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The University of Southampton

ARTD1091 Contemporary Issues in Games Design and Art

Module Overview

This module is taken by all students on the BA (Hons) Games Design and Art undergraduate programme. The learning outcomes and output from this module reflect the games media and art and design approaches of your programme. This module brings together students from the BA (Hons) Games Design and Art undergraduate programme to give you the opportunity to engage in analysis of your own and others’ ideas in a challenging and creative environment.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

- to introduce you to the ways in which contemporary contexts and theories inform games design and art practice - to introduce the ways in which games artists and games designers engage with ideas - to encourage you to explore your own work through critical reflection on the debates and practices of game design and art and see the applicability of these to your own work

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • the games environment within the Creative Industries sector
  • major concepts related to current debates in games design and art
  • some of the contemporary games artists and or designers relevant to your work and area of study
  • how to critically reflect on and inform your own games design and art practices
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • evaluate different perspectives on relationships between contexts, theories and practices to games design and art.
  • critically assess contemporary issues in games design and art develop and sustain an argument
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • develop an argument using a clear, coherent structure; verbally and in written form
  • apply some key principles of time-management
  • present and communicate an argument


Contemporary Issues in Games Design and Art is a core Part One module. It has been designed to facilitate your development of skills necessary for the critical development of well-informed contemporary games design and art. The perspectives provided by this module can also offer both intellectual and career orientation for the next stages in studying your programme. This module will explore the main themes surrounding the games industry and the practices that take place within it. In order to understand the bigger picture you will be introduced to some relevant theory surrounding the whole notion of games and gamification. The module will draw from contemporary games designers, artists and writers. The range of differing ideas and schools of thinking coupled with actual developments will help you to develop your own specific work. You will also be introduced to video and computer game art, which is a specialized form of arts practice that can entail everything from the employment of modified to re-purposed games to painting, sculpture, machinima, appropriation, in-game intervention, real-time performance and sampling techniques. Notable video/computer games artists include Cory Arcangel and Joseph DeLappe. Lectures will be used to convey representations and information on the contemporary scene of games design and art. Seminars and group discussions will allow more detailed examination of particular themes and sources. You will be encouraged to attend a study visit to a major UK games producer, where possible within your means. You will be encouraged to read widely to supplement your knowledge.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include • lectures • workshops • module briefings • seminars • study visit Learning activities include • lectures • module briefings • seminars • group discussion • group critiques • workshops • peer group learning • study visit • self-assessment Relationship between the teaching, learning and assessment methods and the planned learning outcomes In this module learning and teaching activities focus on helping you to investigate, question and analyse the nature of contemporary games design and art contexts, its theories and how these influence games design and art practice, including your own. Feedback on your progress and development will be given by group discussions and seminars. Informal feedback will provide opportunities for peer group learning and self-evaluation. The summative assessment will be by way of an illustrated 2,000-word essay. This module’s learning and teaching methods are designed to help you broaden your understanding of games design and art and explore practical creative possibilities. By studying independently you will learn how to manage your time effectively outside the taught sessions.

Preparation for scheduled sessions10
Completion of assessment task24
Wider reading or practice92
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Bittanti, M and Quaranta, D (2006). GameScenes: Art in the Age of Videogames. 

Kirkpatrick, G. (2011). Aesthetic Theory and the Video Game.. 

Jenish, J. (2008). The Art of the Video Game. 

Schell, J. (2008). The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses. 

Donavan, T. (2010). Replay: The History of Video Games. 

Bissel, T. (2011). Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter. 

Tavinor, G (2009). The Art of Videogames. 

The International Journal of Gaming and Computer-Mediated Simulations (IJGCMS) is a peer-reviewed, international journal from IGI Global devoted to the theoretical and empirical understanding of electronic games and computer-mediated simulations.. 

Chatfield, T. (2011). Fun Inc.: Why Games are the 21st Century's Most Serious Business. 

Games and Culture, a peer-reviewed and published quarterly from Sage, is an international journal that promotes innovative theoretical and empirical research about games and culture within interactive media.. 

McGonigal, J. (2012). Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World.. 

Melissinos, C. (2012). The Art of Video Games: From Pac-Man to Mass Effect. 

Solarski, C. (2012). Drawing Basics and Video Game Art. 

Rush, M (2005). New Media in Art. 





MethodPercentage contribution
Illustrated essay  (2000 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Illustrated essay 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Illustrated essay  (2000 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:


Recommended texts for this module may be available in limited supply in the University Library and students may wish to purchase the core/ recommended text as appropriate

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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