Playing the Game

Playing the Game: The Culture of Digital Games


Welcome to 'Playing the Game', an undergraduate module that was taught by Tom Tyler at Oxford Brookes University, UK, between 2005-06 and 2006-07. The website provides resources that were useful to those who studied the module, but everyone is, of course, welcome to browse.

Digital games have come a long way since their emergence in the 1960s. Today's games are complex, multi-million pound creations providing sophisticated forms of interactive entertainment, education and professional training, medical therapy and healthcare, political and military simulation, and more. Digital games have achieved an unexpected ubiquity within popular culture, and many people - adults as well as children - now spend more time playing games than watching television. What can account for this tremendous, increasing popularity?

This module explores the concepts and cultures of digital games. During the course of the module we examine the nature of games and gaming, the fascination that digital games hold, and the unique pleasures and gratifications that they confer. We question the ways in which players identify with, and become immersed within, game worlds. We explore game design and development, how players use and abuse games, and the gendered nature of play. We consider the educational potential and benefits that digital game-playing can bestow, as well as the dangers and malign effects that many believe are the true product of this new medium. We explore the promise and possibilities of a computer-mediated, interactive entertainment form that is changing the nature not just of gaming but of the games players themselves.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed within these pages are personal and should not be construed as reflecting the views and opinions of Oxford Brookes University.