Course syllabus

Note: information regarding the course may change up until the start of the course. All course literature is either available on the internet (from within the university's domain) or as files in the file area. That is, there is no need to purchase literature before the course starts.

Second Note: please reed the paper by Juul (in Module 1 under Modules) before the first lecture.


DAT385 / TIA248 Introduction to game research lp1 HT20 (7.5 hp)

Course is offered by the department of Computer Science and Engineering.

Contact details

These people are involved in running the course:

Course purpose

Games takes many forms and have been part of human societies for a very long time. In this course you will be given an overview of the different shapes and forms games take and provided with academic concepts to have a deeper understanding of their nature. The course is intended for those that wish to gain knowledge about games as artifacts and how gameplay features they support have evolved over the years. Will not focusing on how to design games, it gives a foundation for game design through giving you a collection of archetypical examples from various forms of games as well as tools for analyzing games (others or your own). 


All lectures and supervision will be provided through Zoom, please see the modules (and TimeEdit). Look at the different modules for more details and possible updates to the schedule.

The first lecture in the course is at 13:15 Monday the 31st of August. The lecture is on zoom:  (Zoom Link

Course literature

All mandatory literature are available for open download and listed in their respective module.

Course design

The course is divided into five separate modules that build upon each other. Each module runs for ~2 weeks and introduces some game forms as well as appropriate academic game concepts to understand the forms. The modules and the game forms they cover are:

  • Module 1 - System perspective through Board Games 
  • Module 2 - Player perspective through Tabletop Roleplaying Games and Larp
  • Module 3 - Media perspective through Digital Games
  • Module 4 - Consequence perspective through Non-Traditional Games

Each module provides lectures to introduce theories and concepts for understanding the game forms examined in the modules. To provide experience of the game forms, schedules times for playing some games in the game form exist within each module as well. In addition, each module has supervision times to support the planning, exploring, and writing of the assignments.

More information about the modules can be found under their respective folders (found in the menu on the left-hand side of this page). Each module has its own written assignment that needs to be completed for passing the course.

All assignments should make good use of the course literature provided, and additional research of sources is strongly encouraged. 

Failed assignments can be handed in again after deadlines, and will be graded as soon as possible but note that revised assignment is evaluated more critically so it is more difficult to get higher grades. Assignments handed in for the first time but after the deadline will be treated as a revised assignment of a failed assignment. Note: this means you should make use of supervision to get "feed forward" on the assignments that you are working on rather than handing in the assignment and learning from feedback on it.

Changes made since the last occasion

  • Change in order of the first and second lecture
  • Module 2 has the live action roleplay game changed to a free form roleplay game due to Corona

Learning objectives and syllabus

Knowledge and understanding

  • know the academic game terms
  • show an understanding of different types and approaches to classifying games
  • show an understanding of different academic approaches to researching games and gaming
  • be able to explain what characterizes games within the most common classifications

Skills and abilities

  • analyze games given a specific research question, research stance, and academic vocabulary
  • describe games given a specific focus and showing an adequate use of academic game terms
  • make comparisons between games or parts of games through the use of academic game terms
  • analyze games in relation to various intended uses

Judgement and approach

  • analyze games from several different gaming preferences
  • be able to choose and combine different academic approaches in order to analyze and interpret games given a specific context
  • identify ethical aspects of a game

Link to the syllabus Chalmers. (Links to an external site.)
Link to the syllabus GU.

Examination form

The examination for the course consist of a written examination for each module and these will be graded continuously during the course. Passing grades on all module examinations are required for a passing grade on the course as a whole, and the course grade is the average of the grades on the modules. 

Academic writing

This course has a number of written exams were you are expected to use academic writing. If you are not used to this it might feel a bit tricky.  If you want help or just want to level up your academic writing here you can find help.
Look at the end of lecture 1.3 Games as systems.
Link to GUs academic language advise.
Link to writing@chalmers.


Since parts of this course are run online and we want to make this the best possible experience there are some rules we like you to follow. You can find them here.
Link to online rules.


Course summary:

Date Details