Games and Gaming

Director: Timothy Peacock

Co-directors: Dimitra Fimi, Jane Draycott, Mark Wong and Matthew Barr

The Games and Gaming Lab promotes cross-disciplinary research into Games and Gaming, from Tabletop to Electronic media, from Children to Adults, and across time periods from Ancient to Modern, Fantasy, and Futuristic.

We have over 300 members (staff and students) across all four Colleges at Glasgow University, at universities internationally, and in companies/organisations.

If you would like to get in contact to enquire about current or potential projects, lab membership, or any other aspect relating to our work, please email:

Please see below for a list of Games and Gaming Lab events, past and present. You can also find us on Twitter at @UofGGamesLab, or see our blog at


Project HeritAIge

Project HeritAIge posterProject HeritAIge, led by Dr Tim Peacock, is a cross-disciplinary research initiative exploring new potential ways of using AI to translate cultural heritage sites into research-informed historical video games, working with St Giles Cathedral.

This project aims to provide wider benefit, including improving game-based interaction with cultural heritage, particularly for communities globally without physical access.

The initiative also seeks to explore ethical and ‘Responsible AI’ use in these types of gaming research and engagement projects through this pilot collaboration.

Project HeritAIge consists of two phases:

1) A 3-month Interface-funded pilot project, providing foundations for this initiative by exploring new ways AI may be used in supporting the processes underpinning such heritage video games, examining opportunities and challenges and potential ways of ensuring ‘Responsible AI’ use in this field.

2) The main project, beginning autumn 2023, a test case working with St Giles Cathedral and Education Evolved Ltd, will draw on the pilot project, historical data, artifacts, and cultural knowledge to develop a freely-available historical video game of St Giles Cathedral (funded by Glasgow University Knowledge Exchange Funding and by St Giles Cathedral).

This collaboration is aligned with St Giles’ 900th anniversary in 2024, transforming their rich cultural history into an engaging and accessible educational experience.

The work builds on Dr Peacock’s AI and heritage game design research, and on St Giles Cathedral’s mission to expand their reach to a broader audience. Dr Peacock has been working with St Giles since they approached him via Interface (May 2022).

Join us for one of the initial project workshops in the Advanced Research Centre (ARC), Friday 29 September 1-4 pm or Friday 6 October, 1-4 pm, which will include showcasing of work from the 3-month Interface-funded pilot project, and opportunities to discuss potential creative new uses/implications for AI in cross-disciplinary research. Sign up is essential. A sandwich lunch and afternoon tea/coffee will be provided.

To sign up for one of the workshops, contact or for further information on the project, contact

Innovators Assemble

SEvEN Voices, One Future - Video Game

Innovators AssembleUsing Gaming and Game Development to Accelerate Business Engagement, Commercialisation, and Innovation in SHAPE (INASSEM)

The ‘Innovators Assemble’ (INASSEM) project is an academic-industry-community partnership that promotes gaming and game development as a pathway for researchers to pursue innovation and further academics’ engagement with industry and communities.

INASSEM is hosted by UofG’s Games and Gaming Lab, and led by Dr Mark Wong, Dr Tim Peacock, Dr Helen Mullen, Rachel Porteous, and Lauren Watson at University of Glasgow, partnering with Glasgow-based tech start-up Education Evolved, Ethnic Minority Environmental Network, digital designer the Floating Designer, and Glasgow’s Games and Gaming Lab.

SEvEN – Seven Voices, One Future is developed by INASSEM, funded by the Aspect Network’s Innovation Fellowship, with funds from Research England, and the ESRC Impact Acceleration Account award.

This futuristic new video game amplifies Minoritised Ethnic voices and traditional ecological knowledge in a sustainable Scotland.

Set in the Western Scottish Highlands in the year 2045, SEvEN features the voices of seven Minoritised Ethnic people. Players will get to discover seven narratives and mini-games created based on real-life climate actions led by Minoritised Ethnic-led organisations and initiatives across Scotland. The characters in the game are voiced by and created in the likeness of real Minoritised Ethnic people in Scotland.

Players are encouraged to learn about the importance of Traditional Ecological Knowledge and individual and community actions that can create bigger change by working together, whilst experiencing the viewpoint of a Minoritised Ethnic person on climate actions that help improve biodiversity and reducing our impact on the environment.

The game will be publicly available online after its launch on 19 May 2023, and free to play on any web browser, designed to be accessible to all, including non-gamers.

Find out more about the project on our latest video or follow #InnovatorsAssemble on Twitter and LinkedIn. Check out what our partners have said so far about the project on: EMEN LinkedIn, TwitterEducation Evolved LinkedIn, Twitter, Floating Designer Twitter.

SEvEN game


Project Minecraft Ellisland – Robert Burns’ farm in Minecraft

Students and academics at the University of Glasgow working with the Robert Burns Ellisland Trust have helped to faithfully recreate, in Minecraft, the 18th-century farm as Burns and his family knew it, releasing the model publicly in July 2022.

The Minecraft Ellisland project was led by Lab Co-Directors Dr Timothy Peacock and Dr Matthew Barr, working with Glasgow University’s Minecraft Society.

The project is a partnership between the University, Robert Burns Ellisland Trust which runs Ellisland Museum and Farm and The South of Scotland Destination Alliance (SSDA), put in contact with the University by Interface. It was funded through the Scottish Government’s Tourism Leadership & Recovery Fund to support business and community-led tourism enterprises taking the lead in the sector’s COVID-19 recovery.

The Minecraft Ellisland model itself is available to download for free from the website of the Robert Burns Ellisland Trust via this web page.

In order to access Minecraft Ellisland you will need to have a Microsoft account and buy Minecraft on that account in order to be able to play it. Minecraft Ellisland is for the Minecraft: Java Edition which is compatible with both laptop and desktops. A mobile version of Minecraft Ellisland and an Education Edition version are in development.

Further information about the project is available at (including the full text press release):

Project Gamestorm - Gaming new approaches to Global Challenges

We were excited to launch 'Project Gamestorm' in January 2022, a cross-college initiative involving Arts, Social Sciences, and Science and Engineering. It is led by Lab Co-Director Tim Peacock as Principal Investigator, with Co-Investigators Matt Barr (Lab Co-Director), Kezia Dugdale, and Mark Wong.

Gamestorm, funded by the Reinvigorating Research scheme, builds on Projects AWARE, Tempest, and GWI/Damocles. It will involve investigating new ways of combining game formats from tabletop wargaming to video games in order to 'game' responses to Global Challenges.

Our first investigation will be into 'gaming' nuclear environmental clean-up, from power plant waste and nuclear test fallout to currently orbiting nuclear-powered satellites, with the aim of developing holistic, environmental-centred game approaches, including with regard to the impacts of radiation on the climate, drawing on our COP26/Dear Green Bothy projects.

We aim to bring together a wide range of external partners including in academia, defence, heritage organisations, and games companies/networks, working with Glasgow scholars in nuclear, space, wargaming, computer gaming, urban studies, and policymaking among other disciplines, to run workshops at the University's Advanced Research Centre (ARC) in the coming months.

This phase will be building towards a large UKRI grant bid to support further research into the project.

If anyone would like further information on this project, contact Tim Peacock -

A range of external and internal Gamestorm participants came together in a workshop in Glasgow University’s Advanced Research Centre (ARC) on 16 June.

Project AWARE and Tempest


Project AWARE (Access to Wargaming in Education) is led by Lab Co-Director Dr Tim Peacock as PI, and Dr Matthew Barr as Co-I, involving 3 Colleges, multiple Subjects, and internal/external partners, including being supported by the Learning and Teaching Development Fund (LTDF), IMSISS and GLOCAL Erasmus Mundus programmes, and 'The Dear Green Bothy'.

