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The University of Southampton

ARTD1117 Game Changers

Module Overview

Game Changers builds upon the Critical, Cultural & Contextual Studies module. Through a series of current debates you will be introduced to the expanding, diverse, expressive and meaningful cultural phenomenon that is games, in an analytical and critical manner. The talks and debates will extend your knowledge and comprehension of the current and contextual issues that revolve around games today. We will broaden your consideration of what is considered play and what is a game. Through the lens of current game making, games will be investigated as not just entertainment but as a social and cultural medium. The module introduces concepts, issues and ‘bleeding edge’ games practice through a series of talks and debates from a range of guest speakers. These talks will include professors and experts across Winchester School of Art and the University of Southampton along with invited external guests. You will communicate your own response to one of the topics in a written form, using relevant visual material, as an academic essay. The module will embed the importance of academic integrity, i.e. Not misrepresenting the work of others as your own, and will use strict academic conventions.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• to introduce you to the ways in which contemporary contexts and theories inform and effect games design and art practices; • to introduce games as a social and cultural art form; • to ensure and embed academic integrity and ethical behaviours in research and design practice.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • concepts related to current debates in games design & art;
  • how to critically reflect on the work of others and inform your own work;
  • contemporary games artists and or designers relevant to your work and area of study.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • critically assess and evaluate different perspectives on relationships between contexts, theories and practices within the broad definition and concerns of games design & art.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • develop an argument using a clear, coherent structure in written form;
  • use extensive research to underpin your work;
  • apply some key principles of time-management;
  • use the Harvard referencing system.


This module has been designed to facilitate your development of skills necessary for the critical development of well-informed contemporary Games Design and Art practice. 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 of the day surrounding game culture and game practices. 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 will help you to develop your own response to the ideas presented. Talks and discussion will be used to convey representations and information on the contemporary scene of Games Design & Art. You will be encouraged to read widely to supplement your knowledge.

Special Features


Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include • lectures • seminars Learning activities include • lectures • group discussion Relationship between the teaching, learning and assessment methods and the planned learning outcomes This module will be directed by talks that will broaden your understanding of Games Design & Art and consider practical creative possibilities. The material in this module will allow you to consider areas but not limited to gamification, quantified self, games as art, games a social commentary, serious games, esports and contextual concerns. The learning and teaching activities focus on helping you to investigate, question and analyse the nature of Games Design & Art contexts, related theories and how these influence Games Design & Art practice, including your own. Feedback on your progress and development will be given within the session discussions. Your thoughts and selection of one key topic presented will be demonstrated through the selection of a research question and the production of an illustrated academic essay with applied Harvard writing conventions. All talks will be supported and enhanced through the use of guidance and material distributed via our virtual learning environments such as Blackboard, Panopto, Bob National, Library Study Skills Site and

Preparation for scheduled sessions10
Completion of assessment task26
Wider reading or practice90
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

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

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

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

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

Nitsche, M,. (2008). Video Game Spaces: image, play, and structure in 3D game worlds. 

Dyer-Witheford, N & de Peuter, G,. (2009). Games of Empire: global capitalism and video games. 


Mäyrä, Frans (2008). An Introduction to Game Studies: games in culture. 

Dovey, J, & Kennedy, H (2007). Game Cultures: computer games as new media. 

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

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

King, G. & Krzywinska, T, (2002). ScreenPlay: cinema/videogames/interfaces. 

The International Journal of Gaming and Computer-Mediated Simulations (IJGCMS. 

Academic Skills Hub.

Rush, M (2005). New Media in Art. 

Games and Culture. 

Digital Culture & Society.

Gamasutra. http://gamasutra

Bogost, I, (2011). How to Do Things with Videogames,. 



Panopto. Panopto Recordings (via Blackboard)

Mobile Media & Communication.

DiGRA (Digital Games Research Association).

Games and Culture Journal - Games and Culture. 

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

Atkins, B,. (2003). More Than a Game: the computer game as fictional form,. 

New media & Society.

Bogost, I,. (2007). Persuasive Games: the expressive power of videogames. 

Rush, M (2005).  New Media in Art. 

Guardian Games.

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

Flanagan, M,. (2009). Critical Play: radical game design. 

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

Games Criticism. (via Blackboard). 

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




In-class activities


MethodPercentage contribution
Illustrated essay  ( words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Illustrated essay  (2000 words) 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 mandatory/additional text as appropriate Due to the variety and cutting-edge nature of the topics presented this list will be supplemented via Blackboard each year with mandatory reading

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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