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The University of Southampton

ARTD3072 Playful Thinking

Module Overview

Building upon the module Professional Contexts, this module features an exciting series of industry speaker events and debates to act as a catalyst to support investigative academic and journalist writing for and about Games. The research and final writing assignments should be directly relevant to your work within the module Major Project GDA. Within this module you will produce two different pieces of writing inspired by, and in the style of, the MIT Playful Thinking and UAL Spark journal. Your texts will be in the form of an academic journal piece and a summary journalistic piece. The journalistic piece will be the shorter of the two and should engage a wider audience towards concerns and/or commentary on Games Design & Art.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • the relevance of key discipline-specific theoretical and contextual themes to your work;
  • ways of communicating an informed and critical understanding of your work in the context of the your study.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • formulate and develop an idea and broadly research its context;
  • recognise useful links between contextual data.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • demonstrate organisational skills;
  • identify, select and draw upon a wide range of visual, printed and electronic sources.


Through a series of discussions students will select one or two areas of focus to write critically about games design in its current context. The syllabus will dynamically represent current concerns and passions of the time. The assignments will be submitted via turn-it-in. The journalist summary will be considered for inclusion in the Games Design & Art final year publication, to be printed and online. This publication and website will be used to showcase the thinking behind your own design practice or contextual consideration of games in an innovative and informative manner outside of Winchester School of Art.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include: • lectures; • seminars. Learning activities include: • discussion; • Essay and Journalism Writing; • critical reflection connecting theory and practice; • independent research and reflection; • industry 1-1 discussions; • Academic Skills Hub; • Careers Service.

Wider reading or practice40
Preparation for scheduled sessions10
Completion of assessment task62
Follow-up work14
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Academic Skills Hub.

Games and Culture Journal.

Isbister, K. (2016). How Games Move Us. 

Mobile Media & Communication.

Digital Culture & Society.

Costikyan, G. (2013). Uncertainty in Games. 

Games Criticism.


DiGRA (Digital Games Research Association).

New media & Society.

Juul, J. (2013). The Art of Failure. 

Sicart, M. (2014). Play Matters. 

UAL Spark Journal.


Sharp, J. (2015). Works of Game. 

Panopto Recordings (via Blackboard).


Guardian Games. (via Blackboard).




Essay proposal


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay 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

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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