The team includes over 20 student research assistants, interns, and software developers, as well as other members from different projects attached to the Lab.

AWARE's purpose is to investigate areas including the methods of co-creation for educational (war)games, the transferability of such methods across Subjects, the development of supporting software, and in-person/online transferability. The project draws on NATO wargaming expertise, and other ongoing initiatives led by Dr Peacock which are connected to GGLab and to the Scottish Centre for War Studies and Conflict Archaeology.

A significant initiative within AWARE is Project Tempest, an environmental wargame being developed for Glasgow University's 'The Dear Green Bothy' programme of events around COP26. Tempest will involve a custom-created crisis wargame, flooding the city of Glasgow virtually and having students from different postgraduate programmes act as decision-makers responding to the crisis.

For further information about these projects, contact Tim Peacock -


Photo after a playthrough of the Project Tempest environmental wargame in July 2022.

Project GALLOP

Project GALLOP (Gaming Afterlives Learning Legacy Operation) examines the longer-term research impacts and educational impacts of gaming research and engagement projects at Glasgow.

This ongoing work takes place through a combination of online monitoring, charting dissemination and usage of resources produced through projects, and maintaining contact with former project participants, including through follow-up interviews.


The Scottish Games Ecosystem

This project investigates the challenges facing Scotland’s games industry.  It was undertaken by a team from University of Glasgow and University of Stirling, in collaboration with the Scottish Games Network (SGN) and InGAME, with support from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Impact Acceleration Account and ASPECT.

An ecosystem-based approach has been adopted, drawing on data from the following sources:

  • organisational statistics about companies and HE/FE organisations, collated by SGN from secondary data.
  • industry challenges data from SGN and InGAME, collated from an industry survey and workshops with key industry stakeholders.
  • two workshops with representatives from games clusters in Europe, North America, Australia and UK, identifying good practice in games industry development.

Led by Lab member Dr Helen Mullen (Adam Smith Business School) with Lauren Watson and Dr Matthew Barr (School of Computing Science), the team presented a briefing paper at the Scottish Parliament in October 2022, with a peer-reviewed research paper to follow in 2023.

Ecosystem Parliamentary presentation



Playtesting Opportunities

Playtesters…Your Gaming Lab needs you!

UofGGamesLab supports the creation of research-led games across different projects by staff and students, including in the provision of playtesters – people to play and provide feedback on prototype games, ranging from tabletop to electronic.

If you are a student or staff member interested in current playtests, or would like to be kept up to date about participating in future playtesting, contact us at


2024 Events

Robert Burns Minecraft (Ellisland Farm) Mobile/Education Editions (launching 22 January 2024)

In autumn 2022, Minecraft Ellisland was launched, a free to play research-led historical Minecraft version of Robert Burns' farm at Ellisland.

Today, (just in time for Burns' Night!) we're launching a Mobile edition which will work on mobile and portable devices that have Minecraft installed, as well as an Education edition for schools.

The PC, Mobile and Education Editions (all free to download) can be accessed via this link - Explore Ellisland.

The original and extended projects were led by Tim Peacock as PI and Matthew Barr as Co-I (further information on the project being available here) and were developed in collaboration with Glasgow University Minecraft Society, Ellisland Trust and South of Scotland Destination Alliance.

Game Research Reading Group - Youth, Gaming & Family Relationship (hybrid meeting - 2 February)

Forwarding from the Game Research Reading Group, involving students from Glasgow and GSA:

"Our next [hybrid] reading group meeting will be on the 2nd of February (Friday), 2:30-3:30 pm, Room 3104, Advanced Research Centre (ARC)". [...]

 [Following an initial catchup] For the second half of the meeting, our member Dajun Wang (PGR), from Urban Studies (College of Social Science), will give us a presentation about his PhD research with the theme "Youth, Gaming and Family Relationship". 

 In his words, he particularly wants to interrogate the questions, including "What are the gaming behaviours of youth?" "What are the parents' reactions to young mobile gaming?" and "How to improve the relationship between youth and parents on the mobile game situation?". [...]"

 This postgraduate Reading Group, aims "to help upcoming and early-stage researchers on games to get better at their research life" and to "boost our confidence in [our] research".

If you would like to be added to the mailing list, and/or to receive hybrid links for the above event, and/or to explore giving a presentation/arrange a reading group session, contact:

Using Games as/for Research - Innovative Methods Seminar (online) (23rd February 2024 at 1 pm)


We all play games, whether consciously for entertainment and education, or in interacting with digital systems that increasingly ‘gamify’ modern society, hinting towards an unseen future ‘metaverse’. However, how may we further use video games and simulations as research tools? University of Glasgow Games and Gaming Lab runs or hosts different cross-college projects promoting research into games themselves, but also into finding new ways of translating research and data into game form, or using games as innovative research tools. Whether modelling space missions or gaming the effects of generative AI, what are some possibilities and challenges posed by games? Equally, how may our uses of ‘history’ in such games critically change our ways of approaching future simulations? [Speaker: Tim Peacock. Hosted by the Digital Society and Economy Interdisciplinary Research Theme at the University of Glasgow.]"

Further details and booking here:

International Women's Day - Women and Sexuality in Classical Video Games workshop, (Friday 8th March 2024)

A GGLab event in celebration of International Women’s Day on Friday 8th March 2024, Women and Sexuality in Classical Video Games workshop at the University of Glasgow, co-organised by Dr Jane Draycott, University of Glasgow, and Dr Kate Cook, University of St Andrews.

Further information, including signing up to attend, is available at this link:

Scotland’s National Games Strategy – Get Involved (Workshops in March/early April 2024)

From the Scottish Games Network - UofGGamesLab is collaborating with the Scottish Games Network on this initiative, with our collaboration being led by Matt Barr and Lauren Watson:

"A series of workshops are being held across the country – and online – to ensure the whole games ecosystem has a chance to provide data and input to create Scotland’s National Games Strategy – and we need your help. (The initial announcement of the strategy can be found here.)

Announced in February 2024, the strategy will aim to create a far greater understanding of and support for Scotland’s games sector, to create a more connected, collaborative and successful games ecosystem. [...]


The workshops are two-hour hands-on sessions, which will ask participants to give their input on the scope and scale of the national strategy: What needs to be included? What should the scope of the strategy be? We’ll be asking what recommendations can be made to government, parliament and the public sector to increase knowledge and build better, more focused support for the whole games ecosystem – now and in the long-term. We need your help and your input to produce something which represents the whole games community across Scotland.

How To Get Involved…

The workshops are all free to attend and are open to everyone working in, or involved in game development, production, publishing, education, academia and all adjacent sectors (animation, music, esports, creative industries, screen, tech, etc.)"

Sign up now at:

ARC Games Night: Brave New World (Friday 29 March 2024 - 6.30pm-9pm)

Free but ticketed | Book your place at

Games and gaming have always invited us to step into brave new worlds, but do they have the power to inspire change in our own world too? Drop into this games night [at the Advanced Research Centre] with a difference as we explore how gaming culture opens up our imaginative capacities for real world discovery and reinvention – all as we play!"

Part of the ARC's Spring Fling Programme and including activities led or supported by members of UofGGamesLab.

2023 Events

Fireside Chat 1 - research/engagement series – events with games industry/academic participants. (31 January 2023)

Join us for a panel from GSA, Edinburgh University, Abertay University (“Fireside Chat” Series was run by INASSEM project in collaboration with UofGGamesLab).

