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The University of Southampton

FILM3038 Video Games in Context

Module Overview

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • The history and traditions of video games
  • The dominant theoretical approaches that have been taken to video games
  • The differences between media, particularly between film and video games
  • The impact of technology on narrative and aesthetics of video games
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Situate video games in the context of technological development
  • Apply the histories and theories studied on the module to provide readings of video games
  • Discuss the issues of game immersion and narrative control
  • Analyse the role of the gamer in the construction of games
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Independently research a range of sources


This module will approach videogames from three primary perspectives: media specificity and technology, narrative, and culture. The importance and interconnectedness of these strands will be addressed through a syllabus that will typically include: - The history of gaming and consoles - An introduction to ludomusicology - Canonical games - Technological determinants - Narratology - Immersion - Reception - Gamer identification - Genre - Videogame adaptations Lecture elements will provide you with general knowledge and understanding of key concepts. Your independent research into secondary material will develop this further. Discussion in seminars will help you to develop your own ideas about a topic, to analyse a range of source material and to articulate a critical argument. Rather than screenings for this module, you will be expected to seek out an experience a range of different games from a variety of different periods and platforms. While paying attention to the differences between platforms in the creation and aesthetic development of games, this module will remain platform agnostic in terms of assessment.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include • Plenary session • Seminars • tutorials Learning activities include • group seminar discussions • Independent study, viewing, gaming, and research

Independent Study114
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Jesper Juul (2010). A Casual Revolution : Reinventing Video Games and Their Players. 

Karen Collins (2008). From Pac-Man to Pop Music : Interactive Audio in Games and New Media. 

Lerner, N., Donnelly, K., & Gibbons, W. (Eds.) (2014). Music in video games: studying play. 

Mark J.P. Wolf (2012). Before the Crash : Early Video Game History. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Analytical essay  (1000 words) 40%
Assessment  (3000 words) 60%


MethodPercentage contribution
Analytical essay 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

FILM1001 or FILM2006 or FILM1027 or FILM1020


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:


Books will be held by the library and there is no one single textbook for this module. Students will therefore not be required to purchase textbooks. Video games can be found free online and there is no requirement to play games on a specific platform.

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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