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Our primary focus is aesthetic, cultural and communicative aspects of computer games, but any previously unpublished article focused on games and gaming is welcome.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

Special Issue - Game Reward Systems

by Mikael Jakobsson, Olli Sotamaa

The guest editors introduce this special issue on game reward systems by discussing its origin, the focus, the need for further studies, and by presenting the included papers.[more]

Hats of Affect: A Study of Affect, Achievements and Hats in Team Fortress 2

by Christopher Moore

Virtual millinery items were introduced as achievement based rewards for players of Team Fortress 2 in 2009. With attention to these highly sought after items, this article is concerned with promoting attention to the many ‘affects’ involved in the design and play of First Person Shooter (FPS) games. [more]
Achievements, Motivations and Rewards in Faunasphere

by Jason Begy, Mia Consalvo

Multiple frameworks for examining the motivations and achivements of MMO players exist, but many are based on assumptions about what kinds of fictional worlds these games contain. Using examples from the casual MMO Faunasphere, this paper argues that any such examinaton must start with the particular game’s fiction and rule systems. [more]

The Achievement Machine: Understanding Xbox 360 Achievements in Gaming Practices

by Mikael Jakobsson

Xbox 360 achievements are explored through casuals, hunters and completists. The dichotomy between MMOs and console games is questioned by framing Xbox Live as a MMO. The ambiguity towards achievements is seen as a result of deeply rooted ideas of what games should be; while at the same time appealing to some of games' most fundamental pleasures. [more]
Unlocking the Gameworld: The Rewards of Space and Time in Videogames

by Alison Gazzard

By exploring ideas surrounding exploration, obstacles and avatar death, this article seeks to understand the various ways in which both space and time create reward systems in the gameworld. New categories of rewards are defined in relation to how goals may be constructed within different genres of videogames. [more]

Player Dossiers: Analyzing Gameplay Data as a Reward

by Ben Medler

This article presents a framework for understanding player dossiers, data-driven visual reports comprised of a player’s gameplay data. The framework describes how dossier systems validate player motivations and contextualize recorded gameplay allowing players to analyze or share the resulting data. [more]
Balancing Risk and Reward to Develop an Optimal Hot-Hand Game

by Paul Williams, Keith V. Nesbitt, Ami Eidels, David Elliott

This paper outlines the development of a top-down shooter designed to investigate the psychological phenomenon known as the ‘hot hand’. Such a game requires a well-balanced risk and reward structure. We chronicle the iterative tuning process, focusing on quantitative analysis of how players adapt their risk taking under varying reward structures. [more]

Brutally Unfair Tactics Totally OK Now: On Self-Effacing Games and Unachievements

by Douglas Wilson

This article presents a case study of designing an intentionally “broken” console party game. Using Henning Eichberg’s concept of the “impossible game” and Bernie DeKoven’s notion of the “Well-Played game,” the article argues that “self-effacing” games of a certain type can help nurture a distinctly self-motivated and collaborative form of play. [more]


©2001 - 2011 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.