This event is targeted at those involved in research and academia, and is part of a project, “Innovators Assemble”, funded by the Aspect Network, highlighting the role that games can play for academics in the SHAPE (Social Sciences, Humanities & the Arts for People and the Economy) disciplines. More details of the project is attached below.

The event is planned to take place on January 31st from 2:30 - 4pm at the Advanced Research Centre. More details will be available upon registration with the link below. Or get in touch with Dr. Mark Wong or Rachel Porteous if you have any questions.

Scotland Game Ecosystem event (Project involving "The University of Glasgow and the University of Stirling in collaboration with the Scottish Games Network and InGAME") shared by UofGGamesLab/involving Lab members.

For further information, see the separate Tab on this web page on “The Scottish Games Ecosystem”.

Alyssa Sepinwall (California State University) seminar on "Slave Revolt on Screen: The Haitian Revolution in Video Games" (joint with EMWIP Early Modern Research Seminars, Beniba Centre for Slavery Studies, Decolonising Glasgow Lab, and Global History Cluster)

Slave Revolt on Screen: The Haitian Revolution in Film and Video Games author, Alyssa Goldstein Sepinwall, analyses how films and video games from around the world have depicted slave revolt, focusing on the Haitian Revolution (1791–1804). This event, the first successful revolution by enslaved people in modern history, sent shockwaves throughout the Atlantic World. Regardless of its historical significance however, this revolution has become less well-known—and appears less often on screen—than most other revolutions; its story, not matching up with tropes pervading Hollywood treatments of Black History.

Join us to hear Prof Sepinwall discussing in this Zoom Seminar. Contact for further details.

“‘Where the abbot carries dice, the monks will gamble’: Entertainment and games at the court of James IV of Scotland.” - Rachel Porteus (University of Glasgow), EMWIP Early Modern Research Seminar (partnering with UofGGamesLab) (6 February 2023)

Contact for further details about this hybrid research seminar on early modern gaming history.

Imperial War Museum (IWM) War Games Jam (13-20 February 2023)

IWM’s War Games Jam asks participating teams to create an innovative war video game inspired by IWM’s collections and stories of conflict from 1914 to the present, seeking to find new research-led ways of engaging with the history of conflict.

Students are invited to sign up from across the UK, either as individuals or teams, with further information available at the above link.

It was developed by the IWM Institute, IWM's research, development and knowledge exchange hub in partnership with the Historical Games Network, and by the University of Glasgow Games and Gaming Lab., represented by Dr Tim Peacock, who is on the expert judging panel. It forms part of IWM's War Games season,

Jennifer Cromwell (Manchester Metropolitan University) lecture on “Sekhmet’s Turn: The Uses of Ancient Egypt in the 2D Fighting Game Skullgirls”. (28 February 2023)

You are warmly invited to an in-person talk by Dr Jennifer Cromwell, Senior Lecturer in Ancient History from Manchester Metropolitan University, on Tuesday 28th February at 4 pm, in the Reid Room, Philosophy, 67 Oakfield Avenue.

Released in 2012 across multiple platforms, the 2D fighting game Skullgirls (renamed Skullgirls 2nd Encore in 2015), includes seventeen playable characters, as of 2022. The design of one of these characters, Eliza, draws heavily upon ancient Egyptian culture and mythology. Adorned in recognisable Egyptian iconography, including the feather of the goddess Maat and the ankh, Eliza’s inspiration is immediately apparent. However, the use of ancient Egypt is not restricted to aesthetics. As revealed in her storyline, Eliza is host to the Parasite (entity) Sekhmet and is the boss of the henchmen Albus and Horace (designed after the gods Anubis and Horus). Her own stage is named after the goddess Tefnut and her moves are named after gods (e.g., the ‘Aten Array’ in which Eliza uses her blood to produce multiple arms, echoing the presentation of the Aten during the Amarna period), monuments (e.g., ‘Middle of the Sphinx’), artefacts (e.g., ‘Sistrum Shake’), and the hieroglyphic writing system (e.g., ‘High Glyph’ and ‘Low Glyph’). In addition to examining how ancient Egypt is integrated into the game, this talk will also address the extent to which players can engage with these various aspects, that is, what features can or cannot be avoided during gameplay. As such, it discusses how the type of game in question impacts how a historical period or topic is portrayed."

LARP in Focus (Live-Action Roleplay) (“Forms in Focus” event) (28 March 2023)

LARP in Focus is the third instalment of the ongoing series, 'Forms in Focus' where we place game forms important to our contemporary moment into focus, learning how these forms shape and reshape our relationship to work, research, and our daily lives.

The session will be led by two early career researchers specialising in Live Action Role Play. Emmylou Laird is a PhD Researcher at Coventry University, studying methods for measuring player engagement as they journey through LARP narratives. Anna Milon is a PhD Researcher at Exeter University, studying the intersection between LARP and textuality. Together, they represent and contribute to the growing, exciting field of LARP studies.

After both present their research, a Q&A with the speakers will take place, where audience members are invited to engage with our speakers on all things LARP. Afterwards, as is customary in Forms in Focus, a small activity will take place that celebrates the unique affordances of the form in focus. Here, Anna and Emmylou will showcase some LARP artifacts (LARPifacts) for the audience that explore how objects (both mundane and extraordinary) transmute under the conditions of LARP.

When not a researcher, Anna is a suave spymistress in the Curious Pastimes LARP, which is currently the primary focus of her research. In her portion of the talk she’ll explore how reading LARP as ritual affords new perspectives on this game form. You can find her opinions in the journals Folklore and Hellebore, in the forthcoming anthology Fictional Practices of Spirituality Vol 1, and on Twitter @hexnhart.

Emmylou spends a lot of time playing pretend. She plays games, makes games and researches games, being especially interested in how players interact with game systems and exactly what it is that makes a game engaging or not. She sometimes updates

'What Goes into Game Design' (Rick Freedman, 'Smart Information Flow Technologies', US) - Interactive Workshop with staff/students. (28 March 2023)

Join us on Tuesday 28 March for a free workshop in game design with Rick Freedman, visiting researcher at 'Smart Information Flow Technologies', who will be sharing his considerable expertise.

2pm-4pm, Room 423 Sir Alwyn Williams Building.

This workshop will focus on analogue/board game creation. No prior experience required, and materials will be supplied.

To get an idea of numbers, please indicate interest in attending by emailing:

For further information: "Richard (Rick) Freedman is a researcher at Smart Information Flow Technologies (SIFT) where he combines his experiences as a scientist, educator, and artist.  Rick's research interests lie at the intersection of interdisciplinary areas to understand how autonomous machines can work and play with people in ways that feel natural: AI planning; plan, activity, and intent recognition; human-computer/robot interaction; knowledge representation; and statistical-relational methods. Applications of his work often range from games to healthcare to education, including integrations of the three.  [...] Rick has taught courses in game design, computational thinking, and artificial intelligence---he was an EAAI New and Future Educator Award recipient in 2017.  Since working at SIFT, Rick serves as the organizer of the EAAI Mentored Undergraduate Research Challenge, works with Heriot-Watt University as a client creating software project topics, and mentors undergraduate students across various universities in extracurricular AI research projects to introduce them to scientific career roles beyond software development."

