On the Game Studies Download 4.0 at GDC

I’m a little late to blogging this, but here is the list of the top 10 Game Studies findings, presented at the Game Developers Conference by Ian Bogost, Mia Consalvo and Jane McGonigal.

The audience voted on the papers in order of importance, and my own Fear of Failing came in at #5.

The session slides are here.


10. Stewart Woods: “(Play) Ground rules: The social contract and the magic circle”.

9. Jose Zagal and Amy Bruckman: “Novices, gamers, and scholars: Exploring the challenges of teaching about games”.

8. Karen Collins: “Game sound: An introduction to the history, theory, and practice of video game music and sound design”.

7. Charlie Breindahl: “Play to win or win to play? The material culture of gaming”.

6. Gareth Schott: “Relating the pleasures of violent game texts”.

5. Jesper Juul: “Fear of failing: The many meanings of difficulty in video games”.

4. Matt Barton: “How’s the weather: Simulating weather in virtual environments”.

3. Betsy James DiSalvo, Kevin Crowley and Roy Norwood: “Learning in context: Digital games and young black men”.

2. Michael Nitsche: “Video game spaces: Image, play, and structure in 3D worlds”.

1. Susana Tosca & Lisbeth Klastrup: “Because it just looks cool!’ Fashion as character performance—the case of WoW”. 

2 thoughts on “On the Game Studies Download 4.0 at GDC”

  1. Is it just me, or is the industry seriously lacking a peer-reviewed journal on game design and psychology? The closest we have is gaamsutra, which spreads itself across the whole spectrum of game development, including the business aspect.

    Congrats on appearing on this list Jesper!

    Quick question about your article: how do you feel about the work of Ralph Koster? I tend to take his theories as gospel, and haven’t heard anything to challenge them yet. If he is right, then your study would seem to back up his; If, where people fail due to lack of understanding of the play environment, they have fun, while failure delivered due to inadequacies of the environment itself is frustrating, then what people consider fun is an exploration and refinement of their abilities within the play environment.

    Or, to put it another way, fun is a form of learning that is abstracted from what we are used to.

  2. Alan,

    I could see a journal like that. We’ll see!

    I agree with Koster on problem solving part as a core aspect of games. I would say that there are a lot of other important factors as well (“feel”, fiction) as well as the way the game communicates these things.

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