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Game Studies and Cultural Analysis

How do games work? How do you make them? And how do games make us and our societies and cultures?

This minor will provide you with both the perspective and practice to give your own answers to these questions. During this Minor you will gain a wide range of critical, interdisciplinary and analytical skills to grapple with these complex, interactive media. At the end of this Minor, you will have a theoretical and methodological toolset that can also be used to understand media and digital culture more broadly.

You will learn to communicate that knowledge clearly in both traditional and new forms of academic output, including essays, game reviews, podcasting and, of course, your self-made games. Next to giving you space to develop independently; this Minor also teaches you how to be an active and effective member of a project team.

Is this for me?

Yes! If you:

  • are excited to learn more about games (but you don’t need to be a Gamer to enjoy this minor)

  • are looking for education that balances theory and practice.

  • want to be part of an interdisciplinary community and creative field.

This means your peers in this programme will come from a wide range of backgrounds, providing the right context for an interdisciplinary study of games. Courses are, similarly, taught by a diverse and supportive group of educators, involving game studies scholars and other Humanities experts as well as game development courses by members of the Computer Science Institute. Furthermore, several of the lecturers work in the game industry or in close connection with this creative professional field.

What does this look like in practice?

The Leiden University Game Studies-minor is unique in bringing together game making and analyses. Games are not just the omnipresent, defining media of our times; they also speak to the condition of our digital society in unique ways. This programme offers you the building blocks you need to become a game critic. More and more, game critics are needed to unravel the cultural and social roles of games and play more broadly. Their versatile skillset and knowledge of digital culture and media also fits a wide range of academic and other professional futures.

Designing a game contributes a lot to understanding their nature, which is why this Minor also offers different opportunities to obtain skills in game making. Students of the Humanities, Social Sciences and (Computer) Sciences can collectively create either a game prototype or a working computer game. You will be able to take a course in game making first or you may be interested in learning more about how storytelling in games works.

You can put your new-won skills and insights to work during a 10 ec hands-on course to make a game that reflects on societal and cultural issues. Alternatively, you can dig deep into some of the most beloved game series of our time, learning how to handle advanced concepts and analytic methods at the same time. The shared aim of all courses, both the theoretical and the hands-on courses, is the deconstruction of the medium of computer games.

Design your own Minor

All students can now design their own 30 or 31 ec-minor, by selecting courses from the programme. Note that the Introductory course (10 EC) and the Beyond Games course (5 EC) are mandatory. EUR/TU Delft-students who opt for a 15 or 16 EC programme during the first semester do not have to follow Beyond Games (5 EC).

Maximum number of participants: 45

Prospectus number: 5000MGSCAN

Class number: 7834

Language: English

Registration: via EduXchange

LEI students 8 May to 15 July 2023

TUD and EUR students 8 May to 31 May 2023


Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Verplichte vakken

Introduction to Game Studies 10
Beyond Games: Ludic Culture in a Comparative, Intermedia Perspective 5

Gebonden keuzevakken

Introduction to Video Game Making 6
Storytelling and Generative Narratology 5
Game Analysis 10
Hands-On: Reflective Game Development in Action 10

Meer info


  • Extent: 30 or 31ec (from offer of 46 ec, spread over two semesters)

  • Intended for: students from all disciplines

  • Language of instruction: English

  • Website: elective credits

  • Coordinator: Angus Mol

  • More information: Angus Mol and Coordinator of Studies Maria Dijkgraaf

  • Board of examiners: Literatuur- en Mediawetenschappen

  • Education Committee: BA Film- en literatuurwetenschap

  • Registration:
    LEI students 8 May to 15 July 2023
    TUD and EUR students 8 May to 31 May 2023
    Register for the minor activity via EduXchange (applies to all students)
    From July, register separately for the courses via MyStudymap (only applies to LEI students).

Follow-on master’s programme
People who graduated with this minor will find their skills and knowledge is relevant preparation for a wide range of Masters. In addition, A Play and Game Studies Master is currently in development at Leiden University (with a tentative start in September 2026).


Courses in the minor:

  • Introduction to Game Studies (10 ects, mandatory

  • Introduction to Video Game Making (6 ects)

  • Storytelling and Generative Narratology in Games (5 ects)

  • Beyond Games: Ludic Culture in a Comparative, Intermedia Perspective (5 ects), mandatory

  • Game Analysis: Deep Dives in Two Game Series (10 ects)

  • Hands-On: Reflective Game Development in Action (10 ects)