ARC Spring Games Night (7 April 2023)

Drop into a games night with a difference as we explore the connections between our modern gaming culture and questions of sustainability – all as we play! From roleplaying to retro gaming, sign up to:

  • Play retro games and join demos on how to refurbish, repair and extend the life of retro technology.
  • Try your hand at a range of scenario-based tabletop games, travelling from Japan’s Satsuma Rebellion of 1877, to the political struggles of medieval Italian city-states, to the control battles of 19th century France.
  • Face a blindfolded run of breath of the wild with the Nintendo Society.
  • Have your fortune told at our fortune-telling stall, where the roll of the dice and Lady Luck will dictate what your future holds.
  • Explore the history of costume design in fantasy games, with examples from the Legend of Zelda series and Final Fantasy.
  • Experience the ‘Explore Ellisland’ project with its Minecraft Society creators and explore Robert Burns' Farm.
  • Learn about the history of arcade machines, and what their current use may teach us about playing games in non-traditional venues.
  • Battle it out with the Chess Society.
  • And more!

We’re also excited to host the launch of Education Evolved’s new video game highlighting ethnic minority voices and Traditional Ecological Knowledge in Scotland during the NetZero transition. Join the conversation at 18:45 to learn more and be the first to trial the game!

Project INASSEM Game Launch in the ARC – release of the completed research-led video game, ‘SEvEN Voices: One Future’. (19 May 2023)

We’d like to extend a warm invitation to the soft launch event of our video game, “SEvEN - Seven Voices, One Future”, on 19th May 2023 (Friday) 12-3pm, at the Advanced Research Centre (Seminar Room 237c).

Our game, co-developed with industry and community organisation partners, amplifies Minoritised Ethnic people’s voices and Traditional Ecological Knowledge in Scotland’s sustainable futures.

We’d be delighted if you’ll able to join us to hear more about our project “Innovators Assemble”, the academic-industry-community partnership that supported the game design and ideation, and hear directly from our partners about collaborating with us and our University.

This will feature our project partners: tech start-up Education Evolved Ltd., community organisation Ethnic Minority Environmental Network (EMEN, CEMVO Scotland), Glasgow-based designer the Floating Designer, and the project’s host UofG’s Games and Gaming Lab at the College of Arts.

We’re also offering the chance for you be amongst one of the first people to have a hands-on experience to play the game, exploring the Western Scottish Highlands reimagined for 2045 and, more importantly, listen to seven voices of Minoritised Ethnic people in Scotland to learn about the importance of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and creating change by working together to make Scotland more sustainable.

We hope you can join us– to celebrate and hear about a journey that we’re incredibly proud of. Your support and presence will mean so much to all of us.

Please email Mark Wong or Rachel Porteous to confirm if you’d be happy to attend. The more formal launching part is planned for 12-1pm, this will be followed by refreshment and a chance to connect across the room. You are also welcomed to stay as much as you’d like to between 1-3pm to have a deeper dive into the game should you have time.

Fireside Chat 2 – Brendan Keogh (Queensland University of Technology). (9 May 2023)

9-10:30am GMT | Online/Zoom

Our project, Innovators Assemble (INASSEM), promotes gaming and game development as a pathway for researchers in SHAPE disciplines to pursue their innovation journeys and accelerate innovation. INASSEM showcases how academics can collaborate with industry and external stakeholders through game development and apply SHAPE knowledge to game design as well as engaging people in social science and arts/humanities research. With this aim, INASSEM has developed a fireside chat series, offering a forum for inspiration, support, and a springboard for academics with experience/interest of using gaming to pursue innovation and engagement, particularly with industry.

This is the 2nd event in our fireside chat series. We are delighted that Australian scholar and games-sector expert Brendan Keogh will be joining us to showcase his research. He will discuss the value and innovation occurring in independent games development outside of the larger commercial industry. We’ll be asking him about his latest work, “The Videogame Industry Does Not Exist: Why We Should Think Beyond Commercial Game Production”, what support higher education can give to smaller scale games projects, and how games can communicate effective messages concerning climate crisis.

We will be discussing themes including:

  • Reframing of video game production sector towards grassroots creators, hobbyists and independent developers
    • Work precarity and support for longevity and stability for independent and smaller games
    • The potential for games to communicate complex messages in times of crisis, including the climate crisis


  • Ways that SHAPE academics and students can approach game development for the first time

Fireside Chat 3 – Panel: Scottish Games Network, Education Evolved Ltd, UofGGamesLab. (13 June 2023)

Register for either or both events at:

Are you an academic, university services, technician, or a student or staff interested in game development as a pathway for innovation?

For our 3rd event, we are delighted to host an all-stars Fireside chat discussion off the back of our game launch of SEvEN.

Featuring Director of Scottish Games Network (Brian Baglow), tech company Education Evolved Ltd. (Dr Matthew Leeper, Sumeet Gurung), consultant/researcher (Dr Helen Mullen), UofG Games and Gaming LabASPECT Games Hub, and UofG academics from College of arts, College of science and engineering, and College of social sciences."

Games Careers Week Q&A - Game Developer David Zuo – UofG Alumni and Product Manager on Fortnite at Epic Games. (21 June 2023)

As part of Games Careers Week, hear from Fortnite Product Manager (and UofG alumni!) David Zuo on his journey into the games industry!

David is currently a Product Manager on Fortnite at Epic Games. Previously, he was the Product Lead for Fall Guys Creative – the most ambitious, Metaverse-facing side of Fall Guys. Fall Guys is an online game that had one of the largest ever free to play launches in June last year with over 50 million players in under 2 weeks. He has also worked on Star Wars: Hunters and BAFTA-nominated Dawn of Titans at Zynga.

Passionate about the gaming industry, David also enjoys teaching gamification and consumer behaviour and has been recognised on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list this year in the Sports & Games category. To sign up or for further information, contact

Fireside Chat 4 – Matthew Barr (University of Glasgow) (23 June 2023).

For our 4th Fireside chat, we are hosting a discussion with the game-based learning expert, Dr Matthew Barr (University of Glasgow), who will showcase his research. This event will be streamed online, and details to join by Zoom will be provided upon registration.

Dr Matthew Barr is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Glasgow where he leads the Centre for Computing Science Education and serves as Programme Director for the Graduate Apprenticeship in Software Engineering and chair of the School's Industry Advisory Board. Matt is also Co-director of the University’s Games and Gaming Lab, a Senior Fellow in Recognising Excellence in Teaching (RET), and a member of the University’s Teaching Excellence Network. To sign up or for further information, contact

“LARP mixed reality - Magick is Real: Play as Resistance and Ritual”, Theresa Tannenbaum (University of California-Irvine), interactive workshop in the ARC. (13 July 2023)

Dr Theresa Tanenbaum from University of California, Irvine, US, is going to be in Glasgow on Thursday 13th July, running an in-person event for UofGamesLab during 10-12. In this hands-on workshop Theresa Jean Tanenbaum draws connections between live action roleplaying (larp), mixed reality and pervasive game design, activism, and ritual magic. She will lead participants through an exercise in "spellcrafting" -- the creation of a playful but meaningful ritual aimed at addressing an injustice or provoking social or personal transformation in each participant's life.

Participants are encouraged to bring items of personal significance to incorporate into their rituals. They should also arrive having already contemplated what kinds of change they might want to design towards.

No preparation or prior knowledge is required.

We have a limited capacity for this workshop, so sign up now at the Eventbrite below:

Project HeritAIge Workshops (29 September and 6 October 2023 - 1pm - 4pm)

Project HeritAIge, led by Tim Peacock, is researching new ways of using AI to translate cultural heritage sites into historical video games, working with St Giles Cathedral.

Join us for these workshops in the Advanced Research Centre (ARC), which will include showcasing of work from the 3-month Interface-funded pilot project, and opportunities to discuss potential creative new uses/implications for AI in cross-disciplinary research. A sandwich lunch and afternoon tea/coffee will be provided.

