An introduction into the field of video games as a cultural practice. How do video games contribute to the (critical) debate on the nature of contemporary culture? We will consider video games through the lens of film and video studies, art history, cultural studies, literary theory, and, of course, game studies. This will allow us to understand different dimensions of video games, but it will also bring out the newness of this new set of media. At the same time, we will explore how games change our understanding of earlier art forms, and earlier ways of studying art. In addition to this inter-medial and interdisciplinary exploration of the new medium, this introductory course will offer a history of video games and game studies. In the introduction and the following courses we will discuss work by o.a. Aarseth, Bogost, Caillois, Consalvo, Friedman, Galloway, Haraway, Hayles, Huizinga, Jameson, Jenkins, Juul, Krzywinska, Manovich, Sicart, and others.
After this course, students have obtained:
a general overview of the history of video games and game studies;
insight in the adequacies and inadequacies of the theoretical approaches developed in relation to earlier media (literature, visual art, film, video) for the analysis of video games;
insight in the older and newly developed theoretical approaches that are necessary to understand the different cultural functions of the (range of) media of video games (as play, narrative medium, educational tool);
knowledge of the main concepts and debates in the field where game studies and cultural analysis meet.
The timetables are available through My Timetable.
Mode of instruction
Written midterm exam (open and closed questions)
Written final exam (open questions)
Written midterm exam 30%
Written final exam 70%
Resit options for both exams
Inspection and feedback
How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.
The reading list will be announced on Brightspace. Short essays that are not available on internet will be placed on Brightspace, longer texts will be available on the “werkgroepenplank” (working group shelves) in the library.
Enrolment through My Studymap (Login | Universiteit Leiden) is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website.
For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.
For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Arsenaal
This course is mandatory for those who follow the minor Game Studies and Cultural Analysis.
For more information please check the website Film- en literatuurwetenschap of the study program Film and Literature Studies.