Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Game Studies 1: History and Theory of Games FTV5065

  • Academic Session: 2021-22
  • School: School of Culture and Creative Arts
  • Credits: 40
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: No
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

In this course students will engage in the critical study of video games at an advanced level. The multidisciplinary nature of game studies will be reflected in the focus on arts and humanities and social sciences approaches. The former approach will see students critically engage with games as cultural artefacts, examining the affordances of the medium in terms of, for example, aesthetics, ludic qualities, rhetoric and narrative. The latter approach will be used to examine the societal, economic and psychological effects of video games on players.


14x2 hour sessions (each comprising 1 hour lecture and 1 hour seminar).

6x2 hour critical play sessions (identified as 'Demonstration' in 17). 

1x1 hour session on assessment preparation

Requirements of Entry

Standard entry to Masters at College level. 

Excluded Courses





Assessment 1: Oral Presentation: Students will give a 10 minute presentation during the semester based on their 'critical play' explorations.


Assessment 2: Written Essay/Audiovisual Essay: Students will submit EITHER a final written essay of 3,500 words OR a 10 minute audiovisual essay on a topic related to the weekly topics covered in the course. 

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ Provide students with the opportunity to explore and evaluate key texts and debates in the field of Video Game Studies

■ Provide students with high level skills in the critical analysis of games as cultural texts

■ Introduce students to current research methodologies in Video Game Studies

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Evaluate the key theoretical approaches to the study of Video Games and design a final essay based on one of these approaches

■ Explore, evaluate and synthesise arguments about the formal and representational characteristics of games

■ Analyse a variety of methodological approaches in Video Games Studies in relation to research problems

■ Apply appropriate research methodologies in the critical exploration of games as cultural texts and play as a social practice

■ Utilise skills in forward planning, time management and self-evaluation

■ Utilise information retrieval and research skills

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.