The International Journal of Computer Game Research

Our Mission - To explore the rich cultural genre of games; to give scholars a peer-reviewed forum for their ideas and theories; to provide an academic channel for the ongoing discussions on games and gaming.

Game Studies is a non-profit, open-access, crossdisciplinary journal dedicated to games research, web-published several times a year at

Our primary focus is aesthetic, cultural and communicative aspects of computer games, but any previously unpublished article focused on games and gaming is welcome. Proposed articles should be jargon-free, and should attempt to shed new light on games, rather than simply use games as metaphor or illustration of some other theory or phenomenon.

Game Studies is published with the support of:

The Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet)

The Joint Committee for Nordic Research Councils for the Humanities and the Social Sciences

Blekinge Institute of Technology

IT University of Copenhagen

Lund University

If you would like to make a donation to the Game Studies Foundation, which is a non-profit foundation established for the purpose of ensuring continuous publication of Game Studies, please contact the Editor-in-Chief or send an email to: foundation at gamestudies dot org
Diminutive Subjects, Design Strategy, and Driving Sales: Preschoolers and the Nintendo DS

by J. Alison Bryant, Anna Akerman, Jordana Drell

This article details the “user-centered” research process adopted to create Nintendo DS games for preschoolers and addresses how new titles for specific populations can be approached. We review the role of exploratory and formative research in game development for young audiences and provide findings and design tips from the laboratory and field. [more]
Tags, Threads, and Frames: Toward a Synthesis of Interaction Ritual and Livejournal Roleplaying

by Sarah Wanenchak

This paper examines a game where sociological rules of interaction are adapted to fit an online context free from face to face encounters, and where these adapted rules are further stretched to fit interactions designed to construct a narrative that exists on both the individual and the communal levels. [more]

Rarity and Power: Balance in Collectible Object Games

by Ethan Ham

Game designers often limit the availability of powerful cards in collectible card games. This approach can have negative consequences on a game’s suitability for casual play. This paper explores case studies of two online collectible card games and a design philosophy that argues that powerful game effects should be commonly available to players. [more]
Virtual Worlds Don't Exist: Questioning the Dichotomous Approach in MMO Studies

by Vili Lehdonvirta

This article criticises influential MMO scholarship approaching virtual worlds as if they were outside the real world, and presents an alternative view based on Anselm Strauss’s concept of overlapping social worlds. MMOs are seen as sites where the world of players meshes with families and workplaces, and often flows over to other sites and forums. [more]

The Ending is Not Yet Written: A Conversation with Rand Miller

by Celia Pearce

Rand Miller, who with his brother Robyn designed Myst, the first blockbuster CD-ROM, talks about his legacy of vanguard game design, and the complex history of its multiplayer sequel Uru: Ages Beyond Myst. This interview, conducted via e-mail, took place shortly before the third re-opening of Uru. [more]

Book Reviews

A "Digital Culture, Play and Identity: A World of Warcraft Reader" Reader

by Richard Bartle

Review of "Digital Culture, Play and Identity: A World of Warcraft Reader" edited by Hilde G. Corneliussen and Jill Walker Rettberg, (MIT Press, 2008). [more]
Gaming Culture at the Boundaries of Play

by Frans Mäyrä

Review of "Cheating: Gaining Advantage in Videogames" by Mia Consalvo, (MIT Press 2007). [more]

Unplaying an Unreview of Critical Play

by Cynthia Haynes

Review of "Critical Play: Radical Game Design" by Mary Flanagan (MIT Press, 2009) [more]
The Productive Paradox of Critical Play

by Ragnhild Tronstad

Review of "Critical Play: Radical Game Design" by Mary Flanagan, (MIT Press, 2009). [more]

Call for Papers

Call For Papers - Game Studies Special Issue: “Game Reward Systems”

by Guest Editors - Jakobsson & Sotamaa

Digital games have a long history of rewarding players for their efforts. The prolific use of rewards indicates that they play an important part in shaping the gaming experience. Still, the appeal of game rewards remains heavily underresearched. This special issue is dedicated to the exploration of all aspects of game rewards and reward systems. [more]


©2001 - 2010 Game Studies Copyright for articles published in this journal is retained by the journal, except for the right to republish in printed paper publications, which belongs to the authors, but with first publication rights granted to the journal. By virtue of their appearance in this open access journal, articles are free to use, with proper attribution, in educational and other non-commercial settings.