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Keywords for Video Game Studies

Keywords for Video Game Studiess

Year of Funding: 
Keywords for Video Game Studies Graduate Interest Group

Founded 2010, Keywords for Video Games Studies is a graduate interest group bringing together interdisciplinary perspectives and scholarship on video games. Our working group aims to bolster critical engagement with video games and video game culture to address:

  • the design of games (as computational, protocological, rhetorical, and aesthetic artifacts),
  • the theorizing of games (looking at narrative, interactivity, race/gender/sexuality, gamification), and
  • the pedagogical and political potential of games.  

Through close readings of games, close playings of games (i.e., critical gaming), and colloquium discussions, our working group hopes to highlight central questions, keywords, and even dissonances in video game studies and video game theory. Our framing questions include:

  • What key terms and core concepts animate and shape the field of video game studies?
  • What are the central tensions, challenges, and antagonisms in video game studies?
  • How do we as students, scholars, and game players shape the future of video game studies, video game development, and video game pedagogy?

The Keywords for Video Game Studies group works in collaboration with the Critical Gaming Project at the University of Washington. 

Also, as HASTAC scholars for 2011-2012, the Keywords for Video Game Studies group continues to represent the University of Washington as part of the online activities and forums of HASTAC, the Humanities, Arts, Sciences, Technology Advanced Collaboratory.


The Keywords for Video Game Studies will hold roundtables/workshops each quarter.  Each event will be centered in a key term or set of guiding ideas and readings from current gaming scholarship.  The final event of the year will be a one-day colloquium where invited students, scholars, players, developers, and community members present their projects and work.  For more information, see the Keywords graduate interest group website.

  • “DEMOCRACY “: Thursday, 10/13, 3:30-5:30 PM, CMU 202
  • “TIME”: Thursday, 11/17, 3:30-5:30 PM, CMU 202
  • “ALTPLAY/FANDOM “: Thursday, 1/19, 3:30-5:30 PM, CMU 202
  • “GOLD FARMING”: Thursday, 2/16, 3:30-5:30 PM, CMU 202
  • “HACK/CUSTOMIZATION”: Thursday, 4/12, 3:30-5:30 PM, CMU 202
  • “RESEARCH/DESIGN” Colloquium: Saturday, 5/19, 8:00-3:00 PM, CMU 202

Organizers and Collaborators

  • Edmond Chang (Graduate Student, English)
  • Theresa Horstman (Graduate Student, Education)
  • Natascha Karlova (Graduate Student, Information Science)
  • Sarah Kremen-Hicks (Graduate Student, English)
  • Terry Schenold (Graduate Student, English)

Online Events

Press Start to Continue: Toward a New Video Game Studies, a HASTAC Forum
Opens Monday, February 6, 2012