Course details

Digital Games Critical Analyses

1KADH-L FaVU 1KADH-L Acad. year 2023/2024 Summer semester 3 credits

The course introduces the issue of digital games from the perspective of semiotics and cultural studies. Combines lectures with active student input based on home preparation.


Language of instruction




Time span

  • 26 hrs lectures



Learning objectives

The aim of the course is to acquaint students with the semiotic essentials, critical theory and possibilities of digital game analysis as a formal system of signs, or as a cultural phenomenon. During the lectures and seminars, students will learn to understand game as a set of codes, and after the lessons, they will be able to interpret single game, and also digital games as whole, in media, cultural and political context.
After successfully finishing this course, students will be able to:
1) Recognize various meaning carying elements in the game;
2) Analyze digital games as meaningful cultural artifacts;
3) Explain the way computer games work as a medium, their affordances and limitations;
4) Discuss the ideology and bias built in games' rule systems and representations.
5) Form opinions on the current state of the medium of the digital game;
6) Interpret games in terms of their narratives and game mechanics.

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

Ability to read texts in English. Interest in digital games.

Fundamental literature

  • BOGOST, Ian. Persuasive games : the expressive power of videogames. 1st MIT Press pbk. ed. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2010. xii, 450. ISBN 9780262026147.
  • SICART, Miguel. The ethics of computer games. London: MIT Press, 2009. 264 s. ISBN 9780262012652.
  • Gamingessays on algorithmic culture. Edited by Alexander R. Galloway. London: University of Minnesota Press, 2006. xiii, 143. ISBN 9780816648511.
  • JUUL, Jesper. Half-real : video games between real rules and fictional worlds. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2005. ix, 233. ISBN 0262101106.
  • TEKINBAŞ, Katie Salen a Eric ZIMMERMAN. Rules of play : game design fundamentals. London: MIT, 2004. xv, 672. ISBN 0262240459.
  • MURRAY, Janet Horowitz. Hamlet on the holodeck : the future of narrative in cyberspace. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 1998. xii, 324. ISBN 0262631873.

Syllabus of lectures

1. Introduction.
2. Games as an object of study. Cultural studies and critical analysis of games.
3. Videogames industry and its kontext in view of cultural studies. Videogames ingustry as post-industrial cultural form.
4. Videogames journalism I. Ideal review (homework assignment).
5. Videogames journalism II.
6. Transtextuality and fandom.
7. Fans as a postmodern subculture - and its development in time.
8. Ideology in games.
9. Gamers and status quo vs. subversion in games.
10. Gender representation, gender stereotypes and sexuality in games.
11. Identity and multiculturalism. Identity representation in games.
12. Diegesis and metagames

Progress assessment

A final grade consists of three parts:
- 3 papers (summaries of selected texts from reccommended literature)
- oral presentation of project
- final paper.

Minimal requirement is 60 % from each part.
Povinná docházka (tolerované množství absencí upřesněno v úvodu semestru).


Mon lecture 4., 6., 8., 10., 12. of lectures 16:0019:509999 1BIA 1BIB 2BIA 2BIB 3BIT xx Buček rozvrh bude upřesněn před začátkem letního semestru:

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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