The main project, building on this pilot and beginning this autumn, supported by Glasgow University Knowledge Exchange Funding and by St Giles Cathedral, will develop a freely-available research-informed historical video game of St Giles for their 900th anniversary in 2024.

"Rereading the American Revolution 250" - Brainstorming Workshop (9th October 2023, 1.30-3pm)

From Astronomy to Veterinary medicine, 'Rereading Revolution 250' aims to find creative diverse perspectives and ways of researching and publicly engaging with this history, exploring potential events and cross-college collaborations at the University of Glasgow over the next 10-11 years. Join EMWIP Early Modern Research Seminars, Andrew Hook Centre for American Studies, Centre for Scottish and Celtic Studies, Scottish Centre for War Studies and Conflict Archaeology, and Games and Gaming Lab for the opening brainstorming workshop, connecting staff and students to imagine and discuss what some of these future activities and collaborations could entail (including gaming and simulation-led approaches to thinking about this iconic history!). To sign up to attend, or for further information about the project contact

A Conversation on Educational Escape Rooms (23 November 2023)

[Recording available here]

Time: noon-2 pm (GMT)

Location: Online - attendees will receive a Zoom link when they RSVP

RSVP: please email Rebecca Sutton at

How can Escape Rooms be used as a pedagogical tool to engage participants in learning about human rights, empathy, history, EDI, climate change, sustainability and international law? Please join the new Games and International Law Teaching Network (GILT) and the Games and Gaming Lab at the University of Glasgow for a conversation on Educational Escape Rooms. Escape Room designers from the U.S., UK and Europe will present/demo their escape rooms, and they will discuss their pedagogical and educational aims. Presentations address themes such as sustainable development, promotion of empathy through history lessons, carbon fossils and climate change,  EDI in the context of maritime shipping, and lessons from commercial escape rooms. This is an interactive discussion: one hour will be reserved for Q&A with audience members.


  • Helen Hall and Tom Lewis (Nottingham) and Javier Garcia (Manchester): Escape Room on Carbon Fossils and Climbing Walls 
  • Matt Offord (Glasgow): Digital Escape Room on EDI training in the Maritime Sector 
  • Matthias Hecking (Germany): Mobile Historical Escape Room: The Lion of Munster 
  • Celine Neubig (Zurich): Learning from Commercial Escape Rooms 
  • Curt Gervich (U.S.): Sustainable Development Escape Room: Sabotage!

2022 Events

IWM (Imperial War Museum) Exhibition on War Games (30 September 2022 – 28 May 2023)

Open at IWM London, War Games is the UK’s first exhibition to delve into one of today’s most popular storytelling mediums and ask how the reality of war is represented in the virtual world of a video game, through a series of titles which, over the last forty years, have reflected events from the First World War to the present, with input from scholars including Dr Matthew Barr, Co-Director of Games and Gaming Lab.

Showcasing immersive installations, never-before-displayed objects and perspectives from industry experts, this free exhibition presents blockbuster games like Sniper Elite 5 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare alongside indie titles such as This War of Mine and Bury Me, My Love, raising questions about how different developers have portrayed conflict and highlighting real-life stories which many have drawn inspiration from. Featuring 12 diverse case studies, War Games invites visitors to interrogate the tension that exists between the thrill and tragedy of warfare in a game and its repercussions in the real world. Common gameplay tropes such as explosive barrels and sniper rifles feature next to collection items like facial prosthetics developed in the First World War. The exhibition also explores how video game technology can be used, and is used, to help shape real wars, presenting brand new acquisitions including an Xbox 360 controller once used to operate the camera of an unmanned aerial vehicle in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Project INASSEM (Innovators Assemble) workshop with staff/student and external partners from EMEN, CEMVO, EE Ltd and other organisations (30 September 2022)

The first workshop of Project INASSEM, hosted in the ARC (Advanced Research Centre), bringing together researchers, community organisations and industry, exploring different ways towards minoritised ethnic perspectives around transitions to Net Zero in Scotland, and how to co-create a research-led video game on this subject.

Chess in Focus ("Forms in Focus" gaming research event) – with Grandmaster Daniel King (27 October 2022)

Chess in Focus (recording here) - the launch event for the 'Forms in Focus' research series on gaming, hosted by PGR researcher Francis Butterworth-Parr, with Q&A by Chess Grandmaster Daniel King.

Supported by the Games and Gaming Lab and held in Glasgow University's Advanced Research Centre (ARC). For further information on the series, or on other gaming project activity, contact us or check out our social media and YouTube channel. The event included a performance game between Glasgow University Chess Society and Strathclyde University Chess Society.

Cuban Missile Crisis 60th Anniversary Wargame Workshop (28 October 2022)

In Project Red Camelot, for the Cuban Missile Crisis’ 60th anniversary in October 2022, 37 IMSISS Erasmus Mundus students, came together with staff from History, War Studies, and external partners, in small team ideation workshops to brainstorm and present new ways of ‘gaming’ this pivotal event in Cold War history, part of our wider initiatives including Project AWARE.

Glasgow Breakthroughs Game Jam - Public event and Schools event for AHRC/Being Human Festival (12 and 16 November 2022)

Pioneers in women’s football and wider football history, the world’s first comic book, the invention of television, the first women graduating in Scotland.

Just some of the amazing breakthroughs in Glasgow’s history which participants in this workshop may draw on as themes to create educational games.

Guided by the University of Glasgow’s Games and Gaming Lab, come and dive into the University’s archives and collections and draw on the city’s rich social-cultural and political-military history to brainstorm and create new research-led board and/or card games in teams. A chance to meet likeminded gamers and learn some skills in using historical materials in game creation. Games created may be eligible to receive a follow-on consultation from the Games and Gaming Lab about their further development for educational use.

We look forward to being joined by school pupils in a separate event at the ARC the following week, brainstorming and co-creating educational game concepts from material in these archival collections.

D&D in Focus ("Forms in Focus" event) (1 December 2022)

Join us for the second event in the Games and Gaming Lab-funded “Forms in Focus” series at the University of Glasgow: D&D in Focus. These events strive to understand how and why the games we play influence the people we are, and the cultures they are played in. Laser focused on how our games interact with their players and their attending cultures, Forms in Focus hopes to imagine through the games we play new ways of thinking and tackling the 21st century's most pressing issues.

D&D in Focus begins with University of Glasgow PhD Researcher Emma French discussing how D&D has become a recorded performance or "actual play" which is enjoyed by many who do and do not play D&D. This is followed by Grace Worm, who will present on the ways that D&D influences their research and work at the University of Glasgow. Following this, we will enjoy a celebratory activity designed to explore the ways D&D allows us to shape and play interesting characters.

Emma French is a 3rd year English Literature PhD Researcher at the University of Glasgow. Emma's research is focused on the intertextualities between literary fantasy and the tabletop roleplaying game Dungeons & Dragons (D&D). Rather than presenting D&D’s relationship to literary fantasy as solely derivative, Emma instead argues that this roleplaying game provides a pro-active, or interactive, way for different communities of practice within fantasy readership and wider transmedial fantasy fandom to challenge the established traditions of fantasy’s literary canon. While D&D has often been presented as consolidating and securing the mores of fantasy-as-formula, the multiple modes of collaborative authorship present within the game structure instead manifest readers’ transformative responses to genre.

Grace Worm is a 3rd year English Literature PhD Researcher at the University of Glasgow. Grace is researching Tamora Pierce's young adult fantasy world of Tortall and how the series set in this fantasy world reflects and challenges contemporary North American political and social ideologies. Grace covers how Pierce navigates gender, race, environmentalism, and social injustices through her female protagonists. Additionally, Grace is attempting to draw connections between Pierce's work and legacy in creating a "Female Fantasy", or a subset of young adult fantasy with female protagonists that directly or indirectly addresses social inequalities.

