A StarCraft: Brood War Case Study

by Simon Dor

The heuristic circle of real-time strategy process is a summary of key ideas about the cognitive and perceptive processes in StarCraft competitive play. It describes the way strategy in the game relies on the inference of three levels of game states and on the use of three kind of strategic plans at the same time.

Magic Nodes and Proleptic Warfare in the Multiplayer Component of Battlefield 3

by Johan Höglund

This article explores the construction of ludic spaces in the multiplayer map Grand Bazaar in Battlefield 3. It observes that this map constitutes a “magic node” that encircles a ludic space where only certain activities are possible. It concludes that the map Grand Bazaar represents a civilian Middle-Eastern locale as a permanent battleground.

Bioshock: Complex and Alternate Histories

by Ryan Lizardi

This article performs a close reading on the Bioshock series and determines that it encourages a comparative and contemplative look at the historical, cultivated through counterfactual and alternative experiences of accepted histories and reinforced through both ludic and narrative elements.

A Practiced Practice: Speedrunning Through Space With de Certeau and Virilio

by Rainforest Scully-Blaker

Through a discussion of Michel de Certeau and Paul Virilio, this article puts forth a language to discuss speedrunning, the practice of beating a game as fast as possible without cheating, as it relates to games as spatial narratives. A new set of terms for discussing game rules as they relate to speedruns is also applied to the analysis.

Play and Possibility in the Rhetoric of the War on Terror: The Structure of Agency in Halo 2

by Gerald Voorhees

This essay contends that Halo 2 helps attitudinally position players in relation to the War on Terror. It considers a range of possible, potentially-overlapping affective responses to Halo 2, foregrounding both the rhetorical efficacy of digital games and the player’s agency to determine their rhetorical effect.

Book Reviews

Sound in a Participatory Culture
by Kristine Jørgensen

Playing with Sound. A Theory of Interaction with Sound and Music in Video Games. (2013) by Karen Collins. Cambridge. Mass.: MIT Press. ISBN: 9780262312288 .

Play Redux is Solo-Play

by Hanna Wirman

Play Redux: The Form of Computer Games. (2010) by David Myers. University of Michigan Press. ISBN: 978-0472050925

ToDiGRA Special Issue, Nordic DIGRA 2012

Transactions of the Digital Games Research Association has published Vol 1, No 2 (2014). This is a special Issue, with selected articles from Nordic DIGRA 2012.

Introduction: Exploring Nordic Game Research HTML PDF
Raine Koskimaa, Frans Mäyrä, Jaakko Suominen
Digital Materialities and Family Practices: The Gendered, Practical, Aesthetical and Technological Domestication of Play HTML PDF
Jessica Enevold
Player Types: A Meta-synthesis HTML PDF
Juho Hamari, Janne Tuunanen
Player-reported Impediments to Game-based Learning HTML PDF
J. Tuomas Harviainen, Timo Lainema, Eeli Saarinen
A Practical Guide to Using Digital Games as an Experiment Stimulus HTML PDF
Simon Järvelä, Inger Ekman, J. Matias Kivikangas, Niklas Ravaja
Should I stay or should I go? A Study of Pickup Groups in Left 4 Dead 2 HTML PDF
Jonas Linderoth, Staffan Björk, Camilla Olsson
In Defence of a Magic Circle: The Social, Mental and Cultural Boundaries of Play HTML PDF
Jaakko Stenros

Special Issue on Religion in Digital Games

The Heidelberg Journal of Religions on the Internet has launched a special issue on Religion in Digital Games. Multiperspective and Interdisciplinary Approaches.

Table of Contents


Complete Edition of “Religion in Digital Games” (Online – Heidelberg Journal of Religions on the Internet) PDF
Simone Heidbrink (ed.), Tobias Knoll (ed.)

Let’s Talk Video Games! Introduction to the Special Issue on Religion in Digital Games PDF
Simone Heidbrink, Tobias Knoll

Theorizing Religion in Digital Games. Perspectives and Approaches PDF
Simone Heidbrink, Tobias Knoll, Jan Wysocki

Studying Religion in Digital Gaming. A Critical Review of an Emerging Field PDF
Gregory Price Grieve, Heidi A. Campbell

Developing a Framework for Understanding the Relationship Between Religion and Videogames PDF
Richard E. Ferdig

Locating the Locus of Study on “Religion” in Video Games PDF
J.D.F. Tuckett, David G. Robertson

Game Cultures as Sub-Creations. Case Studies on Religion & Digital Play PDF
Elke Hemminger

Maker’s Breath. Religion, Magic, and the ‘Godless’ World of BioWare’s Dragon Age II (2011) PDF
Kristin M.S. Bezio

‘The Lamb of Comstock’. Dystopia and Religion in Video Games PDF
Frank G. Bosman

Religion as Resource in Digital Games PDF
Ryan Clark Thames

‘When people pray, a god is born… This god is you!’ An Introduction to Religion and God in Digital Games PDF
Markus Wiemker, Jan Wysocki

The Lord is My Shepard. Confronting Religion in the Mass Effect Trilogy PDF
Joshua A. Irizarry, Ita T. Irizarry

Religion(s) in Videogames. Historical and Anthropological Observations PDF
Alessandro Testa

Socialization of Teenagers Playing The Sims. The Paradoxical Use of Video Games to Re-enchant Life PDF
Pascaline Lorentz

Fátima Postmortem PDF
Luís Lucas Pereira, Licínio Roque

The Mythic Scope of Journey. A Comparative Assessment Concerning the Spirit at Play and Cybernetic Shamanism PDF
Robert William Guyker

Review: „eGods. Faith versus fantasy in computer gaming“ PDF
Moritz Maurer