This page brings together links to articles, conference papers and presentations.

Click on the arrows below for abstracts and more information.

2017

This article presents a critical account of the impact that electronic sports has on human psychology. It argues that the pressures and demands of professional computer gaming orientate human cognition towards instrumental thinking, which in turn, feeds the exploitative ‘dog-eat-dog’ world of eSports. The article presents a number of case studies to show how treating play like work ‘corrupts’ the values that players attach to games plausibly leading to a) unhealthy behaviour in the form of obsession and/or b) risky, illegal behaviour, in the form of match-fixing. In the case of the latter, it is suggested that cheating can be considered as ‘survival strategy’ within such a highly competitive working environment.Read a preprint version here.
This article considers how people derive satisfaction and motivation from the more negative aspects of video gameplay, particularly failure and loss. It argues that overcoming challenges in games is deeply rewarding, and may even help people deal with personal psychological issues, like anxiety or OCD. The article then extends this discussion to consider how typically problematic aspects of online gaming, e.g., ‘trolling’, can be rewarding through the creation of moments of cathartic laughter, which serve an important sociological purpose: to create and maintain social relationships.
This article discusses the ways in which esports blurs the distinction between play and work by changing how players value the goals of gaming.Read the full article here..
This paper, delivered at the annual conference of the International Society for the Study of Narrative (Lexington, 2017) investigates the immersive properties of contemporary board games. Approaching 'Dead of Winter' and 'Zombies!!!' through the lens of video games studies, it argues that analogue games afford unique possibilities for immersive game play.Read this on academia.edu here.

2016

This essay argues that the second-person address of the interactive adventure gamebook generates a mode of identification between reader (player) and character that functions not through immersion or presence but through an estranging logic that arises from the particular affordances of the print form. It begins by situating the gamebook, an influential but short-lived genre that enjoyed its heyday in the 1980s and early 1990s, in relation to other forms of second-person narrative as well as Interactive Fiction and video games, before turning to a consideration of the points at which the forms diverge. Taking Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone’s The Warlock of Firetop Mountain (1982) as its example, the essay then examines the ways in which the gamebook’s highly-demanding print form undermines notions of transparency, arguing that identification with the gamebook you is specific to, and reliant upon, the material properties of the print text.Read a preprint version on eSpace here.
Do you get your theoretical perspectives and your epistemologies in a twist? Perplexed by the seemingly millions of research methods out there? How about your students? ‘SOTL’ (Scholarship of Teaching and Learning) is a learning and teaching game played in pairs or groups to create fictional research projects. Players must convince their peers that their plan is well thought out, and the highest peer rating wins! This set of rules is offered here under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
This presentation involved playing a bespoke role-playing game, the purpose of which was to encourage participants to discuss local issues in relation to climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies. A link to the resources for the game can be found here. Please get in contact if you would like to use or adapt this game in any way for your own teaching or research purposes, as we would be very happy to provide further materials.
Paul Virilio’s work on dromology provides a model of a political economy. Called the “dromoeconomic” system, it incorporates aspects of temporality, consumption, and technology, arguably three of the core factors for consideration of the future organization of human societies. Durational factors manifest in issues of health, education, governance, and data. Consumption facilitates the politics of resource and territorial management; technology controls communication and transmission of energy at its base forms into the complexities of every facet of life. Living in a dromoeconomy means negotiating a material field created by the speeds of the global objects of communication. This article focuses on one aspect of the dromoeconomy, the users and producers of this system, the “dromospheric generation.” It explores the generation of the 2000s, users of screen-based digital technologies, in particular focusing on the digital child (“digi-child”) as the model information worker whose operational skills of “transmission” through game play are producing the material grounds of the future by transmitting energy in the dromoeconomy.Read the full paper here.

2015

Paul Virilio’s work on dromology provides a model of a political economy. Called the “dromoeconomic” system, it incorporates aspects of temporality, consumption, and technology, arguably three of the core factors for consideration of the future organization of human societies. Durational factors manifest in issues of health, education, governance, and data. Consumption facilitates the politics of resource and territorial management; technology controls communication and transmission of energy at its base forms into the complexities of every facet of life. Living in a dromoeconomy means negotiating a material field created by the speeds of the global objects of communication. This article focuses on one aspect of the dromoeconomy, the users and producers of this system, the “dromospheric generation.” It explores the generation of the 2000s, users of screen-based digital technologies, in particular focusing on the digital child (“digi-child”) as the model information worker whose operational skills of “transmission” through game play are producing the material grounds of the future by transmitting energy in the dromoeconomy.Read the full paper here.
Increasingly prevalent educational discourses promote the use of video games in schools and universities. At the same time, populist discourses persist, particularly in print media, which condemn video games because of putative negative effects on behaviour and socialisation. These contested discourses, we suggest, influence the acceptability of games and limit critical analysis of their effectiveness as pedagogic tools. This article focuses on the representation of video games in media discourse. We present insights from a small-scale study of the construction of video game discourses in the UK print media in 2013, and discuss three areas that emerged. First, the assumptions inherent in the representation of the ‘video game’; second, the implied lack of agency in the behaviour of ‘the gamer’; and third, the way in which blame is manipulated. Finally, we consider the implications for game-based education.

2014

Digital Games and Learning: Research and Theory provides a clear and concise critical theoretical overview of the field of digital games and learning from a cross-disciplinary perspective. Taking into account research and theory from areas as varied as computer science, psychology, education, neuroscience, and game design, this book aims to synthesise work that is relevant to the study of games and learning. It focuses on four aspects of digital games: games as active learning environments, games as motivational tools, games as playgrounds, and games as learning technologies, and explores each of these areas in detail.

2013

A growing interest in the use of games-based approaches for learning has been tempered in many sectors by budget or time constraints associated with the design and development of detailed digital simulations and other high-end approaches. However, a number of practitioners and small creative groups have used low-cost, traditional approaches to games in learning effectively – involving simple card, board or indoor/outdoor activity games. New Traditional Games for Learning brings together examples of this approach, which span continents (UK, western and eastern Europe, the US, and Australia), sectors (education, training, and business) and learner styles or ages (primary through to adult and work-based learning or training). Together, the chapters provide a wealth of evidence-based ideas for the teacher, tutor, or trainer interested in using games for learning, but turned off by visible high-end examples.