Course details

Game Studies

1HS-Z FaVU 1HS-Z Acad. year 2023/2024 Winter semester 3 credits

The course is organized into four-hour classes, which will take place during the semester 7 times, every 14 days. Every four-hour class will include a lecture, followed with a discussion focused on the subject matter.
For each lesson (except for the first one), students will have a task of reading one text (available in electronic form from the study materials), which we later be discussed. For some lessons, some students will also prepare short text (1 to 2 norm pages), which will also serve as a contribution to the discussion.


Language of instruction




Time span

  • 13 hrs lectures
  • 13 hrs seminar



Learning objectives

The course aims at familiarizing students with the main areas of computer game studies. Although game studies are a young science field (their emergence dates back to 2001), several steady currents of research were established already that will be introduce through the course (eg game narratology, psychological, feminist and ideological researches, philosophy of games, etc.).
In this course students will learn:
- to characterize the historical development of thinking about computer games and describe the stages of the emergence of this medium
- to define and analyze the basic specific elements of computer game media
- to use key concepts created and applied within the field of game studies (eg immersion, flow, procedural rhetoric, etc.)
- to analyze computer game media from several general scientific perspectives (gaming psychology, philosophy, aesthetics, narratology, ideology research).

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

An ability to read texts written in English.

Fundamental literature

  • Kennedy, H. 2002. Lara Croft: Feminist Icon or Cyberbimbo. On the Limits of Textual Analysis, in Game Studies 02/2002.
  • (k dispozici je i český překlad)
  • Galloway, A. R. 2006. Gaming: Essays On Algorithmic Culture. Minneapolis: University Of Minnesota Press.
  • Hawisher, G. - Selfe, C. (eds.) Gaming Lives In the Twenty-First Century: Literate Connections,
  • Fernandéz-Vara, C. 2008. Shaping Players Experience in Adventure Games. (nepublikováno)
  • Bogost, I. 2006. Unit Operations. Cambridge: MIT Press.
  • Lowood, H. 2006. A Brief Biography Of Computer Games. In in Vorderer, P. – Bryant, J. (eds.) Playing Video Games:
  • Motives, Responses, and Consequences. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum.
  • Lee, K. M. – Peng, W. 2006. What Do We Know About Social and Psychological Effects of Computer Games? A
  • Comprehensive Review of the Current Literature in Vorderer, P. – Jennings, B. (eds.) 2006) Playing Video Games: Motives,
  • Responses and Consequences. N
  • Jenkins, H. 2004. Game Design as Narrative Architecture in Wardrip-Fruin, N. – Pat Harrigan (eds.) First Person: New
  • Media as Story, Performance, Game. Cambridge: MIT Press.
  • Levy, S. 1984. Hackers. New York: Double Day.
  • Lakoff, G. - Johnson, M. 2002. Metafory, kterými žijeme. Brno: Host.
  • Murray, J. 1999. Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace. Cambridge: MIT Press.
  • Nieborg, D. 2009. Political Economy of Video Games. (disertace)
  • Chaplin, H. – Ruby, A. 2006. Smartbomb: The Quest for Art, Entertainment, and Big Bucks in the Videogame Revolution.
  • New York: Algonquin Books.
  • Bogost, I. 2006. Unit Operations. Cambridge: MIT Press.
  • Newman, J. 2004. Video Games. London: Routledge.
  • Bogost, I. 2006. Comparative Video Game Criticism. In Games And Culture 2006 1:41.
  • Úryvky z knihy Grand Theft Childhood:
  • Článek o Everquest:
  • Eskelinen, M. 2001. The Gaming Situation, in Game Studies 01/2001.
  • Huizinga, J. 2000. Homo ludens: o původu kultury ve hře. Praha: Dauphin.
  • Poole, S. 2004. Trigger Happy. London: Fourth Estate.
  • Lamoureux, M. 8-Bit Primitive: A Hommage to Atari 2600 in Compton, S. (ed.) 2004. Gamers. New York: Soft Skull Press.
  • Klevjer, R. 2008. Avatar. (disertace).
  • %20Avatar_finalprint.pdf
  • Juul, J. 2005. Half-Real: Video Games Between Real Rules and Fictional Worlds. Cambridge: The MIT Press.
  • Williams, D. 2006. A Brief Social History Of Gameplay. In in Vorderer, P. – Bryant, J. (eds.) Playing Video Games: Motives,
  • Responses, and Consequences. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum.
  • Ebert, R. Game vs. Art.
  • Aarseth, E. 1997. Cybertext: Perspectives on Ergodic Literature. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
  • Frasca, G. 2003. Ludologists love stories, too: notes from a debate that never took place.
  • Gee, J. P. 2005. Why video games are good for your soul: pleasure and learning. Altona: Common Ground Publishing.
  • Juul, J. 2007. A Certain Level of Abstraction. In Situated Play: DiGRA 2007 Conference Proceedings, Baba, A., ed. DiGRA Japan
  • Lowood, H. 2005. High Performance Play: The Making Of Machinima in Clarke, A. – Mitchell, G. (eds.). Videogames and
  • Art. Bristol: Intellect.
  • Tolkien, J.R.R. On fairy stories.
  • Hunicke, M. et al. MDA: A Formal Approach to Game Design and Game Research.
  • Friedman, T. 1999. Semiotics of Sim City.
  • Rossignol, J. 2008. This Gaming Life. Digital Culture Books.
  • Caillois, R. 1998. Hry a lidé. Praha: Nakladatelství studia Ypsilon.
  • Csíkszentmihályi, M. 1991. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. Harper.
  • Bogost, I. 2008. Persuasive Games. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Syllabus of lectures

