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Introduction Game Studies and Cultural Analysis


Admission requirements

Not applicable


An introduction into the field of video games as a cultural practice. How do video games contribute to the (critical) debate on the nature of contemporary culture? We will consider video games through the lens of film and video studies, art history, cultural studies, literary theory, and, of course, game studies. This will allow us to understand different dimensions of video games, but it will also bring out the newness of this new set of media. At the same time, we will explore how games change our understanding of earlier art forms, and earlier ways of studying art. In addition to this inter-medial and interdisciplinary exploration of the new medium, this introductory course will offer a history of video games and game studies. In the introduction and the following courses we will discuss work by o.a. Aarseth, Bogost, Caillois, Consalvo, Friedman, Galloway, Haraway, Hayles, Huizinga, Jameson, Jenkins, Juul, Krzywinska, Manovich, Sicart, and others.

Course objectives

After this course, students have obtained

  • a general overview of the history of video games and game studies;

  • insight in the adequacies and inadequacies of the theoretical approaches developed in relation to earlier media (literature, visual art, film, video) for the analysis of video games;

  • insight in the older and newly developed theoretical approaches that are necessary to understand the different cultural functions of the (range of) media of video games (as play, narrative medium, educational tool);

  • knowledge of the main concepts and debates in the field where game studies and cultural analysis meet.



Mode of instruction


Assessment method

Written midterm exam (30%) (open and closed questions), written final exam (open questions) (70%).


Blackboard will be used to provide students with additional information/reading material

Reading list

The reading list will be announced on Blackboard. Short essays that are not available on internet will be placed on Blackboard, longer texts will be available on the “werkgroepenplank” (working group shelves) in the library.


Students should register through uSis. Exchange students cannot register through uSis, but must see the director of studies and register with her. If you have any questions, please contact the departmental office, tel. 071 527 2251 or mail.

Contact information

Coordinator Ms I.Hoving


For more information please check the website of Film- en literatuurwetenschap