Category Archives: media theory

digital games digital culture

Computer and videogames have for decades been one of the most popular instantiations of digital culture, bringing virtual worlds and simulated characters into arcades, bedrooms and – now – mobile phones. This lecture will argue that videogames should be seen as central to both the history and development of digital culture and to key concepts for understanding and exploring it: interactivity, virtual bodies, nonhuman agency, technocultural intimacy, and play.

Set reading:

Giddings, Seth & Kennedy, Helen W. (2006). ‘Digital games as new media,’ in Jason Rutter & Joanna Bryce (eds) Understanding Digital Games, London: SAGE. Online at:

Additional reading:

Mayra, Frans (2008). An Introduction to Game Studies: games in culture. London: SAGE.

Taylor, TL (2011). ‘Internet and games,’ in Mia Consalvo & Charles Ess (eds) The Blackwell Handbook of Internet Studies. West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell, 369-383. Online at:

Even more reading:

Games and Culture
New Media & Society

Mobile Media & Communication
Digital Culture & Society
And others, any media journal worth its salt will have articles on game culture… have a browse

Recommended journals are all directly accessible from the Media subject guide:

Online and open access:
Game Studies:
DiGRA (Digital Games Research Association):
Includes a journal – ToDiGRA and a Digital Library of years’ worth of conference papers.
Loading… (Canadian journal of game studies):

A few books (some of these are a bit long in the tooth now, but you can use that to your advantage) They are all in the library:

Atkins, Barry (2003) More Than a Game: the computer game as fictional form, Manchester: University of Manchester Press.
Bogost, Ian (2007) Persuasive Games: the expressive power of videogames, Cambridge MA: MIT Press
Bogost, Ian (2011) How to Do Things with Videogames, Minneapolisa: University of Minnesota Press
Cassell, Justine & Jenkins, Henry (2000) From Barbie to Mortal Kombat: gender and computer games, Cambridge MA: MIT Press
Dovey, Jon & Kennedy, Helen W. (2007) Game Cultures: computer games as new media, McGraw-Hill Education
Dyer-Witheford, Nick & de Peuter, Greig (2009) Games of Empire: global capitalism and video games, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press
Flanagan, Mary (2009) Critical Play: radical game design, Cambridge MA: MIT Press
Giddings, Seth (2014) Gameworlds: virtual media and children’s everyday play, New York NY: Bloomsbury
Kafia, Yasmin et al eds (2008) Beyond Barbie and Mortal Kombat: new perspectives on gaming and gender, Cambridge MA: MIT Press
King, Geoff & Krzywinska, Tanya (2002) ScreenPlay: cinema/videogames/interfaces, London: Wallflower Press
Mäyrä, Frans (2008) An Introduction to Game Studies: games in culture, London: SAGE
Nitsche, Michael (2008) Video Game Spaces: image, play, and structure in 3D game worlds, Cambridge MA: MIT Press
Salen, Katie & Zimmerman, Eric (2003) Rules of Play: game design fundamentals, Cambridge MA: MIT Press

From gamification to critical play: the media management of behaviour

images from the ‘gamified scholarship’ seminar:


Foxman, Maxwell 2014.‘How to Win Foursquare: body and space in a gamified world’. In Mathias Fuchs, Sonia Fizek, Paolo Ruffino & Niklas Schrape (eds) Rethinking Gamification, Luneberg: meson press, pp.71-90.

Ian Bogost 2011 ‘Gamification is bullshit

further reading:

Bogost, Ian 2010. Persuasive Games: the expressive power of videogames. Cambridge MA: MIT Press.

Flanagan, Mary 2009. Critical Play: radical game design. Cambridge MA: MIT Press. Introduction here:

Fuchs, Mathias, Fizek, Sonia, Ruffino, Paolo & Schrape, Niklas (eds) 2014. Rethinking Gamification. Amsterdam: meson press. Also online:

MacGonigal, Jane 2011. Reality is Broken: how games make us better and how they can change the world. Penguin.


Global transmedia & the everyday: LEGO case study


reading: Lauwaert, Maaike (2009). The Place of Play: toys and digital cultures [pdf]. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. Please read Part II, section 8 ‘Brand extension and product differentiation’ pp.58-62.

(Section 7 ‘LEGO toys: from wooden blocks to plastic bricks’ pp.50-58. provides a useful history of LEGO and a thoughtful account of the bricks as material technologies so read it as well if you are interested).

“The rule that governs any self-respecting box of old Lego is that it should contain not just single bricks but the exciting debris of half-made projects: a three-wheeled chassis, a robot’s lonely torso, a plastic Piranesi ruin” (Lane 2002).

suggested further reading:

Kline, Stephen. 1993. Out of the Garden: toys, TV, and children’s culture in the age of marketing. London: Verso.

Wolf, Mark J.P. (ed.) 2014. Lego Studies: examining the building blocks of a transmedial phenomenon, New York: Routledge.