History of Computer Games:
- development of media from the 1950s to the present
- the relationship between computer and classic games
- game genres development
- intertextual and intermedia links and influences
- cultural status and legitimation of games

What is a computer game; game studies emergence:
- definition of games
- game philosophy (Huizinga, Caillois, Sutton-Smith, Sicart, etc.)
- game studies emergence and areas of its interest
- ludology vs. naratology

Game aesthetics - game elements and their effects on players 1:
- game mechanics
- flow
- immersion
- game space
- visuality of games
- game kinaesthetics

Game aesthetics - game elements and their effects on players 2:
- narration
- procedural rhetoric
- self-reflexivity of games
- avatar
- game themes

Technique, production, distribution:
- game economics, gaming industry
- AAA games vs. independent games
- history of game technology
- institutional history

Research (culture and psychology) of players:
- psychology, sociology, (auto) player ethnography
- player typology
- question of dependence
- positive cognitive and therapeutic effects of games
- MMO games as a specific phenomenon
- gaming paratext and player fan practices (letsplaye, cheat, etc.)

Games and society:
- representation of minorities and gender in games
- violence and war games
- games and history representations
- political, educational and generally serious games

Progress assessment

The final grade will be based on the evaluation of two texts - a short text (1-2 "normed" pages) that the students will prepare during the semester, and a final text, with a range of 8 to 10 normed pages. This final text may be either a more general reflection on some of the topics discussed during the semester (e.g. feminist analysis of games, history of the RPG genre, etc.), or an analysis of the particular game chosen by student. Assessment criteria of the final text are: the formal aspects (work with resources, style), argumentation (its logic and persuasiveness) and the originality of its own insights. The grade will be the sum of the short text (30%) and the final text (70%).
Compulsory attendance (how many lessons can be missed will be specified in the beginning of the semester).


Mon seminar odd week 16:0019:509999 1BIA 1BIB 2BIA 2BIB 3BIT xx Buček Předmět je vyučován blokově (liché pondělky) v budově FF MU na Janáčkově náměstí, v učebně N41. Více informací zde:

Course inclusion in study plans

  • Programme BIT, 1st year of study, Elective
  • Programme BIT (in English), 1st year of study, Elective
  • Programme IT-BC-3, field BIT, 1st year of study, Elective
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