Coronavirus (Covid-19) Information

Module UXS-1800:
Game Studies

Module Facts

Run by School of Languages, Literatures, Linguistics and Media

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Dr Eben Muse

Overall aims and purpose

Good game design requires knowing what makes games fun. In this module you will learn core principles and theory of play and games and look at the varieties of play that can be designed in a game. Each week we will play and critially debate influential and successful games, working to understand how rules and mechanics create an immersive, fun experience. We will also consider the aesthetics of the game and the game world, the impact that narrative, character, players, visuals, plot and music all contribute to the game experience. Games are produced to entertain, and they are part of an entertainment industry and a modern gaming society. We will consider the designers role in and responsibility to that industry and society and the ethical issues it raises.

Course content

  • Principles and theory of games and of play
  • Immersion, presence, flow
  • History of video games and video game industry
  • Relationship between games, culture and society
  • Elements of games (narrative, aesthetics, dynamics, mechanics, players and audience)
  • Video game genres

Assessment Criteria


Good (C- to B+)

  • Strong knowledge of key areas/principles
  • Understanding of theoretical underpinnings
  • Evidence of background study
  • Limited original interpretation
  • Well known links between topics are described
  • Problems addressed by existing methods/approaches
  • Good presentation with accurate communication


Excellent (A- to A**)

  • Comprehensive knowledge
  • Detailed understanding
  • Extensive background study
  • Original interpretation
  • New links between topics are developed
  • New approach to a problem
  • Excellent presentation with very accurate communication


Threshold (D- to D+)

  • Knowledge of key areas/principles only
  • Weaknesses in understanding of main areas
  • Limited evidence of background study
  • No original interpretation
  • Only major links between topics are described
  • Limited problem solving
  • Many weaknesses in presentation and accuracy

Learning outcomes

  1. Critically analyse a game in terms of narrative, aesthetics, game play mechanics and audience

  2. Analyse and present a game not studied in class

  3. Recognize the relationship between games, culture and society

  4. Understand and apply basic game principles and theory

  5. Evaluate relation of games to modern history of video games and video game industry

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
INDIVIDUAL PRESENTATION Poster & Presentation 40

Teaching and Learning Strategy


1 hour lecture / seminar discussion every week


Weekly game sessions to play and analyse video gameplay and design, applying theory from lectures and seminars to published games

Private study

Researching weekly topics and team preparation for seminar leading


2 hour weekly workshop playing and analyzing group games


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting


Resource implications for students

There are no special costs for students on this module, but students are encouraged to buy the core texts.

Talis Reading list

Reading list

Core texts

Fullerton, T. (2014) Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games. Boca Rotan, FL: CRC Press.

Salen, K & Zimmerman, E. (2003) Rules of Play. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press

Pre- and Co-requisite Modules

Pre-requisite of:

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: