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Our primary focus is aesthetic, cultural and communicative aspects of computer games, but any previously unpublished article focused on games and gaming is welcome.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
“Elves are Jews with Pointy Ears and Gay Magic”: White Nationalist Readings of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

by Kristian A. Bjørkelo

This article explores how White Nationalists on Stormfront interpret (decode) Skyrim in accordance with their own worldview and the affordances of the game. In their eyes the Nords are a Germanic people and “Elves are Jews with pointy ears and gay magic”. [more]
A Typology of Imperative Game Goals

by Michael S. Debus, José P. Zagal, Rogelio E. Cardona-Rivera

This paper presents a typology of game goals to fill a gap in the literature regarding kinds of goals in games and how they are interrelated. We focus on ludic goals, instead of player created or narrative goals. The typology can be used for describing goal structures, how higher-level goals relate to lower levels and analyzing a games’ design. [more]

Sorry, Wrong Apocalypse: Horizon Zero Dawn, Heaven’s Vault, and the Ecocritical Videogame

by Megan Condis

This article is an examination of the ecocritical potential of Horizon Zero Dawn (Guerilla Games, 2017) and Heaven’s Vault (inkle, 2019). I argue that to properly depict climate change, we must develop new narrative formats and game mechanics that showcase "slow violence" (Nixon 2011). [more]
The New Lara Phenomenon: A Postfeminist Analysis of Rise of the Tomb Raider

by Janine Engelbrecht

Lara Croft, the heroine of the popular Tomb Raider videogame series, has undergone a major transformation after the series reboot 2013. The new representation of Lara Croft is a clear departure from the postfeminist action heroine archetype and is replicated in other post-2013 videogames with female protagonists. [more]

Applying corpus linguistics to videogame data: Exploring the representation of gender in videogames at a lexical level

by Frazer Heritage

This paper argues for applying corpus linguistics to videogames; a method that can reveal textual patterns in a corpus of games. This method is applied to gender representation in an example corpus, offering quantitative analysis of how discourses around social identities are (re)produced. [more]
The Historical Problem Space Framework: Games as a Historical Medium

by Jeremiah McCall

Historical games present the past in terms of historical problem spaces: player agents with roles and goals that are contextualized in a virtual world whose features enable and constrain player action. The HPS framework helps us better understand the gamic medium of history, with utility for historical game scholars, educators, and game designers. [more]

Reconsidering The Grasshopper: On the Reception of Bernard Suits in Game Studies

by Liam Mitchell

While Bernard Suits's landmark book The Grasshopper is as playful as it is rigorous, scholars in game studies tend to reference it only for its apparently bloodless definition of gameplay. This paper responds to this reception by highlighting the productive ambiguities of the text, particularly the relationship between games and society. [more]
Janky Controls and Embodied Play: Disrupting the Cybernetic Gameplay Circuit

by M. D. Schmalzer

This article develops the concept of janky controls to disrupt the assumed cybernetic connection of player and game. Through this disruption, standard notions of player subjectivity is also disrupted allowing for more diverse players and videogame design practices. [more]


©2001 - 2020 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.