Game Studies readings: basic, advanced, additional

This is a growing list of readings I recommend for students interested in exploring digital games. This is just a start, more readings will be added…

basic readings

Bogost, Ian. 2007. Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press. Cite
Caillois, Roger. 1961. Man, Play, and Games. New York: Free Press of Glencoe. Cite
Castronova, Edward. 2008. Exodus to the Virtual World: How Online Fun Is Changing Reality. First St. Martin’s Griffin paperback edition. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin. Cite
Consalvo, Mia. 2007. Cheating: Gaining Advantage in Videogames. Cambridge (Mass): MIT Press. Cite
Dyer-Witheford, Nick, and Greig De Peuter. 2009. Games of Empire: Global Capitalism and Video Games. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Cite
Flanagan, Mary. 2009. Critical Play: Radical Game Design. Cambridge/Massachusetts: The MIT Press. Cite
Galloway, Alexander R. 2006. Gaming: Essays on Algorithmic Culture. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Cite
Huizinga, Johan. 1970. Homo Ludens. London: Temple Smith. Cite
Inoue [井上], Akito [明人]. 2012. ゲーミフィケーション [Gēmifikēshon]. Tokyo: NHK Shuppan [NHK 出版]. Cite
Juul, Jesper. 2005. Half-Real: Video Games between Real Rules and Fictional Worlds. Cambridge (Mass.)/London: The MIT Press. Cite
Kline, Stephen, Nick Dyer-Witheford, and Greig De Peuter. 2003. Digital Play. The Interaction of Technology, Culture and Marketing. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press. Cite
Pearce, Celia. 2011. Communities of Play. Cambridge (MA): The MIT Press. Cite
Wardrip-Fruin, Noah, and Pat Harrigan, eds. 2004. First Person: New Media as Story, Performance, and Game. Cambridge (Mass): MIT Press. Cite
中川 [Nakagawa], 大地 [Daichi]. 2016. 現代ゲーム全史. Tokyo: 早川書房 [Hayakawa shobō]. Cite
小林[Kobayashi], 信重 [Nobushige], ed. 2020. デジタルゲーム研究入門. Tokyo: ミネルヴァ書房. Cite
松永 [Matsunaga], 伸司 [Shinji]. 2018. ビデオゲームの美学. Tokyo: 慶應義塾大学出版会. Cite

advanced readings

Embrick, David G., J. Talmadge Wright, and András Lukács. 2012. Social Exclusion, Power and Video Game Play : New Research in Digital Media and Technology. Lanham, Mdetc: Lexington Books. Cite
Kirkpatrick, Graeme. 2013. Computer Games and the Social Imaginary. Cambridge (UK): Polity Press. Cite
Nakazawa [中沢], Shin’ichi [新一], and Daichi [大地] Nakagawa [中川], eds. 2019. ゲーム学の新時代. Tokyo: NTT Shuppan [NTT 出版]. Cite
Nicoll, Benjamin, and Brendan Keogh. 2019. The Unity Game Engine and the Circuits of Cultural Software. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan. Cite
Nihon kigō gakkai [日本記号学会], ed. 2014. ゲーム化する世界 コンピュータゲームの記号論[Gēmuka Suru Sekai - Konpyūta Gēmu No Kigōron]. 2nd ed. Tokyo: Shinyōsha [新曜社]. Cite
Schrank, Brian. 2014. Avant-Garde Videogames. Cambridge (Mass) / London: The MIT Press. Cite
Shaw, Adrienne. 2015. Gaming at the Edge: Sexuality and Gender at the Margins of Gamer Culture. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Cite
Sicart, Miguel. 2014. Play Matters. Cambridge, UNITED STATES: MIT Press. Cite
Sutton-Smith, Brian. 1997. The Ambiguity of Play. Cambridge (Mass) / London: Harvard University Press. Cite
Taylor, T. L. 2018. Watch Me Play: Twitch and the Rise of Game Live Streaming. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press. Cite
Wright, Talmadge, David G. Embrick, and András Lukács, eds. 2010. Utopic Dreams and Apocalyptic Fantasies: Critical Approaches to Researching Video Game Play. Lanham / Plymouth: Lexington Press. Cite
松井[Matsui] 広志[Hiroshi], 井口[Iguchi] 貴紀[Takanori], 大石[Ōishi] 真澄[Masumi], 秦[Hata] 美香子[Mikako], eds. 2019. 多元化するゲーム文化と社会[Diversifying game culture and society]. Tachikawa: ニューゲームズオーダー[New Games Order]. Cite

additional readings

Castell, Suzanne de, and Jennifer Jenson, eds. 2007. Worlds in Play. Vol. 21. New Literacies and Digital Epistemologies. New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien: Peter Lang. Cite
Haraway, Donna J. 1991. “A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century.” In Simians, Cyborgs, and Women, by Donna J. Haraway, 149–81. New York: Routledge. Cite
Henricks, Thomas S. 2015. Play and the Human Condition. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. Cite
Walz, Steffen P., and Sebastian Deterding, eds. 2014. The Gameful World: Approaches, Issues, Applications. Cambridge (Mass): The MIT Press. Cite

Game Studies journals

If you are researching digital games, there are many resources to consider when identifying the state of research with regards to a particular topic. Here is a tentative list, which I hope to update over [English]

Replaying Japan [English/Japanese]

Journal of Sound and Music in Games [English]

Transactions of the Digital Games Research Association [English]

Games and Culture [English]

Eludamos: Journal for Computer Game Culture [English]

Paidia [German]

日本シミュレーション&ゲーミング [Japanese]

デジタルゲーム学研究 [Japanese]

Japanese Visual Media Graph

Role: Co-PI
Duration: 2019 – 2022
Funding: DFG (German Research Foundation)

Visit the project website:

JVMG collaborates with enthusiastic fan communities, aiming to create a research resource on Japanese visual media, including, but not limited to anime, manga, computer games and visual novels. In the process, we also evaluate and conduct research on the data. The intended users of the resources are researchers in Japan Studies and Media Studies who focus on modern media and its expressions, themes, topics, characters and reception. We envision a graph-based, highly interconnected database structure, similar to the Google knowledge graph, that is combined with a flexible search interface and analytic tools.

Databased Infrastructure for Global Games Culture Research (2017-2019)

Role: Co-PI
Duration: 2017 – 2019
Funding: DFG (German Research Foundation)

Visit the project website:

diggr (Databased Infrastructure for Global Games Culture Research) a collaborative research project funded by DFG and conducted by Leipzig University Library (UBL) and Japanese Studies (Institute of East Asian Studies) of Leipzig University. During the first project phase from 2017 to 2019, our research focusses on Japanese videogames in the context of global resp. globalized videogame culture. Our multidisciplinary team (Information Science, Librarianship, Cultural Studies, Japanese Studies) integrates expertise in data management with research of humanities scholars. The project’s goal is to answer various research questions by building a data-driven research infrastructre that uses Linked Open Data among other technologies.