Module details for Game Studies and Criticism


In recent years, the democratisation of games technologies has made entry into game development easier and cheaper, resulting in a broader range of creative and experimental games that explore ethical, social, and cultural issues. As the breadth of game themes and topics expands, there is a growing need for game designers to demonstrate an awareness of pertinent theories, concepts, and models that could inform their practice. This module is designed to introduce students to game studies as a meta-discipline. Students will learn how to analyse and critique games and interactive media.


The aim of this Module is to provide the student with a foundation in the concepts, issues, and texts for the study of games and related cultural forms, so that they can form and disseminate cogent analyses and critiques.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module the student should be able to:

1.  Understand the history and important theories of play and games

2.  Identify texts appropriate to the meta-discipline of game studies and apply reading to the analysis of games

3.  Develop and disseminate a critical argument appropriate to the subject domain

Indicative Content

1 Theories of play and games

Through a series of lectures and presentations, students will be familiarized with the important theories of play and games most often cited in game scholarship.

2 Critical theory and analysis

Through a series of lectures and readings, students will be familiarised with theories for the analysis of cultural forms, including aesthetic theory and reception theory, useful for the analysis and criticism of games.

3 Histories of games

Through lectures, readings and film screening, students will learn various models of game history, from technological and techno-social through genre-specific and conceptual histories.

4 Culture and politics of games

In discussion groups and through appropriate readings, students will become familiar with contemporary issues in representation and inclusion in cultures of digital gaming.

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Teaching and Learning Method Hours
Lecture 12
Tutorial/Seminar 12
Practical Activity 0
Assessment 88
Independent 88
Total 200

Guidance notes

SCQF Level - The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework provides an indication of the complexity of award qualifications and associated learning and operates on an ascending numeric scale from Levels 1-12 with SCQF Level 10 equating to a Scottish undergraduate Honours degree.

Credit Value – The total value of SCQF credits for the module. 20 credits are the equivalent of 10 ECTS credits. A full-time student should normally register for 60 SCQF credits per semester.


We make every effort to ensure that the information on our website is accurate but it is possible that some changes may occur prior to the academic year of entry. The modules listed in this catalogue are offered subject to availability during academic year 2021/22 , and may be subject to change for future years.