ESRC Festival of Social Sciences – “Let's Talk about Games” event, featuring research-led games, created in projects by colleagues from University of Glasgow and those co-created through GGLab projects. (22 October 2022)

Report: “The event was part of the activities of the Games Hub, a project funded by ASPECT. Building on activities of the last two years, the Games Hub Project is continuing to support the work on gaming and innovation of both academics and professional services from the University of Glasgow, Manchester, Bristol, and Nottingham Trent. This academic year the network will continue operating with the increased collaboration of the University of Edinburgh, Birmingham, and the Queen’s University of Belfast.

The Let’s talk about games event, which took place in Glasgow, provided academics from across the UK the opportunity to finally meet and showcase their work to a public audience. Being the first walk in event organised within this project the team was unsure of its outcome.

However, after a wet Glaswegian start, we had a great time helping researchers improve their games. More than 20 people participated to the event and had the opportunity to play 2 or 3 games. Some families were able to play together parents and children. Others let the children play some of the games on their own while the parents played games more suitable for their age group.

The public came from a range of demographics and backgrounds, ranging from professionals interested in the gaming industry, university students and families with children from 5- to 16-

year-old. There was fun for all ages as demonstrated by the enthusiastic comments left on the feedback wall by the attendees.

Academics were able to talk about their games, to explain the rules and support players making decisions and taking strategies. They had the opportunity to collect feedback and interest in their games. One of the attendees said, “Seeing what you are doing at the University of Glasgow is so inspiring – thank you for allowing me the opportunity to be a part of it”.

Prof. Jane Mair and Dr Felicity Belton, from the School of Law at University of Glasgow, presented on their “Legally wed” Board Game about navigating through marriage law, with very interesting outcomes from a diverse range of participants.

Rachel Porteous, GGLab Researcher, presented the international economic policy board game “Fractal Escalation”, which had been created by Dr Tim Peacock, Luke Hatch and Lauren Watson as part of Project AWARE. The audience was mainly professionals from the gaming and communication sectors. She represented the team of Games and Gaming Lab that helps translates ideas into gaming for a wide segment of researchers at the University of Glasgow, from history to philosophy to Public Policy.

A message from the Games Hub from the event was: For all the Games Hub it has been an immense privilege to collaborate with them all and to bring to the public our passion for educational gaming. Hopefully this will be just the first event of this kind. We aim at supporting research ideas and academics interested in gaming and in joining forces with the gaming industry and professionals to merge efforts and bring research-based games to the wider public’s attention. Stay tuned for our next events. In the meanwhile, keep playing and keep learning!”

“When it Changed: Women in SF/F Since 1972” (Conference by Centre for Fantasy and Science Fiction Foundation, with UofGGamesLab as a partner.) (3-4 December 2022)

To mark the 50th anniversary of Joanna Russ’s landmark short story, ‘When It Changed’, the Science Fiction Foundation, and the Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic and Games and Gaming Lab the University of Glasgow are proposing an online conference on women’s role in reshaping science fiction.

Fifty years after Russ’s game-changing story, the major sf/f prizes are being won by women, among them N.K. Jemisin, Mary Robinette Kowal, Laura Jean McKay and Martha Wells. To these we can add the posthumous success of Octavia E. Butler and the mainstream acclaim of writers such as Susanna Clarke. Despite such controversies as ‘Puppygate’, sf/f now appears to be a more inclusive place, partly because of the role played by women.

If sf/f has indeed changed, in what ways did women help to cause this happen? On the other hand, does the glamour of sales and literary prizes for a few select authors disguise structural inequities within sf/f that endure from the 1970s?

Project INASSEM 2nd workshop with staff/student/external partners (7 December 2022)

Innovators Assemble (INASSEM) promotes gaming and game development as a pathway for researchers in SHAPE disciplines to pursue their innovation journeys and accelerate innovation. INASSEM is developing a video game to highlight Minoritised Ethnic people’s perspectives on sustainable futures in Scotland. This workshop is part of the co-designing process for the INASSEM game, SEVEN, with our project partners. Education Evolved are presenting a new demo of the game that highlights minoritized ethnic people’s perspective on a sustainable future in Scotland. Project partners are: Education Evolved, Ethnic Minority Environmental Network (CEMVO), and the Floating Designer. This project is part of the Aspect Innovation Fellowship Programme, funded by Research England.

ARCadia Games Evening and Family Day (Thursday 22 September and Friday 23 September)

From Robert Burns' farm at Ellisland in Minecraft and a History of Costume in Fantasy Games to Games for Social Good, Arcade Games, ARCStream’s game livestreaming, and a Skyrim Dialogue Challenge.

We are delighted to be supporting a number of games-related events organised by UofGGamesLab members in September. These are taking place as part of the ARCadia Festival launching Glasgow University’s Advanced Research Centre, between 16-30 September 2022. Many of the games-related events are taking place on the Arcade Night Games Evening 22 September or on the Family Day on Friday 23 September.

Further information on the programme and individual events is available via this ARCadia webpage:

Experiential Music Therapy Workshop (Wednesday 25 May, 2 pm)

Do you find your workspace noisy and stressful?

Want to reshape your acoustic environment?

Join UofGGamesLab's online 'Experiential Music Therapy Workshop, supported by The Dear Green Bothy, as part of responses to our audio 'environments'.

The workshop, led by creative practitioners, explores our sound environment and creative ways to control it, inspired by games soundtracks!

It will take place on the 25th of May, from 2 pm to 3:30 pm UK-time. Places are limited so sign up at the Eventbrite link below.

Choral Contemplations IX: Choral Music from Game Soundtracks - Free concert - Glasgow University Chapel Choir and Organ (Tuesday 8th March, 6 pm - online and live in-person)

Happening on Tuesday 8th March at University of Glasgow:

"A free concert exploring choral music from game soundtracks.

We will be taking a retiring collection for the DEC Ukraine Appeal.

Performed by the Chapel Choir, with Kevin Bowyer on organ.

Including music by:

  • Prayer for Ukraine by Mykola Lysenko (1842–1912)
  • Jonathan Williams (Horizon Zero Dawn)
  • Jessica Curry (Everybody's gone to the Rapture, So let us melt)
  • Andrea Boccadoro

In person and streamed live via the Chapel Choir YouTube channel."

'Press Start: Getting into AAA Game Audio' - Career Workshop in Game Audio (24 February, 3 pm GMT)

"How do you move into a career in game audio? In this session, audio specialist Alexander Horowitz unpacks his route into working in professional game development, from initial training and entry-level roles through to taking more responsibility for the audio of large-scale projects."

Online via Zoom. Further details and sign up through Eventbrite:


2021 Events

Project Tempest: Environmental Wargame (Creative responses during COP26, wargame TBC December 2021)

A game/crisis simulation involving postgraduate students from different programmes across Colleges at the University (including History/War Studies), playing the role of decision makers responding to a simulated environmental crisis - flooding the city of Glasgow virtually!

This game is being custom created in a partnership between staff and students from different disciplines, including historical research into flooding and Glasgow's experience of such disasters.

We are also, during COP26, running online creative brainstorming with students of the scenario/elements of this crisis game/simulation. Tempest is part of Project AWARE (Access to Wargaming in Education), which is exploring the co-creation of educational games and supporting software, as well as ways of making the future creation of these transferable across Subjects and across in-person/online formats.

