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Syllabus for

Academic year
DAT385 - Introduction to game research
Introduktion till spelvetenskap
Syllabus adopted 2018-02-28 by Head of Programme (or corresponding)
Owner: MPIDE
7,5 Credits
Grading: TH - Pass with distinction (5), Pass with credit (4), Pass (3), Fail
Education cycle: Second-cycle
Major subject: Software Engineering

Teaching language: English
Application code: 23124
Open for exchange students: Yes
Maximum participants: 30

Module   Credit distribution   Examination dates
Sp1 Sp2 Sp3 Sp4 Summer course No Sp
0118 Written and oral assignments 7,5c Grading: TH   7,5c    

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Staffan Björk

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General entry requirements for Master's level (second cycle)
Applicants enrolled in a programme at Chalmers where the course is included in the study programme are exempted from fulfilling the requirements above.

Specific entry requirements

English 6 (or by other approved means with the equivalent proficiency level)
Applicants enrolled in a programme at Chalmers where the course is included in the study programme are exempted from fulfilling the requirements above.

Course specific prerequisites

Exemption from the eligibility requirement: Applicants enrolled in a programme at Chalmers where the course is included in the study programme are exempted from fulfilling these requirements.


Games have been a part of human culture since ancient times. They have evolved in to many different forms and serve many different target groups, not least since the introduction of computer games. The course provides an overview of games in all their forms as well as theoretical concepts and frameworks to analyze games.

Learning outcomes (after completion of the course the student should be able to)

  • know the academic game terms
  • show an understanding of different types and approaches to classifying games
  • show an understanding of different academic approaches to researching games and gaming
  • be able to explain what characterizes games within the most common classifications
  • analyze games given a specific research question, research stance, and academic vocabulary
  • describe games given a specific focus and showing an adequate use of academic game terms
  • make comparisons between games or parts of games through the use of academic game terms
  • analyze games in relation to various intended uses
  • analyze games from several different gaming preferences
  • be able to choose and combine different academic approaches in order to analyze and interpret games given a specific context
  • identify ethical aspects of a game


The course is divided into five successive modules that consider different forms of games and different perspectives of gaming. The first module looks at games as systems and focus on board games and card games as well as introduces general concepts to describe games and gaming. The second module transitions over to how players perceive and immerse themselves into games, using role-playing and larps to highlight the play experience as a perceptual stance. The third module highlights how different media forms impacts on games and gaming by focusing on computer games and online games. The penultimate module examines how the boundaries between games and other activities can be obscured by the game design or by the use of different types of technologies. The final module looks at the use of games for other purposes than to entertain, for example to criticize, influence, or teach.
Each module introduces theoretical concepts and frameworks through academic texts and builds on the previous modules.


The course is based on lectures, the reading of academic texts, and analyzing games. Practical experience of game analyzed is obtained by playing these games being part of the course work.

Examination including compulsory elements

The course is examined through five written assignments corresponding to the five modules, each assignment corresponding to 1.5 hec.

Page manager Published: Mon 28 Nov 2016.