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Game Studies and Cultural Analysis

Why game studies? For whom?

This minor, which was specifically designed for students who have a marked interest in cultural analysis, explores the cultural aspects of gaming. During this minor we will use interdisciplinary and intermedial approaches to answer the question: what is the cultural role of games?

Literature and film have often been seen as media that offer critical reflections on our times. Do video games also contribute to such a reflection? And if so, in what ways? The emergence of games went hand in hand with a paradigm shift in the humanities that had hitherto focused on questions of representations. The popularity of games invites us to think about the cultural role of play. Gamification has transformed didactical methods; and while games, on the one hand, use the conventions of film, television, comics, literature, etc., on the other hand we can also see that the visual arts, films, and television series have changed under the influence of games. According to the early 20th-century historian Huizinga, play is the very foundation of our culture, but the growing influence of games asks for a contemporary reflection on the relation between games, culture and society. Games seem to speak to the condition of our 21st society in ways no other media can.

The reflection on the relation between media, culture and society, that have a long history in the humanities, form the context for this minor. We will not only discuss video games (in all their various appearances, including critical gaming and serious games) and game studies, but also digital discussion fora, game journals, creative responses such as fanfic, game festivals, etc. Games are a part of a broad intermedial “convergence culture” (Jenkins) in which the difference between producers and consumers begins to fade. To understand this “convergence culture,” and the reciprocal influence between games and older media, we will explore the many intermedial relations between games and comics, films, exhibitions, theatre, musea, and other cultural practices and expressions.

As the minor emphasizes theoretical discussions (in addition to analysis and history), this is a challenging minor. An interest in cultural theory is essential to complete it, just as some preliminary experience with art analysis.

Maximum number of participants:45
Prospectus number: 5000MGSCAN
Class number: 1298
Language: English


Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Semester 1

Introduction Game Studies and Cultural Analysis 10
Games and Transmedia Storytelling 5

Semester 2

Game Analysis: Games and Cultural Analysis 10
Hands-on: Group Assignments 5

More info

Minor: voor Leidse studenten; geen toestemming examencommissie vereist
Omvang: 30 ec
Bedoeld voor: studenten uit alle disciplines
Maximum aantal deelnemers: 35
Voertaal: Engels
Webadres: "keuzeruimte":
Coördinator: dr. I. Hoving
Informatie: "i.hoving" of 071 527 2250
Aanmelding: via "uSis": "Minors in English":

Vakken in de minor:

  • (Interdisciplinary) Introduction Game Studies and Cultural Analysis

  • Transmedia Storytelling

  • Game Analysis: Games and Cultural Analysis (The Elder Scrolls)

  • Hands-on: Group Assignments