Games Sustainability Hackathon (Saturday 13th November 2021)

A hybrid online and in-person creative hackathon, bringing together businesses, charities, local community groups, gamers, students, and academics. Supported by the AHRC as part of the Being Human Festival. The aim is to work in small groups to brainstorm (and present creatively) new strategies for combining communities/businesses with academic research to make board, card, and video games more environmentally friendly/conscious of environmental crisis, as well as how we represent the environment in such games. Partners range from NYU Game Center to the UofG Alumni creator of the card game 'Ecodex' and the local performance charity Tinderbox Collective. The event will aim to ‘plant seeds’ for future collaboration/engagement.

Eventbrite link for booking:

Eco Echoes: Games and Music Jam - GGLab/Tinderbox Collective (Saturday 6th November 2021) 

An environmentally themed music and game jam hosted by Tinderbox Collective in partnership with GGLab, participants creating games (whether simple board games made from recycled material lying around your house or programming you own video games) and/or music over a day, and then combining/showcasing these virtually online. Includes some live music and a short talk from an artist and game designer.

Eventbrite link:

'Carbon Collector' game - GGLab/NYU collaboration - at the COP26 Green Zone (Friday 5th November 2021) and the Glasgow University Sustainable Solutions Showcase (Tuesday 9th November 2021)

Can you map out a strategy to stay within our carbon budget? Play ‘Carbon Collector’ to find out! A research-driven multiplayer game, demonstrating carbon removal as an important tool in an overall climate change solution, using smartphones as controllers and observing the game on a large screen. Accompanied by gaming-related environmental debriefings and previewing related work. A collaboration between GGLab and NYU's Game Center, this will feature both in the COP26 Green zone at different stalls on 5th November, and all day at the University's Sustainable Solutions Showcase on 9th November.

Carbon Cost Calculathon (Running from early October to (initially) Friday 5th November 2021)

An online rolling calculathon activity, involving students, the University's outreach to schools, and anyone else interested, to crowdsource a virtual map of some environmental costs of gaming, from packaging to playing and board to video games: culminating in a presentation of a crowdsourced virtual collage, aiming to illustrate something of gaming's elusive carbon footprint, and to showcase Glasgow’s research-led input into Citizen Humanities/environmental schools teaching.

Link to the survey (data gathered will be treated in accordance with relevant University policies and can be entered anonymously):

GGLab Invited Research Talk: Who is possible online? (Tuesday 28 September 2021, 1pm)

What tools for identity construction are available in the multiplayer game Counter-Strike: Global Offensive? How do the Finnish young men participating in the study (co)construct identities utilizing these tools? As they are also students taking part in an Esports programme, how is the in-game experience and educational context connected? These questions are central in Matilda’s research and will be discussed in relation to community, diversity, and visuality, highlighting implications for possible online identities as well as implications for future game-related research endeavours.

Matilda Ståhl (MEd, certified primary teacher) is a doctoral candidate in Educational sciences at Åbo Akademi University, Finland. Matilda’s presentation is based on her doctoral thesis which she hopes to defend later this autumn.

Explorathon: "Why don't women speak more in video games?" Workshop (Thursday 23 September 2021, 12pm-2pm)

This workshop is run by philosopher Steph Rennick (University of Glasgow), and linguist Seán Roberts (Cardiff University).

"Which characters talk, who do they talk to, and what do they say? We'll present results from an ongoing project to collect and analyse video game dialogue, and - through hands-on activities and discussion - start a conversation about gendered dialogue tropes and improving representation.

GameDev Mini Symposium: Roguelike Games (Thursday 16 September 2021, 4pm)

Organised by Juan Manuel Parrilla, Research Fellow in Chemistry at Glasgow, in partnership with GGLab.

Join us to hear insights from two leading experts on Roguelike Games Development. 'Game Development with Rust by Herbert Wolverson' and 'Developing Shattered Pixel Dungeon' by Evan Debenham.

Herbert has worked as a programmer and an indie game developer since the late 1990s. He has recently published the book "Hands-on Rust" where he shows how to build a roguelike game from scratch. Rust is an exciting new programming language combining the power of C with memory safety, fearless concurrency, and productivity boosters—and what better way to learn than by making games.

Evan is the main developer behind the game Shattered Pixel Dungeon. "Shattered" is one of the most popular roguelike games in the Google Store, with over 1 million downloads and a rating of over 4.7/5."

Gotta Grow em’ all: Let’s Play Pokémon Environments (Saturday 21 August 2021, 3pm - 4pm)

A Virtual Field Trip through Pokémon Shield, part of both 'The Dear Green Bothy' and Pokémon's 25th anniversary celebrations. The link to the recording of the YouTube livestream is now available below and at our YouTube Channel.

Link to recording:

D&D and Fantasy Fiction: Giants in the Oerth

Calling all aspiring adventurers! Join us on on 28th January 2021 at 6pm (GMT) on a quest to uncover the literary history behind Dungeons & Dragons with scholar and RPG editor John D. Rateliff, in this event co-hosted by the Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic and the Games and Gaming Lab at the University of Glasgow. More details about the event here:

2020 Events

Research Support Games Day

10:00 - 17.10 GMT, 8 December 2020

The second annual event in this series, run by GGLab member Valerie McCutcheon. 100 attendees! (You can read Valerie's report on the 2019 version here.)

Digital Feelz

19.30-20.30 GMT, 28 November 2020 

Discussion/playthrough led by GGLab member Gabriel Elvery, as part of the Explorathon 2020 programme. Detail on the Explorathon site here.

Gaming: New Horizons

15:00-16:00 GMT, 14 November 2020

An event as part of the 'Being Human' Festival. 45 people attended this virtual field trip. You can see a video on the Lab's YouTube channel here.

Digital Heroisms

12:00-17:00PM GMT, August 5th, 2020

Digital Heroisms is an online conference exploring Fantasy, the digital and the concept of heroism in collaboration with the Games and Gaming Lab based at UofG College of Arts, University of Glasgow School of Critical Studies and Game Studies at Glasgow.

Register for the event:

“The power of the fantasy increases if it offers us something genuinely new and compelling. The limitations of our own corporeality can be abolished or the ground rules changed to give us new experiences.”

Where readers once understood heroism through a Gilgamesh, a Frodo or a Katniss, the digital subject can now figure heroism through actions, decisions and events that are in many ways their own. Video gaming has an especial talent for creating heroes that are lived-through by their users, whether this is via the experience of leading characters such as Link through the temples of Hyrule; via choice-based play utilising avatars such as Frisk of Undertale fame; or by creating entirely unique personas in role play games such as Dragon Age. In a contemporary moment enabled and mediated by a multiplicity of digital spaces, the way we conceptualize heroism will be both enabled and contaminated by games, the virtual, and ever-increasing screentime. The realm of the digital, functioning as a receptacle of imagination can equip players with the means to express the self. Digital spaces can serve as a conduit for both ludic and fantastical impulses. Heroic research must adapt to this interactive environment – its places, its communities, its values – if it is to keep a handle on the heroic constellation formed of informatic, computational and digital materials.

Fantasy scholars and authors alike have sought to define the Fantasy genre. Whether that be as experienced by characters as ‘hesitation’ (Todorov, 1970), a loose genre that can be described as a ‘fuzzy set’ (Attebery, 1992), or as being ‘the mirror of mimetic literature and its inner soul’ (Mendlesohn, 2008), digital iterations of fantasy have enhanced and extended our capability to experience the immersion of fantastic worlds. Though Fantasy video games may pay tribute to the literature from which it sprang, each form with its differing modes of performance allows the Fantastic an opportunity be presented in all of its heterogeneity; players are given the opportunity to experience a new kind of protagonism, a heroism that enables the player to effect and interact with fantasy narratives. The interactivity offered by video games can enable players to experience the self in new ways, whether that be through choice-based narratives, the player-led exploration of a Walking-Simulator or via avatars which enable players to live the ‘posthuman fantasy of extending the human subject beyond itself’ (Boulter, 2015) and craft fantasy personas.

The symposium will be seeking submissions for 20 min papers on themes such as, but not limited to, the following topics:

  • Defining/constructing digital heroism
  • The converging interests of fantasy and digital heroism
  • Digital and fantastic video game environments and their effect on heroism
  • Fantasy video games and avatar creation
  • Fantastic VR experiences, the self, and digital heroism
  • The social/theoretical implications of digital iterations of fantasy
  • Considerations of digital spaces as fantastic ones
  • Heroic fantasy video game character(istics)
  • Considerations of what heroism means in the digital age
  • Problems with digital heroism
  • Digital heroism examined through:
    • Convergence culture
    • Participatory culture
    • Feminism
    • Postcolonialism
    • Queer Studies
    • Disability Studies


Organising Committee:
Monica Vazquez (University of Glasgow)
Gabe Arcana (University of Glasgow)
Francis Butterworth-Parr (University of Glasgow)
Facebook: Digital Heroisms
Twitter: @DigitalHeroisms
Instagram: Digital Heroisms


Book Launch: Graduate Skills and Game-Based Learning

5pm-6pm, Tuesday 11 February 2020

Room 423, Sir Alwyn Williams Building [map]

Join us to mark the publication of Graduate Skills and Game-Based Learning (Palgrave), by Games & Gaming Lab co-director, Dr Matthew Barr.

There will be wine and nibbles, as well as an opportunity to play some of the games Matt talks about in the book!

About the book

This book explores the efficacy of game-based learning to develop university students’ skills and competencies. While writing on game-based learning has previously emphasised the use of games developed specifically for educational purposes, this book fills an important gap in the literature by focusing on commercial games including Portal 2, Borderlands 2, Lara Croft, Warcraft and Minecraft. Underpinned by robust empirical evidence, the author demonstrates that the current negative perception of video games is ill-informed, and in fact these games can be important tools to develop graduate skills related to employability. Speaking to very current concerns about the employability of higher education graduates and the skills that university is intended to develop, this book also explores the attitudes to game-based learning as expressed by instructors, students and game developers.

Matthew Barr is a lecturer at the University of Glasgow, UK, where he convened the university’s first game studies course and founded the peer reviewed student game studies journal Press Start. He is currently Programme Director for the Graduate Apprenticeship in Software Engineering, and a co-director of the University’s Games and Gaming Lab. He serves as Vice Chair of British DiGRA (the Digital Games Research Association) and as a Director & Trustee of the Scottish Game Developers Association. He is also the current Chair of the BAFTA Scotland Games Jury.


Graduate Skills and Game-Based Learning offers us a new tool for the heart and soul of graduate education, a tool for experimentation, risk-taking, creativity, and using failure as a form of learning.  These are just the bits where we need the most help.

James Paul Gee, Mary Lou Fulton Presidential Professor of Literacy Studies, Regents’ Professor, Arizona State University

A compelling read for any faculty member who is considering whether and how to use games in their teaching. This book provides practical recommendations and robust research evidence about how students can learn important transferable skills through gaming.

Professor Judy Robertson, Chair in Digital Learning, University of Edinburgh

This book provides a much needed foundation for games in learning, linking them explicitly to graduate attributes and pedagogic theory. Moving beyond potential and advocacy, Barr grounds the application in empirical research, while also clearly setting out the perspectives of educators and students. It provides a very insightful account of how games can be used effectively in higher education, and also the issues involved.

Martin Weller, Professor of Educational Technology at the Open University, President of the Association for Learning Technology (ALT)

This work provides key insights to using games as pedagogical tools in graduate education, positioning games in the classroom, and understanding the views and opinions of graduate students in engaging with such efforts. It explores the themes of games as tools for inquiry and experiential learning in ways that are both grounded in relevant theory and wonderfully concrete for practicing educators. I have no doubt that this will prove to be an important work for those in the field.

Andrew Phelps, Professor, Human Interface Technologies Laboratory, University of Canterbury, and Professor and Director, American University Game Lab

2019 Events

Space in Gaming

Tuesday 19 November 2019, 15:30 – 18:30

Wolfson Medical School Building, University Avenue, Glasgow G12 8QQ [map]


On Apollo 12's 50th anniversary, hear insights of Astrogamers and BAFTA-winning games developers, and see stalls showcase gaming research.

On the anniversary of Apollo 12's landing on the Moon, join us for "Space in Gaming", hearing talks from:

  • Scott Manley - Glasgow Alumni in San Francisco, Programmer and Astrogamer, whose Youtube channel of nearly 1 million followers broadcasts insightful videos combining space, science and gaming.
  • NoCode - Glasgow-based Games Developers, whose BAFTA-award winning space game Observation has been praised by reviewers as "making you think about humanity's place in the cosmos and, perhaps, the deeper mysteries of universe".

The event is also a "space" in gaming, with Flash talks and stalls celebrating gaming research by scholars from across the University, ranging from the Legally Wed board game about marriage law, to a live demonstration of WW2 and Jacobite Wargaming with miniatures.

Hosted by Glasgow University's Games and Gaming Lab (GGLab)

#GGatUofG @UofGGamesLab

3.30-4.00 - Browse the stalls (Atrium)

4.00-5.00 - Talks by Scott Manley and NoCode (Yudowitz Room - free but ticketed)

5.00-5.15 - Tea/Coffee (Atrium)

5.15-6.00 - Flash talks about gaming research across the University (Atrium)

6.00-6.30/7.00 - Browse the stalls/networking (Atrium)

The stalls include contributions from Research Projects, Scholars, Labs and Networks, with Flash talks on:

  • Legally Wed (Prof Jane Mair, Dr Frankie McCarthy and Felicity Belton)
  • Wargaming (Prof Tony Pollard)
  • Engineering and Gaming (Prof George Barakos and Dr Rene Steijl)
  • Archives and Special Collections (Robert MacLean)
  • Immersive Experiences Lab (Dr Rachel Opitz)
  • Digital Cultural Heritage Network (Dr Gareth Beale)
  • Im/Material Network (Dr Rachel Opitz and Dr Gareth Beale)
  • Digital Creativity for Regional Museums (Dr Heather Christie and Dr Gareth Beale)


Event by the "Games and Gaming Beyond Entertainment" theme

When: Thursday 9 May 2019

Where: Kelvin Hall

Description: This event will include four talks by invited speakers, a "lightning talks" session for UofG staff and postgraduate presenters, and curated games running in the foyer.

Register on Eventbrite here

Hashtag: #GGatUofG


Event by the "Fantasy" theme

When: Friday 10 May 2019

Where: Kelvin Hall

Description: The Symposium brings together researchers, practitioners, and creative industry professionals to discuss theoretical and practical questions raised by using fantasy as a discourse and subject. This is the first step towards establishing a Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic at the University of Glasgow.

The symposium will open with a showcase event, in which colleagues will give brief presentations on their engagement with fantasy/the fantastic. The afternoon session will address questions such as:

  • How can we define fantasy and what and how it means?
  • How can we work together to serve the fantasy scholarly and creative community in Glasgow and beyond?
  • How can a Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic facilitate research and collaboration?


Blog: Symposium on Fantasy and the Fantastic 2019


Associated Staff